California Water Science Center


The California Water Science Center has adjusted activities in response to guidance concerning the global COVID-19 pandemic. We will carry on the work of the USGS, while also maintaining the health and safety of our employees and community.  Based on direction from the White House, the CDC, and state and local authorities, we are shifting to a virtual mode. 

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Water Research Projects

Water Research Projects

Over 100 research projects addressing California's key water issues including: long-term water supply and availability, water quality, droughts and floods, climate change, aquatic ecology, the Delta, management of watersheds and groundwater.

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Partnering with Us

Partnering with Us

The USGS partners with local, state, and other federal agencies to provide scientific information needed by water-resources managers across the Nation.

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California Water Data

Basic hydrologic data collection, processing, analysis, dissemination, and archiving are major parts of the California Water Science Center program.

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California Runoff

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California Post-Fire Debris-Flow Maps

California Water-Quality Mapper

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Date published: July 7, 2020

Scientists Launch Two-Pronged Approach to Map Cyanotoxins in Bay-Delta

Over the last few decades the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta has experienced declines in phytoplankton productivity and a shift in species composition resulting in observed increases in harmful algal blooms (HABs).

Date published: June 17, 2020

Study to Commence on the Effects of Wildfires and Fire Retardants in California Watersheds

California Water Science Center Research Chemist Dr. Charles Alpers will commence a study on assessing the effects of wildfire and fire retardants on nutrient transport in California watersheds.

Date published: May 12, 2020

USGS Responds to Spring Flooding

U.S. Geological Survey field crews are measuring flooding across the country as spring weather is in full swing. Warming temperatures, increased precipitation and snowmelt have caused moderate to major flooding in the upper Midwest, East Coast, Central Plains and the Southeast portions of the country.


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Year Published: 2020

Pesticide concentrations associated with augmented flow pulses in the Yolo Bypass and Cache Slough Complex, California

Surface-water and suspended-sediment samples were collected and analyzed by the U.S. Geological Survey for multiple current-use pesticides and pesticide degradates approximately every 2 weeks at up to five sites in the Yolo Bypass and Cache Slough Complex before, during, and after augmented flow pulses in summer and fall 2016 and 2018 as well as...

Orlando, James L.; De Parsia, Matt; Sanders, Corey; Hladik, Michelle; Frantzich, Jared
Orlando, J.L., De Parsia, M., Sanders, C., Hladik, M., and Frantzich, J., 2020, Pesticide concentrations associated with augmented flow pulses in the Yolo Bypass and Cache Slough Complex, California: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2020–1076, 101 p.,

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Year Published: 2020

Trapping of suspended sediment by submerged aquatic vegetation in a tidal freshwater region: Field observations and long-term trends

Widespread invasion by non-native, submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV) may modify the sediment budget of an estuary, reducing the availability of inorganic sediment required by marshes to maintain their position in the tidal frame. The instantaneous trapping rate of suspended sediment in SAV patches in an estuary has not previously been quantified...

Work, Paul A.; Downing-Kunz, Maureen A.; Drexler, Judith Z.

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Year Published: 2020

Sediment lithology and borehole erosion testing, American and Sacramento Rivers, California

Executive SummaryA field investigation intended to measure the potential for erosion of sediments beside the American and Sacramento Rivers near Sacramento, California, is described. The study featured two primary components: (1) drilling and soil sampling to reveal lithology, down to depths matching the local river thalweg, where possible, and (2...

Work, Paul A.; Livsey, Daniel N.
Work, P., and Livsey, D., 2020, Sediment lithology and borehole erosion testing, American and Sacramento Rivers, California: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2020–5063, 92 p.,