Estimating Flow-Duration and Low-Flow Frequency Statistics for Unregulated Streams in Oregon

Scientific Investigations Report 2008-5126

Prepared in cooperation with the Oregon Department of Transportation
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Flow statistical datasets, basin-characteristic datasets, and regression equations were developed to provide decision makers with surface-water information needed for activities such as water-quality regulation, water-rights adjudication, biological habitat assessment, infrastructure design, and water-supply planning and management. The flow statistics, which included annual and monthly period of record flow durations (5th, 10th, 25th, 50th, and 95th percent exceedances) and annual and monthly 7-day, 10-year (7Q10) and 7-day, 2-year (7Q2) low flows, were computed at 466 streamflow-gaging stations at sites with unregulated flow conditions throughout Oregon and adjacent areas of neighboring States. Regression equations, created from the flow statistics and basin characteristics of the stations, can be used to estimate flow statistics at ungaged stream sites in Oregon. The study area was divided into 10 regression modeling regions based on ecological, topographic, geologic, hydrologic, and climatic criteria. In total, 910 annual and monthly regression equations were created to predict the 7 flow statistics in the 10 regions. Equations to predict the five flow-duration exceedance percentages and the two low-flow frequency statistics were created with Ordinary Least Squares and Generalized Least Squares regression, respectively. The standard errors of estimate of the equations created to predict the 5th and 95th percent exceedances had medians of 42.4 and 64.4 percent, respectively. The standard errors of prediction of the equations created to predict the 7Q2 and 7Q10 low-flow statistics had medians of 51.7 and 61.2 percent, respectively. Standard errors for regression equations for sites in western Oregon were smaller than those in eastern Oregon partly because of a greater density of available streamflow-gaging stations in western Oregon than eastern Oregon. High-flow regression equations (such as the 5th and 10th percent exceedances) also generally were more accurate than the low-flow regression equations (such as the 95th percent exceedance and 7Q10 low-flow statistic). The regression equations predict unregulated flow conditions in Oregon. Flow estimates need to be adjusted if they are used at ungaged sites that are regulated by reservoirs or affected by water-supply and agricultural withdrawals if actual flow conditions are of interest. The regression equations are installed in the USGS StreamStats Web-based tool (, accessed July 16, 2008). StreamStats provides users with a set of annual and monthly flow-duration and low-flow frequency estimates for ungaged sites in Oregon in addition to the basin characteristics for the sites. Prediction intervals at the 90-percent confidence level also are automatically computed.

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Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Estimating Flow-Duration and Low-Flow Frequency Statistics for Unregulated Streams in Oregon
Series title:
Scientific Investigations Report
Series number:
Year Published:
Geological Survey (U.S.)
Contributing office(s):
Oregon Water Science Center
vi, 23 p.
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