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The current system for rating river quality by the Department of Environmental Quality is the Oregon Water Quality Index (OWQI), which condenses key issues down to a number for simple review and analysis. This breakdown provides an easily identifiable and comparable rating for any observed river. However, in oversimplifying the health of streams, this index score falls short in the task of capturing hydrologic systems as dynamic systems in terms of river health. With GIS, all of the components that go into the OWQI can be displayed, both validating the index scores each river is given and providing a map that allows users to actively track the state of each river on an annual temporal scale.
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Orr, Aaron, "Changes in the Willamette Valley: The Creation of a Preliminary GIS of Oregon's River Water Quality" (2018). Honors Senior Theses/Projects. 152.
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