Plaster Creek is flowing at
cubic feet per second.

Under 28th St. in Grand Rapids, MI
(42.91280557, -85.650584)
last measured at 10pm

Where the Plaster Creek trail opens to 28th Street, there’s an electrical box connected to a solar panel and labeled “USGS.” This is where I usually turn around to walk back home.

I found that this is site 04119055, one of over ten thousand streamgages maintained by the Water Services branch of the US Geological Survey under the Groundwater and Stream Flow Information Program.

Hourly, the site measures the creek’s streamflow below the 28th St. bridge, and the USGS offers a well-documented system for automatically retrieving the data they collect. (They also offer very helpful IT support to any guy building a pet project with their API!)

This page is a wrapper for that single streamflow number, which encompasses the present posture of the creek. The sensation of walking along the creek trail fluctuates drastically with rainfall and flow, and I wanted a remote pulse for that sensation to keep me in touch with the land around me.

Here’s a bit of history of Plaster Creek from my alma mater.