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TESNAR Program: CSAs

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Jeff Cordova:

This is all part of the TESNAR program. Its a program run by the USGS, and its basically trying to teach tribes technology.

Its important for tribal water resource managers to develop rating curves at stream-flow gaging stations for all ranges in a stream flow. Often due to the flashy nature of high flow events, and the lack of bridges or cable ways at existing tribal stream gages, the slope area method is often used to calculate the discharge of high flow events. The USGS is working with tribes to develop rating curves for the entire range of flows at tribal stream gages using the Continuous Slope Area method or CSA method.

Using the Continuous Slope Area method technicians can calculate the entire flood hydrograph, using the data collected by the CSAs sensors once the flood waters have receded.

With a traditional Standard Slope Area method we are only getting data for the one point in time that the water levels are highest. CSAs continually record data so that we have a good record of the entire hydrograph and not just the peak.

It is critically important that the channel geometry is known, at each cross section, at each sensor in the CSA reach. When CSA sensors are installed, each cross section is surveyed so that the dimensions of the channel at each sensor are known.

These CSAs were installed as redundant sensors, in sites that already have low flow gaging stations. The CSAs piggyback off existing tribal stream gages providing high-flow data, when the low-flow gages are compromised by high flow events. The sensors continuously collect data for months at a time, and provide a continuous record of what occurred at the site.


Title: TESNAR Program: CSAs


TESNAR stands for the Technical training in Support of Native American Relations, and is a program run by the USGS to foster cooperation between tribes and the USGS by providing them with the tools and training to manage their tribal resources, such as water. As shown here, training in the Continuous Slope Area Method can help tribes a great deal, by providing data when their low-flow gages have been compromised by a high-flow events.

Location: Tucson, AZ, USA

Date Taken: 8/8/2013

Length: 1:57

Video Producer: Ashley Foxx , U.S. Geological Survey

Note: This video has been released into the public domain by the U.S. Geological Survey for use in its entirety. Some videos may contain pieces of copyrighted material. If you wish to use a portion of the video for any purpose, other than for resharing/reposting the video in its entirety, please contact the Video Producer/Videographer listed with this video. Please refer to the USGS Copyright section for how to credit this video.

Additional Video Credits:

Chris Smith
Hana Coy
Jeff Cordova

File Details:

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Tags: American Arizona CSA ContinuousSlope-area Fire Floods Hazard Native NativeAmerican TESNAR flood flow gage gaging measuring runoff stream surveying training tribal


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