The New Jersey Streamgaging Network

Science Center Objects

The USGS New Jersey Water Science Center streamgage program is part of the nationwide program that provides streamflow information for a variety of purposes—including the protection of life and property, infrastructure design, recreational usage, and long-term trend assessment. This information is critical to resource managers, farmers, fishermen, kayakers, land-use planners, engineers, environmentalists, and flood forecasters. The program relies on a network of streamgaging stations to accurately and reliably measure stream height and flow and to accumulate data over long periods for many locations. The New Jersey WSC operates nearly 187 streamflow gages across the state. The gages provide daily streamflow records that are accessible to the public.

Water Information Critical to New Jersey

The availability of fresh water is central to the health of the citizens and the environment of the United States and to the growth of the Nation’s economy. This is especially true in New Jersey, where water resources are in high demand and water-resource managers often must contend with satisfying conflicting water-use needs. Water-resource managers face human-induced problems, such as long-term groundwater over use and water pollution, and thus must do complex operational planning and meet strict water-quality standards. In addition, they must prepare for natural disasters, such as floods, landslides, and droughts. The effects of these problems will continue to increase as the states' population grows. Reliable, accurate, and timely information from the USGS streamgage program is crucial to State and local water-resource managers and to Federal agencies, such as the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Hydrographer Wading into floodwaters to reach a gage

USGS Hydrographer, Brian Painter< wading into the Rahway River at Rahway, New Jersey to access the stream gage.

(Credit: Aric Vanselous, USGS. Public domain.)

Flood Warning and Forecasting

Floods are among the most frequent and costly natural disasters. Flood warnings and river-level forecasts are essential tools for reducing loss of life and property. USGS streamgage information includes historical and upto date flow data needed to calibrate National Weather Service (NWS) models to assure timely and accurate NWS forecasts.

Real-Time Information

USGS streamgaging stations equipped with real-time telemetry are integral components of reservoir operations and river-forecast and floodwarning systems. One of the strengths of the USGS streamgage realtime network is the ability to provide, at any time, a snapshot of the current hydrologic conditions at home and across the country. This real-time information, available on the Internet, benefits not only engineers and resource, emergency, and disaster managers, but also those who enjoy recreational activities such as kayaking and fishing.

Crest-Stage Gage Network

Historically, streams with drainage areas less than 100 square miles have not been adequately represented in regional peak flow analysis. To help fill this data gap, crest-stage gages were installed at sites throughout New Jersey in order to augment the peak flow record for small streams (less than 100 square miles). After enough peak flow data have been collected at these sites, an updated statewide flood-frequency analysis will likely improve the estimation of peak flows at ungaged streams site with smaller drainage areas.

Cooperative Support for the Streamgage Program

The USGS New Jersey Water Science Center streamgaging network is supported by two programs. The Cooperative Water Program funds many of the USGS streamgages using funds from State and local agencies. The National Streamflow Information Program funds the remainder of the program and supports the on-going modernization and improvement of the streamgaging network.