Best Flow Gauge(s) for Foxton run? - Mountain Buzz

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Old 05-05-2016   #1
Join Date: Mar 2006
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Best Flow Gauge(s) for Foxton run?

I'm trying to find the best way to get the flow at Foxton on the North Fork of the South Platte. I understand the closest gauge on the North Fork is at Bailey, but this always seems to be consistently low, which is understandable given it is something like 15 miles upstream with lots of sidestreams showing on the map. I've tried using the flow just below the confluence of the North and South forks (South Platte at South Platte), and subtracting out the South Fork Flow (South Platte below Brush Creek at Trumbull, maybe 10 miles upstream). This ordinarily works well, but yesterday showed 400cfs in the North Fork, when it was really way lower at maybe 150-200. Yes, there was lots of snow melt runoff, but 200 cfs?
So does anybody have a better way? Thanks!

Bill Tiedt

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Old 05-05-2016   #2
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Boulder, Colorado
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Seems like you're using the best gauges available. Looks like the Trumbull gauge is over 2x as far upstream as the Foxton run so maybe you should be padding the flow from the main stem a bit more heavily. Obviously the additional inflow throughout the run between gauges plays a much greater factor when you have a lot of lower elevation early season melt from storms like we've had.
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Old 05-05-2016   #3
Denver, Colorado
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I think you have done the best you can,subtract the lowest gauge on SP above Waterton (trumball) from Waterton flow...not any significant tribs below Deckers town on South fk.......Elk Crk.,Buffalo Crk,,Craig Crk,and Deer Crk, all come in below Bailey ,not exactly the Amazon basin,but bigger than on the other fork....maybe more is melting off lower elevation stuff on the So Fk's tiny feeder creeks...a gauge at Buffalo Crk. would be perfect, I think there used to be one at Pine....
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Old 05-05-2016   #4
Lakewood, Colorado
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Foxton is well past due for a visual gauge. Can someone please make this happen? At the T would be ideal. Maybe the big rock just upstream of the T?
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Old 05-05-2016   #5
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I ELF'ed boulder garden yesterday and agree with your 150-200cfs assessment. NF does seem to pick up quite a bit of water by the time it hits Waterton. Then ran Deckers and it was padded out nicely probably at least 450-500 based on past runs.

BTW, the gauge that the AW page uses for "Deckers" which I always used to use is total BS - its actually the outflow from Cheeseman ... Don't ever look at that one, use USGS Trumbull for the Deckers run: USGS Current Conditions for USGS 06701900 SOUTH PLATTE RIVER BLW BRUSH CRK NEAR TRUMBULL, CO . Case in point, today AW Deckers says 263 whereas Trumbull is 439.

So, lets look at the math:

Trumbull: 439 cfs
North Fork at bailey: 63 cfs
Waterton: 910 cfs

408 cfs unaccounted for in Waterton

Lets say 1/2 of this is north fork, 1/2 is main fork. Sounds like North may be more as discussed above, but based on what i saw yesterday its not more than about 200 cfs up at Foxton town.

Do the math (408/2 + 63= 269 cfs) and we have a decent estimate for NF flows at the confluence, but there are some inflows between Foxton and Confluence, lets say 75-100 cfs which you could subtract.

So, my unscientific BS formula for estimating Foxton flows is:

(Waterton-Trumbull-Bailey)/2 + Bailey

A visual gauge at the T would be great.
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Old 05-09-2016   #6
Denver, Colorado
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Basically at this time of year it is difficult to pinpoint exact flows due to tribs below the lowest gauge.Later in summer or fall when tribs hardly contribute anything you can just subtract which ever fork from Waterton.Roberts and Bailey gauges are usually off by about 15 CFS( Bailey municipal use?).Cheeseman and Trumball should be close also.The T intersection sort of makes sense for a rock line gauge ,except you are there and can just look at the river and determine if it is high enough.A USGS gauge below the confluence with the last significant trib on NFK,Buffalo Crk,would tell what is really in Foxton .One at Pine or Crossons would tell Bailey's full flow by the end if the run
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