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Physical monitoring, or habitat surveys, is an important component of watershed health. While biological monitoring will give you an overall picture of water quality, and chemical monitoring can address specific water quality characteristics, physical monitoring is a grading system of the habitat itself. Perfectly clean water still may not support life if the habitat around it is degraded. The reverse is also true. To get the best idea of water quality at a site, all three types of testing would be used in conjunction with each other.
A habitat survey addresses physical stream characteristics such as riparian zones, channel structure, and flow. A survey should be done every three months in conjunction with either chemical or biological monitoring.
Habitat Survey Form