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Measuring and Monitoring

Basic hydrologic data collection, processing, analysis, dissemination, and archiving are major parts of the California Water Science Center program. Streamflow data, for example, are used for flood and water-supply forecasts, planning and design, river regulation, streamflow statistics, and research investigations. Much of the data are available on a near-real-time basis by satellite telemetry.

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New Technologies for Mapping Surface Soil Moisture Over Wildfire-Prone Landscapes

A partnership between the USGS, Pepperwood Preserve, and Black Swift LLC aims to map soil and fuel moisture over wildfire-prone landscapes.
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New Technologies for Mapping Surface Soil Moisture Over Wildfire-Prone Landscapes

A partnership between the USGS, Pepperwood Preserve, and Black Swift LLC aims to map soil and fuel moisture over wildfire-prone landscapes.
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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 issues...
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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 issues...
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Biogeochemistry Group

The Biogeochemistry (BGC) Group uses an interdisciplinary approach to address surface water quality issues and food web dynamics throughout California, particularly in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and San Francisco Bay.
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Biogeochemistry Group

The Biogeochemistry (BGC) Group uses an interdisciplinary approach to address surface water quality issues and food web dynamics throughout California, particularly in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and San Francisco Bay.
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Continuous, Real-Time Water-Quality Monitoring of the Los Angeles River

As part of the Urban Waters Federal Partnership (UWFP) program, this project will bring enhanced water-quality monitoring to a stretch of the Los Angeles River slated for revitalization. The UWFP reconnects urban communities—particularly those that are overburdened or economically distressed—with their waterways by improving coordination among federal agencies.
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Continuous, Real-Time Water-Quality Monitoring of the Los Angeles River

As part of the Urban Waters Federal Partnership (UWFP) program, this project will bring enhanced water-quality monitoring to a stretch of the Los Angeles River slated for revitalization. The UWFP reconnects urban communities—particularly those that are overburdened or economically distressed—with their waterways by improving coordination among federal agencies.
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State of the Network: Long-Term, High-Frequency Flow and Water Quality Data in the San Francisco Estuary, California

The San Francisco Bay and Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta form one of the largest estuaries in the United States. Water flow and water quality in the San Francisco Bay-Delta Estuary are important to the economies of both California and the nation. The Bay-Delta system provides water to more than 25 million California residents and vast farmlands, as well as key habitat for birds, fish, and other...
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State of the Network: Long-Term, High-Frequency Flow and Water Quality Data in the San Francisco Estuary, California

The San Francisco Bay and Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta form one of the largest estuaries in the United States. Water flow and water quality in the San Francisco Bay-Delta Estuary are important to the economies of both California and the nation. The Bay-Delta system provides water to more than 25 million California residents and vast farmlands, as well as key habitat for birds, fish, and other...
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Scotts Creek Nutrient Erosion Study, Lake County, California

Clear Lake, the largest natural lake entirely within California, has a severe problem with harmful algal blooms which can be detrimental to aquatic life by depriving it of oxygen when the algae dies, sinks, and decays. A driving factor of these conditions are the nutrient loads being carried into the lake by soil erosion and the transport of sediment from the lake’s tributaries. Recently, an...
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Scotts Creek Nutrient Erosion Study, Lake County, California

Clear Lake, the largest natural lake entirely within California, has a severe problem with harmful algal blooms which can be detrimental to aquatic life by depriving it of oxygen when the algae dies, sinks, and decays. A driving factor of these conditions are the nutrient loads being carried into the lake by soil erosion and the transport of sediment from the lake’s tributaries. Recently, an...
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Selenium Hazard in the Salton Sea Environment, Summary of Current Knowledge to Inform Future Science

The effect of selenium (Se) toxicity on wildlife has been known for more than 50 years. The threat of Se contamination gained greater attention from federal agencies in the 1980s due to the observation of embryo deformity and mortality in birds at a National Wildlife Refuge in California. Harmful effects from Se were determined to be connected to irrigation drainage water.As a result, an effort...
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Selenium Hazard in the Salton Sea Environment, Summary of Current Knowledge to Inform Future Science

The effect of selenium (Se) toxicity on wildlife has been known for more than 50 years. The threat of Se contamination gained greater attention from federal agencies in the 1980s due to the observation of embryo deformity and mortality in birds at a National Wildlife Refuge in California. Harmful effects from Se were determined to be connected to irrigation drainage water.As a result, an effort...
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Soil moisture datasets at five sites in the central Sierra Nevada and northern Coast Ranges, California

