Name_________________________  Stream______________  Station_____ Score_____________  Date________

 

Stream Habitat Survey

            The habitat available for fish and stream macroinvertebrates will be evaluated at each station. Stream habitat includes: channel bottom materials, streamside vegetation, and the channel characteristics.  Answer the questions below by checking the box that most closely corresponds to the condition of the stream.  You may opt to choose an in-between value, such as 2 or 4.  Record the points assigned to that parameter in the last column.  Total all points from the front and the back of this sheet—this total will be the stream habitat score.  Use this score to determine if your stream habitat is considered excellent, good, fair, or poor.  Score:  0-15 poor; 16-29 fair; 30-44 good; 45-50 excellent.

 

Habitat Parameter

Good to Excellent

Fair to Good

Poor

Points

1. Does the stream flow all year?

   Yes, the stream is perennial (flows year-round).

5 points

    Occasionally the stream doesn’t flow during the summer and fall.

3 points

   No, the stream is always dry during some part of the year.

1 point

 

 

____

 

2. What types of materials are on the channel bottom?

   Mostly gravel, logs, and/or boulders.

5 points

 

 

 

 

 

 

    Some gravel, logs, and loose sand.

3 points

   Mostly sediments, clay, and loose sand.

1 point

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

____

 

3. Are both deep pools* and riffle** habitats present in the stream?

   Yes, both are present and frequent.

5 points

 

 

 

 

 

 

    Occasional pools, mostly runs*** and riffles present.

3 points

   Almost no riffles and pools, only runs present.

1 point

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

____

 

4. Are obstructions to streamflow common and frequently moving?

   Occasional logs and rocks are present, but are firmly embedded in the channel bottom.

 

5 points

 

 

 

 

 

 

    Logs are present, sometimes obstructing flow.

 

 

 

3 points

   Logs and other obstructions to flow are common, they move during high flows, and cause sediment to accumulate.

1 point

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

____

 

*Pools are the deeper parts of the stream and usually form on bends.  They provide the coldest and most-oxygenated water in summer and are least likely to freeze in winter.

**Riffle areas are straight stretches of stream containing rocks that churn up the water, adding oxygen.

*** Runs are straight stretches of stream.

 

Habitat Parameter

Good to Excellent

Fair to Good

Poor

Points

5. How much streambank erosion is occurring?

   Very little.  Bare, unvegetated banks are rare.

 

5 points

 

 

 

 

    Some streambank erosion is occurring, but it is less than 6” in height.

3 points

   Bare, unvegetated banks are common, and are often more than 12” in height.

1 point

 

 

 

 

 

 

____

6. Does the channel have lots of curves and bends?

    Yes, bends in the channel are frequent.

5 points

    There are occasional bends.

3 points

   No, the channel is mostly straight.

1 point

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

____

7. How steep is the slope of the strembanks?

   Gentle slope, less than 30o.

5 points

 

 

 

 

    Moderately steep slope, about 45o.

3 points

   Steep slope, about 90o, creating a drop-off.

1 point

 

 

 

 

 

____

8. Are streambanks covered with a variety of different classes of vegetation: trees, shrubs, forbs, grasses?

   Shrubs are dominant; trees of different ages, and some grasses may be present.    5 points

 

 

 

 

 

 

    Mature trees are the dominant class of vegetation.

 

3 points

   No, bare soil, rock, mine tailings, or grass are the dominant vegetation.

1 point

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

____

9. Does the streambank vegetation overhang the channel, providing shade and a source of insects and other food?

   Overhanging shrubs and undercut banks are frequent.   5 points

 

 

 

 

 

 

    Some vegetation overhangs the water.

3 points

   No vegetation overhangs the water.

1 point

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

____

10. Are sand or sediments being deposited on top of stream gravels?

   There is slight deposition on the outside of stream bends; stream bottom is hard.       5 points

 

 

 

    Deposition is common where the current is slow; sediment is filling in the pools.       3 points

   More than half of the stream bottom is loose sand, moving with high flows.       1 point

 

 

 

 

 

 

____

                                                                                                                                  Score (total # of points) =   ____

 

Adapted from the U.S. Forest Service Stream Reach Inventory and Channel Stability Evaluation (1978)

Designed by the GEM Center for Science and Environmental Outreach at Michigan Tech University

1400 Townsend Dr., Houghton, MI  49931-1295     (906) 487-3341