Locations continued

Station locations: The number and location of your stations depends on what questions your monitoring study has been designed to answer.  Table 2 provides some general considerations based upon two types of common monitoring criteria.  Prior to selecting the site in the field use a topographic map to do preliminary selection of sites that meet your criteria.  Always visit the site before making final determinations to make sure the site is easily and safely accessible and that it is on public access areas whenever possible.  Site codes are important for keeping track of your stations and for reporting purposes.  WV Save Our Streams recommends that you use a code consisting of series of numbers and letters that easily designate the site locations and allow for more sites to be added.  For example, you have decided on three stations along Spruce Creek.  The stations could be coded as follows: 

SP-001: The most downstream site on the stream; SP-010: About 1-mile from the mouth; SP-015: About 1.5-miles from the mouth.  The number to the far right is 0.1-mile, the next place to the left is 1.0-miles, the next is 10.0-miles etc.  (SP) is the first two-letters of the stream name; (001) is the miles from the mouth of the stream.
Choose the site that best fit the type of monitoring your group would like to perform.  Most volunteer monitoring groups choose sites that determine baseline conditions and will be used to establish long-term or short-term trends.  These sites are visited on a regular basis and the information collected is compared to determine if changes are occurring.  The other type is for analysis of a particular impact or activity that is occurring on the stream.  In this situation the stations are compared against a reference/control to determine the extent of the impact or activity.
How often should I monitor my stations?  Your study design should help you answer this question, but in general, typical surveys are performed two times within an index period.  If there is a reason, volunteers may monitor water quality at a station more frequently such as seasonal or even monthly depending upon the situation. At a minimum the station can be monitored only once within the index period.  The program’s index period is spring through fall. 
Monitoring site considerations based upon criteria
Characterization: Sites ara typical sections of the river/stream that interests the group.  Site have a variety of features that represent those of the watershed (baseline).  Sites may have a special natural of historical significance.  Sites may be the location of previous monitoring activitiy.  Impact assessments: Control site is established upstream of the potential impact.  In some cases the reference may be in an adjacent watershed or it may be theoretical.  Impact site is set-up slightly downstream from the impact.  Recovery site is downstream far enough that recovery may be likely.
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