Congressman Dave Loebsack today released the following statement supporting continued funding for the U.S. Geological Survey's (USGS) Stream Gaging Network which oversees 7,000 stream gages on rivers nationwide, including many in Iowa, as well as on the Mississippi River. According to the USGS and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), over the past several years, funding for the program has been relatively flat and potential cuts could result in the further discontinuation of service of stream gages.
"Since the Floods of 2008, I have worked tirelessly to help Iowa recover. These gages provide a vital public service, ensuring our communities can be prepared and well-informed in the event of future flooding," said Loebsack. "I am concerned about proposed cuts to the stream gage program and I will continue to work with the USGS and the USACE to ensure a comprehensive and accurate system is in place to maintain the viability of accurate forecasting and research and help ensure the safety of our communities."
Earlier today, the USGS and USACE hosted a Stream Gaging Network Stakeholders meeting in Iowa City to highlight the consequences of further funding reductions. These funding reductions have already resulted in the discontinuation of service of several stream gages, with further reductions likely if funding continues to be reduced. According to USGS and the USACE, impacts of discontinuation of stream gages include:
--reduced ability to determine flooding areas and impacts,
--less accurate forecasts of reservoir inflows,
--less accurate forecasts needed to meet downstream flow targets,
--loss of long-term flow records which results in less accurate information for environmental assessments and flood reduction designs,
--loss of vital information needed to meet Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) regulatory requirements.