Open-File Report 2006–1311
U.S. GEOLOGICAL SURVEY
Open-File Report 2006–1311
Back to Table of Contents
In July 1913, the first continuous-record stream-gaging station was established in the Warm Springs area by the Muddy Valley Irrigation District (MVID). The gage was constructed near its current location just upstream from the culvert at Warm Springs Road (site number 1, fig. 2). Gage-height record and discharge measurements were collected by the MVID from July 1913 to September 1915 and from April 1916 to September 1918. These records were furnished to the USGS; the monthly mean discharges were subsequently published in USGS Water Supply Paper 1049 (1947). The gage was reactivated in June 1928 by the University of Nevada Agricultural Experiment Station. Daily mean gage height and monthly runoff were furnished to the USGS from June 1928 to October 1931 and from April 1932 to July 1932. Monthly mean discharges for these periods also were published in Water Supply Paper 1049 (U.S. Geological Survey, 1947). The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation) reactivated the gage in October 1944 and constructed the 10-ft concrete Cipolletti weir (Appendix B, fig. B2). Reclamation collected continuous streamflow data until October 1948 when operation of the gage was turned over to the USGS. Daily mean discharges from 1944 to 1948 were computed by Reclamation and reviewed by the USGS. Daily mean discharges from 1944 to 1952 were subsequently published in Water Supply Paper 1243 (U.S. Geological Survey, 1954). Since 1952, the USGS has continued to operate and maintain the gage. Daily mean discharges for water years 1953 to 1960 were published annually in Water Supply Papers 1283 (1953), 1393 (1955), 1443 (1956), 1513 (1957), 1563 (1958), 1633 (1959), and 1713 (1960). For water years 1961 to 2004, the data were published in the USGS, Nevada District annual data report series (U.S. Geological Survey, Nevada District annual data reports, 1962–2004). A water year is the 12 month period from October 1 to September 30.
To analyze the gaging-station record as a means of characterizing spring discharges, a series of discharge measurements and estimates were made by the USGS at 40 sites in the Warm Springs area during September 10–12, 1963 (Eakin, 1964). As only a sketch map of these sites was available, a field reconnaissance was made during June 2004 to verify the location of each site and to obtain accurate coordinates. The coordinates, sketch map, and discharge and specific conductance data for these sites are included in Appendix D.
By the mid-1960s, the NPC withdrew ground water from wells in the northwest corner of the Warm Springs area as water supply for the Reid Gardner Generating Station about 3 mi downstream (fig. 1). In February 1966, NPC filed application with the Nevada State Engineer to pump additional water from these wells. In an agreement with the Muddy Valley Irrigation Company, NPC agreed to fund several “non-recording type weirs” on the major springs in the Warm Springs area. As part of the agreement, these hydraulic structures were to be under the jurisdiction of the State Engineer who would then measure the water levels on a periodic basis (Testolin and others, 1993). During August and September 1967, nine steel Parshall flumes were installed by the Desert Research Institute (DRI) under the direct supervision of the Nevada Division of Water Resources (NDWR). The nine flumes were installed at the following springs: Pipeline Jones, Flowing Well (Willow), Baldwin House Spring #1 (South), Baldwin House #2 (North), Baldwin Cuts, Baldwin Channel, Muddy (Big), Iverson, and Pederson. The locations, throat dimensions, and water-level data for eight of the nine flumes are included in Appendix B; water-level data were not available for the Flowing Well (Willow). Because flow rates were not included with the data provided by NDWR, discharges were computed for each water-level measurement using standard rating equations, from Leupold and Stevens (1987) for the reported size of each Parshall flume. Graphs and tables of the discharges for the period of record for each site are included in Appendix B. All the original nine flumes installed in 1967 have either been replaced or removed. The locations of the two Baldwin House Spring flumes near Cardy Lamb Springs and the Flowing Well (Willow) Flume could not be verified during this study; therefore, their exact locations are unknown.
