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Global Change Impacts & Adaptation

Best Practices for Continuous Monitoring of Temperature and Flow in Wadeable Streams (External Review Draft)

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Report Information

This external review draft report is a technical "best practices" document describing sensor deployment for and data collection of continuous temperature and flow at ungaged sites in wadeable streams. This document addresses questions related to equipment needs; configuration, placement, and installation of equipment; and data retrieval and processing.

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Britta G. Bierwagen
  • by phone at:   703-347-8613
  • by fax at:   703-347-8694
  • by email at:  bierwagen.britta@epa.gov


In 2012, EPA-NCEA released a report on the implications of climate change for stream bioassessment programs. The report identified the need for biological, chemical, and physical monitoring data capable of detecting climate change effects in stream ecosystems. These data needs included continuous measurements of temperature and flow in ungaged streams. Understanding long-term trends in various types of stream data (such as water temperature and flow) is important to detect and track the impacts of climate change. Currently, there are not many sources of continuous data (measured constantly over 24 hours a day and seven days a week) on temperature and flow in free-flowing freshwater wadeable streams; this makes it challenging to analyze long-term trends in these parameters.

Several EPA Regions and states requested that EPA compile methods for deploying continuous temperature and flow sensors. This report describes the current “best practices” for state and EPA regional biologists considering the deployment of continuous temperature and flow sensors in wadeable streams.


Jan 2013EPA, in collaboration with the Massachusetts Department of Fish and Game, U.S. Geological Survey, and U.S. Forest Service, held webinar for state and EPA regional biologists to discuss methods and gauge interest in a best practices document.
Oct 2013EPA released the external review draft document for public review and comment. [Federal Register Notice Oct 31, 2013]

Next Steps

This draft report will undergo an independent peer review this fall winter (2013) and EPA anticipates release of the final report in March 2014.

Additional Information

Comments on the assessment may be submitted and reviewed using the e-Government Regulations.gov Web site. From the site, select Environmental Protection Agency and the key word EPA- HQ-ORD-2013-0723 (for the docket ID).


U.S. EPA. Best Practices for Continuous Monitoring of Temperature and Flow in Wadeable Streams (External Review Draft). U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Research and Development, National Center for Environmental Assessment, Washington, DC, EPA/600/R-13/170, 2013.


This download(s) is distributed solely for the purpose of pre-dissemination peer review under applicable information quality guidelines. It has not been formally disseminated by EPA. It does not represent and should not be construed to represent any Agency determination or policy.

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