April / May 2011
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Watching the Rivers Run

In northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan, springtime is often flood time, particularly when a lot of snow melts quickly. We have tools that we can use to monitor floodwaters and prepare.

The waterwatch site of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) is one resource. The site shows real-time data from gages in streams across the country including the Portage, the Ottawa, and the length of the Maumee River.

A new gage has recently been installed at the University of Toledo on the Ottawa River. Maumee River Coordinator Matt Horvat watched the gage during a recent storm. “We were able to see it crest on a Tuesday and fall about a foot throughout the day,” he said. This information will be helpful as Mr. Horvat monitors the effects of a dam removal project in the area.

This chart is measuring the flood stage of the Ottawa River, or its height above normal water levels. River gages also measure total discharge of water, which is the volume rate of water flow, usually measured in cubic meters per second.

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