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Ecological Monitoring of Patton Creek

Issue

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Patton Creek, a tributary to Silver Creek, was once significant spawning habitat for Silver Creek trout. Over the years, the stream was degraded and disconnected from Silver Creek. The Nature Conservancy began restoration work on Patton Creek in partnership with a local landowner and with funding from MillerCoors, which contracts with area barley farmers.

How the USGS Helps

Patton Creek
Patton Creek, photo by USGS.
Since 2011, our biologists have conducted seasonal macroinvertebrate assessments in three reaches of Patton Creek. We identify macroinvertebrate taxa (abundance per unit area). We also measure habitat conditions such as water velocity and depth; riverbed substrate (percent fines and embeddedness); and riparian growth (percent canopy cover). These data are available from the USGS BioData database.

Baseline information on the biological communities living in Patton Creek will be used to evaluate the effectiveness of watershed restoration efforts.

Key Findings

The impoundment on Patton Creek appears to be warming the water. Macroinvertebrate communities at the downstream site are indicative of those found in warm-water habitats. The Nature Conservancy has measured summer water temperatures downstream of the impoundment that are 5-10°F higher than temperatures measured upstream.