USGS to install new gauge on Fish River
by Don Eno, Reporter
Aug 01, 2012 | 757 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
A typical USGS bank-operated cableway used to deploy stream flow measuring equipment, similar to what is planned to be installed across the Fish River, just down stream from the bridge adjacent to the old Fort Kent fire station.
- Contributed photo / courtesy USGS
A typical USGS bank-operated cableway used to deploy stream flow measuring equipment, similar to what is planned to be installed across the Fish River, just down stream from the bridge adjacent to the old Fort Kent fire station. - Contributed photo / courtesy USGS
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Aug. 1 edition: FORT KENT - The U.S. Geological Survey has been given approval by the town of Fort Kent to utilize town property to install a new stream flow gauge system in the Fish River, according to Don Guimond, town manager.

The town council approved USGS request at its July 23, regular meeting, Guimond said over the phone on July 25.

Guimond said that councilors did discuss concerns over the possible visual impact the stream flow gauge system may have, but that the council felt that the thinness of the cable would not be a detriment to the scenic nature of the area.

The cableway installation will be used to collect stream flow data which enables USGS staff to accurately calculate discharge rates, said Laura Flight, a hydrologic technician with the office of USGS Maine Water Science Center in Augusta.

The system will include a steel cable between 1/8 and 1/4 of an inch thick suspended above the river from which flow measurement equipment will be lowered via pulleys, Flight said during a recent phone interview. The cable may either be connected to existing trees or 2-inch steel pipes placed in the ground.

Currently, USGS staff has to go out in boats to gather this data. The bank-operated system to be put in place is similar to the manned cableway that used to be installed across the Fish River just upstream from the old Mills Bridge.

Flight said that river height data is already continuously gathered at gauge stations in both the Fish and St. John Rivers, and that stream flow data collected between six and eight times a year is combined with this river height data to create a continuous discharge calculation.

Flight said that she expects to be in the area to install the new cableway some time in the second week of August.

Guimond and Flight said that the cable would be high enough so as not to interfere with canoeists or boaters using the Fish River.

In other town business, the council members gave approval for Guimond to submit an application to the National Endowment for the Arts for additional funds for the creation of a mural, which will be part of ongoing improvements at Riverside Park.

The council also gave its approval for a tax abatement request from Ambulance Service Inc., which serves Fort Kent and several other surrounding communities.

Guimond said that the nonprofit entity owns some property on East Main Street, which has both taxable and non-taxable space. The town has not yet calculated the exact amount of the abatement, according to Guimond.

Guimond also said his year-to-date financial report presented to the council at the July 23 meeting indicated nothing out of the ordinary, although he described some budget areas remain “tight.”