Methow Restoration Council

Living With the Methow River

Monthly Activities and Learning Opportunities

February 2017

The shiny glint of sunlight reflecting off of water is called specular reflectance. It looks white because all colors are reflected equally.

From the Calendar: "The shiny glint of sunlight reflecting off of water is called specular reflectance. It looks white because all colors are reflected equally."

Specular reflection is a term for a surface reflecting light (or other waves) like a mirror. The specular reflection of water can be beautiful, but it can also be aggravating to an observer who wants to see what's below the surface. Some anglers use polarized lenses to help them see past the reflection and glare of the water's surface. When planning a fish restoration project, however, a tool more powerful than a pair of sunglasses is required.

If you squat down with your eyes nearly level with a glass-topped table, the surface of the table reflects like a mirror. Stand up and you can see the through the table to the floor below. Aerial surveys can look through clear water to show us the shape of a river's bed. Records from previous years allow us to track a site's evolution. When did the river first cut its current channel? Where was it before? How fast did it move? How did it respond to flooding? What impact has human activity had on the site?

Aerial photography is not limited to visible light. FLIR (forward-looking infrared) cameras record infrared light. An aerial view in infrared shows us the temperature of the water throughout a section of river. This information is important because salmon and other species that live in the river are sensitive to water temperature. A color-coded temperature map gives us a whole new layer of information that helps us to assess the condition of a habitat and identify ways to make it better.

Check out this FLIR mapping of an Alaskan river for more information about how thermal mapping is useful for fish restoration!


New MRC calendars are out! The 2018 calendar features more great block print art by local kids with help from the Methow Arts Alliance and layout by Tara Gregg. Pick up your 2018 calendar at the Riverbank in Twisp, the Twisp Community Center, the Twisp Library, or the Winthrop Library, or click here to view the calendar as a PDF.


(Looking for last month? Click here.)

2017 Calendar


This year’s MRC calendar connects to ADVENTURES, ACTIVITIES AND INFORMATION tailored to each month. If you haven't gotten your calendar yet, you can download an electronic version here.

Come back each month and find interactive activities, print outs, and suggested learning opportunities in our community.