View Full Version : no more little falls info?
03-30-2005, 10:40 AM
From the little falls gauge page. Kind of a drag. I don't ask a lot from the government...tracking river height is one of those things:
NOTICE (03/31/05) --This stream-gaging station is not fully funded for current operations and will be discontinued on or before June 30, 2005 if support is not found. USGS is continuing to work with Federal, State, and local partners to ensure continuous operation of the stream-gaging network, but additional support is needed. In many cases, State and local contributions can be matched with available funds from USGS. Any Federal/State/local entity interested in continuing the operation of this gage should contact Gary Fisher at 410-238-4259 (e-mail email@example.com).
03-30-2005, 10:56 AM
Thanks for posting, fisher666. To me and I think many other fishermen, this alarming news is as worthy of political pressure as the Fletchers Boathouse situation. It's a matter of safety.
03-30-2005, 11:09 AM
Speaking of which the flow is at 134,000 and still rising rapidly. The highest recorded flow in 74 years of recording is 145,000. :(
03-30-2005, 12:29 PM
Unfortunately, this won’t be the only gage to cease operating. Each of these gages cost, on average $11,700 per year to operate before matching funds (Come to think of it, this might be the new cost). So what that means is that the feds shell out about $12k and someone else has to shell out $12k (for gages that are cooperative). Here where I work, we fund several USGS gages. Due to the budget cuts at the Federal level, these costs have increased significantly over last fiscal year and we have to stop funding some of the gages. This is the reality in the current political situation.
03-30-2005, 01:04 PM
That really sucks, Salar. This past year, two gauges I used to track have been taken off line: Patapsco at Hollifield and Morgan Run at Louisville. Losing Little Falls is far worse, however, and it's used by others besides fishermen, I'm sure.
03-30-2005, 01:34 PM
All sentiments are valid and this cause should be as high priority as any we champion on this board... it is ABSOLUTELY is a safety issue. I NEVER plan a day on the Pototmac without checking all gauges near where I'm going AND the Little Falls gauge This gauge is the one great "integrator" of all runnoff above the fall line and its trend line indicates the general conditions one can expect upstream.
Why is this money being cut? Revised priorities? Administration policies (or lack thereof)? Doesn't fight war on terror?
Salar, any idea of published records of the annual costs and/or what constitutes these maintenance costs? Does cost include USGS tracking/posting/archiving the data or is that effort (IT support) continually funded for all guages?
I wonder if newer (cheaper?) technologies could be considered as alternate...
Sometimes or Gov't just doesn't get it...
03-30-2005, 02:13 PM
Ok, so I made a few phone calls and now have the right numbers. The total cost for a gage is being upped to ~$12,500 per year. Not a total of $24k like I stated above. If the Federal Government has an interest (and what constitutes an interest, you ask? I haven't the foggiest, and cannot get a firm answer) then they will foot 1/2 the bill. So a gage that has Federal cost share costs the supporting/cooperating organization ~$6,250 for FY06. These costs include, but are not limited to cost of equipment, cost of repair/replacement (these things break, as of four hours ago we are out one of "our" gages for a flood prediction research project), staff time to develop the rating curve that gives you stage height vs discharge, data gathering (telemetry from the gage to the office) and PRESUMABLY the support for the real-time network. I say this because we are paying the same for gages that are real-time as we are for gages that are not real-time (available immediately over the www).
Now, why is funding cut? I'm not sure, we can all speculate as to why, but the Federal Budget was passed with less money in the pot for USGS. Seems to me that it's a question of losing gages or losing people.
My gut-level feeling is that some organization will pick up the cost of the Little Falls gage. It provides a very valuable service, i.e. flood prediction.
03-30-2005, 02:45 PM
Thanks for the info Salar. You're probably right, somebody besides a few fly fishermen must care!
Whether it's $6.25K or 2x, 3x or 4x that amount to maintain a remote sensor (vice what?... the daily cost of a Gov't employee or contractor to physically monitor a mechanical gage) it is still far cheaper than what it will cost the Park Service to operate their rescue helicopter one time or Gov't lawyers to explain in court why they terminated a useful public service, even for one person more than the usual number of river casulaties.
04-01-2005, 08:02 PM
$12K? they'll spend that and a lot more on the first recovery operation when some smallie fisherman takes a tragic spill.[sad]