Visiting any Earth Cache is more than just "Logging A Find". It is an "Earth Science Lesson", and I hope you will enjoy mine.
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 rivers height in today's world can be critical to adjacent properties, both residential and rural farming lands. Primary considerations to be considered are excessive snowfall and rainfall, drought conditions and possible water diversions. The collected information is recorded by a site visit or is transmitted via telephone or a satellite communication system to the stations owner. St. Joseph River Gaging Station at Three Rivers, Michigan The St. Joseph River (locally known as the St. Joe) is a river, approximately 210 mi (338 km) long, in southern Michigan and northern Indiana in the United States. It drains a primarily rural farming area in the watershed of Lake Michigan. It was enormously important in the days of Native Americans and the colonial settlement as a canoe route between Lake Michigan and the watershed of the Mississippi River. It is sometimes known as St. Joseph River of Lake Michigan to distinguish it from the nearby St. Joe River in the Maumee River watershed. The Three Rivers Gaging Station is operated by the USGS (United States Geological Survey). Recording started in 1953. This gaging station records water height and discharge and transmits its data back to the USGS headquarters. Very close to this location, two other rivers meet the Saint Joseph River, the Portage and Rocky Rivers. The posted coordinates above will lead you to the staff gauge. Gauging 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.
BEFORE you log this cache:
1) Post a picture of yourself/team with gps with the gauge house in the background.
2) Record the height of the river on the appropriate staff gage and post your reading on the cache page.
Failure to meet these simple requirements will delete your log without notice.
As of March 24 2009, pre-posting a find on this cache will be deleted without notice. Please post your find when you get your logs/pictures in order and not before.