Best Practices For Continuous Monitoring of Temperature and Flow In Wadeable Streams (Final Report)


EPA is announcing the availability of the final report,"Best Practices for Continuous Monitoring of Temperature and Flow in Wadeable Streams".


This final report is a technical "best practices" document describing sensor deployment for and collection of continuous temperature and flow data 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.

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.


The purpose of this document is to present methods for continuous temperature and flow data collection in streams to support monitoring of long-term trends. The document compiles the best available information from pactitioners with their assistance, particularly our USFS and USGS co-authors. The audience for this document is mostly state agency scientists, EPA regional scientists, NGO scientists, and potentially academic researchers.


U.S. EPA. Best Practices For Continuous Monitoring of Temperature and Flow In Wadeable Streams (Final Report). U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Research and Development, National Center for Environmental Assessment, Washington, DC, EPA/600/R-13/170F, 2014.


Date Description
01-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.
02-Oct 2013EPA released the external review draft document for public review and comment. [Federal Register Notice Oct 31, 2013]
03-Sep 2014EPA released the final report.