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Muskegon River Gaging Station

A cache by gvsu4msu Send Message to Owner Message this owner
Hidden : 4/21/2008
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 Muskegon 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 your GPSr and the gage house in the background
  2. Post a picture of yourself/team with your GPSr and the Croton Dam in the background
  3. E-mail the flow rates a the time of your visit, and for the corresponding week prior - Real time data for this gage station
  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. E-mail the water temperatures at the time of your visit, and for the corresponding week prior - Real time data for this gage station
  6. In your e-mail, provide a brief explanation of the differences in the water flow rate, depth, and temperature.
  • 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).

Muskegon River Gaging Station

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

The Muskegon River is a river in the western portion of the lower peninsula of the U.S. state of Michigan. The river has its headwaters in Houghton Lake in Roscommon County, flowing out of the North Bay into neighboring Missaukee County. For there it flows mostly southwest to Muskegon, Michigan, where it empties into Muskegon Lake. Muskegon Lake is connected to Lake Michigan via a mile-long channel.

The river has several major branches, such as the Hersey River, Cedar Creek and Little Muskegon River. The Hardy Dam, one of the world's largest earthen dams, is on the Muskegon River. Other dams include Croton Dam. Like many of its neighboring streams, the Muskegon river was one of the favored logging rivers during the boom years of the 1880s-1890s, and a keen eye can still pick out remnants of stray logs left over from the spring logging runs which embedded on the river bottom. There is abundant wildlife, including otters, waterfowl, deer and eagles and, although development has been creeping in, the upper reaches are still fairly remote and natural with much of the surrounding land composed of state-owned tracts. In recent years, the river has gained a certain measure of fame as a recreational fishery, boasting large migratory steelhead, brown trout and planted Pacific salmon.

The Muskegon River Watershed is located in north-central Michigan and is approximately 219 miles long from its start at Houghton and Higgins Lake down to its mouth at Muskegon Lake and, eventually, Lake Michigan.  The Muskegon River Watershed is one of the largest in Michigan, spanning over 2,700 square miles.second only to the Grand River Watershed. The Muskegon River Watershed spans across the better part of nine counties: Wexford, Missaukee, Roscommon, Osceola, Clare, Mecosta, Montcalm, Newaygo, and Muskegon. Cities and towns located within the boundaries of the Muskegon River Watershed include; Cadillac, Lake City, McBain, Marion, Evart, Reed City, Big Rapids, Mecosta, Morley, Lakeview, Howard City, Newaygo, Fremont, and Muskegon. An estimated ninety-four tributaries flow into the main trunk of the Muskegon River.  The Muskegon River is fed by wetlands, groundwater springs, lakes, agricultural drains, and warm, cool, and cold water tributaries.  The cool and cold water tributaries help to sustain trout and other cool-cold water aquatic species in the Muskegon River.  Land Use/land cover in the Muskegon River Watershed is almost an even mix of forest and agriculture.

Here is an interactive map of the Muskegon 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 CONSUMERS ENERGY

This station is managed by the GRAYLING FIELD OFFICE

Here is a picture of the Gage House

and another picture looking upstream

Here is a picture of the Croton Dam - walk North up the path from the gaging station.

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

"Muskegon" is derived from the Ottawa Indian term ‘Masquigon’ meaning "marshy river or swamp." The "Masquigon" river was identified on French maps dating from the late seventeenth century, suggesting that French explorers had reached Michigan's western coast by that time.

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

The highest water level measurement was 16.80 ft on 09/12/1986

The lowest water level measurement was 0 ft on 07/17/1997
Congratulations to WILLY for being the first to find this Earthcache.

Additional Hints (No hints available.)



104 Logged Visits

Found it 101     Write note 2     Publish Listing 1     

View Logbook | View the Image Gallery of 191 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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