The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) has been collecting streamflow information since 1889 using nationally consistent methods. The need for such information was envisioned by John Wesley Powell as a key component for settlement of the arid western United States. Because of Powell?s vision the nation now has a rich streamflow data base that can be analyzed with confidence in both space and time. This means that data collected at a stream gaging station in Maine in 1903 can be compared to data collected in 2007 at the same gage in Maine or at a different gage in California. Such comparisons are becoming increasingly important as we work to assess climate variability and anthropogenic effects on streamflow. Training employees in proper and consistent techniques to collect and analyze streamflow data forms a cornerstone for maintaining the integrity of this rich data base.