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Macatawa River Gaging Station

A cache by gvsu4msu Send Message to Owner Message this owner
Hidden : 3/7/2008
1.5 out of 5
1.5 out of 5

Size: Size: not chosen (not chosen)

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Geocache Description:



This earthcache is designed to show the how today’s rivers are monitored/regulated. The above coordinates above will take you to a USGS gage station. USGS is the United States Geological Survey. These gauging stations are used for water resources, specifically the Macatawa River in this case. The station here is continuously measuring the depth and the amount of flow of the river.

It is very important to monitor, and control the river’s flow for several reasons. We can start with the control of flooding or at least the warning of flooding. An important reason for this gauging and regulating of the river is to limit erosion of the river banks. Though erosion will always take place it can be held to a minimal. Ground water also depends on these regulated flows. Ground waters include some small lakes, marshes and wetlands.

A gaging station is a facility used by hydrologists and others to monitor streams, rivers, lakes, canals, reservoirs, and other bodies of water. Gaging stations typically collect information such as water height and discharge (flow). The collected information is recorded by a site visit or is transmitted via telephone or a satellite communication system to the stations owner.

Logging Requirements

To log this cache you will need to complete the following.
  1. Post a picture of yourself/team with with your GPSr and the gage house in the background
  2. E-mail the flow rates a the time of your visit, and for the corresponding week prior -  Real time data for this gage station
  3. Provide a brief explanation as to why you believe these rates are different.
  4. E-mail the water lever the river was at the time of your visit, and for the corresponding week prior. -  Real time data for this gage station
  5. Provide a brief explanation as to why you believe these levels are different.
  • Be sure to include the time you were there
  • If prior week data is not available due to equipment malfunction, use data for the day when equipment was functioning properly again.
  • Each Cacher that logs a find is required to submit answers to the questions above*** (failure to comply will result in a deletion of your log).
  • The purpose of Earthcaches is for everyone to learn from their visit/experience
  • Combined photos are acceptable, but each cacher must be identified.
All that should be posted with your log will be a photo.
The answers should be e-mailed to us (via our profile) and not posted in your log.
Go ahead and log your find at the same time you're sending your email answers.

*** = the only exception to this are young kids that are caching with their parents (who have their own account, but not computer privileges).

Macatawa River Gaging Station

The Macatawa River Gaging Station is operated by the USGS (United States Geological Survey). This gaging station records water height and discharge and transmits its data back to the USGS headquarters in real time by telephone.

The Macatawa River, also known as the Black River, drains an extensive portion of southern Ottawa County and northern Allegan County before emptying into Lake Macatawa and eventually into Lake Michigan. Lake Macatawa, in southern Ottawa County, is a 1,800-acre drowned river mouth that empties into Lake Michigan. The Macatawa Watershed extends into Allegan County and covers approximately 110,000 acres.

The Lake Macatawa Watershed includes all the land that drains to Lake Macatawa. Laketown, Fillmore, Overisel, Holland, Park, Zeeland, Port Sheldon, Olive, and Blendon Townships. All have some land in the Macatawa Watershed, as well as the cities of Holland and Zeeland.

The shape of the Macatawa River basin is nearly circular. It is approximately fifteen and a half miles in length from the eastern upper reaches to Lake Michigan. The six main tributaries take shape in the upper reaches of the basin and flow downstream to the central part of the basin to feed the Macatawa River. All but one of these tributaries join the Macatawa River upstream of Lake Macatawa. The Pine Creek tributary enters Lake Macatawa directly. Here is a map of the
Macatawa River Watershed. (A watershed is an area of land that drains to a common point)

The posted coordinates above will lead you to the gage house. This brick structure holds the stream gaging equipment - typically a gage of some type, a computer, and communications equipment. A stilling well or a vertical pipe is located beneath the gage house. Water enters the well through one or more inlet pipes. The water in the well rises to the same level as the stream. Recording equipment in the gage house records the water level in the well. Communications equipment transmits the data to the USGS.

Station operated in cooperation with the
Michigan Department of Environmental Quality

This station is managed by the LANSING FIELD OFFICE

Please be careful - the gaging station is located right next to the road

Parking is not allowed on 96th Avenue, however parking is located close by -North of the bridge

Parking is available N42 46.837 W86 01.078 (which is approx .14 miles north of the gaging station - easy walk, just watch for traffic)

Here is a picture of the Gage House'. It has a sign on the door identitfying it.

Gaging Station History
In the 1880's, John Wesley Powell, the second director of the USGS, requested that stream flow be monitored in eight river basins in the West. It was his idea to measure the flow of streams and rivers and determine the viability of irrigation systems for this acrid region. In 1889, the first U.S. stream gaging station was established on the Rio Grande River in New Mexico. At this station, standard stream flow measurement procedures were devised.

Today, the USGS operates and maintains more than 85% of the nation's stream gaging stations. There are over 7,000 stream gaging stations in the United States, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Territories of the Pacific Islands.

The USGS uses it's stream gaging network to provide a free continuous source of well documented and archived water data. This data is used by government agencies and private companies to forecast flooding, design bridges, allocate drinking and irrigation water, for recreational use, and to manage our valuable surface water resources.

Real time data for this gage station may be found the internet at:

Addtional Stuff

The name Macatawa is a corruption of the Native American "Muck-i-ta-wog-go-me", which means "black water"

The region was inhabited by Ottawas, Chippewas and Potawatomie tribes.

This small river (closer to Holland) is the site of the annual tug-of-war by Hope College students called The Pull

The Macatawa River (MI) 2007 RED JEEP Travel Bug - Click here to view logs

congratulations to drewman1962 and skeptic1970on the FTF for this Earthcache

Additional Hints (No hints available.)



170 Logged Visits

Found it 166     Write note 3     Publish Listing 1     

View Logbook | View the Image Gallery of 160 images

**Warning! Spoilers may be included in the descriptions or links.

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Rendered From:Unknown
Coordinates are in the WGS84 datum

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