River Temperature Measurement


Thread Starter

Brian Lee Mast

It appears that USGS and other research entities have collected temperature data for rivers. Perhaps they are permanently installed and continuously monitored. Anyone ever seen one of these in action?

Looking for installation detail ideas...


Brian Lee Mast, P.E.
Trippel/Mast Consulting LLC
Seattle, Washingtion
[email protected]

Steve Bailey

Try contacting the electris utility companies in your area, especially those that manage hydrelectric sites. One of the conditions for licensing hydroelectric dams is that the owner must monitor and record stream flow and
temperature data.
Depending on how fast the river is, often the wires running from the temperature sensor or pressure transducer are secured to a steel cable.
In slow moving creeks using a well drive point works, too.
In some cases a stilling well is used, though maybe more for getting level (or pressure) information. This might be a large pipe driven
into the river bottom or otherwise held in place. Openings in the pipe would allow equalization of the pressure head, but might also
provide sufficient flow to make temperature readings doable.

Ken Irving <[email protected]>
We use a 4" piece of PVC with holes drilled in it (for flow-through) as a dropping point for our temperature probe, but we have a handy bridge across the river to mount this from. It's generally effective, until the probe gets hung
up on something, or wadded up with river grass, or snatched by a bass. If you want to install a probe, without having a bridge, I suggest taking a
clue from fishermen. Use a combination of a float (to compensate for level changes) and a sinker (to keep your probe at the depth you desire). Your
"sinker" should be something that doesn't create noise for your temperature probe. Perhaps there is some great design out there that never fails. My idea is full of faults.