The key to optimum efficiency in regulating the New England District’s reservoirs and hurricane barriers is the rapid collection and analysis of essential hydrological and meteorological data. This is the primary function of the New England District Hydraulic Reservoir Control Center located in Concord, Massachusetts.
Through its data collection system the RCC collects and processes information immediately to monitor the water levels in the region's major rivers and the depth of snow cover throughout the region to regulate the Corps of Engineers-managed dams and to minimize downstream impacts from the New England District headquarters. Central to this system that consists of centrally controlled remote reporting stations strategically located in the five river basins served by the Corps flood risk management projects is the Corps 'eye in the sky' – the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite.
The New England District has been using the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES), known as GOES East with advanced weather imagery, as its data collection satellite. The District land-based data collection platforms monitor pool, tailwater and river levels, rainfall, and air temperature, recording data every 15 minutes. By collecting information about river stages and flows and their increases and decreases from 100 data collection platforms over time, the hydrologists can effectively regulate the Corps of Engineers-managed dams to minimize impacts downstream. This system assists the Corps in deciding when to close or throttle back water flow through our network of dams to provide the maximum flood damage prevention benefits to downstream areas, Through the use of real-time hydrologic data, field collected snowpack data, and exchange of information with the National Weather Service's Northeast River Forecast Center, significant water movement can be identified, examined and predicted.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has designed a system of flood risk management projects which includes 35 flood risk management dams, 112 local protection projects, and five hurricane barriers in New England. A total of 31 of 35 reservoir projects, and three of five hurricane barriers are operated and maintained by the Corps, while the remaining projects are operated and maintained by local interests.
Damages prevented by flood risk management dams, reservoirs, and hurricane protection barriers is over $6.8 billion in cumulative damages prevented to date; these projects cost a total of $538 million to build.