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The National Streamflow Statistics Program: A Computer Program for Estimating Streamflow Statistics for Ungaged Sites

Compiled by Kernell G. Ries III 1
With sections by J.B. Atkins 1 , P.R. Hummel 2 , M. Gray 2, R. Dusenbury 2,
M.E. Jennings 1 , W.H. Kirby 1 , H.C. Riggs1 , V.B. Sauer 1, and W.O. Thomas, Jr.1

1U.S. Geological Survey.
2Aqua Terra Consultants, Inc.

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The National Streamflow Statistics (NSS) Program is a computer program that should be useful to engineers, hydrologists, and others for planning, management, and design applications. NSS compiles all current U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) regional regression equations for estimating streamflow statistics at ungaged sites in an easy-to-use interface that operates on computers with Microsoft Windows operating systems. NSS expands on the functionality of the USGS National Flood Frequency Program, and replaces it.

The regression equations included in NSS are used to transfer streamflow statistics from gaged to ungaged sites through the use of watershed and climatic characteristics as explanatory or predictor variables. Generally, the equations were developed on a statewide or metropolitan-area basis as part of cooperative study programs. Equations are available for estimating rural and urban flood-frequency statistics, such as the 1 00-year flood, for every state, for Puerto Rico, and for the island of Tutuila, American Samoa. Equations are available for estimating other statistics, such as the mean annual flow, monthly mean flows, flow-duration percentiles, and low-flow frequencies (such as the 7-day, 0-year low flow) for less than half of the states. All equations available for estimating streamflow statistics other than flood-frequency statistics assume rural (non-regulated, non-urbanized) conditions.

The NSS output provides indicators of the accuracy of the estimated streamflow statistics. The indicators may include any combination of the standard error of estimate, the standard error of prediction, the equivalent years of record, or 90 percent prediction intervals, depending on what was provided by the authors of the equations.

The program includes several other features that can be used only for flood-frequency estimation. These include the ability to generate flood-frequency plots, and plots of typical flood hydrographs for selected recurrence intervals, estimates of the probable maximum flood, extrapolation of the 500-year flood when an equation for estimating it is not available, and weighting techniques to improve flood-frequency estimates for gaging stations and ungaged sites on gaged streams.

This report describes the regionalization techniques used to develop the equations in NSS and provides guidance on the applicability and limitations of the techniques. The report also includes a users' manual and a summary of equations available for estimating basin lagtime, which is needed by the program to generate flood hydrographs.

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