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News and Events

September Stream Track-a-thon

Friday Sept. 15 - Sunday Oct. 1, 2023


Help us capture fall flow conditions with this two-week data collection blitz when flow conditions are lower.

Tracking on Arapaho & Roosevelt National Forests


Colorado Front Range area

Stream Tracker teams up with Arapaho & Roosevelt National Forests. Help us track intermittent streams critical to forest management, especially following the Cameron Peak Fire.

Flow returns following early season snow

Did you know that most streams do not always have flowing water?

Streams that do not flow all the time are called intermittent streams. In wet regions, they are the smallest headwater streams, but in dry regions, even large streams can be intermittent.

Historically, most stream monitoring has focused on larger streams that flow continuously, and we have surprisingly little information on intermittent streams. Small streams found on topographic or digital maps are not always present on the ground, and other streams on the ground are missing from maps.

Stream Tracker aims to fill in this information gap by combining a network of community volunteers, sensors, and satellite imagery to track when and where streams flow.

Questions guiding Stream Tracker:

  • Where are streams continuously flowing (perennial) and where do they dry (intermittent discontinuous flow)?

  • What causes streams to be intermittent?

  • How does streamflow intermittence change over time?

  • Can a better understanding of streamflow intermittence improve stream mapping and monitoring?


Why Stream Tracker matters:

  • Every major river is fed by smaller streams, some of which only flow after large rains or snowmelt. While these streams look dry and lifeless much of the time, they often support diverse aquatic life when they do flow. By improving our understanding of these streams, we can help improve streamflow forecasts to predict water supply and flood risk. Better maps of small streams can also help with land use planning, habitat assessment, and wetland delineation. Monitoring streams, large and small, provides a more holistic understanding of the watershed and you are the reason this is possible!

Project Components:

Community Network: over 900 community members nationwide, committed to observing streamflow conditions where ever they go

Sensor Network: a network of continuous streamflow sensors maintained to track how streamflow changes over time

Remote Sensing: methods to continue to be developed for detecting streamflow patterns using aircraft and satellite images

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