USDA Forest Service

Pacific Southwest Research Station

Pacific Southwest
Research Station

800 Buchanan Street
Albany, CA 94710-0011
(510) 883-8830
United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service. USDA logo which links to the department's national site. Forest Service logo which links to the agency's national site.

Research Topics Water and Watersheds

Kings River Experimental Watersheds:
Participating Programs
Contributing Scientists and Staff
Highlighted Research

Kings River Experimental Watersheds (KREW)

Small Flume (Providence 301) measures stream flow throughout the year

Stream Discharge

Stream discharge is probably the most fundamental hydrologic measurement of watershed studies (Gore 1996). Variation in discharge is a factor that can interact with all components of the watershed ecosystem. Management activities, such as logging and prescribed fire, undoubtedly have the potential to alter discharge on a watershed, so accurate, thorough discharge data are a priority for KREW. Parshall-Montana flumes have been installed on KREW study sites to measure stream discharge. Each watershed, except Teakettle, contains one small flume that measures flow throughout most of the year, and one large flume that is used during high-flow events, such as heavy rainstorms. Flow levels are measured at the small flume using an ISCO® 730 Bubbler that records water height and relays the data to a logger located in a shed on the stream bank. Data are downloaded periodically in the field, or via telemetry, from the Fresno office. In addition, Aquarods® are installed at each flume as a backup flow measurement for the small flume and the only measurement for the large flume. Data from the Aquarods are retrieved manually in the field, as they cannot communicate with the data logger. More detailed descriptions of the instrumentation and their selection process can be found in the KREW Study Plan (Hunsaker et al. 2004). The historic wier at the Teakettle stream was rennovated and retrofitted with the same measurement instruments.

Water year 2000 discharge data for four streams

Annual stream discharge divided into four water sources or "casual mechanism"


Gore, J.A. 1996. Discharge Measurements and Streamflow Analysis. In: Haurer F.R. and G.A. Lamberti. Methods in Stream Ecology. pp 53. Academic Press.

Last Modified: Aug 29, 2016 11:24:00 AM