- Secretary Sally JewellDepartment of the Interior
- Acting Director Suzette KimballUSGS
Maintaining the Stream Gage Program in the Lake Champlain Basin
Stream gages are important scientific instruments for many purposes. First and foremost, gages provide data that protect human life and property. They also provide data that contribute to Lake Champlain protection and restoration programs. Furthermore, gages allow us to understand how rivers function and provide historical trend information. Stream gage data is irreplaceable.
- Department of the Interior
Secretary Sally Jewell
Acting Director Suzette Kimball
We, the Undersigned, fully support reliable and continual funding for U.S.G.S. stream gages in the Lake Champlain basin.
Properly funded stream gages are important scientific instruments for many purposes. First and foremost, gages provide data that protect human life and property. They also provide data that contribute to Lake Champlain protection and restoration programs. Furthermore, gages allow us to understand how rivers function and provide historical trend information. Gage data is irreplaceable.
Historical flow records exist for little more than 100 years. This is a short time series for understanding the long term variations in stream flow that will almost certainly occur across the centuries.
Specifically, stream gages illustrate precipitation amounts related to stream flow and volume for the several past decades. This provides important historical trend information which can be used to accurately shape policies and regulations. Stream gages also provide important real-time flow rate and volume data which can allow downstream residents to prepare for potential floods; lives and property can be saved. Stream gages are used to estimate the amount of pollutants, such as algae-bloom causing phosphorus, that enter Lake Champlain from its tributaries. Less known, these scientific instruments are used to treat tributaries safely with lampricides through the sea lamprey control program.
Climate change has been predicted to result in changes in rainfall and stream flow delivery. Stream gages are necessary to document the distribution and magnitude of stream flow changes whether caused by global climate change or any other cause.
It is understandable that funding for each state and federal program needs to be reviewed due to budgetary constraints. An extensive review of the stream gage program funding is welcomed, as their value to the safety of Lake Champlain basin residents and the health of Lake Champlain is apparent.
Without stream gages, we would lose invaluable information that indispensably contributes to how we understand Lake Champlain and its tributaries. We would be forced to make uninformed decisions that could come with irrevocable and preventable consequences. This lack of data would likely reduce the accuracy of Lake Champlain conservation and pollution prevention programs. As a result, these programs could become more costly.
Please ensure funding for all existing stream gages within the Lake Champlain basin.
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