US Long-Term Ecological Research Network

Gear needed:

  • Calipers
  • Waders
  • Meter Stick
  • 50m tape measure
  • Clipboards
  • Data Sheets
  • Pencils
  • GPS
  • Spare batteries
  • 2 transect markers
  • Camera

Sampling Process: Begin by navigating to the start of each transect using the GPS; the transects run to the right of the point marked in the GPS. Upon arrival at the start, place a transect marker at one half meter depth. Then measure the distance from the marker to the high water mark on shore using the tape measure. To measure out the transect, have one person standing at the marker and another walking at the half meter depth contour with the tape measure. Once you reach 50 meters drop the other transect marker. The person walking the transect should be looking for any potential coarse woody habitat (CWH) on the way. If they determine that there is none, the person at the start of the transect can take the boat and meet the other person at the end of the transect. On the way, a picture should be taken of the transect by motoring out far enough so that the picture captures the starting and ending buoys and the land us behind it. If you have a crew of three people, the picture can be taken by the third person when the transect is marked out. So they should motor out and wait for the two markers to be placed, then take the picture and come back to help. If it is determined that there is any coarse woody habitat in the transect, the person who measured out the transect should walk back to the start. From there, the crew should walk the transect at half meter depth and look for any CWH in the transect. Upon finding a piece of CWH, you should use the meter stick to locate exactly where the half meter mark is on the log; the diameter measurement should be done at this location. Every log must be at least one and a half meters long and at least 5cm in diameter in order to be counted. Each log must also be located above the substrate so that it is able to provide habitat, if it is submerged under the substrate it is not counted. If the log is between five and ten centimeters in diameter, it should just be marked down in the tally section of the data sheet. For all logs greater than 10cm, you need to write down the specific diameter, length class, branchiness class, decay class, orientation to shore, whether it is attached to a previous log, species (if you can identify it), and source (anthropogenic, beavers, or natural).Angle Reference Drawing

Length Class:

  • 1.5-3 meters- A
  • 3-6 meters- B
  • >6 meters- C

Branchiness Class:

  • 0- no branches
  • 1- few branches
  • 2- moderate number of branches
  • 3- full crown

Decay Class:

  • 1- recently downed
  • 2- algal growth but bark still sound
  • 3- bark sloughing off but wood still sound
  • 4- wood soft
  • 5- wood very soft and no longer structurally sound


  • 0-30 degrees- Parallel
  • 30-60 degrees- oblique
  • 60-90 degrees perpendicular

Once all logs have been accounted for and the data recorded, the distance from the high water mark to the transect marker at the end of the transect should be measured. Substrate checks should be done at at least 3 points along the transects as well. You should characterize what types of substrate are present along the transect along with a maximum of two that can be characterized as dominant. You should also mark down the number of docks and the number of boats on shore. Any docks that cross the transect that are extra wide or have T sections at the transect depth are counted as 2. Also count any docks on shore that looked like they are going to be put in the water at some point. The final step is to determine the land use of the shoreline. This is done by recording the percents of each type that is present from the high water mark to about 20 feet back. Shoreline land uses: Forested- Dense trees and understory vegetation Shrubs- Smaller woody plants Wetlands- Bog, swamp, or marshland; low areas with water present. Herbaceous- Large grasses or un-manicured meadows. Manicured Lawn- Human maintained grass areas like lawns or gardens. Beach- Larger expanses of sand Engineered Shoreline- Anthropogenic influenced shoreline; including rock barriers or rip rap. Forest no understory- Trees with no understory, anthropogenic influenced area under trees.

Protocol Format
Protocol Type