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USGS Surface-Water Data for Massachusetts

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ICE EFFECTS ON STREAMFLOW During winter, ice formation may cause stage and discharge values to appear higher than expected. Ice effects may be minor (occurring only at night and early morning) with baseline flows obvious, or the effects may be major (stage constantly increases over several days or weeks) resulting in greatly erroneous discharge. Streamgages experiencing minor ice conditions will continue to display stage and discharge values to enable users to estimate the approximate base-line stage and discharge. Streamgages experiencing major ice conditions will have the discharge record temporarily disabled to prevent use of erroneous discharge values. The discharge record will resume when it is determined that ice conditions are no longer present. Daily mean discharges during periods of ice effect will be estimated after detailed data analysis.

(164 sites)

Current conditions at selected sites based on the most recent data from on-site automated recording equipment. Measurements are commonly recorded at a fixed interval of 15- to 60-minutes and transmitted to the USGS every hour. Values may include "Approved" (quality-assured data that may be published) and/or more recent "Provisional" data (of unverified accuracy and subject to revision). Most current data are provisional.

(168 sites)

The same data accessed by the Current Conditions link above but including both active and discontinued sites with data for any part of the period October 1, 2007, through the present. Values may include "Approved" (quality-assured data that may be published) and/or more recent "Provisional" data (of unverified accuracy and subject to revision).

(250 sites)

Summary of all data for each day for the period of record and may represent the daily mean, median, maximum, minimum, and/or other derived value. Values may include "Approved" (quality-assured data that may be published) and/or more recent "Provisional" data (of unverified accuracy and subject to revision). Example.

(245 sites)

Statistics are computed from approved daily mean data at each site. These links provide summaries of approved historical daily values for daily, monthly, and annual (water year or calendar year) time periods.

(230 sites)

Annual maximum instantaneous peak streamflow and gage height

(1,576 sites)

Manual measurements of streamflow and gage height. These measurements are used to supplement and (or) verify the accuracy of the automatically recorded observations, as well as to compute streamflow based on gage height.


The U.S. Geological Survey's (USGS) National Water Information System (NWIS) is a comprehensive and distributed application that supports the acquisition, processing, and long-term storage of water data. Water Data for the Nation serves as the publicly available portal to a geographically seamless set of much of the water data maintained within NWIS (additional background).

Nationally, USGS surface-water data includes more than 850,000 station years of time-series data that describe stream levels, streamflow (discharge), reservoir and lake levels, surface-water quality, and rainfall. The data are collected by automatic recorders and manual field measurements at installations across the Nation.

Data are collected by field personnel or relayed through telephones or satellites to offices where it is stored and processed. The data relayed through the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES) system are processed automatically in near real time, and in many cases, current data are available online within minutes.

Once a complete day of readings are received from a site, daily summary data are generated and made available online. USGS finalizes data at individual sites on a continuous basis as environmental conditions and hydrologic characteristics permit.

Tutorial explaining how to perform a surface water retrieval and understand the results