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BUDGET CUTS: Possible Funding Could Save Flood Gauges

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A local government agency may be able to save two of the three flood gauges put on the chopping block following federal budget cuts.

The U.S. Geological Survey announced Wednesday that the gauges in Finchford, Humbdolt and Bedford would be shut off on Friday. The gauges monitor river levels, stream flow and water quality, and are used by a number of agencies around the state.

Officials with the National Weather Service told our affiliate KWWL that the gauges help them alert cities to flooding before it happens. In particular back in the floods of 2008 the Finchford gauge accounted for the 5 foot crest that eventually hit the Waterloo-Cedar Falls area.

Despite their usefulness the USGS says they chose the three gauges because they service fewer needs than others around the state.  “The reason why we chose those three sites is because the USGS really wasn’t collecting other information at this site such as water quality or didn’t meet any of the additional needs of USGS It’s not to diminish it, or that the flood forecasting isn’t important to us. It is very important to us,” USGS Hydrologist Jon Nania said.

On Thursday, Nania said a local government agency is working to get funding for the Finchford and Humboldt gauges. If all goes as planned they may be able to keep the two gauges working until September.