The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), in cooperation with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, the New York State Power Authority, Brookfield Renewable Power, and Union College, developed this monitoring system and interactive dashboard to help emergency managers efficiently and effectively assess river conditions and the potential for ice jam flooding along the Mohawk River near Schenectady, NY.
The monitoring system includes 4 USGS streamgages between Lock 8 and Vischer Ferry Dam and two publicly available web cams:
The 4 streamgages record river height at 5-minute intervals and discharge at Freeman's Bridge at 15-minute intervals. The 4 streamgages report data via GOES satellite transmissions every 15-minute intervals to ensure rapid delivery of data into the USGS National Water Information System (NWIS) and the ice jam dashboard. The dashboard incorporates data collected from the streamgages and displays them graphically for quick evaluation of current conditions, as well as access to historical data.
In addition to the current water level conditions, three simple models were developed to estimate the magnitude of ice-related backwater at Lock E8, Freeman's Bridge, and Rexford. The amount of ice-related backwater is derived from the difference between current river height conditions and the modeled ice-free river profile at each of the three locations. The difference, measured in feet, can be monitored in near-real time, or over time, to determine if the backwater may be increasing or decreasing.
To provide a visual aid for monitoring ice conditions, publicly accessible, day and night vision Pan-Tilt-Zoom (PTZ) web cameras are installed at Lock 8, and in Schenectady’s Stockade District. These cameras display live video and are used to create an image archive of the river at these locations from December 1st through April 1st. The web cameras allow temporary user control where users can select between three preset views (upstream, downstream and across the channel).
To remain aware of potentially significant changes in river conditions when not using the dashboard, USGS WaterAlert subscriptions are available for users to receive email or text messages when specified measurements exceed a user defined threshold.
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