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Date Permissions Signed


Date of Award

Fall 2018

Document Type

Masters Thesis

Department or Program Affiliation


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

Hooper, David U., 1961-

Second Advisor

Peterson, Merrill A., 1965-

Third Advisor

Rybczyk, John M.


Effective stream management requires identification of anthropogenic degradation effects on stream functioning. However, few stream assessment protocols aim to evaluate stream functions (i.e., ecosystem processes), integrate multiple disciplines, and combine stream reach assessment with landscape-level context. To address these shortcomings, several agencies in Oregon collaborated to develop the Stream Function Assessment Methodology (SFAM). However, SFAM has yet to be tested against established protocols and some SFAM metrics have no equivalent data sources outside of Oregon. I conducted SFAM (2015 draft version) on 36 stream reaches in Water Resource Inventory Area 8 in Washington State. I compared SFAM scores to commensurate data from King County and the State of Washington Department of Ecology, and I evaluated the potential effects of unavailable data inputs through simplified sensitivity analyses. Overall, SFAM rarely correlated with measures of anthropogenic degradation or stream condition. The high proportion of SFAM function metrics measuring physical structures in the riparian area appeared to reduce the correlation with established measures of degradation. SFAM value scores generally reflected physical degradation of the watershed but not necessarily functioning of stream processes. The sensitivity analyses revealed small, predictable changes in SFAM outputs; however, the changes were not consistent across metrics. Many of the potential concerns identified through these analyses appear to also be relevant to the 2018 released version of SFAM. While a rapid stream function assessment like SFAM could help quantify mitigation efforts, SFAM needs more validation through empirical, quantitative evidence before being used for stream management.




Stream function, ecology, stream assessment, watersheds, mitigation


Western Washington University

OCLC Number


Subject – LCSH

Stream health--Washington (State)--Puget Sound--Evaluation; Rivers--Environmental aspects--Washington (State)--Puget Sound; Rivers--Washington (State)--Puget Sound--Management

Geographic Coverage

Washington (State; Puget Sound




masters theses




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