Originally Posted by shappattack
The math and numbers really do matter. Does anyone think that floating the upper MF say at 600 cfs would be harder than 800 cfs? These could equal the same stage, for example 1.7 feet on the gage in 2 different years. Why did you get stuck 1 year in sulphur slide at 1.7 and not in the next year at 1.7, was it because you were in a different boat, or because you had 1 - 12 pack too many, or because the "flow" was not the same.
Of course the numbers matter. In a general way. As much as any abstract data can mean anything.
To get a real 'flow' you would take a very large bucket and fill it for one second and measure the cubic feet to get an actual concrete number. For me, anything other than that is theoretical.
Because cfs at any time is gauged on the Middle Fork by towing a little boat around the river to get a depth profile and current velocities of a constantly changing entity. Then they get some sort square footage of a plane that is constantly fluxing with hundreds of micro fluctuations of the river per day. Even on a low flow change day there is a 20 to 50 cfs change in the day.
That calculation of "flow" then gets calibrated to "the stick in the mud" on the side of the river which in this case is a little more sophisticated- using photovoltaics, floats, intake tubes and a stilling well set off to the side of the river. Then that number is sent up to a satellite through the inter webs to a USGS site where it is converted back to a guesstimate of what CFS it is flowing. Twenty minutes ago.
To say that a flow of 1,000 cfs is more concrete or better number than 2 feet without a personal reference point is overconfidence in a fictional number.
Cfs is better to use to compare with other similar rivers in a general way.