Streamflow Information for the Next Century

A Plan for the National Streamflow Information Program of the U.S. Geological Survey

The full report is available in pdf.  Links to the pdf.


Since 1889, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) has operated a multipurpose streamgaging network supported primarily by other Federal, State, and local agencies. Streamgaging stations are the monitoring tools used to track the flux of water and associated components in streams and rivers across the Nation. Streamflow data from them are used for planning and decisions related to agriculture, industry, urban water supplies, navigation, riverine and riparian habitat, and flood hazard identification. The principles that have guided this national network are:

These goals remain appropriate and applicable today. However, the multipurpose streamgaging network needs increased resources and reorientation because of deficiencies in the present network to meet Federal goals, changing instrumentation and communication technology, and new opportunities to integrate our streamflow data with information from other Federal agencies.



A Proposed National Streamflow Information Program

Federal-Interest Streamflow Network

Other Federal Streamflow Interests

New Funding Mechanism

A New Mode of Operation

Protecting Stations from Floods

Intensive Data-Collection during Floods and Droughts

National Streamflow Assessment

Enhanced Streamflow Information Delivery and Products

Data Processing and Dissemination System

New Technologies




1-5. Graphs showing:

  1. Funding sources for USGS streamgaging stations for fiscal years 1974-99
  2. Annual loss of streamgaging stations with more than 30 years of record
  3. Flux of herbicides in runoff from the Flint River, Georgia from Tropical Storm Alberto, July 1994
  4. Long-term changes in streamflow of the Sugar River in Wisconsin
  5. Variation in estimates of the 100-year flood for two different time periods for the Chehalis River near Grand Mound, Washington
  1. Map showing real-time flow conditions for gaging stations with 30 years of record or more
  2. Diagram showing USGS streamgaging station of the future


  1. Base Federal-interest streamgaging goals, with levels of attainment in 1996 and number of additional streamgaging stations required to meet goals

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Copies of this report available upon request from:

U.S. Geological Survey
Information Services
Box 25286 Federal Center
Denver, CO 80225


Chief, Office of Surface Water
U.S. Geological Survey
Water Resources Division
12201 Sunrise Valley Drive,
Mail Stop 415
Reston, VA 20192

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