Streamgage Solar Panel Installation for Continuous Data Collection
Sierra Keller, Physical Science Technician, and Sharon Mulready, Student Trainee, both of the USGS California Water Science Center's Santa Cruz Field Office, install a solar panel on a rural streamgage station along the Arroyo Seco near Greenfield in Monterey County, California. Streamgaging stations require power to record and transmit data associated to flow conditions. Solar panels are used to trickle charge the 12V battery to ensure continuous data acquisition.
The Arroyo Seco is a significant tributary of the Salinas River in Central California (USGS Site Number 11151870) and provides extensive habitat for local flora and fauna and recreational opportunities for the public. The Arroyo Seco is a unique steep mountain coastal watershed that is not dammed so it can be prone to flash flooding in wet years. The USGS California Water Science Center operates three gaging station along the Arroyo Seco. Continuous monitoring of flow conditions is necessary to ensure the public's safety and installing solar panels on rural sites like these allows us to gather accurate data to anticipate flood stage. Measurements are made and a stage record is collected and displayed on the USGS National Water Information System (NWIS) real-time web site. The gage is operated for Monterey County Water Resources Agency (MCWRA) and the data is provided to MCWRA for input into their ALERT flood warning system.