Approximately ten years ago the Upper Nehalem Watershed Council, led by Maggie Peyton, received a grant from the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board to install an automated river gauge on Rock Creek. The purpose of the gauge was to alert the City to low flows that occur during the late summer in order to protect fish by reducing the amount of city water drawn out of Rock Creek. Initially, the creek levels were sent to the City and the Water Resources Department (WRD) via telephone line, but that method was too expensive for the City, so for years the gauge data have been read and transmitted manually.
In the meantime, Vernonia experienced flooding and attention understandably turned to seeing stream data on the Web in near real-time. That finally came to pass Thursday, September 26th when the WRD’s Richard Marvin, Watermaster Greg Beaman and Kara Morris installed a satellite telemetry link to the gauge. The project is being funded by the WRD. Andy Bryant, hydrologist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), put the Rock Creek data on the NOAA website. Emergency personnel have relied on Nehalem River data on the Web, but now have the ability to add data from the Rock Creek gauge to their arsenal during weather-related events.
The Rock Creek gauge may be accessed at:
The Nehalem River gauge upstream of Vernonia near Clear Creek may be accessed at: http://water.weather.gov/ahps2/hydrograph.php?wfo=pqr&gage=veno3