Science of Watershed Health


About the Framework

The Watershed Health Assessment Framework (WHAF) uses five components to view natural systems. Like looking through different colored lenses, each of the five components brings a different perspective.  This framework provides a consistent approach for exploring the complex landscapes that impact watershed health. 

A description of each component is followed by some important concepts to consider about each one. This background information is used to inform the health scores that were created for each component.


Five Components and concepts

Biology logo

Biology »  "The study of life, encompassing the plant and animal species present in the stream, riparian lands and contributing watershed."



Biodiversity »

Habitats »

Connectivity logo

Connectivity » "The maintenance of pathways that move organisms, energy, and matter throughout the watershed."



Four dimensions »

Landscape »

geomorphology logo

Geomorphology » "The study of landscape features; from their origin and evolution to the processes that continue to shape them."



Geology »

Fluvial Geomorphology »

Ecological Diversity »

hydrology logo

Hydrology » "The inter-relationships and interactions between water and its environment in the hydrololgic cycle."



Hydrology concepts »

Measuring hydrology »

water quality logo

Water Quality » "The chemical, biological, and physical characteristics of water; the current condition and future susceptibility of surface water and groundwater to degradation."



Water quality concepts »