Tellico Gauge ... the real story:
The Tellico gauge is now on line at the USGS Tennessee web pages.
How did it get there? Many of you helped whether you remember it or not. Other organizations and American Whitewater, through the efforts of Jason Robertson, AW Access Director, lobbied hard to get additional funding for the USGS so they could continue to maintain and report gauges important to the whitewater community and maybe even add a few http://www.americanwhitewater.org/archive/article/36/
The Tellico is an important gauge. It is used as a surrogate for a number of streams, like Citico, Snowbird, Santeetlah, Slickrock, Tiny Piney, as well as the Tellico.
Jason asked for support in the form of letters. Did you write one? If so, congratulate yourself. You had a part to play. It worked!!
Are you an AW member? Do you contribute more than just your dues? If so, congratulate yourself as well. Those membership contributions help support and pay for Jason's presence and his ability to affect this issue.
Do you know an American Whitewater member? Thank them.
Between 1999 and 2001, American Whitewater has helped the USGS get more than $4 million in increased funding for streamgaging. Once the money was allocated, the USGS asked for help and Jason immediately recommended they restore the Tellico gauge. This is no small commitment for the USGS. It is not just an issue of reporting the gauge readings. The USGS has taken over the maintenance as well.
If you are not familiar with the issue, It takes about $6,000 to $10,000 depending on various factors to maintain a gauging station. The TVA used to maintain the Tellico gauge. TVA said they did not need the information from the Tellico gauge anymore. TVA budget cuts almost cost the whitewater community the gauging station. But eventually, working with East Tennessee boaters and clubs, TVA agreed to keep it and turned over the reporting to a 900 number that cost $2.00 each call to get just one reading. The theory was that the revenue from the 900 number calls would support maintenance of the Tellico gauge and also the Little River gauge at Townsend.
Now the Tellico at Tellico Plains is "free" on the web. (Actually, our tax dollars are now supporting it.)
Thank American Whitewater. Thank Jason Robertson. Thank yourself if you are an AW member.
If you are not a member go to this link to join.