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Scientific Investigations Report 2014–5143

Prepared in cooperation with the Bureau of Land Management

Streamflow Statistics for Development of Water Rights Claims for the Jarbidge Wild and Scenic River, Owyhee Canyonlands Wilderness, Idaho, 2013–14—A Supplement to Scientific Investigations Report 2013–5212

By Molly S. Wood

Thumbnail of and link to report PDF (1.3 MB)Abstract

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), in cooperation with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), estimated streamflow statistics for stream segments designated “Wild,” “Scenic,” or “Recreational” under the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System in the Owyhee Canyonlands Wilderness in southwestern Idaho. The streamflow statistics were used by the BLM to develop and file a draft, federal reserved water right claim to protect federally designated “outstanding remarkable values” in the Jarbidge River. The BLM determined that the daily mean streamflow equaled or exceeded 20, 50, and 80 percent of the time during bimonthly periods (two periods per month) and the bankfull (66.7-percent annual exceedance probability) streamflow are important thresholds for maintaining outstanding remarkable values. Although streamflow statistics for the Jarbidge River below Jarbidge, Nevada (USGS 13162225) were published previously in 2013 and used for the draft water right claim, the BLM and USGS have since recognized the need to refine streamflow statistics given the approximate 40 river mile distance and intervening tributaries between the original point of estimation (USGS 13162225) and at the mouth of the Jarbidge River, which is the downstream end of the Wild and Scenic River segment. A drainage-area-ratio method was used in 2013 to estimate bimonthly exceedance probability streamflow statistics at the mouth of the Jarbidge River based on available streamgage data on the Jarbidge and East Fork Jarbidge Rivers. The resulting bimonthly streamflow statistics were further adjusted using a scaling factor calculated from a water balance on streamflow statistics calculated for the Bruneau and East Fork Bruneau Rivers and Sheep Creek. The final, adjusted bimonthly exceedance probability and bankfull streamflow statistics compared well with available verification datasets (including discrete streamflow measurements made at the mouth of the Jarbidge River) and are considered the best available estimates for streamflow statistics in the Jarbidge Wild and Scenic River segment.

First posted August 15, 2014

For additional information, contact:
Director, Idaho Water Science Center
U.S. Geological Survey
230 Collins Road
Boise, Idaho 83702

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Suggested citation:

Wood, M.S., 2014, Streamflow statistics for development of water rights claims for the Jarbidge Wild and Scenic River, Owyhee Canyonlands Wilderness, Idaho, 2013–14—A supplement to Scientific Investigations Report 2013–5212: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2014–5143, 14 p.,

ISSN 2328-0328 (online)




Purpose and Scope

Description of Study Area


Jarbidge River Streamflow Statistics

Limitations and Uncertainty


References Cited

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