Innovation in monitoring: The U.S. Geological Survey Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, California, flow-station network

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The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) installed the first gage to measure the flow of water into California’s Sacramento–San Joaquin River Delta from the Sacramento River in the late 1800s. Today, a network of 35 hydro-acoustic meters measure flow throughout the delta. This region is a critical part of California’s freshwater supply and conveyance system. With the data provided by this flow-station network—sampled every 15 minutes and updated to the web every hour—state and federal water managers make daily decisions about how much freshwater can be pumped for human use, at which locations, and when. Fish and wildlife scientists, working with water managers, also use this information to protect fish species affected by pumping and loss of habitat. The data are also used to help determine the success or failure of efforts to restore ecosystem processes in what has been called the “most managed and highly altered” watershed in the country.

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  • Fact Sheet


  • critical issues, database publication, water, water availability, california