Objectives / Methods / History


The Aquatic Inventories Program in Oregon is an initiative aimed at gathering quantitative information about the condition of aquatic habitats in streams throughout the state. The primary goals of this program are as follows: 

  1. Provide Quantitative Information: The program's main objective is to collect data that quantify the condition and characteristics of stream habitats. This information typically includes data on water quality, stream flow, aquatic species, and the physical attributes of the stream environment.
  2. Support Biologists and Land Managers: The data collected through the program are essential for biologists and land managers who are responsible for the conservation and management of Oregon's aquatic ecosystems. These professionals rely on the information to make informed decisions regarding protecting and restoring these habitats.
  3. Establish Monitoring Programs: The data collected by the Aquatic Inventories Program can be used as a baseline for monitoring changes in habitat conditions over time. By establishing monitoring programs, it becomes possible to track trends and assess the impact of various factors on stream health.
  4. Direct Habitat Restoration Efforts: The information gathered by the program also plays a crucial role in guiding habitat restoration efforts. It helps identify areas that may require intervention and informs the development of strategies to restore and improve habitat conditions. If you'd like to explore AQI's HabRate model and how it assesses the potential quality of stream habitat for salmon and steelhead at different life stages, please follow the provided link. 

The Aquatic Inventories Program serves as a valuable source of data and information for professionals working in the field of aquatic habitat conservation and management. It aids in decision-making, conservation efforts, and establishing long-term monitoring programs to ensure the health and sustainability of Oregon's streams and aquatic ecosystems.




The process of conducting a stream survey is multifaceted, combining map scrutiny and on-ground observations of stream attributes. Our method involves a systematic hierarchical approach, breaking the process down into regions, basins, streams, reaches, and habitat units. Our supervisors take the lead, sourcing general information for regions and basins while guiding our dedicated survey crews in their data collection endeavors. These teams assess the specific characteristics of streams, reaches, and channel units. In constructing our dataset, we rely heavily on ODFW-EPA region and sub-region classifications and insights drawn from thorough map analysis. This systematic method ensures the accuracy and reliability of the data we provide. 

Our methodology is designed to seamlessly integrate with various stream habitat inventory and classification systems, such as Rosgen 1985, Frissell et al. 1986, Cupp 1989, Ralph 1989, USFS Region & Level II Inventory 1992, and Hawkins et al. 1993. This compatibility is achieved by systematically identifying and quantifying valley and stream geomorphic features. These measurements and spatial relationships can be generalized into common valley and channel types or adapted to fit specific classification systems. For instance, data at the reach level, including valley width, channel type, slope, terrace characteristics, sinuosity, dimensions, substrate, and bank stability, can be used to classify the stream according to Rosgen (1985) or align with parameters from other quantitative (USFS) or historical (U.S. Bureau of Fisheries) surveys. 

Follow the link to the Aquatic Inventories Field Survey Methods Manual. The methods manual describes the classification of stream habitat at the unit and reach scale.  It is intended to be used as a training tool and field reference manual for ODFW stream surveyors.




The development of the Aquatic Inventory Project traces its origins to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) in 1989, with sponsorship by the Restoration and Enhancement Program. Drafting of stream survey methodologies and the commencement of fieldwork occurred in 1990. 

The framework for this undertaking drew from our dedicated project team's collective insights and experience and collaborations with Oregon State University, the Forest Industry, and research scientists from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Pacific Northwest (USFW PNW). The foundation for this work was substantially informed by seminal research contributions, including Bisson et al. (1982), Grant (1986), Everest et al. (1987), Hankin and Reeves (1988), Moore and Gregory (1989), and Gregory et al. (1991).

In refining and validating these methods, extensive contributions and critical reviews were provided by ODFW research personnel, coupled with consultations with ODFW and United States Forest Service (USFS) biologists involved in parallel programs. Further enhancements and insights were provided through collaboration with Umpqua Basin Fisheries Restoration Initiative members and the Oregon Forest Industry Council. This collaborative approach ensures that our Aquatic Inventory methodology is backed by a wealth of knowledge, experience, and rigorous review, driving its continuous evolution and effectiveness.