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California Water Science Center

The U.S. Geological Survey, California Water Science Center (CAWSC) provides reliable, impartial, foundational data and scientific analysis to address water issues facing California today. We conduct hydrologic monitoring and investigative studies in partnership with Federal, State, and local agencies to assist them in managing California's water resources.

News

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USGS assesses water quality in California principal aquifers as part of a Nationwide study

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California Waters - Spring 2022 - Vol. II | Issue II

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California Water Science Center Adds New Webcams

Publications

Modeling the dynamic penetration depth of post-1950s water in unconfined aquifers using environmental tracers: Central Valley, California

The penetration depth of post-1950s recharge (D-1950) in aquifers is a marker that is frequently used to identify groundwater that is susceptible to anthropogenic contamination. Here, we compute D-1950 values at wells, interpolate them in space, and project them across time to map the moving front of modern recharge in four dimensions in the Central Valley aquifer system, California, USA. Tracers

An assessment of future tidal marsh resilience in the San Francisco Estuary through modeling and quantifiable metrics of sustainability

Quantitative, broadly applicable metrics of resilience are needed to effectively manage tidal marshes into the future. Here we quantified three metrics of temporal marsh resilience: time to marsh drowning, time to marsh tipping point, and the probability of a regime shift, defined as the conditional probability of a transition to an alternative super-optimal, suboptimal, or drowned state. We used

Quality of groundwater used for public supply in the continental United States: A comprehensive assessment

The presence of contaminants in a source water can constrain its suitability for drinking. The quality of groundwater used for public supply was assessed in 25 principal aquifers (PAs) that account for 84% of groundwater pumped for public supply in the U.S. (89.6 million people on a proportional basis). Each PA was sampled across its lateral extent using an equal-area grid, typically with 60 wells

Science

Studying Threatened Fish Species in Clear Lake, CA

The Clear Lake Hitch (Lavinia exilicauda chi) population, which once flourished in great abundance, has been decimated by loss of spawning habitat, nursery areas, and the encroachment of non-native species. In order to make an informed decision, the California Water Science Center has been asked by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to conduct studies into the fish’s habitat, specifically changes...
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Studying Threatened Fish Species in Clear Lake, CA

The Clear Lake Hitch (Lavinia exilicauda chi) population, which once flourished in great abundance, has been decimated by loss of spawning habitat, nursery areas, and the encroachment of non-native species. In order to make an informed decision, the California Water Science Center has been asked by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to conduct studies into the fish’s habitat, specifically changes...
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Klamath Dam Removal Studies

Following the removal of four dams along the Klamath River, more naturally dynamic flow conditions may result in novel water quality, sediment transport, and geomorphic conditions leading to temporary or longer-term ecological impacts. USGS continuous and discrete monitoring data on aspects related to sediment and geomorphic conditions will be integral to post-dam removal assessments and...
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Klamath Dam Removal Studies

Following the removal of four dams along the Klamath River, more naturally dynamic flow conditions may result in novel water quality, sediment transport, and geomorphic conditions leading to temporary or longer-term ecological impacts. USGS continuous and discrete monitoring data on aspects related to sediment and geomorphic conditions will be integral to post-dam removal assessments and...
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Actionable Science

The Colorado River Basin Pilot Project is exploring new approaches for the USGS to answer complex earth systems questions identified in partnership with stakeholders, which cannot be answered through a single discipline approach. Science coproduction is a method where scientists, managers, policy makers, and other stakeholders first identify specific decisions to be informed by science, and then...
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Actionable Science

The Colorado River Basin Pilot Project is exploring new approaches for the USGS to answer complex earth systems questions identified in partnership with stakeholders, which cannot be answered through a single discipline approach. Science coproduction is a method where scientists, managers, policy makers, and other stakeholders first identify specific decisions to be informed by science, and then...
Learn More