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: 121
Date published: August 27, 2019
Status: Active

Mercury studies at Sulphur Bank Mercury Mine and Clear Lake, California

The abandoned Sulphur Bank Mercury Mine on the shores of Clear Lake in Northern California has been designated as a "Superfund Site" by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). This means that the EPA has determined that the area is contaminated by hazardous waste and requires cleanup...

Date published: July 24, 2019
Status: Active

Organic Matter Research Laboratory

The USGS California Water Science Center's Organic Matter Research Laboratory provides laboratory services and support to regional and national projects in the analysis of organic matter using the latest methods in absorbance and fluorescence spectroscopy along with standard measurement of total dissolved organic carbon and nitrogen concentration.

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: June 4, 2019
Status: Active

Developing Spatial Data on Mineral Deposits Found on Abandoned Mine Lands

Better understanding of mineral deposits and their impact on the environment, including the water system, is necessary for the protection of public health. The USGS is working with other federal and state agencies to identify the environmental behavior of these deposits and their waste products. USGS scientists are using geospatial data (data that can be mapped) to prioritize abandoned mine...

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 22, 2019
Status: Completed

USGS Participates in Earth Day Festivities on Alcatraz Island

On April 20th, the USGS California Water Science Center (CAWSC) participated in annual Earth Day festivities on Alcatraz Island in San Francisco Bay. Involvement in the event included science presentations on the island, demonstrating the ongoing research of the USGS Estuarine Hydrodynamics and Sediment Transport team based in Sacramento.

Contacts: Steve Ackley
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-...