Thursday, May 2, 2013

First Annual Peak Flow Contest

May 1st marked the debut of The First Annual Peak Flow Contest (PFC).  Two days later, 28 people have already entered the contest.  The PFC is based on our Facebook account which is a companion to this website:

We will be posting on Facebook frequently each day about the PFC.  Due to the way Facebook "behaves," we are also preparing this article so that the supporting data can be easily found.

34 Ace Of Diamonds Street, Stanley (208) 774-3516
First, however, let's review the PFC itself.  Anyone can enter. Only one guess per person will be accepted.  The contest is free.  A Facebook account is not needed to enter.  The prize is a $20 dollar gift certificate from Stanley's famous Kasino Club, plus the winner will have bonus bragging rights for the next year!

Here are the three ways to enter a date and time you think The Salmon River will peak at the USGS Yankee Fork gauge near Sunbeam Village.

  • Comment on a Facebook post about the PFC.
  • Send your guess to:
  • Give your guess in person to Shauna or John Graham at The Kasino Club, 34 Ace Of Diamonds Street, Stanley
Below you will find a variety of various information that may help you create a guess to enter in the contest.  We will add new information here as it is received.  Generally, each graphic has an explanation below the graphic.

Above is a spreadsheet (updated @ 10 am May 3rd) that we will maintain on a daily basis until we are certain that the peak has taken place.  Currently, the average date of guesses for th May peak flow is May 21st.  The average for June is June 10.  The average for July is July 18.

 This is the Galena Summit graph for "Snow Water Equivalent" (SWE).  SWE is really the number to watch. The depth of the snowpack itself is interesting but it's the actual water inside the snow that makes the river run.
 Here is the graph showing the Galena Summit snowpack for the entire Water Year.  A Water Year begins on October 1st and ends the following September 30th.

Here is the link so you can watch the USDA NRCS Galena Summit SNOTEL SWE and snowpack yourself:

After you click on the above link, the page you will see is shown above.  Click on the link to the right of our red "X" in this graphic.

The graphic above shows what you will see when you have clicked on the link for Snow Depth over the past 7 days.  You can alter the time frame and create a wide variety of reports on the USDA NRCS Snow Survey website.  Astute contest entrants may wish to peruse additional Idaho SNOTEL sites.  The SNOTEL gateway page is located here:

 As of April 29th, this is the latest projection of when the overall Salmon River Basin SWE might be totally depleted.  Simply look carefully at the various colored lines and use the key above the chart itself.
Above you see the dates of the Peak Flow at Yankee Fork from 2000-2012.  Unfortunately, there is a data gap prior to Year 2000.
Above is the hydrograph in cubic feet per second for the Yankee Fork USGS gauge from March 1 to April 30.
Above is the water level at Yankee Fork stated in feet instead of cubic feet per second.
Above is a USGS-provided photo of the Yankee Fork stream gauge.  Here it is website:,00060,00010

You can find all sorts of interesting historical information on this website including dates for annual peak flows prior to the Year 2000.

You may also wish to monitor the flows of Valley Creek and The Yankee Fork.  To do so, simply go to the Idaho stream flow site and scroll down to the Salmon River Basin section.  Valley Creek and Yankee Fork are the first two listings.

Above is a map that shows the area of The Salmon River watershed above the Yankee Fork gauge.  In other words, the stream flow recorded at the Yankee Fork gauge is (at this time of year) predominately a result of the direct melting of snow in the area of the watershed ABOVE the Yankee Fork gauge.
The flow at Yankee Fork is the sum of the Yankee Fork watershed itself (outlined in purple) plus the area of The Main Salmon that is to the left of the red line in the graphic above.
Finally, here is a panorama of the Yankee Fork confluence looking downriver toward the site of the Yankee Fork USGS gauge itself.  The Yankee Fork is coming in from the left.  (Click on the photo to see a larger version.)

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