Science Center Objects

The ULCT serves as a resource to assist the Region and its Science Centers for developing regional science programs that provide technical support on impacts of urban development on water resources and ecosystems. Specific objectives include:

• Build expertise to help communities understand their natural resources and effects of urbanization
• Develop expertise in the effects of climate change and natural disasters on urban waters and ecology
• Interface with other Federal agencies
• Create a technical vision for urban waters science
• Support the Urban Waters Federal Partnership

Studies currently underway:

Microplastics in Urban Streams of the Northeast Region

The Northeast Region hosts Urban Landscapes, Coastal Science, and Flood Science Capability Teams.

Northeast Region Urban Landscapes Capability Team

Urban landscapes commonly are impacted in many ways, including degraded water quality, fragmented habitats, invasive species, contaminant spills and transport, reduced groundwater recharge, increasing streamflow flashiness, and others. Urban development disrupts native biological communities, particularly the loss of sensitive biota. Every aquifer or stream can be degraded by inputs of nutrients, contaminants and/or sediments. In addition, stormwater runoff is a major problem in urban areas, increasing flooding or contaminant loads in local streams and rivers and costing cities millions of dollars to mitigate. The USGS Northeast Region has been an active participant in the Urban Waters Federal Partnership (UWFP), which is a White House sponsored program designed to reconnect urban communities, particularly those that are overburdened or economically distressed, with their waterways by improving coordination among Federal agencies and collaborating with community-led revitalization efforts to improve our Nation’s water systems and to promote their economic, environmental, and social benefits. Through the Urban Waters Federal Partnership, the Northeast Region is working with many Federal, state and local partners to improve and protect water quality, restore urban watersheds, create recreational opportunities, and improve social and economic conditions in unserved urban communities. Understanding the processes controlling urban impacts on ecosystems is not only a critical focus of the White House through the UWFP, but also of the USEPA, the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, and many State and local stakeholders.


The Northeast Region Urban Landscapes Capability Team will advance the Northeast Region as a leader in urban science and decision support programs. The Team will be a resource to assist the Region and its Science Centers to develop and maintain science programs that provide information on impacts of urban development on ecosystems, aquifer systems, streams and other waterbodies and implications for watershed management. Specific areas for technical collaboration will include:

  • Impacts on streams and other waterbodies;
  • Effects on terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems;
  • Effects on flood discharge and frequency;
  • Green infrastructure and ecosystem services;
  • Impact on communities;
  • Ways to minimize impact on urban waters quality and quantity from urban development


  • Major objectives for the Northeast Region Urban Landscapes Capability Team will include:
  • Build and maintain urban science program for Northeast Region SCs and assist the Northeast Region Headquarters staff with regional program development through technical support.
  • Work with Northeast Region scientists to develop a technical vision for new urban waters science work and decision making tools.
  • Keep Region technical staff aware of urban waters science related developments through Webinars and face-to-face meetings. Maintain forums for Region SCs to share technical problems and ideas.
  • Interface with other USGS Regions, particularly the Midwest Region (since it is also developing an emphasis on urban science), to draw upon their expertise and foster information exchange.
  • Support the UWFP by providing the necessary science to advance the initiative.
  • Develop expertise to support communities in understanding and addressing the impacts from a changing climate, (e.g., more frequent and intense storms, increasing coastal events, sea-level rise) and building a more resilient community.
  • Build expertise in understanding the unique impacts from natural disasters on urban areas and develop tools and resources to help communities recover from those impacts.


Microplastics in Urban Streams of the Northeast Region



Gregory E Granato, New England WSC,

Guy K Holzer, New England WSC,

James F Coles, New England WSC

Kimberly W Campo, New England WSC

Leslie A Desimone, New England WSC

Robert H Flynn, New England WSC

Amy Simonson, New York WSC

Brett A Hayhurst, New York WSC

Christopher E Schubert, New York WSC

Irene Fisher, New York WSC

James P Tucci, New York WSC

Karen Riva Murray, New York WSC,

Robert F Breault, New York WSC,

Robert J Welk, New York WSC,

Shawn C Fisher, New York WSC,

Stephen A Terracciano, New York WSC,

Tia-Marie Scott, New York WSC,

Daniel D Skulski, New Jersey WSC,

Kaitlin M Zoida, New Jersey WSC,

Pamela A Reilly, New Jersey WSC,

Zoltan Szabo, New Jersey WSC,

Heather Eggleston, Pennsylvania WSC,

Joseph W Duris, Pennsylvania WSC,

Lee W Eicholtz, Pennsylvania WSC,

Leif E Olson, Pennsylvania WSC,

Robin A Brightbill, Pennsylvania WSC,

Tammy M Zimmerman, Pennsylvania WSC,

Brenda F Majedi, Maryland-Delaware-D.C. WSC,

Charles W Walker, Maryland-Delaware-D.C. WSC,

David P Brower, Maryland-Delaware-D.C. WSC,

Edward J Doheny, Maryland-Delaware-D.C. WSC,

Emily H Majcher, Maryland-Delaware-D.C. WSC,

Fisseha S Mengistu, Maryland-Delaware-D.C. WSC,

Joseph M Bell, Maryland-Delaware-D.C. WSC,

Rosemary M Fanelli, Maryland-Delaware-D.C. WSC,

Alyssa K Melberg, Virginia-West Virginia WSC,

Dianna M Hogan, Virginia-West Virginia WSC,

John D Jastram, Virginia-West Virginia WSC,

Kenneth E Hyer, Virginia-West Virginia WSC,

Timothy J McHale, Great Lakes SC,

Harold B Underwood, Patuxent SC,

Kristina G Hopkins, Eastern Geographic SC,


Ralph J Haefner, Michigan WSC,

Austin K Baldwin, Idaho WSC,

Kevin D Richards, Iowa WSC,

William R Selbig, Wisconsin WSC,


Zulimar Lucena, New Mexico WSC,

David J Hester, Southwest Geographic, SC

Daniel K Jones, Utah WSC,

Jack B Epstein, Emeritus (geologist),

Mark A Drummond, Fort Collins SC,


Cherie V Miller, Headquarters (Reston, VA),

Daniel J Hippe, Headquarters (Reston, VA),

Douglas J Yeskis, Headquarters (Reston, VA),

Peter S Murdoch, Headquarters (Reston, VA),

Timothy J Reilly, Headquarters (Reston, VA),

Vivian P Nolan, Headquarters (Reston, VA),

Sister agencies

Catherine Bozek, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service,

Susan E Wells, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service,

Heather M Passchier, National Park Service,


Pelstring Lisa M, U.S. Department of the Interior,