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USGS webcam gives real-time look at gushing San Pedro Creek

Contact: Jim Nickles, 916/278-3016, cell 916/715-2253
Jim Bowers, Chief, Hydrologic Monitoring Program
Cell (916) 417-4801

Feb. 6, 2009
For Immediate Release

Pdf version of press release

Santa Barbara County stream at high risk for floods, mudflows

A U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) webcam is providing live views of water crashing down San Pedro Creek in Santa Barbara County – a watershed that is at high risk of flooding or debris flows as heavy rains arrive in Southern California.

Much of the watershed was severely burned in the Gap fire of July 2008.

The webcam, which can be viewed and operated remotely by the public, can be accessed at

This webcam is located upstream of the USGS stream-gaging station on San Pedro Creek, which provides continuous monitoring of certain river conditions such as flow and stage. The webcam provides additional visual data to the National Weather Service, first-responders, and area residents to evaluate real-time conditions in the creek channel. The camera is positioned just below a waterfall and provides dramatic views of conditions in the creek.

Like the San Pedro Creek watershed, many areas of Southern California are at significant risk from debris flows during moderate to heavy rainfall, according to a report by the U.S. Forest Service BAER team (Burned Area Emergency Response). Post-fire debris flows are particularly hazardous because they can occur with little warning, exert great loads on objects in their paths, strip vegetation, block drainage ways, damage structures and endanger human life.

The USGS California Water Science Center has installed a network of 12 webcams across California in conjunction with its stream gages. Several of the webcams are at other high-risk stream sites in Ventura, Orange, Los Angeles and San Diego counties. They can be accessed at

The webcam is part of the USGS Multi-Hazards Demonstration Project.

The U.S. Geological Survey's California Water Science Center operates project offices in Sacramento and San Diego where more than 130 scientists bring a broad range of disciplines to modern water-management issues. The center also has nine field offices where scientists and technicians gather hydrologic data on California's surface-water and ground-water resources.

Links and contacts within this release are valid at the time of publication.


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