Amy McHugh


Amy McHugh is a hydrologist with the USGS New Jersey Water Science Center. She received her Bachelor of Science Degree in Environmental Science with a minor in Geology from the University of Pittsburgh in 1999, and joined the NJWSC as an intern in 2000. She began work as a streamgager - collecting data and computing surface water records for the data section. She continued to expand her surface water knowledge, and documented two historic floods in the state. Amy was the main point of contact for the NJWSC as she regularly communicated with the public, consultants, and other professionals regarding general surface water flow information, interpretation, application, and data acquisition & availability. She has experience computing theoretical flood flows, aided by the use of HEC-RAS and -HMS. Since 2006, Amy’s focus has been mainly on streamflow statistics, trends, and water availability. As Chief of the Low Flow Project in New Jersey, she manages a network of partial-record surface water sites which are used with long-term continuous gages in computing low flow statistics.  Her extensive knowledge of local geology, water use, and history of streamflow records coupled with the use of regression methods, GIS, and data mining are used to estimate low-flow statistics at ungaged locations for the NJ Department of Environmental Protection’s point-source permitting group. 



B.S. Environmental Science, minor Geology, University of Pittsburgh, 1999



Hydrologist, U.S. Geological Survey, New Jersey Water Science Center, 2000-present

LOW FLOW PROJECT 2006-present

  • Manage network of low-flow partial record sites by determining locations that would yield most useful information for estimating low flows in New Jersey
  • Compute low-flow frequency & duration statistics, and perform trend analyses of continuous streamflow records (SWSTAT, S-Plus, Minitab, R)
  • Use MOVE1 regression for estimation of low-flow statistics at ungaged locations using extensive knowledge of local geology, water use, and history of streamflow records.  Estimated flows are used for NJDEP point-source permitting purposes and can be subject to litigation. History and methodology of estimates are tracked and internally documented.
  • Annual trend analysis and formal summary to determine possible changes in baseflow in the upper Mullica River Basin due to altered water use by CCMUA and local municipalities
  •   Maintenance/use of SAS Unix code and SAS database for MOVE1 computations
  • General ArcMap applications for management, display, and calculation of data supporting flow estimates

Water Science Center 2006-present

  • Answer questions from the public, consultants, and other professionals via web application regarding general surface water flow information, interpretation, application, and data acquisition & availability
  • Technical review of various reports including Connecticut Low flow report, Delaware River Master report, and AFINCH (monthly streamflow model) for the Great Lakes Basin
  • Generally assist various projects in the WSC in acquiring and understanding available surface water records (Flow Reconstruction, Forsythe, Winslow Township, et al.)


  • Determine theoretical flood flows greater than field-determined rating curve using energy slope-conveyance relation and HEC-RAS model


  • Edit NHD streamlines for StreamStats update using ArcMap


  • Develop of regional regression equations for a series monthly low flow statistics representing predetermined baseline and current conditions


  • Review of hydrologic models (HMS and RAS), data, and methods used in Salem-Hope nuclear power plant permit application

 Hydrologic Data Assessment Program 2000-2011

  • Surface water gage operation and data collection
  • Analysis and review of streamflow records, including indirect calculations of peak flow
  • Flood documentation including flagging and surveying HWMs, computing flood frequencies, publication of flood report, and maintenance of NWIS peak flow file
  • Database administration, including creating new surface water site files
  • Writing algorithms to decode satellite data transmissions and management of real-time web display of data
  • Maintaining various local and OSW computer scripts for archiving, computing data and running data QA/QC