The monitoring working group started collaborating in mid-2015 and was among the first working groups to form. We are specifically tasked in the Rogue Restoration Action Plan (RRAP) to develop and implement a coordinated monitoring strategy in the Rogue Basin.
After forming, the group (including Rogue Valley Council of Governments, Rogue River Watershed Council, Lower Rogue Watershed Council, Rogue Riverkeeper, Klamath Bird Observatory (KBO), and Jackson Soil and Water Conservation District) participated in a River Network webinar series on how to develop a region-wide, collaborative monitoring program. The exercises completed as part of the webinar series led to the development of the initial RBP monitoring plan.
Monitoring plan development started by defining initial monitoring questions and the scope of the plan. Our initial focus has been on water quality with the strong desire to expand to other resources (flow, terrestrial, riparian, and instream habitat, and critters) over time. We have inventoried existing (and past) monitoring programs, mapped existing monitoring sites, identified data gaps in key watersheds, conducted a needs assessment, identified potential funding sources, and completed a monitoring plan in 2016 (which received an update in 2017). The monitoring plan includes anticipated outputs and capital improvement planning templates for monitoring.
Once fully operational, the coordinated, consistently collected, and co-housed monitoring data will allow RBP members (and others) to make informed decisions, prioritize projects, evaluate successes and failures, share results, and look at the collective impact of our efforts in protecting and improving the health of the Basin. We anticipate full adoption of the plan across RBP members in the future and expansion of the plan to another natural resource arena by 2020. The working group meets quarterly and is recruiting new members.