Reach-Scale Monitoring and Modeling of Rivers—Expanding Hydraulic Data Collection Beyond the Cross Section

Fact Sheet 2019-3073
Prepared in cooperation with Arizona Department of Transportation
By: , and 



For over 125 years, the U.S. Geological Survey streamgage network has provided important hydrologic information about rivers and streams throughout the Nation. Traditional streamgage methods provide reliable stage and streamflow data but typically only monitor stage at a single location in a river and require frequent calibration streamflow measurements. Direct measurements are not always feasible, therefore improved sensors and methods are being deployed at gages to better document streamflow conditions between measurements. The technology and techniques of reach-scale monitoring allow the U.S. Geological Survey to collect more data across the full range of streamflow without requiring that a hydrographer be present. The U.S. Geological Survey Arizona Water Science Center’s reach-scale monitoring program will enhance the Arizona streamgage network with more accurate streamflow measurements and provide more extensive streamflow records and geomorphological datasets for our agency partners and the public. Reach-scale monitoring installations and techniques are applicable to streams of the western United States and likely throughout the Nation.

Suggested Citation

Forbes, B.T., Bunch, C.E., DeBenedetto, G., Shaw, C.J., and Gungle, B., 2019, Reach-scale monitoring and modeling of rivers—Expanding hydraulic data collection beyond the cross section: U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2019–3073, 6p.,

ISSN: 2327-6932 (online)

Study Area

Table of Contents

  • Why Look Beyond the Cross Section?
  • Traditional Monitoring
  • Streamgaging
  • Indirect Measurement of Peak Streamflow
  • What is Reach-Scale Monitoring?
  • Data Packages for Advanced Streamflow Modeling
  • Transportation and Reach-Scale Monitoring
  • References Cited
Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title Reach-scale monitoring and modeling of rivers--Expanding hydraulic data collection beyond the cross section
Series title Fact Sheet
Series number 2019-3073
DOI 10.3133/fs20193073
Year Published 2019
Language English
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location Reston, VA
Contributing office(s) Arizona Water Science Center
Description 6 p.
Country United States
State Arizona
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Additional publication details