Collection of Hydrologic Data on Tidally Affected Streams

Author(s): Runner, M. ;  Massingill, D.

The U.S. Geological Survey began collecting streamflow and other hydrologic data in Mississippi in the late 1800’s. Until recent advances in acoustic technology and its application to hydrologic data collection, it was difficult to collect accurate streamflow data on rivers and streams where stage-discharge relations were affected by varying tide. The greater the tidal affect, the more difficult the data collection. On streams where tides cause the flow to fully reverse, the collection of reasonably accurate continuous data was practically impossible.

By using acoustic technology to collect time-series velocity data and make discharge measurements, the U.S. Geological Survey now operates and maintains four continuous-record surface-water discharge stations, and an additional station where the technology is used to monitor bed scour at bridge piers. At one of these stations, the varying tide primarily affects periods of low flow. At the remaining four stations, the flow fully reverses direction as the tide changes. The streams range in size from large rivers such as the Pearl and Pascagoula Rivers, to small first order streams such as Bayou Heron in the far southeastern part of the State. Data also were collected at monitoring stations (which are now discontinued) on the Escatawpa and Jourdan Rivers. It has been observed that the smaller the stream and corresponding flow, the greater the effect the tide has on the stream, and not surprisingly, the more difficult the data collection.

The computation of discharge on a tidally affected stream requires the collection of data to develop relations between the stage, or water level, and the cross sectional area, and between an index velocity measured by an in situ velocity sensor and an average velocity computed from a streamflow measurement. It is the collection of these two data sets and the product of the computed area and average velocity that provides continuous discharge values.


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Responsible Site Design: Implementing Innovative Stormwater Management Strategies

The primary goal of the workshop is to create a dynamic learning experience that examines the role of stormwater management in the built environment. The workshop will focus on integrating ecologically sound water management approaches into site design. After the workshop, attendees will be familiar with the following concepts and technical issues:

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