This report documents the results of a cost-effectiveness study of the stream-gaging program in Maine. Data uses and funding sources were identified for the 51 continuous stream gages currently being operated in Maine with a budget of $211,000. Three stream gages were identified as producing data no longer sufficiently needed to warrant continuing their operation. Operation of these stations should be discontinued. Data collected at three other stations were identified as having uses specific only to short-term studies; it is recommended that these stations be discontinued at the end of the data-collection phases of the studies. The remaining 45 stations should be maintained in the program for the foreseeable future.
The current policy for operation of the 45-station program would require a budget of $180,300 per year. The average standard error of estimation of streamflow records is 17.7 percent. It was shown that this overall level of accuracy at the 45 sites could be maintained with a budget of approximately $170,000 if resources were redistributed among the gages.
A minimum budget of $155,000 is required to operate the 45-gage program; a smaller budget would not permit proper service and maintenance of the gages and recorders. At the minimum budget, the average standard error is 25.1 percent. The maximum budget analyzed was $350,000, which resulted in an average standard error of 8.7 percent.
Large parts of Maine's interior were identified as having sparse streamflow data. It was determined that this sparsity be remedied as funds become available.
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USGS Numbered Series
Cost-effectiveness of the stream-gaging program in Maine; a prototype for nationwide implementation