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New USGS Gage Installed on Wild and Scenic Wilson Creek! (NC)

Posted: 09/28/2020
By: Kevin Colburn

American Whitewater is pleased to announce the installation of a new online U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) stream gage on Wilson Creek, one of North Carolina's five federally-designated Wild and Scenic Rivers. The new stream gage is the result of a partnership between American Whitewater, Duke Energy and the USGS, and is expected to provide significant public safety and recreational benefits. 


Wilson Creek is a spectacular large stream with crystal clear water and smooth bedrock pools and rapids. As a free-flowing river, stream flows change dramatically in response to rainfall and its changing water levels can significantly change conditions for recreational visitors. At lower flows, Wilson Creek is a favorite picnic and swimming destination for ethnically diverse families and anglers pursuing trout in the river's cool water. Higher flows turn Wilson Creek into a classic advanced whitewater run that attracts paddlers from around the region. The new USGS gage will help all these visitors plan their trips for times when flows are appropriate for their activity, which will significantly enhance visitor safety and enjoyment.


At times, very high flows can overtop the road that parallels the river, cutting off access for residents of small communities higher up in the watershed. The new stream gage will provide additional, timely information to residents, emergency management services personnel, and other governmental officials during times of very high water. 


The new Wilson Creek gage is an outcome of the Catawba-Wateree Hydroelectric Project relicensing process, which created a suite of recreational enhancements throughout the watershed over several decades. To bring the gage to fruition, American Whitewater, Duke Energy and the USGS entered into a partnership agreement to install, fund and maintain the gage for a five-year period, after which additional partnership efforts will be required to continue operating the gage. This project has been underway for over 15 years. The gage will measure stage (river height) but will not include stream flow (cfs). 


The Wilson Creek Gage is now fully operational and can be viewed here.


American Whitewater would like to thank Duke Energy and the USGS, on behalf of the paddling community, for this great investment in the safe enjoyment of Wild and Scenic Wilson Creek. 


Note to paddlers: Paddlers have long checked a physical stage gage on the Adako Road Bridge over Wilson Creek to characterize the flows on Wilson Creek. American Whitewater asks that paddlers visiting Wilson Creek in the coming months add a comment or a flow report to AW's Wilson Creek webpage noting the reading on the current/old Adako Road gage and the date and time, so that we can create a correlation between the old gage and the new online USGS gage. For starters, 0ft on the old gage is 3ft on the new gage.


Associated Rivers

Associated Gauges

Disclaimer Data Sources
Gage Reading Last Updated
WILSON CREEK AT SECONDARY ROAD 1335 AT ADAKO, NC (AW#274389) 2.55 ft 00h32m
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