The Grande Ronde River’s basin covers about 5,000 square miles, and includes several thousand miles of perennial streams. They include the Imnaha, Minam, and Wallowa Rivers.
The Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board recently funded the operation of a dozen stream monitoring gauges throughout the Grande Ronde River basin. The $101,000 grant supports about a third of the 2019 and 2020 water year operating costs.
These stream flow gauges constantly measure the amount of water flowing past a specific spot in a stream and record the data in cubic feet per second.
Information about instantaneous flow at each gauge is available on the Oregon Water Resources Department website: wrd.state.or.us
The information helps manage water for irrigation, fisheries, recreation, and restoration project development.
OWEB notes that these gauges also help track the effects of irrigation water withdrawal and assist in management and enforcement of water right leases, especially during periods of low flow.
Five of the funded gauges are located in Wallowa County, and include stations on the Grande Ronde, Imnaha, Lostine, and Minam Rivers as well as Bear Creek. Gauges also record water quality data.