Salt Creek Investigation

Stream Discharge Estimate

A stream discharge estimate is a measurement of how much water flows through a stream in one second. This measurement is calculated using measurements of stream width, depth, and velocity.

Stream discharge is an important consideration when evaluating the results of biological monitoring. The depth and swiftness of a stream affect the communities of macroinvertebrates and other organisms that are able to live in the stream. Stream discharge also fluctuates with the seasons and with storm events, also affecting the results of biological monitoring on a particular date. Stream discharge also influences a stream's ability to dilute chemical pollutants.

Authors: Dr. Bonnie Kuhrt, Kathe Lacey-Anderson and Kim Provus from Carl Sandburg Jr. High School in Rolling Meadows, Illinois for the Handbook of Engaged Learning Projects sponsored by Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory Education Office and Friends of Fermilab. Funded by the Midwest Consortium for Mathematics and Science Education based at the North Central Regional Educational Laboratory (NCREL).
Created: July 1, 1996 - Updated: July 24, 1996