How Pokemon Inspired A Citizen Science Project To Monitor Tiny Streams

"The spring thaw is upon us, and parched western states will be watching closely as snows melt and rivers rise. Fancy satellites monitor water levels in the biggest rivers, but they don't spot the smaller streams and waterways that feed into them. Now, some Colorado scientists have hit on a new way of tracking those smaller streams — inspired, by Pokemon.

Before we get to Pokemon, let's start with the problem. And to understand the problem, we have to start on the side of a canyon road outside Fort Collins, Colo. Hydrologists Stephanie Kampf and Kira Puntenney-Desmond, both with Colorado State University, pull over to take a look at a stream.

"This one's fascinating," says Puntenney-Desmond, pointing to a stream that, from afar, didn't look like much at all. "It's always worth getting out of the car because if you listen really quietly, you can hear the stream flowing.""

Rae Ellen Bichell reports for NPR April 20, 2018.

Source: NPR, 04/23/2018