For best performance and viewing, please update your browser to Netscape 7.0, or IE 5.0 or greater.

Promoting cooperation to maintain and
enhance environmental quality
Stream Barrier Removal Monitoring Guide

Stream Barrier Removal Monitoring Guide

The Stream Barrier Removal Monitoring Guide presents a standardized framework for monitoring the ecological changes that occur when dams, culverts, and other stream barriers are removed. Developed collaboratively by more than 70 people from government agencies and non-governmental organizations, the framework is based on 8 critical monitoring parameters. The Monitoring Guide presents an overview of the scientific context of stream barrier removal and provides methods for the critical monitoring parameters.

Published in December 2007, the Monitoring Guide was produced by the River Restoration Monitoring Steering Committee of the Gulf of Maine Council on the Marine Environment.


How to cite this document
Collins, M., K. Lucey, B. Lambert, J. Kachmar, J. Turek, E. Hutchins, T. Purinton, and D. Neils. 2007. Stream barrier removal monitoring guide. Gulf of Maine Council on the Marine Environment.



Across the Gulf of Maine watershed, agencies, non-governmental organizations, and private parties are removing dams and replacing culverts to restore stream processes and fish passage. Significant resources are invested in these stream barrier removal projects, but monitoring the outcomes of the projects usually has not been a priority. The lack of standardized monitoring information for stream barrier removal projects in the Gulf of Maine watershed mirrors a lack of river restoration monitoring nationwide and limits both the ability to document project success and learn from past experiences. The Gulf of Maine Council on the Marine Environment (GOMC) River Restoration Monitoring Steering Committee (Steering Committee) is addressing the need for consistent stream barrier removal monitoring. It has developed a framework of monitoring parameters that can be used for stream barrier removal projects throughout the Gulf of Maine watershed. The watershed covers approximately 70,000 square miles encompassing all of the state of Maine and portions of New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Quebec.

In June 2006, the Steering Committee convened a Stream Barrier Removal Monitoring Workshop to gather input on stream barrier removal monitoring from more than 70 natural resource scientists, resource managers, and watershed restoration practitioners. Structured breakout and plenary sessions generated priority lists of monitoring parameters specific to stream barrier removal in the Gulf of Maine watershed. From the prioritized lists, the Steering Committee selected eight parameters that, when analyzed collectively, are expected to provide valuable data that will characterize adequately the physical, chemical, and biological response of a given stream to a barrier removal project. These eight parameters, referred to in this document as critical monitoring parameters, include

  • monumented cross-sections,
  • longitudinal stream profile,
  • stream bed sediment grain size distribution,
  • photo stations,
  • water quality,
  • riparian plant community structure,
  • macroinvertebrates, and
  • fish passage assessment.

This Stream Barrier Removal Monitoring Guide (Monitoring Guide) presents detailed methods for each of the critical monitoring parameters except for macroinvertebrate and fish passage assessment. Because of the considerable variability associated with assessing these biological parameters, only general guidance is given here. The Monitoring Guide also presents important additional monitoring parameters that practitioners may choose to use on a case-by-case basis.

Methods for the critical monitoring parameters
Data sheets
For more information

For more information about the Stream Barrier Removal Monitoring Guide, contact:

Stream barrier removal monitoring workshop (June 20-21, 2006)

Workshop information and materials are available at





© 2016 Gulf of Maine Council on the Marine Environment - - Site developed by Yellahoose - Hosted by Packawhallop