Link to USGS Home Page

Tributary Width Surveys --
Willamette River Water Temperature Investigation

Home | Overview | Willamette bathymetric survey | Dye studies | Width survey | N. Santiam temperature model


Most of the heat exchange between a river and its environment occurs across the air/water interface. The total heat exchange, therefore, is a function of the surface area of the river. The river's surface width, then, is a critically important parameter in determining the river's temperature. Measurements of the surface width of the Willamette River's largest tributaries were included in this project in order to provide an important check on the water-temperature models being constructed as the foundation for the Willamette temperature Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs).


Width surveys were carried out on the Clackamas, Santiam, North Santiam, South Santiam, McKenzie, Blue, South Fork McKenzie, Middle Fork Willamette, Coast Fork Willamette, and Row Rivers as well as on Fall Creek. Surveys were restricted to the reaches from the river mouth upstream to the first major dam. For example, the survey on the North Santiam ended at Big Cliff Dam, just below Detroit Dam.

Surface width measurements were collected roughly every mile along each river, depending on access considerations. A total of 129 sites [map] were visited. Each site was visited three times -- in April, June, and August of 2002 -- so that a range of flow conditions would be encountered.

Each site's location was recorded using Global Positioning System (GPS) technology so that subsequent visits would return to exactly the same location. During each site visit, the river's surface width was measured with a laser rangefinder, accurate to half a meter. A digital camera was used to record photographs looking across, upstream, and downstream of each site during each visit to capture the general characteristics of the river at that location and streamflow. General notes were taken with regard to those characteristics (riffle, pool, glide, bed characteristics).

Data Organization

Data from the width surveys were organized into a spreadsheet (Excel) format, with hyperlinks to site maps and site photographs. The spreadsheet is relatively small and quick to download or view on-line, but the site maps and photographs are more difficult to download. With 129 sites, and at least three photographs on each of three trips to each site (1,203 total photos), downloading the photographs all at once would be prohibitively slow for someone on a dial-up Internet connection.

You have the option of viewing the data on-line rather than downloading an entire package. Also, the package of site maps and photographs has been broken into smaller pieces so that the photos from one river may be downloaded independently from another. So, if you are interested only in the McKenzie River, for example, you need not download the photos from the Clackamas River.


o View the spreadsheet on-line
This option allows you to browse the data and view only the maps or photos that interest you. This is an online spreadsheet. Click on the "General" or "Data" tabs at the bottom of the page to toggle to and from the data.
o Download the information for off-line viewing:
The basic spreadsheet [ZIP, 86 Kb] -- no maps or photos
All site maps [ZIP, 24 Mb]
Blue River photos [ZIP, 1.4 Mb]
Clackamas River photos [ZIP, 8.7 Mb]
Coast Fork Willamette River photos [ZIP, 9.9 Mb]
Fall Creek photos [ZIP, 3.2 Mb]
McKenzie River photos [ZIP, 23 Mb]
Middle Fork Willamette River photos [ZIP, 3.4 Mb]
North Santiam River photos [ZIP, 18 Mb]
Row River photos [ZIP, 2.9 Mb]
Santiam River photos [ZIP, 1.6 Mb]
South Fork McKenzie River photos [ZIP, 1.7 Mb]
South Santiam River photos [ZIP, 6.8 Mb]
o Download the site locations:
ArcView project files [ZIP, 230 Kb]

If you choose to download the various packages, they should be unzipped in the same directory as the spreadsheet to ensure that the hyperlinks in the spreadsheet work correctly. The site maps will end up in a subdirectory named "site_map", and the photos will end up in a subdirectory named "photo". For example, if you put the spreadsheet in a folder or directory named "usgs_width_survey", then the site maps for the McKenzie River should end up in a subdirectory named "usgs_width_survey/site_map/mckenzie".

Home | Overview | Willamette bathymetric survey | Dye studies | Width survey | N. Santiam temperature model

Questions? Comments? For more information about this project, contact:

Stewart Rounds
U.S. Geological Survey
2130 SW 5th Avenue
Portland, OR 97201

Oregon Water Science Center Home page
Oregon Water Science Center Hydrologic Studies page

U.S. Department of the Interior | U.S. Geological Survey
Maintainer: Oregon Webteam
Last modified Wednesday - Dec 21, 2016 at 19:03:04 EST
Accessibility FOIA Privacy Policies and Notices logo