California Water Science Center

Surface Water

Streams, rivers, lakes and reservoirs - collectively referred to as surface water - are important natural resources for irrigation, public supply, wetlands and wildlife. Surface water is also measured as annual runoff, which is the amount of rain and snowmelt drainage left after the demands of nature, evaporation from land, and transpiration from vegetation have been supplied. It supplies most of our basic water needs.

Filter Total Items: 107
Date published: June 13, 2019
Status: Active

Improving Forecasting for California's Snow Melt Water Supply

California's Sierra Nevada snowpack accounts for much of the water supply in many parts of the state. The snowpack retains large amounts of water in the winter that is then released as temperatures rise in the spring and summer. The snowpack also keeps the Sierra soil moist by covering it longer into spring and summer. Soil moisture influences the onset of wildfires, as well as wildfire...

Date published: June 10, 2019
Status: Active

Channel Complexity Synthesis - Trinity River Restoration Program

The Trinity River Restoration Program implements the Department of Interior directive to restore the fisheries of the Trinity River impacted by dam construction and related diversions. The multi-agency program is one of the nation’s largest adaptively managed river restoration efforts and requires periodic assessment to determine its effectiveness in restoring channel dynamics and habitat...

Date published: June 5, 2019
Status: Active

Klamath River Geomorphic Assessment

The Klamath River is the third largest river flowing into the Pacific Ocean from the continental U.S. The headwaters of the Klamath are located in the Cascade Range in southeastern Oregon and the river flows through northern California to its estuary. Beginning in the 1860s, the flow and water quality of the Klamath started to change due to the building of dams and other water diversions for...

Date published: May 16, 2019
Status: Active

San Diego Hydrogeology

This is the first comprehensive geologic and hydrologic study for the San Diego area. This study will provide the integrated hydrogeologic knowledge necessary in this important and highly visible area of the United States and will serve as a role model for similar coastal settings throughout the world that have modest rainfall and small aquifers. Locally, results will help...

Contacts: Wesley Danskin
Date published: April 26, 2019
Status: Completed

New Methods to Measure Reservoir Storage Capacity and Sedimentation in Loch Lomond Reservoir

A new method of measuring the storage capacity and sedimentation of Loch Lomond Reservoir, Santa Cruz shows promise to help water managers more effectively assess changes in water-storage capacity in similar basins with steep, narrow drainages in mountainous terrain. The method employs a combination of bathymetric scanning using multibeam-sidescan sonar, and topographic surveying using laser...

Date published: March 13, 2019
Status: Active

Neonicotinoid Seed Treatment Study

Neonicotinoids are a new class of insecticides chemically related to nicotine. Like nicotine, they act on receptors in the nerves and are generally much more toxic to insects, than they are to mammals and other higher organisms. Their use has increased rapidly over the last decade, driven in large part by their use for seed coating. Seed coating is when a seed is treated with an insecticide...

Contacts: James Orlando
Date published: March 8, 2019
Status: Active

Soil Stratigraphy and Erosion Potential on the American and Sacramento Rivers

Much of the Sacramento region is protected from flooding by levees constructed on the American and Sacramento Rivers, which join near downtown Sacramento before flowing to the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta.

Date published: January 31, 2019
Status: Completed

Climate and Natural Resources Analysis and Planning for California's Northern Coast

The North Coast Resource Partnership (NCRP) is an innovative, stakeholder-driven collaboration among local government, Tribes, watershed groups, and interested partners in the North Coast region of California. The North Coast comprises seven counties, Tribal lands, major watersheds, and a planning area of 19,390 square miles representing 12% of California's landscape. The NCRP integrates long-...

Date published: January 30, 2019
Status: Completed

Coping with Drought in the Russian River Watershed

Drought in the Russian River region is keyed to the absence of large winter storms-the RR is winter rain-driven, with a few atmospheric river (AR) storms each year bringing 40-50% of the annual rainfall. Two multi-purpose reservoirs provide storage for warm-season uses, and there is little to no snow pack to extend the runoff season. The same ARs that provide beneficial water supply can also...

Date published: December 21, 2018
Status: Active

California Streamgage Information

To help emergency managers and others protect life and property due to floods and other water-related hazards, the USGS delivers a continuous source of streamflow information. The U.S. Geological Survey has been measuring streamflow in the U.S. for over 120 years. We operate more...

Date published: December 20, 2018
Status: Active

California Flood Science

To help emergency managers and others protect life and property due to floods and other water-related hazards, the USGS delivers a continuous source of streamflow information. The USGS California Water Science Center maintains nearly 500 streamgages that collect...

Date published: December 20, 2018
Status: Active

California's Central Valley

Competition for water resources is growing throughout California, particularly in the Central Valley. The Central Valley's population is expected to increase to 6 million by 2020. This population growth, along with anticipated reductions in Colorado River water deliveries, drought, and the ecological crisis in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, have created an intense demand for water. The...

Contacts: Claudia C Faunt