Department or Program

Environmental Studies


Data were collected along elevation gradient in the western United States in order to determine whether US Geological Survey (USGS) gauge stations adequately depict hydrologic trends at high elevation areas within their drainage basins. The Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) was used to access mountainous areas within USGS drainage basins. Metrics were developed that compared stream level on the date of collection to the stream level of the site during its historic flood stage. This allowed for data to be compared between high elevation PCT sites and their downstream USGS gauge stations. In some drainage basins there were discrepancies in hydrology, high elevation PCT sites often had stream levels that were closer to their flood stage than USGS sites. This occurred when the PCT sites had greater snow volumes per area in their watersheds, which indicates that USGS gauge stations may have varying precipitation regimes within their catchment and do not always show hydrologic trends higher in their watersheds. Developing a more extensive monitoring networks in mountainous regions may give us a better understanding of how stream discharge varies along elevation gradients in the western United States.

Level of Access

Open Access

First Advisor

Holly Ewing

Date of Graduation


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Number of Pages


Open Access

Available to all.