Water Gauges

Gauge on bridge (USGS)

Stream gauges measure the elevation of water in the stream or river and then convert the stage (water elevation) to a  streamflow (discharge) by using a curve that relates the elevation to an actual set of discharge measurements. River stage is measured by using floats inside a stilling well, by pressure transducers that measure how much pressure is required to push a gas bubble through a tube or with radar.

The Copper River watershed has two continuously active gauges located at the following locations along with several discontinued gauges. The Copper River gauge at the Million Dollar Bridge near Cordova has 23 years of data and has been operating since 1988. The Gulkana River at Sourdough has 39 years of data and has been operating since 1972. These two gauges are operated by the United States Geological Survey (USGS). Real time data is updated via satellite every 15–60 minutes, stored onsite and then transmitted to USGS offices every one to four hours.

Several gauges listed on the USGS website are gauges that have been discontinued or only collected one measurement such as stage height or water level. View live gauge data at: USGS Real Time Water Data

  • Stage height and discharge graphs for the Million Dollar Bridge on the Copper River Highway near Cordova


  • Stage height and discharge graphs for the Gulkana River at Sourdough, a tributary to the Copper River

  • Stage height and discharge graph at Gakona River at the Tok Cutoff

Gauge on bridge (USGS)
© 2011 Copper River Knowledge System