California Streams, Rivers and Lakes
Environmental Characteristics: Buffer | Riparian Cover | Algae | Bugs | Fish | Fines & Sands | Gravels | Cobbles & Boulders | Riffles & Rapids | Pools | Groundwater | Water Quality | Sediment Quality | Stream Gradient | Channel Stability | Channel Characteristics | Hydrologic Connectivity | Hydrologic Sufficiency | Sediment Balance
Move your mouse over the picture to explore the variety of attributes that affect stream health. Click on an attribute to see why it is important and how we measure it. You can also click on one of the stream attributes listed above.
Why are they important?
Healthy streams, rivers, and lakes provide safe drinking water, recreational opportunities, and important habitat for species ranging from the red-shouldered hawk to steelhead to crayfish and dragonflies. Maintaining healthy streams, rivers, and lakes can reduce the need for water treatment and water supply costs and make landscapes more resilient to climate change.
How do we measure health?
To determine the health of a waterway, investigators can use a combination of chemical, biological, and physical assessments. Among the characteristics that may be considered are habitat quality, aquatic life diversity, water chemistry, stream hydrology (water flow processes), the physical channel form, and sediment transport processes of the stream.
||Mercury Risks To Wildlife In California Lakes|
||Portal Fact Sheet|
||Healthy Streams Partnership web page|
||California Watersheds Slideshow - Learn about healthy watersheds on the Water Education Foundation website|