Environmental Protection

USGS Upgrades Streamgage Network Using Stimulus Funds

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 earmarked $14.6 million to the U.S. Geological Survey for upgrades to its 7,500-station national streamgage network. The agency has purchased $3.4 million worth of high technology electro-acoustic instruments from San Diego-based SonTek/YSI.

In addition to the popular FlowTracker and Argonaut products, the order also included 33 of the multifrequency RiverSurveyorn S5/M9 systems.

The acoustic Doppler instruments will be used for water velocity measurement in streams, rivers and canals to help provide critical information used to estimate flood dangers, protect fragile ecosystems, construct safe bridges and roadways, and monitor the effects of climate change on water availability.

Chris Ward, SonTek/YSI director of Global Business development, said that this order demonstrates the need for both more accurate and more efficient collection of environmental data. “The need for rapid and accurate water flow data is not just a need in the U.S.” said Ward. “Over half of our products are exported overseas to water-stressed parts of the world such as China, India, and Australia.”

The USGS collects streamflow information to determine how much water is available in different locations across the nation. Because the effects of climate change on water availability could become a critical issue in certain regions of the nation, accurate long-term streamflow information is necessary to determine how water managers can respond and adapt to these changes.

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