Projects Glossary




Adaptive Management 

An iterative process where management changes based on new results and evidence in order to reduce uncertainty in the system over time. In this way a system can be both managed to the best of current knowledge and managers and researchers can continue to learn about the system 


Anadromous Fish 

Fish that spend their adult lives in saltwater but must migrate to freshwater tributaries to spawn. 


Anthropogenic Drivers

Any human-induced factor that directly or indirectly causes a change in an ecosystem. 


Aquatic Biota 

Organisms living or depending on the aquatic environment. 


Aquatic Invasive Species 

A species that is brought into an aquatic area, usually by human movement, and begins to out compete local species.


Atmospheric Convection

In meteorology, the term is used specifically to describe vertical transport of heat and moisture in the atmosphere, especially by updrafts and downdrafts in an unstable atmosphere. Convection may be shallow (moistens and cools the atmosphere) or deep (dries and warms the atmosphere).  


Atmospheric Deposition 

The transfer of substances from the air to the surface of the Earth, either incorporated into wet form (rain, fog, snow, dew, frost, hail) or in dry form (gases, aerosols, particles).



The science of measuring the depths of the oceans, lakes, seas, and other bodies of water, and the mapping of the topography of the bottom of these bodies of water.



The study of the climate and how it changes over time.


Consumptive Water Use 

That part of water withdrawn that is evaporated, transpired by plants, incorporated into products or crops, consumed by humans or livestock, or otherwise removed from the immediate water environment. 


Dissolved Oxygen 

Oxygen that is freely available in water to sustain the lives of fish and other aquatic organisms. 



The difference between the water level in a well before pumping and the water level in the well during pumping.



Eutrophication occurs when a body of water receives an excessive nutrient load, particularly phosphorus and nitrogen. This often results in an overgrowth of algae. As the algae die and decompose, oxygen is depleted from the water, and this lack of oxygen in the water causes the death of aquatic animals, like fish. 


Evaporative Loss 

The loss in volume due to conversion of a liquid into a vapor.



The loss of water from the soil both by evaporation and by transpiration from the plants growing in the soil. 


Fish Ladder 

A series of ascending pools of running water constructed to allow fish to swim upstream around or over a dam.



Of, relating to, or based on geology.


Geospatial Data 

Data that identify, depict, or describe the geographic locations, boundaries, or characteristics of the Earth’s inhabitants or its natural or human-constructed features. 


Grab Samples 

A single sample of soil or water taken without regard to time or flow.



The hindcast approach entails running atmospheric and ocean response models for a historical period (typically several decades long) in order to see how well the output matches the current results.



A branch of science concerned with the practical applications of fluids, primarily liquids, in motion. 



The study of sound in water. Hydroacoustic monitoring is the act of listening to underwater sounds. 



The branch of science concerned with forces acting on or exerted by fluids (especially liquids). 


Hydrodynamic Model 

Mathematical formulation used in describing fluid flow circulation, transport, and deposition processes in receiving water.



The science that measures and describes the physical features of bodies of water.



Relating to the study of water on the earth, for example, and where it is and how it is used.



The science encompassing the behavior of water as it occurs in the atmosphere, on the surface of the ground, and underground. 



The study of the atmospheric and terrestrial aspects of the hydrologic cycle, focused on the transfers of water and energy between the Earth’s surfaces and the lower atmosphere.  



A body or water or sludge confined by a dam, dike, floodgate, or other barrier. 


Instream Flow Needs 

The amount of flows or releases necessary to maintain the health and integrity of estuarine ecosystems.



A science that deals with the atmosphere and its phenomena, including weather and climate. 


Model Validation 

The process by which model outputs are (systematically) compared to independent real-world observations to judge the quantitative and qualitative correspondence with reality. 


Numerical Model 

A combination of large number of mathematical equations that depends upon computers to find an approximate solution to the underlying physical problem. 


Nutrient Load 

The release, through human activities, of nitrogen, phosphorus, and other nutrients into the environment. 


Passive Integrated Transponders 

Electronic tags that help scientists track individual organisms by providing a reliable lifetime ‘barcode’ for an individual animal. 



The process by which atmospheric moisture falls onto a land or water surface such as as rain, snow, hail, or other forms.  



A scripting language program that can be used for prototype development, coding websites and applications, processing images, scientific data, and more. 


Remote Sensing 

The collection and interpretation of information about an object without physical contact with the object, e.g., satellite imaging, aerial photography, and open path measurements. 



That part of precipitation or snowmelt that appears in streams or surface-water bodies. 


Sensitivity Analysis 

The computation of the effect of change in the input values or assumptions (including boundaries and model functional form) on the outputs.


Side Scan Sonar Imagery 

A category of sonar system that is used to create an image of large areas of the seafloor. Side scan sonar uses the strength of the returning echo, rather than travel time, to map the seafloor and identify objects on the seafloor. 



Acronym for Sound Navigation and Ranging, sonar systems use sound waves to detect underwater objects by listening to the returning echoes. 


Stream Gaging 

The process and art of measuring the depths, areas, velocities, and rates of flow in natural or artificial channels. 



The discharge that occurs in a natural channel.


Stochastic Hydrometeorological Model 

A statistical model that explains most of the variability of meteorological trends with the addition of modeled random variability that accounts for what cannot be predicted. 



Highly automated communications process by which measurements are made and other data collected at remote or inaccessible points and transmitted to receiving equipment for monitoring, display, and recording. 


Trend Analysis 

A formal statistical process used to determine the presence or absence of changes in measurements of water quality, either over time or a geographic area.



The land area that drains into a stream; an area of land that contributes water runoff to one specific delivery point (same as catchment, drainage, or basin).