VIRTUAL WATERSHED TOURS
Navigating The Tours | Select a Tour | Set Up Your Own Virtual Watershed Tour
We have provided several types of tours through this virtual watershed tour site. Some of these tours have been developed by PSMFC, in partnership with others. These tours share certain design characteristics; a map, guided tour information, images, and links. In addition to these tours we have listed other watershed tour sites provided by a variety of watershed groups and agencies.
Most tours generally follow the flow of the river mainstem from the headwaters to the river mouth, or the other way around (mouth to the headwaters), but remember, the watershed includes the land and groundwater that surround the running surface water of the river. We ask our tour participants to look out across the landscape and notice how year-round land use affects the quality and quantity of water in our streams and rivers. Aerial tours allow participants to readily see the cumulative impacts across the entire watershed landscape. From the ground participants can witness in detail the results of land management activities.
If we think of ourselves as fish traveling up the watershed, we can see how each section of the watershed is influenced by what is upstream (or up-gradient) of it and in turn impacts the health of areas downstream. That is, every part of the watershed is important and plays a vital role. Each section of the watershed provides certain habitat benefits for fish living and traveling through the system. The vitality of the whole river chain may only be as strong as its weakest link. For example, when a section of river is too warm or polluted, this may form a barrier to fish migration as real and debilitating as an impassable culvert or dam.
As we tour the area we can see examples of challenges to watershed and fish habitat. There are areas where lack of buffer strips, dredging, dams and other impacts are apparent. We can also see examples of "smart" development where clustering has decreased the amount of impervious surfaces such as rooftops, driveways, and roads. We can see examples of industrial, forestry, and agricultural practices that help mitigate human impacts to the river as well as restoration and protection projects designed specifically to rebuild or protect watershed health.
As you move through the watershed observe and consider:
- The sources of water and the way it flows through the watershed
- How various forestry practices may impact different areas of the watershed
- Impacts of flood control measures, damming, and water diversions
- Impacts of dredging, and river channelization, and bank hardening
- How various agricultural practices may be affecting stream water quality and flow
- Restoration and acquisition projects that protect and improve watershed habitat
- The extent of impervious surfaces and impact of urban and rural growth
- Point and non-point sources of water pollution
- Shoreline development, bulk-heading, and critical nearshore habitat
Navigating The Tours
To join a watershed tour, select and click on a watershed from the list below. This will open a new window and bring you to the selected watershed home page where you will be provided with further information to navigate that particular watershed tour. These tours are designed to be accessible to dial-up as well as high speed internet users. At our partner sites you may come back to the PSMFC Virtual Watershed Tour Site by selecting PSMFC Virtual Watershed Tour Home Page at: http://www.psmfc.org/habitat/virtual/
From other sites you may be able to return to PSMFC site by simply closing the browser window.
Select a Tour
Tours in Oregon State
Nehalem Watershed Tour
View Tour (PowerPoint - 13.8MB)
Tours in Washington State
Lower Hood Canal Tour
Powerpoint Presentation (58.5MB)
Powerpoint Presentation (1.5MB)
Hood Canal Tour
Powerpoint Presentation (2.4MB)
Samish Watershed Tour
Powerpoint Presentation (4.4MB)
Nisqually Delta, South Puget Sound, and Skokomish Watershed Tour
Powerpoint Presentation (6.4MB)
Green/Duwamish Watershed Tour This tour offers an aerial and ground perspective of a Northwest salmon bearing watershed that runs through a forest, agricultural, and urban environment out to the ocean. Information and links are provided. This is a partner watershed with PSMFC.
View Online Tour
Nooksack Watershed Tour
The Whatcom Salmon Recovery web site provides information on the basic issues surrounding salmon recovery, the recovery projects in Water Resources Inventory Area No. 1 (WRIA 1), and the policies and public processes designed to recover salmon runs. It offers a terrific virtual tour of the Nooksack watershed from a salmon habitat perspective.
Cedar River Watershed Tour (City of Seattle)
This slide show offers stunning aerial and ground images from the headwaters to the middle reaches of the Cedar River in western Washington State. http://www.seattle.gov/util/About_SPU/Water_System/Water_Sources_&_Treatment/Cedar_River_Watershed/COS_002326.asp
Tolt River Watershed Virtual Tour
This site provides an opportunity to virtually view the Tolt Watershed. Opportunities to visit this watershed are limited and available through advanced reservation only. Nestled in the foothills of the Cascades east of Carnation, WA, it supplies about 30% of the drinking water for 1.3 million people in and around Seattle. Lay out much like the Cedar River Tour; maps, images, and text.
Thornton Creek Watershed Virtual Tour
An online look at a living urban watershed. The Thornton Creek Watershed runs through both Seattle and Shoreline. Explore this Virtual Tour to learn more about the history and ecology of this diverse urban landscape. Provides maps, images and text.
Willapa Bay Watershed (Inforain)
This is a map driven aerial tour of a coastal watershed in southwest Washington. Click on the blue “Map and Images” icon and then the “Map of Willapa Bay” link under the photo image to view images that reflect the characteristics of the Willapa Bay Watershed.
Tours in California
The Pajaro River Watershed Tour
This aerial tour provide a series of excellent aerial view of a watershed in California. http://www.pajarowatershed.com/AerialTour.htm
The Pit River Watershed Virtual tour
The Upper Pit River Watershed is located in northeastern California. This watershed runs from the southern Cascades though a diversity of landscapes from mixed conifer forest at higher elevations to the extensive wetlands of the valleys. A digital terrain map outlines the watershed project area and five distinct geographic sections. Begin your exploration by choosing to view any one of these areas. This will take you to a closer and more detailed terrain map. From there you can choose spots to begin a Virtual Tour while viewing high quality, interactive and immersive 360 degree panorama views
Tours elsewhere in the Country
Ohio Watershed Network
This is a tour of a virtual watershed, rather than a virtual watershed tour. The ground/water tour guides us along the path of a typical imaginary river as it flows from its crest, through creeks, wetlands and out to a larger river or lake. A great introduction to understanding watersheds.
Seven Mile Creek and Little Cottonwood River Virtual Tours
Provides a map and list of virtual tour stops to navigate through these watersheds in south-central Minnesota. Many images, text, and maps help guide you through the watershed.
Set Up Your Own Virtual Watershed Tour
It is our intention to expand the number of virtual aerial and ground watershed tours offered at this site. PSMFC will provide support, to selected watershed groups, to develop virtual tours of their watershed and the accompany materials. We have developed guidelines for our potential watershed tour partners. PSMFC may be able to provide materials and support through our contacts with other watershed groups and agencies to help develop watershed maps, fact sheets, and images. PSMFC has a library of watershed tour images that may be used by our partners. Aerial images may also be obtained with flight support offered through our partnership or directly with LightHawk . Maintenance and updates for each watershed tour will primarily be the responsibility of the specific watershed partner. PSMFC may be able to provide limited assistance and guidance in that regard. To obtain more information and guidelines for joining our virtual watershed tour program you may contact us at the address below.
Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission
F.I.S.H. Habitat Education Program
P.O. Box 221, Depoe Bay, OR 97341