Due to budget cuts the USGS has discontinued the gauging station on the Jarbidge river in northern Nevada. This gauge was important to river runners by giving an accurate reading of safe levels. Before the gauge it was a long drive and a big gamble to head out to the Jarbidge only to find it too low or two high. According to Steven Berris at the USGS Office in Nevada, the Jarbidge River gauge, like all gauging stations in Nevada, costs $21,600 per year. The USFS had been

paying for the operation of the Jarbidge Gauge until this Sept. These funds are for hardware, instrumentation, and labor to operate and maintain the gauge, perform discharge measurements, collect the stage data and upload that data to our database, compute the discharge record, QA/QC the discharge record, and publish the discharge record.

There are two major ways the USGS can provide funding to operate gauges like the Jarbidge River gauge. The most common is the Federal Matching Program and much less common is the National Streamflow Information Program (NSIP).

First, the NSIP Program. Through the NSIP program, gauges can be 100 percent funded using USGS funds allocated from the NSIP Program, which is authorized by Congress. This program is under-funded, but ultimately, if gauging stations operated by the USGS are to be fully funded by the USGS, the NSIP Program would be the method to do that. Unfortunately, Nevada has 100 percent of its NSIP funds allocated towards other gauges so there are no additional funds available to fund the Jarbidge gauge from this program. Unfortunately, that program took about a 2 percent reduction last year.

Second, through the Federal Matching Program, the USGS can provide up to 50 percent matching funds towards gaging station operations. The USGS can provide the matching funds working with local agencies with taxing authorities, such as Elko County. Unfortunately, the USGS cannot match other Federal agencies such as the Forest Service or BLM. Therefore, the USFS fully funded the Jarbidge gauge over many years, including $21,600 last year. Unfortunately, the BLM dropped the gauging station Marys River near Orange Bridge near Charleston, NV, so it is unlikely they have available funds.

However, if another local agency can be found or better yet, a consortium of agencies to split the costs, the USGS can provide the 50 percent matching funds. For now, funds are not available for its operation and it appears that finding a cooperative to partner with will be difficult.

TJ Clifford at the BLM in Boise stated in an email that the BLM did not have the funds. The BLM administers the lands surrounding the Jarbidge and provides services at the put-in as well as staffing a river patrol. Considering the recent inclusion of the Jarbidge in the Bruneau-Jarbidge Rivers Wilderness in 2009, it is surprising that funds for recreation and support services, like a river gauge, within the wilderness were not allocated.

If you would like to voice your opinion regarding the discontinuation of the Jarbidge Gauge, write to Robert Mason (Acting Chief, USGS Office of Surface Water, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) and J. Michael Norris (Coordinator, National Streamflow Information Program, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) at USGS Headquarters. It is unlikely that there is an easy answer, but both of them would like to know about interest in discontinued Jarbidge gauge. They can use information you provide them to communicate the importance of the gauging station program to others in the Department of Interior and Congress.