The Gazette covers City Hall, now a flood-damaged icon on May's Island in the Cedar River

Two new gauges now in Cedar River above Cedar Rapids to help track times when river turns surly

In Floods on April 16, 2009 at 9:29 am

Two new gauges are now in place in the Cedar River above Cedar Rapids to help monitor rising river water in the future, Ken DeKeyser, the city’s storm water management engineer, reports.

One gauge is in the river at Blairs Ferry Road (E-36) at Palo and a second in the river at Vinton. A third gauge, which has been in place, is above the Eighth Avenue bridge in downtown Cedar Rapids.

DeKeyser reports that the cost of installation and maintenance of the gauge at Vinton is being handled by the U.S. Geological Survey, while the jurisdictions of Cedar Rapids, Linn County and Palo are sharing equally in the $12,800 installation cost of the gauge at Palo. The annual cost to operate the gauge at Palo is $14,500, 40 percent of which is covered by USGS. Cedar Rapids, Linn County and Palo each will pay $2,900 a year to operate and maintain the gauge at Palo.

The annual operating and maintenance cost for the Cedar Rapids gauge is split between the city and USGS, with the city paying 40 percent and USGS 60 percent.

Residents can see readings from the gauges at http://waterdata.usgs.gov/ia/nwis/rt

(On Wednesday, readings were available on the USGS Web site for all three gauges. On Thursday, the two new gauges had been removed from the Web site’s map, but will return.)

The two new river gauges and a renovated Cedar Rapids gauge are seen by public officials as crucial in better forecasting what the Cedar River is up to.

The Cedar Rapids gauge failed as the river’s flood crest approached Cedar Rapids last June. And there were no gauges in place immediately upstream to help read the river.

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