Report to the 2022 Montana Policy Interim Committee on Stream Gaging in Montana

Why “gage’ instead of “gauge”?

When water measurement methods were first developed by the U.S.Geological Survey in the late-1800’s, the Chief Hydrologist, Frederick H. Newell adopted that spelling which was also being used in the Standard Dictionary of the time.
Source: USGS


The Stream Gage Oversight Work Group was created in 2019 by the 66th Montana Legislature in response to stakeholders’ concerns over the shutdown of 10 U.S. Geological Services (USGS) stream gages due to a lack of funding to support operation and maintenance. The loss of these gages came with little warning to the water user communities who depended on them for monitoring and cooperatively managing local water resource plans. The event revealed that as demand for water continues to grow, the continuity of Montana’s stream gaging network is threatened by declining state and federal funding for ongoing operations and maintenance.


The Work Group is to:

  1. Review the locations, uses, and funding arrangements for the stream gage network of the USGS;
  2. Review priorities, needs, and expectations of those funding the maintenance and operations of these stream gages and those using data measured by these stream gages; and
  3. Create annually a stream gage infrastructure work plan.


Working Group members represent the seven agencies on the Governor’s Drought and Water Supply Advisory Committee 



Dept of Natural Resources & Conservation Paul Azevedo, Co-Chair
Dept of Fish Wildlife & Parks Stephen Begley, Co-Chair
Dept of Military Affairs/DES Andrew Long
Dept of Agriculture John Peterson
Dept of Livestock Mike Honeycutt
Dept of Commerce Cody Fergeson
Dept of Environmental Quality Darrin Kron


  1. August 27, 2019 Agenda | Meeting Summary
  2. December 18, 2019 Agenda | Meeting Summary
  3. February 21, 2020 Agenda | Meeting Summary
  4. June 16, 2020 Agenda | Meeting Summary
  5. August 12, 2020 Agenda | Presentations | Meeting Summary
  6. November 4, 2020 Agenda | Presentations | Meeting Summary
  7. February 17, 2021 Agenda | Presentations | Meeting Summary
  8. May 19, 2022 Agenda | Presentations | Meeting Summary