USGS Potomac River Gauge Station - Edwards Ferry
The National Park Service (NPS), Chesapeake and Ohio Canal NHP, received a permit request from United States Geological Survey (USGS) to establish a river gauge structure near Edwards Ferry, Mile 30.84 of the park, near Chisel Branch Hiker Biker Campground. This station would provide hourly readings for the water levels of the Potomac River. This station is a replacement of an existing station, which is located upstream of the Edwards Ferry boat ramp. The river gauge system of the Potomac River is a critical system in the management of health and safety of the Potomac River Valley's inhabitants and resources, including the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal NHP.
USGS analyzed the Potomac River at Edwards Ferry and requested to relocate the river gauge to an area approximately 600 yards downstream of the boat ramp. A critical project component was the capability to monitor river levels not only during normal and flood conditions, but also during dry weather conditions. As a result, a deeper pool/channel area of the river needs to be available for the river sensor.
A shoreline structure will be constructed to hold monitoring equipment. The equipment will need to be above the 100 year floodplain. The structure will be approximately 12 feet tall and will be constructed of either wood or metal. The communication cable will connect the monitoring equipment with the sensor and will be buried approximate 8 inches below grade. The monitoring structure will be colored to blend in with the surrounding environment. Appropriate signage will be established to clearly identify the site as a federal river monitoring station.
The park's Interdisciplinary Team reviewed the project for impacts to natural and cultural resources. The project does not pose any serious or long-term effects to the environmental, historical, cultural, archeological, or visual resources. It meets categorical exclusion #C.19 Construction or rehabilitation in previously disturbed or developed areas, required to meet health or safety regulations, or to meet requirements for making facilities accessible to the handicapped.
The project also meets the National Historic Preservation Act/Section 106 Programmatic Agreement, Streamlined Review Criteria #8 – Installation of Environmental Monitoring Units.
For further information about this project, please contact Permit Coordinator, at 1850 Dual Highway, Suite 100, Hagerstown, MD 21740.