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February 20, 2024

Celebrate the USGS's streamgaging network by voting for your favorite streamgage every March with the USGS Water Mission Area. Read one of our hydrologic technicians' favorite stories below that we featured for our 2023 contender and see a sneak peek of our 2024 featured streamgage!

Gage Greatness Round 2 bracket

Join the USGS Water Mission Area every March for our yearly streamgage bracket competition, Gage Greatness!

In 2023, the Upper Midwest Water Science Center's streamgage streamgage 05104500 Roseau River Below South Fork Near Malung, Minnesota, made it to round two, but lost out against streamgage 06891080 Kansas River at Lawrence, Kansas.

Have you ever wondered what challenges our Hydrologic Technicians face while winter stream gaging in northern Minnesota?

In March of 2009, hydrologic technicians Brett Savage and Russ Buesing went on an adventure! It was a cold and snowy early-spring day on March 26, 2009. Brett Savage was helping Russ Buesing from the Grand Rapids, Minnesota field office with spring flood measurements.

A snowstorm the previous night had knocked out power to streamgage 05104500 Roseau River Below South Fork Near Malung, Minnesota, so the objective was to fix the gage and make a discharge measurement. The area around the gage was flooded, so they waded through thick slush ice as far we could until it became obvious it was too deep. (Photo at right)
Russ decided to ride the cable car to the gage. he'd never accessed the gage this way before, so didn't know if he could actually get himself safely onto the gage platform from the cable car. Thankfully, he did! (Photo at right)
Russ took a careful slow journey on the cableway (photo below) and exited the cable car onto the gage platform. Whew! He opened up the gage and tinkered around inside for a while, then he popped his head out and said, "the gage is working fine inside" and proceeded to climb on top to inspect the GOES antenna. The antenna was draped with heavy snow laden tree branches. It was pretty obvious this was why the gage stopped transmitting. 
Man in red winter coat steps on to metal cableway amidst a wintery scene
Image: Roseau River near Malung, Minnesota
Hydrologic technician Russ Buesing rides a cable car to access streamgage 05104500 Roseau River Below South Fork Near Malung, Minnesota.
Scientist in red winter coat cuts tree branch covered in snow while standing on top of streamgage housing
Brett and Russ needed something to remove the branches that were obstructing the antenna. Brett hiked back to the truck and rummaged around looking for whatever equipment they had. He gathered an old crest-stage gage stick, a cordless reciprocating saw, and some zip ties, EUREKA, a makeshift pole saw was made! (Photo at right)
Russ thought it was a pretty cool crest-stage stick pole saw and used it to cut away the branches blocking the antenna without having to venture to close to the edge. Before leaving the site, Russ tested the GOES transmissions and verified the gage was working again. Mission accomplished! Brett and Russ headed downstream to Roseau where they completed their task for the day and took a stream discharge measurement.

The Malung, Minnesota gage was featured in the USGS Water Mission Area's 2023 Gage Greatness competition.







Follow our Twitter (X) account to vote for our 2024 streamgage 04015330, Knife River Near Two Harbors, Minnesota coming up in mid-March! Russ Buesing is still out having adventures, as you can see in the photo below.

Webcam image of two scientists in yellow coats standing on frozen river holding ice drilling equipment
USGS Upper Midwest Water Science Center staff, Supervisory Hydrologic Technician Russ Buesing and Hydrologic Technician Josh Larson pose for the streamgage webcam while making an under-ice discharge measurement at the Knife River near Two Harbors, MN.

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