A New Evaluation of the USGS Streamgaging Network--A Report to Congress


A few decades ago the information needs for streamgaging focused on withdrawal uses, navigation, hydropower production, flood risk estimation and mitigation projects, and flood forecasting. Those needs continue today, but they have expanded to include water quality, aquatic and riparian habitat, and recreation.

We have increasing demands for information and yet the infrastructure to supply the information is declining. For most Federal goals, the level of attainment of metrics typically rose steadily through the 1960's or 1970's, and then leveled off or declined since then. Some goals are now less well supported than in the 1960's. These declines are disturbing in terms of the ability to use long-term and current information to mitigate flood damages, and in terms of the potential for understanding long-term changes taking place in the environment.

Real resources available to operate the streamgaging network have remained static. The USGS relative share of this funding has been declining significantly and modernization needs remain unfulfilled. The smaller the share of the total funds that USGS can bring to negotiations, the poorer will be the bargaining position of the USGS to achieve Federal goals for the streamgaging network. The needs for information continue to grow but current funding levels and arrangements will not provide the means for the USGS to enhance or even maintain current levels of attainment of Federal mission goals.

Introduction Purpose Evaluation Funding
Modernization Future Conclusions References

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U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey
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Last updated:Wednesday, 05-Mar-2014 10:15:27 EST