Instream Flow Quality Assurance Program

Two scientists taking elevation measurements on Mark West creek

There is a continuous need for new and updated scientific information on California streams and rivers. As a result, instream flow studies may be conducted throughout the state by multiple agencies, consultants, or other organizations at any given time. The CDFW Instream Flow Program (IFP) provides publicly available tools to ensure environmental data collection, analysis, and reporting is transparent, promotes accountability, and is scientifically defensible. To support this goal, the IFP developed a Quality Assurance (QA) Program in coordination with the Quality Assurance Research Group at Moss Landing Marine Laboratories for instream flow assessments.

The QA Program develops:

  • standardized data collection procedures
  • equipment checklists
  • technical guidance documents; and
  • templates for study plans and reports.

Group of scientists in waders training at Dry Creek

When properly used, these documents enable high quality instream flow data to be comparable and usable across California. Standard operating procedures and guidance documents follow established and published methods and are peer reviewed by technical experts. Our documents and web content are reviewed to meet Web Content Accessibility Guidelines so they are accessible to readers with a range of visual challenges or cognitive disabilities, providing equal access and opportunity to everyone. These documents are available for use under Instream Flow Program Documents.

In support of sound QA practices, IFP staff periodically review data collection methods, data analysis techniques, and safe field procedures. Regular training ensures staff are well equipped in their knowledge and practice field methods using standardized techniques.

The QA Program is fundamental to the IFP and supports development of instream flow assessments statewide. Studies and reports follow QA standards, are built to be accessible, and undergo extensive review to ensure high quality work that will last.