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New Gauge for the Cascade (WA)

Posted: 07/12/2006
by Thomas O'Keefe

On June 8th a new gauge was added to the USGS real-time network on the Cascade River in Washington State. The river is well known as a great class V run and a designated Wild and Scenic River but it has always been hard to catch at desired flows. The river does not correlate well with other gauged streams in the basin, and getting any information on flow required either a trip to the river or a phone call to the fish hatchery. If you could catch someone at the hatchery they could give you an idea of river level by telling you how many screens were showing on their water intake (photo).

A gauge at this site had been in operation from 1928 but data collection was suspended in 1979. Now the run enters the internet era with real-time information delivered to the public. Paddlers can help build our knowledge base of what different flows mean by posting a comment on the AW page for the Cascade River.

Funding for this gauge came from Skagit County to provide information for their flood forecasting efforts. This gauge will also benefit recreational users and fishery scientists. We believe public safety will be improved by providing this access to real-time flows as paddlers will now have better quantitative information on what the river is doing.

American Whitewater is part of a broad coalition representing recreational users, river scientists, and flood forecasters actively advocating for funding of the USGS stream gauging network (read our letter). Through our collective efforts we work both to protect funding for existing gauges and to expand the network of real-time gauges. We will continue to represent the interests of our membership and educate members of Congress on the importance of these gauges.


Associated Projects

Skagit Wild and Scenic (WA)
Public access, riparian protection, and effective resource stewardship are all important to management of the Skagit Wild and Scenic River.