For the purposes of this chapter, we define biological monitoring programs as those that attempt to detect changes in one or more biotic elements through time and among sites, irrespective of whether potential explanatory variables are measured concurrently when elements are quantified.
This chapter describes aquatic elements and sampling protocols that could be used to monitor forested stream ecosystems in Alberta and Saskatchewan and is divided into five major sections. In the first section the need to monitor stream ecosystems is placed within the broader context of resource management and technical terms used throughout the report are defined. The second section identifies the broad suite of potential elements that could be included within a stream monitoring program and the rationale used to refine these potential elements to a subset that have utility within a biological monitoring program. The third section describes protocols that could be use to monitor benthic algal, benthic macroinvertebrate, fish, and amphibian communities. The fourth and fifth sections discuss data management and pilot studies that would test and refine field techniques to quantify relationships between sampling effort and sample variance.