The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) has operated streamflow-gaging stations in 1,053 watersheds in the Upper Colorado River Basin (UCRB) since 1894. Currently, 223 of these streamgages are active. This report presents selected watershed characteristics for 10,338 watersheds in the UCRB. These watersheds are compared to the watersheds upstream of USGS streamgages to assess how well the USGS streamgage network represents the physical characteristics of the watersheds in the entire basin. To conduct this assessment, 17 watershed characteristics, including physiographic parameters, land cover types, lithology, and parameters that describe anthropogenic influence, were computed for each of the gaging station drainage basins. The set of 10,338 watersheds in the UCRB was constructed from a previously developed stream-reach network, and the same 17 basin characteristics were computed for each watershed to facilitate comparisons. The USGS streamgage watersheds and the UCRB watersheds were split into those that are currently unaffected by upstream reservoir regulation and those currently affected by upstream reservoir regulation. In general, for unregulated watersheds, the streamgage network represents the range of most basin characteristics in the watersheds of the UCRB. However, the active streamgage network for unregulated watersheds is generally lacking in representation of most basin characteristics compared with watersheds in the UCRB. At regulated locations, the streamgage network including the active network, generally represents the range of most basin characteristics well.
Additional Publication Details
USGS Numbered Series
Analysis of watersheds monitored by the U.S. Geological Survey streamflow-gaging station network in the Upper Colorado River Basin
Scientific Investigations Report
U.S. Geological Survey
Utah Water Science Center
vi, 47 p.; Appendix; Download of Readme File; ZIP Download of Guide