Riparian Monitoring

National Riparian Service Team

Multiple Indicator Monitoring (MIM) of Stream Channels And Streamside Vegetation

Multiple Indicator Monitoring (MIM) of Stream Channels and Streamside Vegetation was developed to provide information necessary for managers, landowners, and others to adaptively manage riparian resources. The MIM protocol was developed to provide a consistent approach for collecting information necessary for managers, landowners, and others to adaptively manage riparian resources. Designed to be objective, efficient, and effective for monitoring streambanks, stream channels, and streamside riparian vegetation, the indicators and procedures in this protocol were selected and developed primarily to monitor impacts of livestock and other large herbivores on wadable streams (usually less than 10 m wide). The MIM protocol integrates annual grazing use and long-term trend indicators allowing for evaluation of livestock grazing management; however, because it includes procedures for documenting stream condition and trend, the long-term indicators described are also useful for monitoring changes that occur as a result of management activities other than grazing.

The MIM protocol was developed and tested on relatively low-gradient (less than 4 percent) perennial snowmelt-dominated and spring-fed streams in the Western United States, and is most applicable to those systems. Streamside riparian and wetland vegetation is a critical component within those systems for the functional processes that influence streambank stability and channel geometry. Using adaptations of existing procedures, the MIM protocol combines observations of up to 10 indicators, along the same stream reach, facilitating the development of relationships between grazing effects and stream conditions. In addition, the collection of more than one indicator, at one location, with one protocol, is cost effective and efficient. To facilitate data recording and analysis, two Microsoft Excel applications were developed as part of the MIM protocol. The Data Entry Module is for entering data into handheld computers using Windows Mobile in the field. The Data Analysis Module provides calculations of various metrics and permits analysis of the data. The electronic data entry and analysis formats are included within the MIM TR.

Development of the MIM TR was a joint effort of the BLM's National Operations Center, the BLM Idaho State Office, BLM Washington Office Division of Rangeland Resources, and the interagency National Riparian Service Team. During six years of application and evaluation of the MIM protocol, a number of improvements were made to minimize subjectivity while maintaining a reasonable level of precision and accuracy. Additional improvements resulted from an extensive review process with comments received from riparian-wetland specialists in the BLM, Forest Service, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Environmental Protection Agency, several universities and private consultants. To facilitate appropriate and successful application of this protocol, training is strongly recommended.

For more information or to request a course, email nrst@or.blm.gov.

Supporting document links or PDFs:

Monitoring the Vegetation Resources in Riparian Areas Winward