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: November 5, 2018
Status: Completed

USGS ground- and boat-based support for the NASA airSWOT mission on the Sacramento River, California

This field work on the Sacramento River will be performed at two scales: a coarse-scale sampling from Keswick Dam to the I-5 Bridge near the city of Sacramento using Hobo stage recorders at approximately 10 – 20 km spacing; and fine-scale surveys in two reaches, one from approximately 30 km upstream and downstream of Colusa and another 30 km reach downstream of Knight’s Landing using Hobo...

Contacts: Justin Minear
Date published: November 5, 2018
Status: Completed

Development of Precipitation-Runoff Modeling System (PRMS) for the Kings River Basin, California, with application for streamflow predictability and flood forecasting

his study will provide an analysis tool for forecasting seasonal and longer term streamflow variations, and for evaluating climate and land cover variations in the Kings River Basin. This study will directly or indirectly address several water-resource issues identified in the USGS Science Strategy document (USGS, 2007): drinking water availability, the suitability of aquatic habitat for biota...

Contacts: Kathryn Koczot
Date published: November 5, 2018
Status: Completed

Nitrogen Dynamics Along the Sacramento River and Links to Phytoplankton Dynamics: Resolving Spatial and Temporal Variability Using In-Situ, High-Frequency Measurements and Other Tools

The overall project objective is to further our understanding of the link between nitrogen and phytoplankton dynamics in the Sacramento River and to elucidate effects of wastewater treatment plant effluent on food web dynamics.

Contacts: Tamara Kraus
Date published: November 5, 2018
Status: Completed

Development of unimpaired flows for mountain basins draining to the Bay Delta

The objective of this study is to develop daily historical climate surfaces and simulate unimpaired basin discharge, including surface water flow and baseflow, from all basins that drain to the Bay Delta. Basin drainage will be calibrated to DWR reconstructed flows, and comparisons of results will be made with other independently developed watershed models for basins in which they coincide. A...

Date published: November 5, 2018
Status: Completed

Bay Area Ensemble Modeling for Conservation and Biodiversity

The objective of this study is to provide downscaled ensemble projections of climate and hydrology for the next century for the state of California with specific application to the San Francisco Bay Area.

Date published: November 1, 2018
Status: Completed

Interactions Between Physical Processes and Suspended Sediment Quality in Relation to Spawning Migrations of Delta Smelt

The proposed study is designed to better establish relationships between patterns of delta smelt abundance and properties of suspended particles as measured by optical and acoustical techniques.

Date published: October 31, 2018
Status: Active

Causes and Relevance of Phytoplankton Blooms in the Northern Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta

Phytoplankton are an important part of aquatic food webs and ecosystems. These single-celled plants grow faster in the stronger light of spring or summer, resulting in population explosions called phytoplankton blooms. These blooms in turn feed zooplankton (free-floating aquatic microorganisms), providing food for many aquatic species, including fish, shrimp, crabs, and other invertebrates....

Date published: October 31, 2018
Status: Active

Improved Lower South Bay suspended-sediment flux measurements

Tidal marshes provide animal habitats and prevent erosion. Expanding towns and cities have claimed major parts of San Francisco Bay’s marshland. Sediment deposits are essential to rebuilding tidal marshes and keeping existing marshes intact. In the southern part of the Bay, the largest tidal wetland restoration project on the west coast is underway. Sediment flux measurements are key in...

Date published: October 29, 2018
Status: Archived

National Water-Quality Assessment (NAWQA) Program

During the past 25 years, industry and government made large financial investments in pollution control that have resulted in better water quality across the Nation; however, many water-quality problems remain. To address the need for consistent and scientifically sound information for managing the Nation's water resources the U.S. Geological Survey began a full-scale ...

Date published: October 29, 2018
Status: Completed

Development of Numeric Flow Criteria to Support Freshwater Biological Objectives and Hydrologic Modification Management in California's Wadeable Streams

The State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) of California has initiated a process to develop numerical biological objectives for wadeable freshwater streams and rivers for the entire state. Use of biological endpoints for regulatory or compliance purposes requires the ability to relate specific stressors...

Contacts: Larry Brown
Date published: October 29, 2018
Status: Active

Monitoring the Impacts of the Rim Fire on Tuolumne River Water Quality

The Rim Fire has burned over 400 square miles of the Tuolumne River and Merced River watersheds in central California and is now the 3rd largest wildfire in state history. The burn area is largely on the Tuolumne between Hetch Hetchy Reservoir and Don Pedro Reservoir, both of which serve as critical sources of drinking water and irrigation water to San Francisco Bay area and Central Valley...

Contacts: Scott A Wright
Date published: October 26, 2018
Status: Active

Determination of the geohydrologic characteristics of the boundary between the Mojave River and Antelope Valley groundwater basins, California

The Mojave Basin Area was adjudicated in 1993 and the Mojave Water Agency (MWA) was appointed as Watermaster to ensure that water rights are allocated according to the Court Judgment (Riverside County Superior Court, 1996). Established in 1960, the southwestern boundary of MWA’s management area is not a hydrologic boundary but instead coincides roughly with the boundary between San Bernardino...