Enjoying your winter snow observations? Want to keep collecting data through the spring and summer, even after the snow is gone? Many mountain areas will reach peak snow depths in spring, and as the snow starts to melt, streams begin to flow. In the photo here, there’s a stream down there somewhere!
Stream Tracker, like Community Snow Obs, is a community monitoring network. However, instead of snow depths, project members focus their observations on intermittent streams—streams that do not always have flowing water. In many areas, intermittent streams are the smallest headwater streams that trickle across a hiking trail or pass beneath a mountain road.
In drier regions, even large streams can be intermittent. These streams make up the majority of the total length of streams worldwide, yet they are poorly documented because most monitoring efforts focus on larger streams. However, small intermittent streams are vital to improving streamflow forecasting as well as tracking basin water quality.
Stream Tracker aims to fill the gap in intermittent stream data by engaging outdoor enthusiasts in stream data collection. Participants use their mobile phone to record where they encounter a stream and whether or not they observe flowing water where the stream crosses a road or trail. They then upload their observations to the project database using the project data portal on the CitSci.org website or the CitSci mobile phone app (available for iOS and Android devices). There are currently over 800 established Stream Tracker sites identified along roads and trails across the country. You can visit and record flow information at these existing sites or establish new sites on streams you visit.