Water. Cooking, drinking, irrigating the garden. Refill on that coffee? We all depend on water everyday. So do our aquatic ecosystems – and the plant and animal life that inhabit them.

The health of aquatic ecosystems actually depends on many driving forces in addition to water quality. These other factors include physical habitat, riparian function, water quantity, and watershed health. Understanding the status and trends in these all-important forces is essential to the successful restoration of fish populations and habitat (as well as all the other "beneficial uses" of water noted below). Here, we will look at the importance of water in the Umpqua Basin and many of the parameters that affect water quality.