Cooperative Research Units
Education, Research And Technical Assistance For Managing Our Natural Resources
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Establishing long-term, continuous monitoring of flow, temperature, and macroinvertebrates at reference streams to quantify potential effects of climate change on stream ecosystems


December 2012 - December 2017


Climate change is altering temperatures and flows in stream ecosystems, which can affect the distribution, diversity, and abundance of biotic communities that are used as a basis for resource management. The lack of continuous temperature and flow data for minimally disturbed, unregulated freshwater wadeable streams is an impediment to analyses of long-term trends in biological, thermal, and hydrologic data. Recently, USEPA has been collaborating with east coast states to develop regional reference/climate change monitoring networks that can detect small, progressive changes in stream communities. States in the northeast (CT, ME, MA, NH, NY, RI, and VT) have begun monitoring macroinvertebrates; however, continuous monitoring of temperature (air and water) and hydrology have been limited thus far.

To help facilitate more uniform and effective collection of continuous temperature and water depth data, the US EPA and collaborators have developed a guidance document for sampling ungaged sites in wadeable streams. This document addresses equipment needs, installation, maintenance, stream discharge measurements, data retrieval, and data processing. In November 2014, we will hold a 1.5-day workshop for northeast state participants in the reference network and other interested stakeholders on continuous monitoring of stream temperature and flow.

Research Products and Activities

Peer Reviewed Publications

  • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). 2014. Best practices for continuous monitoring of temperature and flow in wadeable streams. Global Change Research Program, National Center for Environmental Assessment, Washington, DC. EPA/600/R-13/170F Abstract |  Download  |  Publisher Website | 


  • Stamp, J., M. Craddock, D.J. Isaak, L. Parker, A.H. Roy, Z. Holden, and B.G. Bierwagen. 2013. Guidelines for continuous monitoring of temperature and flow in wadeable streams. Annual Meeting of the Society for Freshwater Science, Jacksonville, FL, 19-23 May 2013.

Current Staff

Federal Staff: 95

Masters Students: 239

Phd Students: 142

Post Docs: 53

University Staff: 240

5 Year Summary

Students graduated: 701

Scientific Publications: 1936

Presentations: 4260



Funding Agencies

  • Masscachusetts Water Resources Research Center


Cooperative Research Units Program Headquarters Cooperators

  1. U.S. Geological Survey