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Paper No. 2
Presentation Time: 1:45 PM


ARCHULETA, Christy-Ann M. and REECE, Brian D., U.S. Geological Survey, Texas Water Science Center, 1505 Ferguson, Austin, TX 78754,

The USGS collects and stores a wealth of environmental data including water-related data. With its long history of water-data collection, the USGS is the steward of many diverse data sets rich in unique information including historical documentation of natural and anthropogenically-related changes in streamflow and stream channels. USGS hydrologists and hydrographers have established stations throughout the United States where streamflow measurements have been made for decades. In addition to streamflow data which are in the USGS National Water Information System (NWIS), these scientists have documented, mostly, through the use of field notes, photos, slides, and other physical records, a wealth of ancillary data including observations regarding changing streamflow conditions, changes in riparian vegetation (by flooding or by invasive species), geomorphologic changes to stream channels, and unique historic flood information obtained from interviewing eyewitnesses to extreme events such as landowners who have observed changes in streamflow and channel conditions for many years. These ancillary data have been stored for decades in Federal archives. As these physical records age, they are at risk of deteriorating or otherwise becoming lost to future generations.

A data rescue and recovery project is underway as a prototype to improve and increase accessibility to ancillary USGS water data stored in Federal archives. This project also addresses the risk of data and information loss from obsolete media such as deteriorating slides, punch cards, and floppy disks. More than 100 years of photos, measurements, reports, charts, maps, and other data from this comprehensive data rescue operation for one USGS streamflow-gaging station are now stored in a database and available online. The methods developed and lessons learned during this effort have been documented and are now being applied to other USGS streamflow-gaging stations.

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