The U.S. Geological Survey has developed a method that will support its popular StreamStats application for the first time in a watershed shared by two countries.

“StreamStats is a Web-based Geographic Information Systems (GIS) application that provides users with access to an assortment of analytical tools that are useful for a variety of water resources planning and management purposes, and for engineering and design purposes,” according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

The ability to use StreamStats in the Lake of the Woods-Rainy River Basin is one practical result of work to harmonize hydrographic data between agencies in Canada and the United States that has been facilitated by the International Joint Commission.

The binational study updated statistical equations that are used to estimate the magnitude and frequency of peak flows on streams in Manitoba, Ontario, and Minnesota within the binational Lake of the Woods–Rainy River Basin.

The effort represents a significant milestone in addressing binational water management objectives and providing timely information to practitioners on both sides of the border for sound planning and monitoring activities. Hydraulic engineers use peak streamflow data to inform designs of bridges, culverts, and dams. Water managers use peak streamflow data to inform regulation and planning activities.

The study will contribute to future international water management efforts, including models used to assess water quality impacts and regulate water levels in the basin. The results have pushed the yardstick further in pursuit of binational scientific collaboration.

The binational study was conducted by the U.S. Geological Survey in cooperation with the International Joint Commission and the Minnesota Department of Transportation. Environment and Climate Change Canada and the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry provided support for the project and assisted with the collection of streamflow data in Canada.

All equations presented in this study have been incorporated into StreamStats, a web-based geographic information system tool developed by the U.S. Geological Survey. StreamStats allows users to obtain streamflow statistics, basin characteristics, and other information for user-selected locations on streams through an interactive map.

The results of the study have been published in a report titled Techniques for Estimating the Magnitude and Frequency of Peak Flows on Small Streams in the Binational U.S. and Canadian Lake of the Woods–Rainy River Basin Upstream from Kenora, Ontario, Canada, Based on Data through Water Year 2013.


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