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: 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
Date published: December 19, 2018
Status: Completed

Evaluation of Exposure and Vulnerability of Selected Inland National Wildlife Refuges in the Pacific Southwest to Water Resources Constraints in the Face of Climate Change using Downscaled Climate Change Modeling

As competition for water is growing, a major challenge is to ensure that sufficient quantities of good quality water are available for fish, wildlife, and plants. Competition for a limited supply of water with adequate water quality to support National Wildlife Refuges are a dominant threat for many National Wildlife Refuges across the U.S. and is only heightened during times of drought and in...

Date published: December 19, 2018
Status: Active

Add-on to: Determination of Mercury Loads for Cache Creek Settling Basin Inflow and Outflows and Related Investigations

The California Department of Water Resources (DWR) is responsible for the operation and maintenance of the Cache Creek Settling Basin (CCSB) in Yolo County.

Date published: December 19, 2018
Status: Completed

Quantification of Mercury Flux in Eroding Mining Debris, Yuba River Watershed, California

At two priority locations on BLM-administered land in the Yuba River watershed, the USGS has documented relatively rapid erosion of river bank material that consists of mercury (Hg)-laden sediment with a significant component of mining debris. 

Date published: December 19, 2018
Status: Completed

Determining Water Availability in the Russian River Watershed

The Russian River Watershed covers 1,500 square miles of urban, agricultural and forested lands in northern Sonoma County and southern Mendocino County, California. Communities in the Russian River Watershed (RRW) depend on a combination of Russian River water and groundwater to meet their water-supply demands. Water is used primarily for agricultural irrigation, municipal and private wells...

Contacts: Tracy Nishikawa
Date published: December 19, 2018
Status: Completed

Mapping Sturgeon Spawning Habitat in the Lower San Joaquin River

The spawning of adult white sturgeon (Acipenser transmontanus) in the lower San Joaquin River was documented recently by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) (Gruber and others, 2012; Jackson and Eenennaam, 2013). Streamflow on the San Joaquin River has been modified by State and Federal water project operations, and there are a variety of questions regarding the...

Contacts: Scott A Wright