National Park Service

San Francisco Bay Area Network (SFAN)

Streamflow Characteristics Monitoring

Water Flow station on Olema Creek in Point Reyes NS
Conducting stream discharge measurement at Olema Creek stream gauging station in Point Reyes NS

Monitoring Documents

Real-time surface-water data

Parks monitored:

For more information contact: Darren Fong


Streamflow Monitoring brief

Streamflow monitoring in the San Francisco Bay Area Network parks resource brief
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Streamflow characteristics offer some of the most appropriate and useful indicators for assessing watershed health in the San Francisco Bay Area Network (SFAN). Streamflow dynamics are extremely sensitive to human activities and reflect weather and climate conditions, vegetation and soil type, land characteristics, and human use. Common human activities, such as increasing impervious surface area in watersheds, change the timing and magnitude of peak runoff events resulting in "flashy" systems. Such hydrologic variation shapes the biotic diversity within stream ecosystems by controlling critical habitat conditions. Stream hydrology data provides key "support" data for existing NPS vital signs, including threatened and endangered fish, amphibian, and reptile species, wetlands, freshwater quality, and riparian habitat.

The SFAN I&M Program monitors streamflow at six stations, including two within Golden Gate National Recreation Area, one at the Presidio of San Francisco, two at Point Reyes National Seashore, and one at Pinnacles National Park. Primary monitoring tasks at these stations include obtaining stream discharge measurements; capturing low-flow conditions as well as peak flow; downloading, maintaining, and calibrating hydrologic equipment; and refining the methodology for these tasks. These tasks are conducted monthly throughout the year and during winter storms in order to establish a calculated relationship between water level and discharge for each stream.

Additional information about streamflow monitoring in SFAN parks can be found on the San Francisco Bay Area National Parks and Learning Center webpage on rivers and streams.

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Last Updated: December 30, 2016 Contact Webmaster