Wednesday, February 23

Government working for you: Flow gages.

Good 'ole 01452500.
Didja know when you're not beating your official Tea Party rabble rousin' drum that the Government occasionally does something useful?

Oh, don't be silly, they don't intend this to be of service to you, its just a helpful bonus, and that's the crux of the problem.

The US Geological Survey maintains a series of stream flow gages, established in 1888, continually collecting and collating data. If you've never looked at one, its a remarkably helpful resource for all anglers. Its also very helpful to the sorts of eggheads who calculate sciencey stuff and plan about disasters, and all the sorts of things that massive, and epic, flooding from rain can cause. This, of course, is its intentional goal, not to help you determine if you're going to be fishing dainty little flies in low flows or slinging meat to fish in high waters.

The downside is that many of these are in danger of shutdown due to budget cuts. All those bombs cost cash, and we just can't print more (well, we could, but it generally goes to buy more bombs and staff cars), so as we all many of us look to tighten our belts, there will be cuts.

Like, the nearly 40 in danger of being shut down in the coming year.

On February 15th, the following announcement appeared on the PA Flow Gage page:

NOTICE (02/15/2011) --Data collection and/or real-time data delivery at the following streamgages may be discontinued in the near future due to funding reductions from partner agencies. Although historic data will remain accessible, no new data will be collected and/or real-time data will be delivered unless one or more new funding partners are found. Users who are willing to contribute funding to continue operation of these streamgages should contact Bob Hainly, Assistant Director of the USGS Pennsylvania Water Science Center, at 717-730-6971 or by e-mail at

Paranoia may now run amok, what with the awesome power of our State Government kowtowing to the Marcellus Shale drillers (can we harness that for energy, I wonder, all the hot air should power a turbine or three), people are quick to point out that this must be from the drillers' demands on water going unnoticed.

Or, maybe its just because we no longer need to compile new data on flooding in those areas, and over the last near-century we've gathered enough?

Who cares.

What you should care about is sending a nice message to Mr. Hainly up there voicing your concerns. Just because they haven't come for your local stream, yet, doesn't mean its not on the list.

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