Methow - Chewuch Rivers Surface and Ground Water Monitoring

The Methow and Chewuch Rivers are within Category 2 watersheds and are a major spawning area for spring Chinook and steelhead. The middle Methow provides vital overwinter rearing habitat and is an important migration corridor for spring and summer Chinook, steelhead, bull trout and Pacific lamprey.

We have established groundwater monitoring sites on three floodplain parcels belonging to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) to identify the feasibility of pursuing aquatic habitat restoration. Pre-design groundwater and surface water monitoring is necessary for various fish restoration treatments, including side channel reconnection and alcove or springbrook channel establishment. The sites are the Burns-Garrity floodplain on the Chewuch River, and the Silver side channel complex and the Lewisia floodplain which are both on the Methow River below Twisp.

These areas have been subject to a century of anthropogenic uses that have altered aquatic and riparian areas and function. Amongst WDFW’s extensive riparian and floodplain properties in the Methow sub-basin, these have been targeted for monitoring due to the presence of remnant channel features and surface evidence of shallow groundwater. These characteristics indicate the likelihood of opportunities for future salmonid restoration projects to enhance overwinter rearing habitat. A total of 11 continuously-recording water level and temperature data loggers have been installed. Ten data loggers have been installed in piezometers for measuring ground water, while the remaining data logger will be installed for surface water discharge monitoring.

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Monitoring network for the Silver Side Channel Complex. Crosses indicate piezometer locations; dots indicate staff gauge locations

 

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Piezometer well with data logger installed to continuously measure ground water levels.

Partners: WDFW, U.S. FWS

Funded By: Habitat Conservation Plan Tributary Committee

Projected Completion: April 2014