Quantifying Temporal Variability in Stream Habitat Data: Implications for Restoration and Monitoring

Scientific Disciplines
Biological Sciences - Aquatic
Keywords
Wildlife conservation
Environmental science
habitat
restoration
environment
USDA Forest Service
variability
temporal
attributes
management
sites
landscape
data
collected
temporal variability
variability relate
habitat data
data collected
temporal variability relate
Years
Authors
Volumes
Volume 16, No. 4

Quantifying temporal variability in stream habitat data: 
implications for restoration and monitoring

Robert Al-Chokhachy, Brett Roper, Eric Archer, and Scott Miller, PIBO EM, USDA Forest Service, 
860 N. 1200 E., Logan, Utah 84321 ralchokhachy@fs.fed.us
Quantifying natural and anthropogenic-induced levels of temporal variability is essential 
for robust trend analyses and for evaluating the effectiveness of restoration activities or 
changed management actions. Here, we used data collected as part of the Pacfish/Infish 
Biological Effectiveness Monitoring Project to evaluate the extent of temporal variability 
in instream habitat collected at the reach scale. We integrated habitat data collected yearly 
(2001-2009) at 50 sites experiencing a range of management activities into our analyses 
to better understand the consistency of temporal variability in watersheds with inherently 
different landscape characteristics and disturbance regimes. We initially decomposed variance 
estimates to remove site-to-site variability, sampling error, and year effects and use the 
remaining variance as a measure of site-specific temporal variability. We then relate this 
temporal variability to landscape, management, and climate attributes at multiple scales to 
better understand which characteristics result in more or less variability in habitat attributes 
at specific sites. Our results suggest temporal variability differs significantly across individual 
sites and attributes within sites, indicating our ability to detect significant changes as a result 
of management changes and/or restoration efforts are context dependent. The spatial scale 
of landscape attributes, e.g., stream buffer vs. catchment, related to temporal variability also 
varied across individual attributes. Our efforts highlight the importance of considering site-
specific measures of temporal variability as they relate to specific restoration and management 
goals.