USGS celebrates 125th anniversary of its first streamgage in U.S.

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April 21, 2014 -- On Earth Day, Tuesday, April 22, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), along with many partner agencies, is celebrating the 125th anniversary of its first streamgage built in the United States, at a ceremony held at the site located in Embudo, N.M., near the city of Espanola. 

New Mexico State Engineer Scott Verhines and USGS Acting Director Suzette Kimball will join a number of federal, state and local officials at the ceremony to recognize the device that set the foundation for modern water management.

Situated 43 miles from Santa Fe, Embudo was selected as the site of the first gaging station given the need for systematic water resource assessments of western states. Embudo not only offered a favorable climate and easy rail access -- an important consideration for transporting the imperative scientific and camp equipment, but it qualified for congressional funding tapped specifically for the "arid West."

The first USGS streamgage, at Embudo, New Mexico, just turned 125 years old. (Photo credit: Pete Modreski, USGS)


Reporting river flows is a matter of public safety, environmental protection and wise economic development. USGS streamgage data is used to forecast floods and droughts, manage flood flows, deliver water supplies, establish water rights, and protect threatened aquatic habitats. Thousands of boaters and fishermen also access the data every day to plan recreational outings.

Today, More than 247 million daily observations from 26,000 streamgages are available through the USGS National Water Information System, including those first Embudo recordings in 1889. The USGS operates 4,461 stations with more than 30 years of record, and 8,024 gages comprise the U.S. streamgage network today.

See also:

"USGS has science that weathers the storm"

"USGS provides quick access to water information"

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