Update 2021-03-09: The funding cost per gauge has gone up, to $22,500, of which usually the USGS contributes about $900.
How much would it cost to fund the Okapilco Creek gage so it won’t go offline July 31st? About $13,600/year, more or less, mostly for field and office labor and administration, with only 10% for the field equipment. Since this gage is located in Brooks County, Georgia, the most likely funding body (after USGS itself) would be the Brooks County Commission. Yes, it’s in WWALS watersheds; no, WWALS doesn’t plan to take on funding streamgages. If some funding organization appeared that wanted to pass the funds through WWALS, which is a 501(c)(3) educational institution, that would be possible. But this seems more like a government issue.
U.S. Geological Survey, Fact Sheet 2010-30, June 2010, Streamgage Operation and Maintenance Cost Evaluation
Forty-one percent of the funding for the typical USGS streamgage is for labor costs of the USGS staff responsible for the measurement of the streamflow in the field and the time in the office to quality assure and finalize the data (fig. 1)….
However, actual costs are specific to a particular streamgage and can vary substantially depending on location and operational issues.
USGS says this gage is located at the GA 333 bridge over Okapilco Creek, just north of Quitman in Brooks County, Georgia. 30°49’32” N 83°33’45” W (30.825556, -83.562500), elevation 104.1 feet. It’s been reporting discharge since 1979 and water levels since 1999.
Okapilco Creek starts in Turner County, runs through Moultrie in Colquitt County, then Quitman in Brooks County, before joining the Withlacoochee River at the Lowndes County line.
See the red line on the USGS Streamer map.
And see below the watershed of Lower Okapilco Creek according to EPA MyWaters Mapper.
This is all solidly in the Withlacoochee River watershed of WWALS original territory.
The Okapilco Creek gage is listed among eleven gages on the Withlacoochee and Little River Water Trail Map and listed for real-time viewing among live water level charts for the Withlacoochee and Little Rivers.
The Lowndes County Commission pays annually for a USGS gage at GA 122 on the Little River. While that Commission is famously unwilling to publish details of what it’s voting on, for its 22 and 23 September 2014 meetings Lowndes Area Knowledge Exchange (LAKE) filed an open records request and got the board packet including three pages about the Little River USGS Stream Gauge”.
The agenda packet sheet says
The cost has remained unchanged since the original installation in 2009.
The first of two pages of the USGS Joint Funding Agreement says
So it seems safe to assume the annual cost of the Okapilco Gage would be about $13,600 a year.
Who will pay this cost for accurate forecasting of Okapilco Creek and Withlacoochee River water levels and flood prediction?