The U.S. Geological Survey Streamflow and Observation-Well Network in Massachusetts and Rhode Island
Open-File Report 03-277
The U.S. Geological Survey began systematic streamflow monitoring in Massachusetts nearly 100 years ago (1904) on the Connecticut River at Montague City. Since that time, hydrologic data collection has evolved into a monitoring network of 103 streamgage stations and 200 ground-water observation wells in Massachusetts and Rhode Island (2000 water year). Data from this network provide critical information for a variety of purposes to Federal, State, and local government agencies, engineering consultants, and the public. The uses of this information have been enhanced by the fact that about 70 percent of the streamgage stations and a small but increasing number of observation wells in Massachusetts and Rhode Island have been equipped with digital collection platforms that transmit data by satellite every 4 hours. Twenty-one of the telemetered streamgage stations are also equipped with precipitation recorders. The near real-time data provided by these stations, along with historical data collected at all stations, are available over the Internet at no charge.
The monitoring network operated during the 2000 water year was summarized and evaluated with respect to spatial distribution, the current uses of the data, and the physical characteristics associated with the monitoring sites. This report provides maps that show locations and summary tables for active continuous record streamgage stations, discontinued streamgage stations, and observation wells in each of the 28 major basins identified by the Massachusetts Executive Office of Environmental Affairs and five of the major Rhode Island basins. Metrics of record length, regulation, physiographic region and physical and land-cover characteristics indicate that the streamflow-monitoring network represents a wide range of drainage-area sizes, physiographic regions, and basin characteristics. Most streamgage stations are affected by regulation, which provides information for specific water-management purposes, but diminishes the usefulness of these stations for many types of hydrologic analysis. Only 26 of the 103 active streamgage stations operated by the U.S. Geological Survey in Massachusetts and Rhode Island are unaffected by regulation; of these, 17 are in Massachusetts and 9 are in Rhode Island. The paucity of unregulated stations is particularly evident when the stations are grouped into five drainage-area size classes; the fact that about half of these size classes have no representative unregulated stations underscores the importance of establishing and maintaining stations that are unaffected by regulation. The observation-well network comprises 200 wells; 80 percent of these wells are finished in sand and gravel, 19 percent are finished in till, and 1 percent are finished in bedrock. About 6 percent of the wells are equipped with continuous data recorders, and about half of these are capable of transmitting data in near real time.
Purpose and Scope
Trends in the Network
Modernization of Streamflow Monitoring
Modernization of Ground-Water-Level Monitoring
Correlated Streamgage Stations
Future Directions of the Monitoring Network
Appendix 1: Streamgage Stations, Observation Wells, and Summary Tables by Major Basin in Massachusetts and Rhode Island
Appendix 2: Table of Correlated Streamgage Stations in Massachusetts and Rhode Island
1. Bar graph showing the number of U.S. Geological Survey streamgage stations operated in Massachusetts and Rhode Island by category of data use, 2000 water year
2. Map showing the locations of streamgage stations in Massachusetts and Rhode Island identified for inclusion in the National Streamflow Information Program (NSIP)
36. Bar graphs showing:
- 3. Number of continuous streamgage stations reported annually, 1900 to 2000
- 4. Number of observation well records reported annually, 1900 to 2000
- 5. Record length of streamgage stations for (A) all stations (includes discontinued stations), and (B) stations active during the 2000 water year
- 6. Number of streamgage stations affected by regulation, 2000 water year
- 7. Map showing the physiographic regions, major river basins, and the streamflow station and observation-well network, 2000 water year
- 8. Bar graph showing distribution of streamgage stations by physiographic region, 2000 water year
- 9. Box plots showing summary of selected basin characteristics upstream of active streamgage stations, 2000 water year: (A) physical characteristics, and (B) land-cover characteristics
- 1019. Bar graphs showing:
- 10. Number of streamgage stations by drainage-area size for (A) active stations during the 2000 water year, and (B) discontinued stations
- 11. Number of active streamgage stations by physiographic region and years of record, 2000 water year
- 12. Number of active streamgage stations by physiographic region and regulation, 2000 water year
- 13. Number of active streamgage stations by drainage-area size and physiographic region, 2000 water year
- 14. Number of active streamgage stations by regulation and record length, 2000 water year
- 15. Number of active streamgage stations by record length and drainage-area size, 2000 water year
- 16. Number of active streamgage stations by drainage-area size and regulation, 2000 water year
- 17. Record length of observation wells, 2000 water year
- 18. Number of observation wells in the 2000 water year by physiographic region and type of geologic material in which the well is finished
- 19. Box plots showing depths of observation wells by (A) type of geologic material, and (B) physiographic region, 2000 water year
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Title Pages (127 KB) --6 pages
Main Body of Report (9.3 MB) --36 pages
Appendix 1 (11.1 MB) --72 pages
Appendix 2 (3.5 MB) --6 pages
Whole report (13.7 MB) --120 pages
The citation for this report, in USGS format, is as follows:
Zarriello, P.J., and Socolow, R.S., 2003, The U.S. Geological Survey Streamflow and Observation-Well Network in Massachusetts and Rhode Island: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 03-277, 120 p.
For more information about USGS activities in Massachusetts-Rhode Island District, visit the USGS Massachusetts-Rhode Island Home Page
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