How to use gage height information...
The River-Depth.com site was created as an alternative to the USGS's Real-Time Water Data site. This same information is provided on their site. However, their site navigation, and presentation is different. We created this site to allow you to quickly find the waterway of you choice, and get the basic information as quickly as possible.
It is important to understand that there is no way to tell the "depth" of a waterway. Depth will always be affected by variables such as floor terrain, or rocks, sand bars, and other objects.
The USGS places automated units at various locations along waterways. They report back a "gage height". This is a number that should be used for relativity only.
For example, lets say you visit your local river for kayaking and hit a bunch of sunken trees, large rocks, and a few sandbars. When you get back from your adventure you look at the "gage height" and see the gage is reading 18 feet*. For future trips, when the gage reads 18 feet*, it's probably not wise to take your new ski boat out on the same river. On the other hand. If you look at the gage height and see a reading of 22 feet*, chances are pretty good that you may have some smooth kayaking for the day.
By exploring waterway conditions (through experience) and applying gage height to those experiences in a relative way, you can use this website to estimate conditions you'll may experience.
* All of the numbers above are used for the sake of example. Each waterway, and each gage along same waterways, will have its own unique readings. To use the information on this site effectively, you must learn your particular waterways, and how to apply the gage height reading to them. Neither Digital Indigo, nor the USGS assume any responsibility or liability for the use of this information.