Whew! The river levels are ready to go for spring and better than ever! I have to admit that when I first saw Environment Alberta had updated their river level reporting I was frustrated and worried it would permanently break one of the most well used features of this site. To my surprise it is now not only easier to live stream the river levels across Alberta but I can also track trends in the water levels. I am very excited by this as I often clicked through to the gauges to see what the river was doing. For instance “5cms” on Cataract Creek is a good level but if it is 5cms and rising 1cms every 3 hours then that is a whole different beast. You will notice that many of the rivers say “No Data” or ”, (m3/s)cms”, all this means is that the gauge is frozen and not reporting. This will as the rivers thaw out. Read more for details.
What has changed?:
- There is now a column entitled “trend”, come spring when the reporting stations start thawing out this will begin to show whether a river is rising, falling, or remaining consistent over a 36hr period. This will be a “beta” feature and I will be tweaking it to get it right. Initially my thought is that consistent = +/-4%, rising = +4-8%, flooding = +8% and above, dropping = -4-8%, dropping quickly = -8% and below. We will have to see how this works I will likely be tweaking both these numbers and the time period that is analyzed as the spring progresses. Stay tuned for more info once the gauges begin reporting.
- No more color coding. I know this a feature that some folks like and it is something that I hope to add back in however my concern with this is twofold. I do not want someone to see “green” and think “Great, I can go do that”. Second I do not have min/max numbers for rivers in every area and my logical brain was frustrated by this. I see this as a way of allowing people to make their own decisions on what levels to paddle a river at. The information on what is considered high, low, flood, etc is all in the River Wiki for folks to read.
- More river levels. I have added about 10 more river levels, mostly in Northern Alberta but some down south as well. With the new reporting method by Environment Alberta this was easy to do. My hope is that people can track the general picture in their watershed and perhaps make more accurate estimations of rivers that do not have gauges on them based on what other rivers in the area are doing. I can easily add more in so please request any river level you want added in.
- More organized. As I am now reporting 20+ gauges on the site it became necessary to organize them a bit more. I broke the gauges down by geographic region and then once again by river basin so that folks are able to track broad trends in the area that they are paddling. This provides the flexibility to easily add more river levels without cluttering the screen.
I think that is everything. I hope everyone is enjoying their winter…spring is coming though…the creeking season is just a month or two away!