BUFFALO, N.Y. -- As part of an effort to encourage the public to
help monitor water levels of local streams, University at Buffalo
geologist Chris Lowry will be installing nine new stream gauges on
waterways in Western New York.
Set-up is scheduled to begin the morning of Wednesday, Aug. 10,
at 8 a.m. and continue through 5 p.m. that afternoon at possible
locations on Cattaraugus Creek, Wiscoy Creek, Elton Creek, Clear
Creek and Hosmer Brook. A map of proposed sites is available
Lowry's project, called "CrowdHydrology," is an example of
crowdsourcing, which harnesses the collective efforts of many
different people to complete a task.
He is asking members of the public to help him track water
levels of local streams by sending him readings from his network of
gauges. Each gauge consists of a giant measuring staff that will be
hammered into the ground, along with instructions explaining how
passersby can participate in CrowdHydrology by texting Lowry the
water level and stream location at each site.
Media interested in joining Lowry as he travels to designated
waterways and installs the stream gauges can make arrangements by
contacting Charlotte Hsu in the UB Office of University
Communications at firstname.lastname@example.org or
The project launched this May with a pilot site at the Beaver
Meadow Audubon Center, a Buffalo Audubon Society nature preserve in
Wyoming County, N.Y. Reported data is posted online at the
CrowdHydrology website at http://www.crowdhydrology.org,
which Lowry updates regularly.
"I've been pleasantly surprised by the results so far," said
Lowry, who got the idea for CrowdHydrology from an article he read
about a California researcher who was tracking wildlife corridors
by asking people to send information about roadkill on roadways.
"At Beaver Meadow, I've gotten 25 different people texting me, and
I get readings just about every day. The consistency of the data is
Besides benefiting sportsmen such as local fishermen, monitoring
stream levels will provide useful data to scientists -- including
Lowry's graduate students -- whose research requires taking samples
or conducting experiments on local creeks when the water is at a
certain height. Participating in CrowdHydrology could also be a fun
way for K-12 students to learn about local streams and creeks and
how waterways respond to rain and dry spells, Lowry said.
More about CrowdHydrology: http://www.buffalo.edu/news/12753.