Sunday, January 13, 2013

NEW canoe/kayak launches available in 2013

Argus Press article
Posted: Saturday, January 12, 2013 8:30 am

OWOSSO — Thanks to the efforts of many volunteers and local organizations, the Friends of the Shiawassee River is nearing completion of five canoe launches and landings on the Shiawassee River.

The Friends acquired a $13,200 matching grant from the Saginaw Bay Watershed Initiative Network. The funding enabled the organization to construct the launches, install directional signs, and publish a new canoeing and kayaking guide. 
NEW launches are at 
-- Geeck Road Park near Bancroft,
 -- Lytle Road Park east of Corunna,
 -- Voight Loop Trail Park in downtown Owosso, 
-- Henderson Road Park;
 -- a dock/landing is under development in cooperation with DeVries Nature Conservancy.
 Looking forward to getting a copy of that new paddling guide.
Friends of the Shiawassee River
P.O. Box 402
Owosso, MI 48867

Phone (989) 723.9062


Thursday, January 03, 2013

Do it yourself River Gauges Part II

Mentioned the issue to a local hobby tinker forum
in the Ann Arbor, MI area, full of techie geeky people :-)

A possible scenario- cut/pasted from the discussion
- Perhaps go with IR or ultrasonic sensor to
measure distance to an enclosed float.
A float attached to a rotational encoder might
give a larger range of accurate distances.
- If there's a requirement to use visual verification
of a water line, process the still images locally
(at the collection site) and send data sparingly.
- Cell phone networks will be costly.
You'll probably have to use a consumer cell phone
and data plan which might be a theft target.

The best option may be low-bandwidth mesh network.
There are a variety of XBee radios designed for
embedded use that would work perfectly.
One of them has a 1200m outdoor range using 50mW to transmit.
If your measurement sites are more than 1200m
from a base station, you'd either chain sites
together (and collect measurements from each
while also relaying other sites) or use a more powerful radio.
The max range is rated 80km (yes! 80,000 meters),
but you'll need a high gain antennae, more power
and clear visibility.
Urban ranges are much, much lower.
At the base station you hopefully have power and
better security to connect to the Internet.
If not, use one of the longer range radios
and keep relaying through them until you reach
somewhere you have an Internet connection.
The whole thing will run off a 9V battery,
so a cheap solar panel can power it.

-You can prototype a complete collection site with
an Arduino Uno, XBee, sensor, solar panel and
PVC pipe enclosure for about $150.
-Adding a camera will jump the cost by at least
$50 and you'll have to use a more powerful
micro-controller to process the images.
The fast, new Arduino Due is software compatible
with the Uno, so you can start with the Uno
and upgrade if necessary.
You'll still use the same low-bandwidth radio solution.
It will just take longer to process and transmit,
so it needs more power.

I had hit up the USGS guys for gauges on the
Shiawassee River in Michigan a few years back.

I'm definitely interested in exploring alternatives
to patch a dying USGS network of equipment.

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

River gauge - viewable on the internet

Happy New Year everyone - it's 2013

Been poking around a website --
and a discussion doing an internet river gauge on the cheap.

Here is the discussion in full :

""We have the gauge painted on the bridge, and this is the ages-old reference
for paddling this section of the river. What we need, is a way to read the gauge
without having to go all the way to the put-in.

Solar powered webcams are available. These could be wirelessly connected
to a router, if one were close enough, a remote possibility.
More likely, we'd need to use a cell-phone. There is cell service in that area.
I think streaming video over a cell phone would work, but I'm also wary of what
the data charges would be. Of course, we don't need streaming video.
One picture a day would be vastly better than what we have now.
Four pictures a day would be fabulous. The pictures could be uploaded to our
club web site, and we'd have an excellent reference to let us know the river level.

All the technology exists at costs a club could afford. What I don't see readily
available is the combination of solar collector, battery, camera, cell phone,
housing, and software/controller to make it all work.
I feel capable of putting together all but the latter.

At this point, I want to float the idea by my club, to see if the club would
consider funding it, and Maryland DNR, since the remote sending unit
would need to be installed on park property. If those two entities don't
go along with the idea, there is no use in delving further into the problem.

Additionally, several site problems will need to be addressed,
like how to keep the devices from being wiped out in floods, stolen, or vandalized.


USGS gauges monitored and maintained by the USGS are expensive.
In fact the USGS is looking at reducing their numbers each due due to cost.

Perhaps hobby tinker type folk  could whip up something effective