Continuously recording water-level streamgages in Rainy Lake and Namakan Reservoir are used to regulate water levels according to rule curves established in 2000 by the International Joint Commission; however, water levels at streamgages were referenced to a variety of vertical datums, confounding efforts to model the flow of water through the system, regulate water levels during periods of high inflow, and evaluate the effectiveness of the rule curves. In October 2014, the U.S. Geological Survey, Natural Resources Canada, International Joint Commission, and National Park Service began a joint field study with the goal of obtaining precise elevations referenced to a uniform vertical datum for all reference marks used to set water levels at streamgages throughout Rainy Lake and Namakan Reservoir. This report was prepared by the U.S. Geological Survey in cooperation with Natural Resources Canada, International Joint Commission, and National Park Service.
Three field crews deployed Global Navigation Satellite System receivers statically over 16 reference marks colocated with active and discontinued water-level streamgages throughout Rainy River, Rainy Lake, Namakan Reservoir, and select tributaries of Rainy Lake and Namakan Reservoir. A Global Navigation Satellite System receiver also was deployed statically over a National Geodetic Survey cooperative base network control station for use as a quality-control reference mark. Satellite data were collected simultaneously during a 5-day period and processed independently by the U.S. Geological Survey and Natural Resources Canada to obtain accurate positioning and elevations for the 17 surveyed reference marks. Processed satellite data were used to convert published water levels to elevations above sea level referenced to the Canadian Geodetic Vertical Datum of 2013 in order to compare water-surface elevations referenced to a uniform vertical datum throughout the study area. In this report, an “offset” refers to the correction applied to published data from a particular streamgage to produce elevation data referenced to a specified vertical datum.
Offsets were applied to water-level data from surveyed streamgages to further evaluate the accuracy and utility of updated reference mark elevations presented in this report. Daily mean water levels from active streamgages surveyed in this study were converted to water-surface elevations referenced to the Canadian Geodetic Vertical Datum of 2013. Graphical comparisons of water-surface elevations for streamgages in Namakan Reservoir, Rainy Lake, and selected rivers are presented (referencing the Canadian Geodetic Vertical Datum of 2013). Offsets presented in this report can be used in the evaluation of rule curves and in flood damage curves that fully assess the benefits of one regulation approach over another. In addition, offsets may be used to calibrate hydraulic models developed for four narrows that connect lakes of Namakan Reservoir, refine digital elevation models, and support modeling studies designed to assess the effects of rule curves on aquatic vegetation, benthic invertebrates, northern pike, and walleye.
|Title||Network global navigation satellite system survey to harmonize water-surface elevation data for the Rainy River Basin|
|Authors||Jeffrey R. Ziegeweid, R. Jason Silliker, Brenda K. Densmore, Justin Krahulik|
|Publication Subtype||USGS Numbered Series|
|Series Title||Scientific Investigations Report|
|Record Source||USGS Publications Warehouse|
|USGS Organization||Minnesota Water Science Center|