Upland Condition Index

Healthy rivers are supported by healthy land. The Upland Condition Index uses indicators from the U.S.D.A. Forest Service’s Watershed Condition Framework to assess the extent to which upland areas are functioning as would be expected in the absence of human activities.

How is it measured?

The U.S.D.A. Forest Service Watershed Condition Framework (WCF) is a 12-Indicator model covering the physical and biological characteristics of aquatic and terrestrial habitats. The framework has been applied to 12 digit hydrologic unit code watersheds within USFS lands at a national extent. Each indicator is ranked good, fair, or poor for each watershed. Of the 12 indicators 5 address Aquatic conditions (Water Quality, Water Quantity, Aquatic Habitat, Aquatic Biota, and Riparian/Wetland Vegetation). The remaining 7 indicators address terrestrial physical conditions (Roads and trails, and Soils) and terrestrial biological conditions (Fire regime or Wildfire, Forest Cover, Rangeland Vegetation, Terrestrial Invasive Species, Forest Health). 

Because the Report Card contains aquatic and riparian habitat indicators developed by local stakeholders, it only uses the Terrestrial Physical and Biological indicators from the WCF. The Good, Fair, and Poor ranking provided for each indicator was first translated into a grade where "good" was given a score of 100, "fair" a score of 50, and "poor" is given a score of 0. These seven indicators were then aggregated up to a watershed score for each 12 digit watershed through the calculation of a weighted average using weights provided by the WCF technical documentation. Finally, we aggregated 12 digit watershed scores up to each reporting region by calculating an average weighted by the area of each 12 digit watershed.