Since more and more USGS gauges are getting decommissioned -- and attempting to develop and install your own might get expensive -- maybe the next best thing would be to have a way for paddlers to report the level on an RC-type gauge at popular put-ins, via the internet. (If a measured gauge weren't available, you could report a generic level such as low/average/high, maybe a 0-10 rating scale would work.) Maybe have the ability to punch in a short blurb on paddling conditions too.
Imagine Paddling.net incorporating this feature into the Launch Site Map and the accompanying smartphone app. Power to the people.
Kayak & Canoe Outriggers
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