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Near Sharpsburg in Washington County, Maryland — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

U.S. Geological Survey Streamflow-Gaging Station

Antietam Creek near Sharpsburg, Maryland

 
 
U.S. Geological Survey Streamflow-Guging Station Marker image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, July 5, 2009
1. U.S. Geological Survey Streamflow-Guging Station Marker
Inscription. Why does the USGS measure Streamflow?
The mission of the USGS is to provide the Nation with reliable, impartial information to describe and understand the Earth and its resources. The USGS streamflow-gaging program provides important hydrologic information that is used to help manage the Nation's water resources.

Some specific uses of streamflow data include:
Flood forcasting and flood management
Safe design of highway bridges and culverts
Setting permit requirements for wastewater discharges
Allocation of water for for municipal, industrial, and commercial uses
Design and operation of reservoirs
Scientific studies of long-term changes in streamflow
Scheduling of hydropower production

What is the history of streamflow gaging at this location?
First streamflow measurement made in 1897.
Stream gage constructed in July 1933
Concrete control structure built across stream 80 feet downstream from gage in 1934 to stabilize flow for ease of measurement.

What is a streamflow-gaging station?
The USGS monitors streamflow at more than 7,200 streamflow gaging stations across the United States. At each gaging station, instruments in a gage house measure and record the stream stage (level of the water surface of the stream) on a continuous basis. The amount
Drainage Basin Map image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, July 5, 2009
2. Drainage Basin Map
of streamflow is later determined from the recorded stage by using a rating chart that is based on direct measurements of streamflow at different stages.

At a streamflow-gaging station, stream stage is recorded in a stilling well located in the gage house and connected to the stream by intake pipes. A stage-sensing device, such as a float-weight system, drives a recording instrument that is regulated by a clock. At most gaging stations, stage is measured and recorded every fifteen minutes.

Where does the streamflow come from and where is it going?
Streamflow at this station accumulates from a 281-square-mile drainage area upstream from the station, originating from precipitation that falls in the watershed. After passing by this station, waster in the stream flows about 4 miles to the Potomac River and then about 180 miles to the Chesapeake Bay.

The quality of the water in the stream at this station is largely determined by the uses of the land in its watershed.

Land use in the watershed:
Rural/Agricultural: 66 percent
Forest: 24 percent
Urban/Suburban: 10 percent

What is the flow at the Antietam Creek stream gage?
Streamflow is highest in spring and lowest in early fall:
Average April streamflow: 209,000 gallons per minute
Average September streamflow: 73,000 gallons per minute

Long-term average streamflow:
Guging Station and Marker image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, July 5, 2009
3. Guging Station and Marker
126,000 gallons per minute

Lowest streamflow recorded (during a drought period): 4,200 gallons per minute on November 22, 1957

Highest streamflow recorded (during a severe thunderstorm): 5,700,000 gallons per minute on July 20, 1956 (8.7 feet above flood stage of 8 feet)
 
Erected by U.S. Geological Survey and Maryland State Highway Administration.
 
Location. 39° 26.999′ N, 77° 43.838′ W. Marker is near Sharpsburg, Maryland, in Washington County. Marker can be reached from Old Burnside Bridge Road, on the right when traveling north. Click for map. Located about 100 yards south of the Burnside Bridge in Antietam National Battlefield. Marker is in this post office area: Sharpsburg MD 21782, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Ninth Army Corps (within shouting distance of this marker); As the Georgians Saw It (within shouting distance of this marker); a different marker also named Ninth Army Corps (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Sturgis's Division, Ninth Army Corps (about 300 feet away); Fifty-First New York Infantry (about 300 feet away); a different marker
Calm Stream on a Typical Summer Day image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, August 31, 2008
4. Calm Stream on a Typical Summer Day
also named Ninth Army Corps (about 300 feet away); a different marker also named Ninth Army Corps (about 300 feet away); Eleventh Connecticut Infantry (about 300 feet away). Click for a list of all markers in Sharpsburg.
 
More about this marker. At the top of the marker are photos showing the construction of the gaging station. In the middle is a map of the Antietam Creek Drainage Basin. Beside it is an illustration complementing the text explaining the workings of the station. At the bottom is a photo of the Burnside Bridge during a 1996 flood. A bar chart to the lower left shows average monthly streamflow.
 
Also see . . .  Streamflow Statistics for the Station. USGS site showing statistics for the last three years. A link on the site offers real time data. (Submitted on July 12, 2009, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.) 
 
Categories. Natural FeaturesWaterways & Vessels
 
Geese on the Antietam image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, July 5, 2009
5. Geese on the Antietam
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. This page has been viewed 1,151 times since then and 21 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on , by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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