A Multi-Year Longitudinal Study of Water Quality Parameters in Four Salmon-Bearing and Recreational Streams on Mount Hood, Oregon

Ronald Wasowski, University of Portland
Steve Kolmes, University of Portland
David Alexander
Nathan Banet
Amy Card
Morgan Haines
Elijah Kolmes
Kelly Northcutt
Derek Roemer
Sarah Webber

PLOS One, August 5, 2013,

© 2013 Wasowski et al.This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

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Abstract

Four streams–Clear Fork, Lost Creek, Camp Creek and Still Creek–in northwestern Oregon’s Sandy River Basin were monitored for temperature, dissolved oxygen levels, and fecal bacterial concentrations in a multi-year analysis examining stream health for recreational users and anchor habitat for Pacific Salmon.Temperatures were recorded using microT temperature loggers at 15 locations, during 22 July - 5 September 2006, 2 July - 4 September 2007, 20 June - 7 September 2008, 23 June - 9 September 2009, and 2 July –9 September 2010. The Seven-Day Average Maximum water temperature (7-DAM) of 13°C was used as a reference value for the biological limit governing suitable salmonid spawning and egg incubation conditions. The maximum 7-DAM temperatures occurred on different dates and all streams neared or exceeded the 13°C standard at least once each summer. Dissolved oxygen levels were measured at weekly or longer intervals in 2006, 2007, 2008, and 2009. Dissolved oxygen levels fell below the 9.0 ppm standard for Clear Fork on almost half the sampling dates in 2006, 2007, and 2009. Concentrations of the bacterial genus Enterococcus were measured as an indicator of fecal contamination. Samples were collected at 15 sites along the four streams. Weekly samples were collected during a 9 week period from July - September 2007, an 11 week period from June - September 2008, and an 11 week period from June - September 2009. Enterococcus counts exceeded the federal recommended national criterion value of 61 colony forming units (CFU) per 100 mL every year in Camp Creek and occasionally elsewhere, with exceedances trending towards late summer.