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A geographic information system tool to solve regression equations and estimate flow-frequency characteristics of Vermont Streams

April 1, 2003

Estimates of the magnitude and frequency of streamflow are needed to safely and economically design bridges, culverts, and other structures in or near streams. These estimates also are used for managing floodplains, identifying flood-hazard areas, and establishing flood-insurance rates, but may be required at ungaged sites where no observed flood data are available for streamflow-frequency analysis. This report describes equations for estimating flow-frequency characteristics at ungaged, unregulated streams in Vermont.

In the past, regression equations developed to estimate streamflow statistics required users to spend hours manually measuring basin characteristics for the stream site of interest. This report also describes the accompanying customized geographic information system (GIS) tool that automates the measurement of basin characteristics and calculation of corresponding flow statistics. The tool includes software that computes the accuracy of the results and adjustments for expected probability and for streamflow data of a nearby stream-gaging station that is either upstream or downstream and within 50 percent of the drainage area of the site where the flow-frequency characteristics are being estimated. The custom GIS can be linked to the National Flood Frequency program, adding the ability to plot peak-flow-frequency curves and synthetic hydrographs and to compute adjustments for urbanization.

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