Monitoring our watersheds
July 30, 2014
The Portland Area Watershed Monitoring and Assessment Program (PAWMAP) measures the health of our local watersheds.
Based on a national monitoring program called EMAP, PAWMAP samples 32 sites each year along the Willamette River, Columbia Slough, and Johnson, Fanno, and Tryon Creeks.
Using top-notch science, PAWMAP uses the samples to show overall health of our waterways, including water temperature, oxygen levels, and presence of pathogens or metals. The results help us determine the effectiveness of protection and restoration projects, and how our sewage treatment and stormwater management programs are working. The information also lets us compare our watershed health against other waterways, both locally and nationally.
Over the last few months, PAWMAP biologists have been surveying bird populations to help assess the quality and health of our watershed. A biologist counts all of the birds they see in an 8-minute period, creating a “bird census.”
With programs like PAWMAP, the Bureau of Environmental Services (BES) ensures that our watersheds are healthy – which protects public health, makes our communities more livable, and supports Oregon’s beautiful plants and critters. It also ensures a healthy place to live for future generations of Oregonians.
BES publishes its findings annually. Check out the reports on BES’ website.