Snow2Flow Tool

The Upper Columbia Salmon Recovery Board (UCSRB), in partnership with the Washington State Department of Ecology’s (DOE) Office of the Columbia River and Ecotrust, has developed a free, online decision support tool that will help forest and stream restoration practitioners support salmon recovery across North Central Washington. The easy-to-use website informs salmon recovery by assessing the effects of forest restoration activity on snowpack retention and subsequent water supply and timing.

UCSRB has a whole-watershed, Ridgetop-to-River approach to salmon recovery. Water availability, especially during the late summer, is one factor that affects salmon populations in the Upper Columbia. One of several approaches to increasing the amount of water available for instream flow in the late summer is by increasing the capture and duration of storage of mountain snowpack. This tool builds on Pacific Northwest National Laboratory’s Distributed Hydrology Soil Vegetation model (DHSVM) to identify both how forest restoration activity affects downstream flows, and where to target upstream restoration activities to benefit specific in-stream locations.

There are three use cases:

  1. Identify good treatment areas by selecting the stream you wish to increase flow to
  2. Identify good treatment areas by region and other landscape considerations, or
  3. Explicitly draw your intended treatment area to see how streamflow will be impacted


Results will appear in two parts:

  1. Forest Management Summary: which is details about the landscape impacted, including fractional coverage, landforms, and Habitat Characteristics, and,
  2. Flow Results: Once you have selected a virtual gaging station (dots on the map along the stream), you will be presented with:
  3. A summary of basin characteristics, hydrologic characteristics, 3 proposed management scenarios, and flow estimation confidence, and,
  4. A wide variety of graphs illustrating the impacts of the 3 proposed management scenarios on flow against the current baseline.