Nooksack River Streamflow and Network Analysis

Science Center Objects

The Lummi Nation is partner to six USGS streamflow-gaging stations in the Nooksack River basin that measure streamflow in small streams. The Lummi Nation uses data from these stations to help manage its natural resources and has requested that the USGS analyze the available data record. As a result, the USGS is using streamflow data collected in and near the Nooksack River basin to develop regional regression equations for estimating low-flow frequency statistics in the basin and evaluating the optimal configuration of the small-stream gaging network.

9722-DK3 - Analysis of Streamflow and the Gage Network in the Nooksack River Basin, Washington

Problem - The Lummi Nation has requested that the USGS evaluate the streamflow data-collection program of six USGS gages that have continuously measured flow in small subbasins of the Nooksack River system since October 1998. The purpose of the evaluation is to obtain streamflow statistics for these and other small subbasins in the Nooksack River basin and to assist the Lummi Nation in determining if operation of any of the six gages may be terminated without significant loss of information.

Objectives - The general objectives of the study are to estimate regional streamflow statistics for small subbasins in the Nooksack River basin with a focus on low-flow statistics and to determine the most efficient configuration of gages for monitoring surface-water resources of the Nooksack River basin.

Relevance and Benefits - This study is consistent with the national USGS mission and goals and water-resources issues identified in the USGS Washington Water Science Center Science Plan. Specifically, the study addresses the following issues in “Strategic Directions of the Water Resources Division 1998-2008”: effects of urbanization and suburbanization on water resources (issue 1); effects of land use and population increases on water resources in the coastal zone (issue 2); suitability of aquatic habitat for biota (issue 4); effects of climate on water-resource management (issue 7), and surface-water and ground-water interactions as related to water-resources management (issue 8).

Approach - The objectives will be met by (1) Computing streamflow statistics for the period of record and the extended record of daily streamflow records at six stations operated by the USGS since October 1998 and evaluating changes in statistics over time; (2) estimating streamflow statistics for ungaged basins using the computer program GLSNET; (3) performing a streamgage network evaluation using GLSNET; and (4) publishing the study results, a description of the methods used, and limitations of the results in a USGS Scientific Investigations Report.