Water: Healthy Watersheds
Examples of Assessments
The Healthy Watersheds assessment approach recognizes the many existing assessments available for reporting on the integrity of watershed ecosystem components. Examples of select assessment approaches at the regional, state, and local scales are presented for each of the categories below.
Landscape condition assessments identify green infrastructure that provides important ecosystem services such as natural flood storage, pollutant filtering, fish & wildlife habitat, and carbon storage.
Communities of aquatic plants and animals reflect not only current conditions, but also changes in conditions over time and their cumulative impacts. Bioassessment data are invaluable for managing our aquatic resources and ecosystems.
Chemical and physical assessments of water quality are important components of evaluating watershed health. These assessments allow for an understanding of current watershed conditions and are the basis for many regulatory programs.
Understanding the natural disturbance regime of a watershed allows for the development of management and protection measures that will maintain the watershed in as natural a condition as possible.
Hydrology and geomorphology are intricately linked through erosional and depositional processes that create a dynamic equilibrium in healthy watersheds. The dynamic equilibrium of the physical system establishes the dynamic equilibrium of the biological system, thus maintaining the ecological integrity of the system as a whole. Reference conditions are important for hydrologic/geomorphic assessments of aquatic ecosystems.
Integrated assessments examine multiple watershed ecosystem components and functional attributes. These assessments are critical for proactive management and protection of healthy watersheds due to their holistic nature.