Monitoring the Pulse of Our Nation’s Rivers and Streams—The U.S. Geological Survey Streamgaging Network

Fact Sheet 2018-3081
By: , and 



In the late 1800s, John Wesley Powell, second Director of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), proposed gaging the flow of rivers and streams in the Western United States to evaluate the potential for irrigation. Around the same time, several cities in the Eastern United States established primitive streamgages to help design water-supply systems. Streamgaging technology has greatly advanced since the 1800s, and USGS hydrographers have made at least one streamflow measurement at more than 37,000 sites throughout the years. Today, the USGS Groundwater and Streamflow Information Program supports the collection and (or) delivery of both streamflow and water-level information for more than 8,500 sites (continuous or partial record) and water-level information alone for more than 1,700 additional sites. The data are served online—most in near realtime—to meet many diverse needs; more than 640 million requests for streamflow information were fulfilled during the 2017 water year (October 1, 2016‒September 30, 2017).

Suggested Citation

Eberts, S.M., Woodside, M.D., Landers, M.N., and Wagner, C.R., 2018, Monitoring the pulse of our Nation's rivers and streams—The U.S. Geological Survey streamgaging network: U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2018–3081, 2 p.,

ISSN: 2327-6932 (online)

ISSN: 2327-6916 (print)

Table of Contents

  • Unique Partnership
  • A Network of Networks
  • Information Delivery and Application
  • By the Numbers (2017 Water Year)
Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title Monitoring the pulse of our Nation's rivers and streams—The U.S. Geological Survey streamgaging network
Series title Fact Sheet
Series number 2018-3081
DOI 10.3133/fs20183081
Year Published 2019
Language English
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location Reston, VA
Contributing office(s) WMA - Office of Planning and Programming
Description 2 p.
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N
Google Analytic Metrics Metrics page
Additional publication details