Moscow Forestry Sciences Laboratory

USDA Forest Service Rocky Mountain Research Station
Moscow Forestry Sciences Laboratory

Experimental Forests
Priest River Experimental Forest - Aquatic

Canyon Creek.

Canyon Creek.

Two surveys of Canyon Creek have been conducted to characterize its physical, chemical, and biotic components. The first survey examined a section of the creek as it leaves the Canyon Creek Research Natural Area. Analysis (Rabe and Crazier 1993) of the upper reach of Canyon Creek provided physical and chemical descriptions and a survey of the macroinvertebrate community at the family level. At this study site, Canyon Creek is a first order perennial stream with an average gradient of 20%. The V-shaped gorge is bordered by an old growth forest consisting of western red cedar (Thuja plicata) and western hemlock (Tsuga heterophylla). The turbulent fast water habitats are predominantly cascades or small waterfalls over rock or woody debris. The chemical analysis revealed the nitrate/nitrite levels to be 0.2 mg/l and ortho phosphorus levels to be below detectable limits. Test results for ortho phosphorus, potassium, sodium, aluminum, iron, and zinc were below the detectable limits of the analysis. He also measured water temperature, pH, conductivity, turbidity, total dissolved solids, and fecal coliform.

The second survey was conducted about 2.5 miles downstream (Rabe and Catts 1995). A low biotic index was calculated from these data, indicating the macro invertebrate community is quite intolerant of poor water quality conditions.

In his summary, Rabe notes that lower Canyon Creek would be a good choice as a reference site for comparison with impacted streams of similar size and flow.

Macroinvertebrate taxa found in the RNA (Rabe 1995).

Benton Creek.

Benton Creek.


  • Paraleptophlebia sp.
  • Drunella spinifera
  • Cinygmula sp.
  • Baetis bicuspidatus
  • Baetis tricuspidatus
  • Seratella tibialis
  • Caudatella sp.
  • Ephemerella sp.
  • Ironedes sp.


  • Amphinemura sp.>
  • Zapada columbiana
  • Sweltza sp.
  • Isoperla sobria
  • Setvena sp.
  • Yoraperla brevis
  • Doronuria theodora
  • Despaxis sp.


  • Micrasema sp.
  • Cryptochia sp.
  • Rhycophyla A
  • Rhycophyla B
  • Rhycophyla C
  • Ecclisomyia sp.
  • Onoscosmoecus sp.
  • Neothrema sp.
  • Glossosoma sp.
  • Phychoglypha sp.


  • Lara avara
  • Narpus sp.
  • Optioservus sp.
  • Hydrobius sp.
  • Heterolimnius sp.


  • Tanypodinae
  • Chironominae
  • Tipulidae
  • Dicronota sp.
  • Bezzie sp.
  • Orthocladinae


  • Polycelius sp.


Rabe, F.W.; Cazier, L.D. 1993. Survey of three steep gradient reference streams in northern Idaho. Moscow, ID: University of Idaho. Unpublished Report. 37 p.

Rabe, F.W.; Catts, D. 1995. Survey of lower Canyon Creek located in the Priest River Experimental Forest, Idaho. Moscow, ID: University of Idaho. Unpublished Report 14 p.

Rabe, F.W. 1995. Macroinvertebrate Taxa Found in the RNA. Appendix C in Ferguson, D.E.; Zack, A.E. 2006. Establishment Record for the Wellner Cliffs Research Natural Area. Gen. Tech. Rep. RMRS-GTR-170WWW. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. 33. [1-page 153KB PDF]