Information Gaps


On the NRIS mapper, it would be useful to have a clickable map that would return the following information for areas at a scale of 1:100,000:

  • Magnitudes of various return frequencies of storms and snow packs (inches of water per unit time associated with 10, 25, 50, 100 year rain storms; inches of water associated with 10, 25, 50, 100 year snow packs) This data would assist in designing adequate impoundments.
  • Long term daily mean/min/max plots of temperature, precipitation and evapotranspiration to aid in selecting species likely to thrive on restoration sites        

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  • Watershed boundaries: 6th code watersheds 
  • Stream geomorphology - synoptic assessments along all streams and at restoration sites:  sinuosity, gradient, bankfull flow cross sections (use to calculate entrenchment & width/depth ratios); Wolman pebble counts (D50, D84) Rosgen classification of streams; descriptions of reference streams in the area (note some of this might be more appropriate to fish habitat)
  • Detailed maps of channel features (point bars, etc) 
  • Geologic stability - landslide  hazard rating    

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Maps of post-Superfund reclamation (at scale of 1:2400 and well documented) showing: 

  • Levels of metals and arsenic in soils, 
  • Surface areas elevated over background levels of metals and arsenic, 
  • Surface areas high enough in metals or arsenic to be phytotoxic or otherwise hazardous
  • Areas of bare soil 

These maps should cover the mainstem river's floodplain as well as historically irrigated areas.        

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Land Cover

Watershed-based maps at 1:24000 scale of: 

  • Climax vegetation 
  • Habitat that is locally critical for wildlife species, especially for sensitive plants and animals listed with the Natural Heritage program or for game species (FWP)     

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Stream corridor and wetlands maps at 1:2400 scale and well documented showing: 

  • Riparian area width, 
  • Riparian community types, 
  • Riparian condition (health scores & scores for individual factors like level of weed infestation, bare ground, etc) 
  • Areas dominated by metal tolerant plants 
  • Wetlands: jurisdictional functional (based on NWI mapping which is 1:24000). NRCS offices have FSA wetland class inventories 
  • Wetland community type and condition 
  • Maps of features that may stress wetlands (roads, developed springs)    

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Surface Water

Water quality data currently exists as raw data (in STORET and in the TriState Water Quality Council's database) and in highly summarized form in the Environet database (which indicates whether waterbodies are supporting uses or not). It would be useful to have maps that show sample stations color-coded based on percentage of samples collected that exceed the copper standard or nutrient standards. Maps could also be produced that show stream reaches color-coded based on whether they show a significant declining, improving or stable trend in copper or nutrient levels. It would also be useful to be able to see diurnal plots of temperature data (FWP collects such data).    

Other potentially useful information:

  • Descriptions of reference streams in the area 
  • Gaining and losing reaches and degree of connectedness to groundwater. 
  • Bank stability, presence of riprap, dikes, diversions.
  • Information at 5th & 6th code HUC level 
  • Montana Water Quality Tracking System - currently in development at NRIS
  • Flow duration curves at USGS stations

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Using information in the GWIC database, it would be useful to generate maps at 1:24000 showing 

  • Potentiometric maps with groundwater flow direction and velocity
  • Map showing locations of available hydrographs, where clicking on the location brings up the hydrograph
  • Areas exceeding groundwater standards, 
  • Closed groundwater areas or areas with declining water levels, 
  • Areas of high, medium, low risk for groundwater contamination,       
  • Well capture zones for municipal or other public water supply well.

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While much of the information below is available from MRIS(MFISH), it needs to be summarized as easy-to-download GIS layers/Maps preferably at 1:24000, with the basin or stream color-coded to show extent of distributions of species and habitat; population levels, etc: 

  • Current & historic ranges of bull trout & cutthroat, 
  • Key habitat areas & conservation areas, 
  • Incidence of whirling disease, 
  • Reaches with dewatering or stressful temperatures,
  • Stream/fishing access sites, 
  • Fish migration barriers, 
  • Stream restoration & waterfowl habitat projects. 

Mapped restoration projects should include detailed descriptions of the projects (purpose, design information, pictures).        

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With the exception of fisheries data, all biological data is stored in file folders or spreadsheets with the researchers who collected the data. Ultimately, it is hoped that biological data will be stored in STORET. These data could also be summarized with color-coded maps to show which areas meet biological criteria in all, most or few samples (that is, which are unimpaired, moderately impaired or severely impaired according to specific criteria). Wildlife information could include otter and loon occurrences and waterfowl use of the area.        

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Human systems

Maps with locations of:

  • irrigation canals 
  • individual homes and septic systems in rural areas 
  • platted land 
  • proposed development       

In the Land Ownership Database, completing the mapping and CAMA (Computer Assisted Mass Appraisal) data gathering on the Clark Fork basin.

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Known or Potential Impacts

On the NRIS Mapper it would be useful to map at the 1:2400 scale (or 1:4800  if possible): 

  • trails, 
  • construction projects and building permits
  • 310 permits, 
  • floodplain permits; 
  • pre-permit floodplain development, 
  • levees, 
  • riprap, 
  • culverts (many of these predate the permit system and so cannot rely on permit database to locate); 
  • timber management projects, 
  • recently burned areas, 
  • grazing allotments (use levels); 
  • proposed subdivisions.   

The Clark Fork Data Management System (CFDMS) would be potentially more useful in the restoration process if it were updated to include remediation data since 1995.     

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Watershed Projects/Groups

Projects that would be useful to map and have information for include: 

  • DEQ's TMDL's (ultimately, these are expected to be stored in STORET); 
  • other FWP projects (for fisheries & waterfowl); 
  • forest restoration projects (USFS & others); 
  • other NRCS projects (WHIP, WRP, CRP; these are few in number compared to EQIP); 
  • floodplain and aquifer protection areas; 
  • land use plans; 
  • sewer upgrades/extensions, 
  • land application of wastewater; 
  • wetland treatment; 
  • corral relocations that don't fall under any of the above projects.
  • Montana Natural Resource Damage Program projects.

The Water Center's watershed projects database is one possible place to organize all these projects; but the Center would need additional funding to do this.  The Water Center's watershed groups database currently organizes information on watershed groups. It would also be useful if it also included information on water quality districts and lakeshore groups. 

In the  Watershed Projects Database  it would be helpful to include a project description (purpose, objectives) and include GPS coordinates for location so projects can be displayed on a clickable map. 

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Watershed Indicators

Under development by the Watershed Health Clinic and the Clark Fork Coalition.