The Hydrologic Bench-Mark Network was established in the 1960's. Its objectives were to document the hydrologic characteristics of representative undeveloped watersheds nationwide and to provide a comparative base for studying the effects of man on the hydrologic environment. The network, which consists of 57 streamflow gaging stations and one lake-stage station in 39 States, is planned for permanent operation.
This interim report describes streamflow characteristics at each bench-mark site and identifies time trends in annual streamflow that have occurred during the data-collection period.
The streamflow characteristics presented for each streamflow station are (1) flood and low-flow frequencies, (2) flow duration, (3) annual mean flow, and (4) the serial correlation coefficient for annual mean discharge. In addition, Kendall's tau is computed as an indicator of time trend in annual discharges. The period of record for most stations was 13 to 17 years, although several stations had longer periods of record. The longest period was 65 years for Merced River near Yosemite, Calif.
Records of flow at 6 of 57 streamflow sites in the network showed a statistically significant change in annual mean discharge over the period of record, based on computations of Kendall's tau. The values of Kendall's tau ranged from -0.533 to 0.648. An examination of climatological records showed that changes in precipitation were most likely the cause for the change in annual mean discharge.
Additional publication details
USGS Numbered Series
Streamflow characteristics at hydrologic bench-mark stations