RIFLS volunteers read their local stream gages to the closest hundredth of a foot. Volunteers record their observations in a field notebook, along with the date and time of their reading, weather conditions, and any other relevant information. Volunteers may take photos and upload them to the RIFLS website, particularly to document different water levels, seasons, and/or unusual conditions or events. To learn more about being a RIFLS volunteer, download our Volunteer Manual file size 1MB .
At each of our stream gaging sites, RIFLS staff make a series of streamflow (discharge) measurements at low, medium, and high flows. We use the relationship between these measurements and the stage (gage depth) at which we’ve made the measurements to establish rating curves. We then upload these rating curves to the RIFLS website, so that when a volunteer enters stage data, it is converted to discharge data. We regularly visit all sites to check the accuracy of the rating curve and update it if the river has changed enough to affect the curve. More specifics about our methods may be found in the RIFLS Quality Assurance Project Plan .