Every kayaker or fisherman worth their weight in fish knows about the USGS and that one can at a minimum check water height and flow rates for just about any stretch of river in the United States. But did you know that you can also get notifications through email or text messages from the USGS by setting parameters for gage stations that will notify you of changes every day or hour?
Yeah, no kidding, pretty awesome right? Nick and I use this feature on the Brazos River below Possum Kingdom Dam (Graford, Texas USGS) for flow rate and recently we have been feeling the AT&T text love from the USGS. We have a text notification set to tell us when the Graford, Texas USGS station is registering a flow rate greater than 400 CFS. This is pretty handy information to have, given that the Possum Kingdom Dam is 93 miles from the house and it would really suck to show up to find the river as a swirling vortex of doom!
Interested? Let’s use the Graford, Texas USGS Station as an example, then you can go nuts setting these notifications up for your favorite river stretches. Now the Graford, Texas location only offers two pieces of information; gage height and cubic feet per second (CFS) and you can set notifications on either or both, the steps are the same. We will setup a notification for CFS.
Pull up your USGS Station, you will note that under each graph there is text that reads, “Subscribe to Water Alert,” highlighted in yellow.
Click on the WaterAlert hyperlink and you will get the following screen. Simply complete the subscription form, check the acknowledgement box and submit.
Pretty darn painless and it can save you some grief and driving time by setting up these notifications. Give it a try and see what you think, you can always unsubscribe from the notification that the USGS sends. If you have never used the USGS site and have trouble finding your specific area, give us a shout, we will try to help you out as best we can!
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Photo Credit: Brazos River Authority (Possum Kingdom Dam, Texas)