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Southeast Coast Network (SECN)

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Surface Water Dynamics Monitoring

Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area
Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area

Surface Water Dynamics
Monitoring Reports & Briefs

For more information contact: Eric Starkey

Monitoring Objectives

  • Determine the status and trends of stream flow discharge in streams that flow into park boundaries,
  • Determine the frequency, duration, and magnitude of stream discharge during peak flow events in streams that flow into park boundaries.


SECN stream systems have been altered by human activities, including impoundment, channelization, lowering of water tables, increased runoff, acid mine drainage, air and water pollution, sedimentation, recreation and introduced species (including mussels, fishes, and aquatic plants). Overall, surface water dynamics ranked 9th among all of the potential vital signs evaluated by the SECN. Stream flow characteristics offer some of the most appropriate and useful indicators for assessing river ecosystem integrity over time. The hydrologic output of a watershed is a function of the land characteristics and human use, the weather and climate conditions, urbanization and soil characteristics. Hydrologic variation plays a key part in structuring the biotic diversity within river ecosystems by controlling critical habitat conditions within the river channel, the floodplain, and hyporrheic zones. Stream hydrology data provide key "support" data for vital signs indicators including water chemistry, stream T&E species and fish assemblages, T&E amphibians and reptiles, wetlands, and riparian habitat.

Monitoring Approach

Currently there are at least 54 historic or operating stream gauges within SECN. Data from existing gauging stations will be acquired from web-based program archives or real time data feeds as available. Primary monitoring tasks include obtaining stream flows; developing hydrographs and other data analysis tools for each stream gauge; downloading, maintaining, and calibrating hydrologic stations; and refining the methodology for these tasks. Duties also include conducting literature reviews on monitoring parameters, instrumentation, and protocols for hydrologic monitoring. Recommendations for equipment replacement, upgrade, and installation will be made on a regular basis.

Flow data will also be collected in wadeable streams using portable flow meters or current meters following standard USGS protocols as a portion of Stream Habitat monitoring.

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Parks Where Protocol Will Be Implemented

  • Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area (CHAT)
  • Congaree National Park (CONG)
  • Fort Frederica National Monument (FOFR)
  • Fort Matanzas National Monument (FOMA)
  • Fort Pulaski National Monument (FOPU)
  • Fort Sumter National Monument (FOSU)
  • Horseshoe Bend National Military Park (HOBE)
  • Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park (KEMO)
  • Moores Creek National Battlefield (MOCR)
  • Ocmulgee National Monument (OCMU)
  • Timucuan Ecological & Historic Preserve (TIMU)

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Last Updated: June 15, 2017 Contact Webmaster