FLOwPER User’s Guide—For Collection of FLOw PERmanence Field Observations

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USGS and USFS develop a mobile application field form for rapid collection of flow/no flow observations.

The accurate mapping of streams and their streamflow conditions in terms of presence or absence of surface water is important to both understanding physical, chemical, and biological processes in streams and to managing land, water, and ecological resources.The FLOwPER (FLOW PERmanence) field form provides standardized data collection to map the presence of flow in streams and upload the input data to an ArcGIS database. These data can be used for multiple purposes, such as archiving where flowing water is present in forest planning units, informing modeling efforts of streamflow permanence, and providing information needed to update stream classifications across any spatial extent.

FLOwPER is programmed into the mobile app, Survey123TM (ArcGIS online, Environmental Systems Research Institute (Esri), ArcGIS, 2020), which operates on a variety of mobile devices, including those from agencies and personal mobile devices; FLOwPER is also editable in the S1 Mobile Mapper6 app (Bureau of Land Management, 2020). FLOwPER is designed for seamless communication with ArcGIS online for easy uploading of collected observations into a publicly available master database (FLOwPER Database) that can include any geographic region. FLOwPER focuses on the rapid collection of a set of simple visual observations that can be recorded from a road over a stream or while standing on the bank of a stream. Use of FLOwPER requires only a mobile device with the mobile app and FLOwPER field form and an accurate Global Positioning System (GPS) antenna (for example, rated accuracy of 1 meter or less).

To access FLOwPER, log in at https://arcg.is/0a4iGi0.

With crowdsourced observations collected by many users of FLOwPER, it is possible to collect a large number of observations from a wide geographical range from all parts of the stream network at any time of the year. Although seasonal drying of streams is often of interest, FLOwPER can be used to evaluate patterns of flow permanence at any time of year, including times when stream networks are greatly expanded during wet cycles. Additionally, observations of headwater hollows that lack a distinct channel are just as important as observations of streams with or without surface flow present. This allows delineation of both the hydrographic (or stream) network and the geomorphic channel network, which includes channels that can be dry for part of, or even most of, the year.

Send an email request to gs-flowper@usgs.gov to join the FLOwPER AGOL group.

Lost Creek runs dry in Washington State

Lost Creek, tributary to Little White Salmon, Washington, showing a FLOwPER streamflow status of "dry." The FLOwPER (FLOW PERmanence) field form provides standardized data collection to map the presence of flow in streams and upload the input data to an ArcGIS database. See related publication at https://pubs.usgs.gov/of/2020/1075/ofr20201075.pdf

(Credit: Emily Heaston, USGS. Public domain.)

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