Montana Department of Transportation

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Research

Monitoring Streamflow Using Video Cameras

Smith River Stream Flow

The United States Geological Survey (USGS) is exploring the use of large-scale particle image velocimetry (LSPIV) to obtain measurements of surface velocities in rivers. USGS has installed and is testing LSPIV devices across the United States. The LSPIV setup consists of a video camera and a small computer that records images of particles traveling along the stream surface. Surface velocities are then calculated from the images. This research project involves installing LSPIV equipment at approximately 10 sites (crest-stage gage (CSG) sites or other streamgage or bridge sites) in different stream settings in Montana. LSPIV could greatly improve CSG data collection efforts by supplying velocity measurements during flash floods when personnel cannot reach the sites. LSPIV-obtained measurements may also be used to calculate stream discharges and verify rating curves, thereby improving discharge measurements for CSGs and peak-flow frequency estimates. These measurements may also be used to verify theoretical measurements, calibrate models, and for other hydraulic studies.

For more information, contact , 920-771-0092.