Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks needs river gauges to determine fishing (and boating) conditions, so when the US Geological Survey said it was going to stop maintaining four of the state’s river gauges because of the sequester’s funding cuts, the state said it would keep the gauges going.
According to an Associated Press story that ran in the Flathead Beacon, the USGS says it saves about $16,000 a year for each gauge it shuts down. USGS staff visit each gauge about ten times a year to make adjustments for silt build up, channel changes, debris and other river events.
That article and other in the Billings Gazette and Ravalli Republic don’t make clear whether state personnel will take over maintaining the gauges or some other arrangement has been made. It does seem clear, however, that the arrangement will last until September.
Montana’s Department of Natural Resources is also contributing to keep the gauges operational, the Flathead Beacon article says.