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 Topic:  Discontinued gauges - California 2009 

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Site Admin
Posted: Aug 2, 2009Post Subject: Discontinued gauges - California 2009
As you may have heard, some USGS California gauges that are special to the paddling community were scheduled to be discontinued this year. Seems to me the list has grown alarmingly in the past couple of weeks, though. Here's the full list.

The ones of biggest concern to paddlers appear to be the Smith, SF Eel, Mill Creek, Deer Creek, Butte Creek, NF Yuba below Goodyears (these gauges are all for very popular runs or provide estimates for very popular runs, for instance that single Smith gauge gives rise to all the Smith estimates, while the Goodyears Bar gives rise to Sierra City, and both Pauley and Lavezzola Creek estimates).

However, the loss of other gauges will still affect many of us directly or indirectly, for instance the Mad, Redwood Creek, Cottonwood Creek, Battle Creek, the Pit, Spanish Creek, Mattole, Van Duzen. I'll put a link from every affected flow site on the Dreamflows reports that I can find to this post ... there'll be plenty of links.

This Boof thread already has some comments on the original list.

Dave Steindorf (of AW) already knows about this issue and is on it for the Butte Creek gauge (as part of relicensing). For the rest ... well, do you have ideas? Influence? These are desperate times ... if you have creative thoughts, please share!
Site Admin
Posted: Aug 4, 2009
I wrote USGS and received the following response. To simplify matters, the part in square brackets is a paraphrase of what they wrote. Note that other gauges might be eligible for NSIP funding; these three were just ones I asked particularly about. Anyway, here's what they say:

"Thank you for your interest in USGS streamgages. Believe us in our hope that all of these threatened gages will be saved and the important hydrologic information continue to flow to the public.

With the current state budget crises in California, any streamgage supported by a State agency has the potential to be added to the threatened list. The USGS helps fund these gages through our Cooperative Water Program, but by law, we need at least a 50% funding source from a State or local organization. [The Smith at Crescent City, NF Yuba at Goodyears Bar and Deer Creek at Vina] are designated to be a part of our National Streamflow Information Program (NSIP; URL: http://water.usgs.gov/nsip/) These gages would be fully funded by USGS appropriated dollars if the program were fully funded. For Federal Fiscal year 2010 we expect to get about $25 Million for this program. Full funding is about $140 million/year. So one of the things you can do is let your congressional representatives know of your interest and use of this information and urge full funding of NSIP."

Please get involved by contacting your congressional representatives, and encourage others to do likewise. Here's a useful link, courtesy of BRT Insights: http://brt-insights.blogspot.com/2008/04/california-residents-contact-your.html and another page filled with stories and links: http://brt-insights.blogspot.com/2009/08/california-river-flow-gages-at-risk.html

Posted: Aug 7, 2009Post Subject: Gauges will not be discontinued in California
Klamath Riverkeeper has been in touch w/USGS and the CA Dept. of Water Resources about the gauge shut downs in California.

I'm happy to report that the word we got back was that as of August 5th "the Deputy Director of the DWR advised the staff, that ALL gage in the program will continue to be funded !!"

So, closures in California averted for now. Other states, however, are still affected. States share the cost of operating the gauges. California ponied up the money to keep them going but it will be a state-by-state struggle for the rest.

Scott Harding
Forums -> Archive -> Discontinued gauges - California 2009 Page 1 of 1