Algae: A chlorophyll containing plant ranging from
one to many cells in size, that lives in fresh or salt
Anadromous: Fish that return from salt water to fresh
water to spawn (e.g. salmon, steelhead).
Aquatic insect: Insect species whose larval and/or
juvenile forms live in the water.
Aquifer: Any underground geological formation
Bedrock: Unbroken solid rock, overlain in most places
by soil or rock fragments.
Benthic: Bottom-dwelling. The plant and animal life
whose habitat is the bottom of a sea, lake, or river.
Channelized: The straightening and deepening of
streams. These streams are often lined with cement or
Clarity: The clearness of the water in the
Conifers: A cone-bearing evergreen tree or shrub (a
pine tree for example).
Cover: Overhanging or instream structures (such as
tree roots, undercut streambanks, or boulders) that offer
protection from predators, shelter from strong currents,
Current: The velocity (speed) of the flow of
Deciduous: A tree which sheds its foliage at the end
of the growing season.
Ecosystem: The interacting system of a biological
community (plants, animals) and it's non-living
Effluent: The wastewater from a municipal or
industrial source that is discharged into the water.
Erosion: The wearing away of the land surface by wind
EPA: Environmental Protection Agency.
Filling: The process of depositing dirt and mud in
marshy areas (wetlands) or in the water to create more land.
Filling disturbs natural ecological cycles.
Gradient: The slope or steepness of the stream.
Groundwater: The supply of freshwater under the
earth's surface in an aquifer or soil.
Habitat: The specific environment in which an
organism lives and depends on for food and shelter.
Headwaters: Small creeks at the upppermost end of a
stream system, often found in the mountains, that contribute
to larger creeks and rivers.
Mass wasting: Downward movement of dry soil and rock
caused by gravity (often called slides or avalanches).
Monitor: To measure a characteristic, such as
streambank condition, dissolved oxygen, or fish population,
over a period of time using uniform methods to evaluate
Non-point source pollution: "Diffuse" pollution,
generated from large areas with no particular point of
pollutant origin, but rather from many individual places.
Urban and agricultural areas generate non-point source
Nutrient: Any substance, such as fertilizer,
phosphorous, and nitrogen compounds, which enhances the
growth of plants and animals.
Point source pollution: A discharge of water
pollution to a stream or other body of water, via an
identifiable pipe, vent, or culvert.
Pool: An area of relatively deep slow water in a
stream that offers shelter to fish.
Quality control (QC): The system of checks that are
used to generate excellence, or quality, in a program (a
monitoring program for example. QC asks if we are doing the
right things (in our case are we monitoring the right things
to detect changes in water quality).
Reach: For the purposes of this survey, we will refer
to the "reach" as a designated length of stream (approx. 50
meters) walked along to record observations and within which
a specific monitoring site is located.
Riffle: A shallow, gravely area of streambed with
swift current. Used for spawning by some fishes.
Riparian area: An area, adjacent to and along a
watercourse, which is often vegetated and constitutes a
buffer zone between the nearby lands and the
Run: A stretch of fast, smooth current, deeper than a
Sediment: Fine soil or mineral particles that settle
to the bottom of the water or are suspended in the
Stormwater runoff: Water that washes off the land
after a rainstorm. In developed watersheds it flows off
roofs and pavements into storm drains which may feed
directly into the stream: often carries concentrated
Substrate: The material that makes up the bottom
layer of the stream, such as gravel, sand, or bedrock.
Stream corridor: A perennial or intermittent stream,
it's lower and upper banks.
Stream mouth: The beginning of a stream, where it
empties into a lake, ocean, or another stream.
Suspended sediments: Fine material or soil particles
that remain suspended by the current until deposited in
areas of weaker current. They create turbidity and, when
deposited, can smother fish eggs or aquatic insect larvae.
Can be measured with a nephelometer as "total suspended
Topographic: The configuration of a surface area
including its relief, or relative elevations, and the
position of its natural and manmade features.
U.S.G.S: U.S. Geological Survey.
Wetlands: Wetlands are lands where saturation with
water is the dominant factor determining the nature of soil
development. They also can be indentified by unique plants
which have adapted to oxygen-deficient (anaerobic) soils.
Wetlands influence stream flows and water quality.
Zoning: To designate, by ordinances, areas of land
reserved and regulated for specific uses, such as
residential, industrial, or open space.
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