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Students explore the USGS water website to identify the location of stream gauges on the Minnesota River and the types of data that can be retrieved from the website. They determine which data to download based on the area of interest in the exercise (St. Peter, MN) and import historical flood data into MS Excel. The students use a spreadsheet to rank each flood and calculate a recurrence interval for a given flood, then estimate the discharge and stage of the 100-year flood in St. Peter, MN. The final task is to establish a flood hazard zone on a topographic map of the city of St. Peter. Note: this exercise can be applied to almost any non-dammed river with two or more USGS gaging stations on it. Go to http://water.usgs.gov and select your state from the pull-down menu to view an interactive map of your state's rivers and gaging station locations.
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