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: 114
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: 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: Completed

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: February 26, 2019
Status: Active

Pajaro Valley Hydrologic Model Update, Data Collection, and Analysis for Sustainability

The Pajaro Valley is home to a billion-dollar agricultural industry, providing food and food processing services for the nation. The water for these enterprises is supplied, in large part, by the groundwater resources (aquifers) in the area. The Pajaro Valley Water Management Agency (PV Water) and the USGS have partnered to improve aquifer monitoring software, allowing better quantification...

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
Date published: December 19, 2018
Status: Active

California Drought

The USGS closely monitors the effects of drought through data collection and research. USGS science supports water managers in preparing for possible future drought by providing information that takes into account long-term hydrologic, climatic, and environmental changes. These studies support successful planning and science-based decision-making by water managers who must address complex...

Date published: December 19, 2018
Status: Completed

Occurrence of Current-use Pesticides in Suisun Bay and Potential Effects on Phytoplankton

Suisun Bay is an area identified as critical habitat for the threatened Delta Smelt. Several important changes in the pelagic food web of this area have been documented over the last two decades indicating that food for Delta Smelt and other threatened fishes is in short. 

Contacts: James Orlando
Date published: December 19, 2018
Status: Completed

Development of a spatially explicit ecosystem model to explore physiochemical drivers of step changes in POD species abundance and distribution in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and Suisun Bay

Prior to 2000, the four most abundant resident pelagic fishes in the study area included two native species, delta smelt (Hypomesus transpacificus) a federal listed endangered species, and longfin smelt (Spirinchus thaleicthys) a state listed endangered species, and two introduced species, threadfin shad (Dorosoma petenense) and age-0 striped bass (Morone saxatilis). 

Contacts: Larry Brown