Although not mentioned in Testolin and others (1993), NDWR reported an additional Parshall flume, Big Wash Flume, that was installed in October 1967 on the North Fork Muddy River about 500 ft upstream of the confluence with South Fork Muddy River (fig. 2). Water-level readings from 1967 to 1984 for this site were provided by NDWR and are included in Appendix B,table B2. The flume washed out sometime after 1984 and currently is upside down on the south bank of the river (Appendix B, fig. B6). The flume dimensions, as reported by NDWR, were verified in the field, and discharges were computed for the periodic gage-height readings using the standard rating for a 3-ft Parshall flume (Leupold and Stevens, 1987). A graph and table of the computed discharges for Big Wash Flume are included in Appendix B (fig. B7, table B2).
Beginning October 1, 1977, records of flow for the Muddy River Power Diversion, about 100 ft upstream of the USGS stream-gaging station at Warm Springs Road, Moapa (Appendix B, fig. B1) were provided by NPC to the USGS. Monthly mean discharges were published in the USGS Nevada District annual data reports for water years 1977 through 1985. Daily mean discharges were retrieved from the USGS National Water Information System (NWIS) database and are included in Appendix B (fig. B8, table B3). Annual mean daily discharge from the diversion for the period of record was 3.45 ft3/s.
In 1978, a new flume, reported by NDWR as the Garden Ditch Flume, was installed on the north spring tributary just inside the entrance gate to Apcar (Pipeline Jones) Springs (Appendix B, fig. B1). It is uncertain who installed the flume; however, field reconnaissance of the area in September 2004 indicated that the flume had been removed. The dimensions of the flume were obtained from a DRI report prepared for NPC as part of an evaluation of all flumes in the Warm Springs area (Wert and Pohlmann, 1992). Periodic water-level readings at this site through June 1992 also were provided by NDWR. Water-levels, along with a graph and table of the computed discharges, are included in Appendix B (fig. B49, table B36).
In 1982, the USGS, in cooperation with local, State, and Federal agencies, began making periodic discharge measurements in the Warm Springs area as part of a long-term effort to characterize regional spring flow. By 1985, discharge measurements were being made at Warm Springs West (site 3, fig. 2), Muddy Springs at L.D.S. Farm (site 2, fig. 2), at Warm Springs East (site 9, fig. 2), and at Big Wash flume (fig. B5). The number of USGS periodic measurement sites continued to expand during the 1980s and 1990s and currently includes 11 partial-record stations (table 1). Graphs and tables of all discharge measurements made through September 2004 for all the sites are included in Appendix B.
In August 1985, the USGS, in cooperation with LVVWD and NDWR, installed continuous-stage recorders at the flumes at Warm Springs West and Muddy Springs at L.D.S Farm to document daily fluctuations in spring discharges. Daily mean discharges were computed for the spring flows at these gages and published in the USGS, Nevada District, annual data reports (1985–2004). Both stations are still operated and maintained by the USGS. Graphs and tables of daily mean discharges for the period of record for Warm Springs West and Muddy Springs at L.D.S Farm are included in Appendix B (fig. B42 and table B31, and fig. B46 and table B34, respectively).
In October 1986, the USGS, in cooperation with LVVWD and NDWR, installed an aluminum weir and continuous-stage recorder on the Pederson Springs pool (site 4, fig. 2). The purpose of this gage was to collect daily discharge data near the outlet of one of the major springs in the Moapa Valley National Wildlife Refuge. By early 2004, most of the palm trees surrounding the spring had been removed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services (FWS), and in April 2004, a new weir was installed because water was leaking around the weir and the gage was not measuring flows accurately. Graphs and tables of daily mean discharges for the period of record are included in Appendix B (fig. B30, table B20).
By the early 1990s, only 5 of the original 10 flumes installed in 1967 were still being measured. Gage-height readings for Baldwin House #1 and #2 flumes stopped in June 1980, presumably because of construction of the L.D.S. pond at Cardy Lamb Springs (site 10, fig. 2). Readings at the Baldwin Cuts flume ended in August 1985 which was about 11 years after the MVWD began diverting flow from Baldwin Springs. Garden Ditch flume, mentioned in a report by DRI (Wert and Pohlmann, 1992), was reported to be in fair working condition in 1992; however, readings stopped after June 1992.
