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written by Grant Hamilton
Multiple Indicator Monitoring (MIM) of Stream Channels And Streamside Vegetation is a protocol for monitoring annual grazing use and long-term trend indicators allowing for evaluation of livestock grazing management. Because it includes procedures for documenting stream condition and trend, the long-term indicators are also useful for monitoring changes that occur as a result of management activities other than grazing.
This method was developed by an interagency team composed of Bureau of Land Management, US Forest Service, and University of Idaho specialists and faculty to offer an objective means of determining the health of a riparian system when making adaptive management decisions on federal lands subject to grazing. Beginning in 2003, this team began a process of developing a reliable and valid method of collecting data. The objectives of this project were to:
1) address multiple short- and long-term indicators, 2) measure the most important indicators relevant to detecting change, 3) use existing procedures to the extent possible, 4) improve efficiency through the use of electronic data collection, 5) yield statistically acceptable results within realistic time constraints, and 6) provide useful data to inform management decisions (Burton, Smith, and Cowley, 2011, p. iii).
The first edition of the MIM protocol manual was released in 2008. A revised protocol which replaced some of the earlier indicators was released in 2011.
MIM seeks to provide a more complete picture of a riparian system's condition than could be offered by measuring a single indicator. Collecting quantitative data on up to ten indicators simultaneously has the added benefit making the fieldwork process more efficient.
MIM includes 7 indicators for trend monitoring. Data should be collected in 2 to 5 year intervals (Burton, Smith, and Cowley, 2011, p. 12).
For areas subject to grazing, the following indicators, which should be measured annually are included:
The BLM has created MIM data entry and analysis Excel spreadsheet. MS Access databases for analyzing MIM data are in use at the field office level. The BLM plans to make MIM data available agency-wide through a geodatabase (Burton, Smith, and Cowely, 2011, pp. 69 - 74). To download MIM spreadsheets and databases visit the BLM's Technical References Library and navigate to the Riparian Area Management section.
For more information about the MIM database contact the BLM’s National Riparian Service Team: http://www.blm.gov/or/programs/nrst/directory.php.
Burton, T.A., S.J. Smith, and E.R. Cowley. 2011. Riparian area management: Multiple indicator monitoring (MIM) of stream channels and streamside vegetation. Technical Reference 1737-23. BLM/OC/ST-10/003+1737+REV. U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management, National Operations Center, Denver, CO. www.blm.gov/nstc/library/pdf/MIM.pdf
Winward, Alma H. 2000. Monitoring the vegetation resources in riparian areas. Gen. Tech. Rep. RMRSGTR-47. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station.
Bureau of Land Management National Riparian Service Team website - http://www.blm.gov/or/programs/nrst/index.php
Bunte, K. and S.R. Abt. 2001. Sampling surface and sub-surface particle size distributions in wadeable gravel- and cobble-bed streams for analysis in sediment transport, hydraulics, and streambed monitoring. General Technical Report RMRS-GTR-74. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Experiment Station. http://stream.fs.fed.us/publications/PDFs/rmrs_gtr74.pdf
Burton, T.A., S.J. Smith, and E.R. Cowley. 2008. Monitoring streambanks and riparian vegetation – multiple indicators. Version 5.0. U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management. Idaho State Office. Boise, ID. http://oregonstate.edu/dept/range/sites/default/files/RNG455-555PDFLinks/Burton_Monitoring_Channels_and_Ripzones/Burton_2008.pdf
Kershner, J.L., E.K. Archer, M. Coles-Ritchie, E.R. Cowley, R.C. Henderson, K. Kratz, C.M. Quimby, D.L. Turner, L.C. Ulmer, and M.R. Vinson. 2004. Guide to effective monitoring of aquatic and riparian resources. General Technical Report RMRS-GTR-121. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fort Collins, CO. http://oregonstate.edu/dept/range/sites/default/files/RNG455-555PDFLinks/Kershner_channel_riparian_monitoring.pdf
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