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Summer 2019 Newsletter

Science highlights included in this issue are: “Super Gages” and a summary of Wettest Year on Record for the Ohio River Basin. 

Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana Water Science Center 2019 Cooperator Meetings

Chris Kephart and Harrison Dalby - discussing Ohio Microbiology Lab capabilities. (USGS OKI WSC)

The OKI WSC, Louisville office hosted their third annual cooperator meeting on April 18, 2019 and the OKI WSC, Indianapolis office hosted their second cooperator meeting on April 23, 2019.  OKI Staff gave presentations and technology demonstrations for an audience of local, state, and federal cooperators and USGS staff. The meetings kicked off with a welcome and introductions. Center staff made presentations on surface water, groundwater, water quality, StreamStats, RVR Meander Model, super gage/mobile super gage/surrogate gages, sediment source tracking, the history of the USGS, Western Lake Erie Basin monitoring, the National Water Quality program, the new Water Mission Area Priorities, and the capabilities and current/future studies of the Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana Microbiology Laboratory. Below is the link to view all presentations from the cooperator meetings.

The OKI WSC, Columbus office will host its first cooperator meeting in 2020.




“Super Gages” – when the data have to be right

A USGS “Super Gage” is simply a standard USGS streamflow-measurement gage that measures stage (relative elevation of the water surface); discharge (volume of water in cubic feet per second); the basic water-quality parameters of dissolved oxygen, pH, specific conductance, temperature, and turbidity; and, at least, one other special parameter or function such as nutrients (nitrogen and phospohorus), sediment, and so forth – all of which is transmitted in near real time to our database and is available to the public on the USGS web page or through web services.

USGS super gages can be stand-alone installations or, when possible, they can be built into existing infrastructure. Figure 1 shows a typical USGS super-gage installation as found on the Ohio River at Ironton, Ohio (USGS station 03216070); in this case, a local intake structure is ideally situated for monitoring water quality near the location where the Ohio River initially reaches Kentucky. This specific USGS super gage features discharge measured with an acoustic Doppler velocity meter, a 5-parameter water-quality sonde as described above, a nitrate plus nitrite sensor to monitor nutrients, and near real-time telemetry with data transmitted to USGS via satellite. (continued)...

Figure 1. USGS Ohio River at Ironton, Ohio super gage (03216070).

Is This the Wettest Year on Record for the Ohio River Basin?

The answer to that question, in short, is yes.  At least, that’s the way water year 2019 (October 2018 to September 2019) is shaping up.  According to preliminary runoff calculations derived from USGS streamgages across the Ohio River Basin, water year 2019 will be the wettest on record since this type of computation began in 1930.  In fact, cumulative runoff in water year 2019 has been above the previous high year of 1979 for all months so far (continued)...



Employee spotlights in this edition include Randy BaylessPaul BuszkaStephanie Kula, and David Straub.


The full Summer 2019 Newsletter is available for download (PDF file).

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