Out with the paper and in with the app

August 4, 2016

Still Creek Web Feature 7.28.16

The release of our 2015 Annual Report gives The Freshwater Trust some exciting stories to share with its supporters. Each week, we’ve been highlighting a new article from the report. Here is the next one.

To effectively and efficiently protect waterways, we have to stay up-to-date with, well — everything. It’s the 21st century, and that means it’s time to go paperless and have the latest technology to help lead the way in conservation. That’s exactly what The Freshwater Trust has done with its StreamBank Monitoring App.

Dive in.

Our tagline, “Changing the Course of Conservation,” is a five-word summary of our work to secure a future with clean, healthy waterways. We must protect and restore our water resources faster than we degrade them, and this will undoubtedly require using all the tools afforded by the 21st century. Real-time data. New technology. Cutting-edge innovation. The Freshwater Trust’s StreamBank® Monitoring App is the result of our work to incorporate these elements into conservation.

We first developed this tablet- optimized application to collect monitoring data in the field and compile that data for long-term analysis and reporting. Today, we’re proud to report our habitat monitoring has gone paperless.

“More efficient would be a dramatic understatement,” said Hilary Cosentino, habitat monitoring coordinator. “We used to spend hours gathering data by hand and then entering it in a database. We’re not only improving efficiency by using this app, but the consistency and accuracy of our data as well.”

In 2015, we also added several new features allowing for the monitoring of salmon redds, streamside planting projects and streamside function. A redd is a spawning bed built by salmon and steelhead, most often in stream gravel. Redd counts allow staff and partners to monitor a waterway’s fish use and distribution of redds over time. The second new feature of the application allows for the monitoring of revegetation progress on a project. The third allows for the assessment of streamside forest quality and identification of potential restoration sites.

Over the coming year, we will continue improving the application’s features and getting it into the hands of other restoration professionals to help them monitor projects more effectively and efficiently. A set of clients and partners are currently testing the application on restoration sites in Idaho and Oregon.

“It’s important for us to empower the entire restoration community to better understand their water resources and easily track the exact ways restoration is having an impact,” said Cosentino. “You can’t manage what you don’t measure.”

It’s through your support that we are able to stay up-to-date with all the tools and technology that help us protect and restore freshwater for the future.

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