As conditions of the remaining flumes had significantly deteriorated, NPC contracted DRI in 1992 to evaluate the performance of each flume (Wert and Pohlmann, 1992). DRI recommended replacing the old steel flumes at Baldwin Springs Channel, Pipeline Jones, Pederson (Warm Springs West), Iverson, and Muddy (Big) Springs with new stainless-steel flumes that would be more resistive to the corrosive springflows. The DRI report by Wert and Pohlmann (1992), also discussed an “L.D.S Pool flume” which was described as downstream of the pond at Cardy Lamb Spring: Replacement of this flume was not recommended by DRI because flow was controlled by the pond, which was being used as storage for irrigation.
During the summer of 1993, NDWR replaced the five remaining flumes and continued to make periodic water-level measurements at each site. These periodic measurements are included in the flume records provided by NDWR and are given in Appendix B (figs. B42, B46, B53, B63, B66 and tables B30, B33, B41, B49, B50).
In April 1997, Converse Consultants, on contract to NPC, began making quarterly field measurements of temperature and specific conductance at 18 spring and surface-water sites within the Warm Springs area. The spring and surface-water sampling is part of a comprehensive hydrologic-monitoring program that Converse Consultants manages in the Warm Springs area and vicinity. Converse Consultants submits an annual report to NPC summarizing all surface-water, ground-water, water-quality, and water-use data collected or compiled (Converse Consultants, 2004). The location of each spring sampling site, plus data graphs and tables, are included in Appendix B (figs. B9, B18 to B26, B32, B44, B48, B50, B51, B54, B55, B57, B61, B68, B70, B71 to B74 and tables B10 to B17, B21, B32, B37, B38, B42, B48, B52 to B55).
In December 1997, MVWD began collecting water samples from the pump houses at Baldwin and Apcar (Pipeline Jones) Springs. Samples are collected at these sites annually and are analyzed for major ions and selected dissolved constituents. Analyses of the water samples for 1997 through 2004 for the Baldwin and Apcar Springs are included in Appendix B (tables B39 and B43, respectively).
On June 1, 1998, FWS installed a staff gage and steel weir at the spring on the Plummer West tributary, one of the three tributaries of the Plummer Springs Group (Appendix B, fig. B9). This site, referred to as station M-16 by the USGS, has been measured by the USGS since 1987. The staff gage was read several times a month by FWS from 1998 to 2002. Discharges were computed by applying the standard rating for a 90-degree v-notch weir (Rantz and others, 1982). Data collected at this site are given in Appendix B (tables B7 and B8). On October 26, 1998, FWS began making periodic discharge measurements in Plummer Main tributary (Appendix B, fig. B9). This site, also referred to as Warm Springs East, has been measured by the USGS since 1982. Periodic discharge measurements at this site were made by FWS using either a pygmy current meter or a Marsh-McBirney velocity meter. Several measurements were made each year until the site was discontinued on May 30, 2001. Graphs and tables of discharge data for the Warm Springs East site are included in Appendix B (fig. B10, tables B4 and B5).
On February 6 and 7, 2001, a series of discharge measurements were made within the Warm Springs area as part of a seepage study for the Muddy River. Discharge and water-quality data were collected by USGS, SNWA, FWS, and NDWR at 14 sites, including the 5 NDWR flumes and the 9 sites measured in September 1963 (Beck and Wilson, 2006). Location information and data collected at these sites are included in Appendix E.
A continuous-stage recorder was installed by the USGS, in cooperation with SNWA, at the Iverson flume on Refuge Stream on October 1, 2001 (fig. B65). At the time the gage was installed, flow was backed up at the flume because of palm trees and other debris blocking flow downstream. The stage-discharge relation for this station was developed and is maintained using current-meter measurements of discharge. A graph and tables of computed and daily mean discharges through September 2004 are included in Appendix B (fig. B66, tables B50 and B51)
By 2002, all the palm trees that surrounded the former recreational pool at Pederson East Spring in the Moapa Valley National Wildlife Refuge had been removed by FWS. On May 10, 2002, the USGS, in cooperation with SNWA and FWS, installed a recording gage with weir control. A graph and table of the daily mean discharges collected through September 2004 are included in Appendix B (fig. B27, table B18).
