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News Release

U.S. Department of the Interior
U.S. Geological Survey

Release: March 2, 2016
Jeff Wiles
509-735-3739 x1001

John Clemens

Theft Temporarily Halts Toppenish Creek Streamgage

TACOMA, Wash. — Thieves on Monday morning broke into a U.S. Geological Survey streamgage on Toppenish Creek, temporarily disabling the satellite-linked streamgage after removing some equipment. The theft was discovered by an alert USGS employee who was monitoring the streamgage, one of several that he operates and maintains in the area.

The streamgage continuously collects streamflow data and sends it to USGS computers by way of a self-contained satellite uplink. The USGS then serves the streamflow data, which includes river flow and stage, on the Web for use by the Yakama Nation and others who monitor the river for the management of streamflow for fish and irrigation.

"The equipment is replaceable, but lapses in data are not," said Jeff Wiles, chief of the USGS field office in charge of the streamgage. "Thankfully, there’s been virtually no interruption in streamflow data from the streamgage."

The theft is being investigated by the Yakama Nation Police Department, and the streamgage is being watched closely. Anyone with information concerning the theft is asked to contact the Yakama Tribal Police Department at 509-865-2933.

Real-time data from the station is online at

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