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The United States is undergoing a dramatic growth of population and demands on its natural resources. The effects are widespread and often produce significant alterations of the environment. The hydrologic bench-mark network was established to provide data on stream basins which are little affected by these changes. The network is made up of selected stream basins which are not expected to be significantly altered by man. Data obtained from these basins can be used to document natural changes in hydrologic characteristics with time, to provide a better understanding of the hydrologic structure of natural basins, and to provide a comparative base for studying the effects of man on the hydrologic environment.
There are 57 bench-mark basins in 37 States. These basins are in areas having a wide variety of climate and topography. The bench-mark basins and the types of data collected in the basins are described.