Colorado Water Science Center

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Welcome to the USGS Colorado Water Science Center!  Please use these pages to explore the hydrologic data and scientific investigations we conduct on Colorado water resources.

Current Water Conditions

Current Water Conditions

Explore real-time Colorado streamflow, groundwater, and water-quality conditions.

Current Conditions

Science Highlight

Science Highlight

To better characterize the water supply capacity of Clear Creek Reservoir, a bathymetry survey was conducted. The methods used allowed water-resource managers to maintain typical reservoir operations and eliminate the need to empty the reservoir.

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News

Date published: May 13, 2019

2019 USGS Unmanned Aircraft Systems Aquatic Airshow

A USGS Unmanned Aircraft Systems Aquatic Airshow field testing and demonstration event occurred 4/30/2019 - 5/2/2019 on the Saco River near Biddeford, and the Androscoggin River near Lewiston in Maine, USA.

Date published: September 14, 2018

Big Thompson Floods of 1976 and 2013 - A Visual Comparison

The Big Thompson Floods of 1976 and 2013 shown visually. The inundation images reflect the location and peak streamflows at certain points between Estes Park and Loveland, Colorado.

Date published: June 26, 2018

Media Advisory: Witness Groundbreaking River Measurements Collected from the Sky

This Thursday, scientists with the U.S. Geological Survey and NASA will test new technologies near Parkdale, Colorado, located west of Cañon City, to better understand how unmanned aerial systems (UAS), or drones, may be used to measure water depth, water levels and velocity from the sky. 

Publications

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Year Published: 2019

Estimation of base flow by optimal hydrograph separation for the conterminous United States and implications for national-extent hydrologic models

Optimal hydrograph separation (OHS) uses a two-parameter recursive digital filter that applies specific conductance mass-balance constraints to estimate the base flow contribution to total streamflow at stream gages where discharge and specific conductance are measured. OHS was applied to U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) stream gages across the...

Foks, Sydney; Raffensperger, Jeff P.; Penn, Colin A.; Driscoll, Jessica M.

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Year Published: 2019

Science needs for continued development of total nitrogen deposition budgets in the United States

The objectives of this white paper are to describe the state of the science with respect to total Nr deposition budgets in North America and the research needed to improve these budgets from both a measurement and modeling standpoint. The document is intended to serve as a plan for TDep research activities but also, more broadly, to provide...

Wetherbee, Gregory A.; Pamela H. Templar; Richard V. Pouyat; Stephen M. Decina; Brian M. Kerschner; Thomas H. Whitlow; Pamela E. Padgett; Donna B. Schwede; Baron, Jill S.; Clow, David; Mast, M. Alisa; Sexstone, Graham A.; Kristi H. Morris
National Atmospheric Deposition Program, Total Deposition Science Committee, 2019, Science needs for continued development of total nitrogen deposition budgets in the United States, Gregory Beachley and John Walker, eds., NADP Program Office, University of Wisconsin, Madison.

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Year Published: 2019

Groundwater quality and hydrology with emphasis on selenium mobilization and transport in the Lower Gunnison River Basin, Colorado, 2012–16

Dissolved selenium is a contaminant of concern in the lower Gunnison River Basin, Colorado. Selenium is naturally present in the Cretaceous Mancos Shale and is leached to groundwater and surface water by irrigation. The groundwater on the east side of the Uncompahgre River in Delta and Montrose Counties is one of the primary sources of selenium...

Thomas, Judith C.; McMahon, Peter B.; Arnold, L. R.
Thomas, J.C., McMahon, P.B., and Arnold, L.R., 2019, Groundwater quality and hydrology with emphasis on selenium mobilization and transport in the lower Gunnison River Basin, Colorado, 2012–16: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2019–5029, 69 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/sir20195029.