Streamgage captures a century of progress
WHITE SPRINGS, FL, Sept. 22, 2009 -- When the US Geological Survey (USGS) began first recording water levels and flows on the Suwannee River, this small North Florida town was in the midst of the state's first tourism boom...
• From steamboats to jetskis, Florida's first streamgage in White Springs has seen it all
WHITE SPRINGS, FL, Sept. 22, 2009 -- When the US Geological Survey (USGS) began first recording water levels and flows on the Suwannee River, this small North Florida town was in the midst of the state's first tourism boom. A report published by USGS this month chronicles a century of change at the state's first streamgage.
|1906 USGS River Height Observation Book: Streamgaging activities in Florida began on the Suwannee River at White Springs, where a local observer tracked mean daily water level elevation in this observer's book.|
In 1906, USGS first began collecting data at White Springs by having a local observer keep a handwritten daily log of the river's level. By 2006, that same type of data was being transmitted hourly via satellite to the internet, where it is housed by the National Water Information System, NWISWeb.
The long-term datasets generated by streamgaging at sites such as White Springs provide the basis for flood predictions, road and bridge design, water management, and floodplain maps, Verdi added.
|Measuring Streamflow on Flooded Road: Hydrologic technicians measure the amount of water from the flooded Suwannee River flowing across a submerged road near Ellaville, Florida in April 2009.|
"With each additional year of record and every time we catch another flood or record a new high or low in the river's flow, we are able to better calculate the frequency of floods and droughts. Ultimately, this helps water managers save lives and property," said Verdi. He added that his latest flood frequency models for the state are helping the Florida Department of Transportation ensure that new bridge designs are at optimal heights in case of flooding.
The USGS Circular on the White Springs streamgage, "A Centennial Tribute, 1906-2006: History of U.S. Geological Survey Streamgaging Activities for the Suwannee River at White Springs, Florida," is available online at: http://pubs.usgs.gov/circ/circ1330/
USGS provides science for a changing world. For more information, visit www.usgs.gov.