In March 2019 Hamlin Lake Preservation Society (HLPS) hosted Michigan Trout Unlimited (MTU) and interested stakeholders to an informational meeting about the options for installing a stream flow monitoring gage station on the Big Sable River. TU’s Jake Lemon and Kristin Thomas explained the options available and the benefits of stream flow technology. Those in attendance were very supportive of installing some type of stream flow gage station on the Big Sable. The data gathered by this gage station will offer a record of the various flow levels of the Big Sable, including base flow (lowest level of flow). Other important gathered data would show how the river responds to rain events and spring snow melt. The rate at which the river rises and recedes is an indicator of how well the watershed is functioning.

At the April HLPS Board Meeting the board approved a basic stream flow monitoring gage station to be installed and monitored by MTU Aquatic Biologist Kristin Thomas with some volunteer support. HLPS approved a $400 expenditure. MTU is using grant money for the balance of costs associated with this project.

The gage station was installed on June 28th, located down stream of US-31 on the property of Doc’s Sauble River Inn. At this time the river level at the location of the gage was 1.76 feet and the river flow was 192 cubic feet per second (CFS). These two measurements will be collected on a regular basis. We may also monitor stream flow of some tributary streams in the future.

To my knowledge there is no historical stream flow data for the Big Sable River. This project will capture data that over time will be valuable to help understand the health of the Big Sable River.

The gage station being used at this time is very basic with data downloaded manually at the gage station on regular intervals. This system could be upgraded to send real time data to a website in the future.

I would like to express my appreciation to those participating in this collaborative effort. MTU for technical support, field installation and funding. HLPS for funding, volunteer support and keeper of the data. Doc’s Sauble River Inn for allowing placement of the equipment and access to monitor the gage station.

Hamlin Lake Preservation Society
PO Box 178
Ludington, MI 49431