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Fall 2022 Network Meeting

The fall Community Flow Monitoring Network meeting was held on Thursday, Oct 27, 2022 10:00 am – 12:00 pm via Zoom.

8 representatives from 6 groups attended.

The purpose of the meeting was to check in with each other, discuss projects, share some things that have been working well (or maybe not so well) with flow monitoring so far, and learn some more about data processing through Jon Jeffery’s presentation.

We had “Round the table” project reviews of site mission statements and monitoring goals. Each group has monitoring goals specific to their own watershed. As a group, we reviewed a summary of each group’s specific interests to see where there is overlap and potential for learning/collaboration.

We also reviewed some common data issues seen during processing:

Staff gauges: Readings have improved significantly since 2021. Still some improvements to be made by some groups. E.g., remember to note time of reading, take a clear, close-up photo, record the number to three decimal places

Bucket method: Overall quite good, everyone has caught on quickly! Ensure cylinder is completely level when taking reading. If tilted, it may read a different value front or back of the cylinder. All the summary values are needed written down on paper, so we can track any discrepancies or notation errors. This method is only suitable for low-flow conditions.

Number of site visits: Improving a lot, now that it’s clearer to all groups when/why to visit the site at different times (hint: it’s all about points on the curve). Keep track of the stage-discharge values collected for the year. Handy to keep a note of max/min ever recorded at station’s staff gauge. It’s nice if someone lives nearby and can do a quick stop-in for a Stage validation (note the gauge height and the time). Ideally, to be done every couple of weeks through the winter (if staff gauge isn’t submerged) – especially sites like in Qualicum Beach where there is aggradation happening.

FlowTrackers: Still the most challenging for all groups across the board. Several small issues that have been noticed repeatedly between different groups. Practice makes perfect, so don’t stress – we’ll keep practicing and improving with time.

  • Tape location: We reviewed how to read a meter tape correctly. If you’re unsure, feel free to ask for a refresher! It’s very important to enter the correct number from the tape, and double check before you type it in. For example, 0.246 m was entered as 2.46 m in the Location screen in one example. Watch out for this!
  • Depth: Reminder that you read the rod (water depth) in cm, but when you type into the FlowTracker instrument, you use units of m. Remember to convert correctly (e.g., 50 cm = 0.50 m). If the operator is reading off the rod, it may tilt out of level alignment. Best practice is to have the FlowTracker operator hold the rod level (watching the bubble level on the rod), while their helper would crouch down to read the water level and report out.
  • Station spacing >10 cm: It’s OK to shuffle transect spacing around, and you can space more closely where flow is higher. However, all stations should keep the spacing a minimum of 10 cm apart to avoid re-measuring the same panel.
  • Low SNR & Kicking up sediment: we reviewed what to do (/not do) – i.e., do not stand in front of FlowTracker while measurement is being taken (move off to the side)
  • Velocity angles: Aim to keep angles +/- <5 degrees if possible. Site selection plays a big part – if the site has eddies or boulders, it will influence the angles the instrument picks up. Aim for a site with as much uniform, straight (laminar) flow as possible. Sometimes it’s unavoidable. If you double check that your probe is aligned correctly, then it’s just a condition of your site.

Site photos: Take a lot! They are super important.

  • Staff gauge (close-up of water line)
  • Station, from sides & above. Upstream view, Downstream view
  • Location of Transect tape
  • Control point (riffle downstream), from sides & above.
  • Note condition in your written field notes: Clear? Obstructed? Cleaned

Jon Jeffery (BC ENV) gave a presentation about Data Processing & Data Management. Please review an edited recording at:

2022 Winter monitoring plan

Ideally 2-3 winter moderate/high flows should be collected.

Conduct regular site visits to confirm Staff Gauge readings and Control Conditions through the winter (even if you can’t collect a flow data point).

If someone lives nearby to your gauge, consider having them check the staff gauge reading every few weeks through the winter while out on a walk.

Next Group Meeting:

Spring 2023 – keep an eye out for a meeting invitation after the holiday break. Topic – an educational slideshow presentation about flow-related habitat restoration initiatives.