Soil moisture is a critical variable for understanding the impacts of drought on ecological, hydrological, and agricultural systems, as soil moisture content has a direct affect on runoff amounts. Runoff occurs as the result of precipitation (both rainfall and snowfall) that is in excess of the demands of evaporation from land surfaces, transpiration from vegetation, and infiltration into soils...
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Soil moisture datasets at five sites in the central Sierra Nevada and northern Coast Ranges, California

Soil moisture is a critical variable for understanding the impacts of drought on ecological, hydrological, and agricultural systems, as soil moisture content has a direct affect on runoff amounts. Runoff occurs as the result of precipitation (both rainfall and snowfall) that is in excess of the demands of evaporation from land surfaces, transpiration from vegetation, and infiltration into soils...
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High Resolution Temporal and Spatial Mapping of Mercury and Methylmercury in Surface Waters of the Sacramento – San Joaquin Delta

Mercury (Hg) is a contaminant of significant concern in the San Francisco Bay-Delta estuary and watershed (Bay-Delta). The formation, fate, and transport of methylmercury (MeHg), a particularly toxic organic form of Hg that readily bioaccumulates in wildlife, has been studied extensively throughout the system. However, there is widespread recognition of the need for more comprehensive monitoring...
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High Resolution Temporal and Spatial Mapping of Mercury and Methylmercury in Surface Waters of the Sacramento – San Joaquin Delta

Mercury (Hg) is a contaminant of significant concern in the San Francisco Bay-Delta estuary and watershed (Bay-Delta). The formation, fate, and transport of methylmercury (MeHg), a particularly toxic organic form of Hg that readily bioaccumulates in wildlife, has been studied extensively throughout the system. However, there is widespread recognition of the need for more comprehensive monitoring...
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Evaluating the effects of wastewater-derived nutrients on phytoplankton abundance and community structure in the San Francisco Estuary and Delta

Planned upgrades to the Sacramento Regional wastewater treatment plant (SRWTP) will substantially reduce nutrient discharge and also alter the types and amounts of nutrients being distributed across the San Francisco Delta and Estuary (Delta).One highly anticipated outcome of lower nutrients is improved productivity in the phytoplankton communities that supply aquatic food webs, which should...
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Evaluating the effects of wastewater-derived nutrients on phytoplankton abundance and community structure in the San Francisco Estuary and Delta

Planned upgrades to the Sacramento Regional wastewater treatment plant (SRWTP) will substantially reduce nutrient discharge and also alter the types and amounts of nutrients being distributed across the San Francisco Delta and Estuary (Delta).One highly anticipated outcome of lower nutrients is improved productivity in the phytoplankton communities that supply aquatic food webs, which should...
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Modeling Nitrogen Reduction Benefit to Invasive Aquatic Vegetation vs. Native Phytoplankton

Phytoplankton comprise the bottom of the aquatic food web and the abundance of phytoplankton serves as an indicator of healthy aquatic habitats. In the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta (Delta), competing with phytoplankton for required nitrogen, invasive aquatic vegetation (IAV) has increased exponentially in recent years. Once established, IAV can negatively impact local ecosystems and...
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Modeling Nitrogen Reduction Benefit to Invasive Aquatic Vegetation vs. Native Phytoplankton

Phytoplankton comprise the bottom of the aquatic food web and the abundance of phytoplankton serves as an indicator of healthy aquatic habitats. In the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta (Delta), competing with phytoplankton for required nitrogen, invasive aquatic vegetation (IAV) has increased exponentially in recent years. Once established, IAV can negatively impact local ecosystems and...
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Effects of Wildfire and Fire Retardants on Nutrient Transport in California Watersheds

Large wildfires have increased in size and frequency in the western United States over the past several decades. This has led to increased soil erosion and the transport of sediment containing nutrients into streams and reservoirs. Excess nutrients typically lead to the increased production of algae which can then lead to low levels of dissolved oxygen. This degrades the habitat for fish and...
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Effects of Wildfire and Fire Retardants on Nutrient Transport in California Watersheds

Large wildfires have increased in size and frequency in the western United States over the past several decades. This has led to increased soil erosion and the transport of sediment containing nutrients into streams and reservoirs. Excess nutrients typically lead to the increased production of algae which can then lead to low levels of dissolved oxygen. This degrades the habitat for fish and...
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