Water-quality samples were collected in 2004 by DRI at Pederson East Spring, M-13, Baldwin Springs, and Muddy Springs at L.D.S Farm. Field measurements of temperature, pH, specific conductance, and dissolved oxygen were made and water samples were collected and analyzed for major ions and stable hydrogen and oxygen isotopes. Tables summarizing the field and laboratory results for each site are included in Appendix B (tables B19, B26, B35, and B44).
Site identification numbers were assigned to each USGS monitoring station in this report, whether continuous or partial-record site. For all continuous-record and some partial-record sites, these numbers range from 8 to 10 digits and are designated in order of downstream direction along a main stream. For example, the complete 8-digit number for station 09416000 (Muddy River near Moapa) includes a 2-digit part number (09), plus the 6-digit downstream order number (416000). The part number refers to an area, the boundaries of which coincide with specified natural drainage boundaries. Records in this report are for sites in Part 09, the Colorado River Basin. When a station is added between two consecutively numbered stations, an additional digit is added to the upstream station number.
Most of the partial-record gaging stations in this report have site identification numbers based on the grid system of latitude and longitude. These numbers consist of 15 digits and provide a general geographic location and a unique number for each site. The first 6 digits denote the degrees, minutes, and seconds of latitude; the next 7 digits denote degrees, minutes, and seconds of longitude. The last two digits are sequential numbers for sites within a 1-second grid. For example, the site at Warm Springs East has a complete 15-digit number of 364236114424301. This site is located at 36 degrees, 42 minutes, 36 seconds latitude and 114 degrees, 42 minutes, 43 seconds longitude. It is the first station recorded in that 1-second grid. The description of geographic locations of a station may be refined, but the unique identification number remains unchanged.
A continuous-record stream-gaging station is a site where data are collected with sufficient frequency to define daily mean values and variations within a day. Continuous-record gaging stations are equipped with instrumentation that records the gage height (stage) for the stream at selected frequencies, typically 15-minute intervals. These stage recordings are stored by a data logger and then later downloaded or transmitted into the USGS NWIS database. Discharge measurements are made at selected intervals, usually every 6 to 8 weeks. These data, together with supplemental information, are used to compute daily discharges (Rantz and others, 1982). The locations of the six continuous-record gaging stations currently operated within the Warm Springs area by the USGS, in cooperation with SNWA, are shown in figure 2. The sites also are listed in table 1 and include the following: Muddy River near Moapa (09416000), Muddy Springs at L.D.S. Farm near Moapa (09415900), Warm Springs West near Moapa (09415920), Pederson Spring near Moapa (09415910), Pederson East Springs near Moapa (09415908), and Warm Springs Confluence at Iverson Flume near Moapa (09415927). Site information, photographs, and graphs and tables for daily mean discharge for the period of record for these sites are included in Appendix B.
A partial-record stream-gaging station is a site where stage, discharge, or other hydrologic measurements are made one or more times during a year but at a frequency insufficient to develop a daily record. There is no instrumentation recording gage height at these sites. Measurements of gage height and corresponding discharge are done manually by field personnel. The USGS currently monitors 11 partial-record gaging stations in the Warm Springs area. These sites typically are visited and measured every 6 months. Eight of the 11 stations are within two of the major spring groups, Pederson and Plummer. The locations of all partial-record gaging stations are shown in figure 2 and given in table 1. Sites in the Pederson Spring Group include: Station 364235114425201 (M-11), Station 364237114425401 (M-12), Station 364236114425401 (M-13), Station 364235114425301 (M-19). Sites in the Plummer Spring Group include: Warm Springs East (364236114424301), Muddy River Springs 16 (364238114424201or M-16), 364238114424401 (M‑15 or Plummer Central), and Muddy River Springs 20 (364238114424301). Other partial-record sites include Muddy River Springs M-10 (364327114430801), Baldwin Springs near Moapa (09415875), and Apcar Stream at Pipeline Jones flume near Moapa (09415940). Site information, photographs, and graphs and tables of discharge measurements for the period of record for these sites are included in Appendix B.
Back to Table of Contents