New England Water Science Center

Watershed and Urban Hydrology

New England is home to thousands of watersheds, draining landscapes ranging from pristine portions of the northern Appalachian Mountains to densely populated urban regions near the Atlantic coast.  The Watershed and Urban Hydrology Section conducts studies of hydrologic and water-quality processes across the full range of New England landscapes.  For example, rainfall-runoff processes and related chemical transport in the Sleepers River Watershed, northern Vermont, have been a research focus of the Section for decades.  The Section has also studied sources of chloride and other constituents to the public water-supply watersheds of Providence, R.I. and Cambridge, Mass, to help enhance water-supply protection efforts.  In a recent urban study, the Section pioneered new methods for continuous quantification of stormwater runoff volume and constituent loads entering a large river from highway bridge decks.

Filter Total Items: 9
Date published: March 31, 2021
Status: Active

Hydrologic Interpretive Program

The mission of the Hydrologic Interpretive Program is to work with stakeholders to design, carry out, and publish scientific studies addressing critical water-resources issues facing New England and the Nation.

Date published: March 5, 2021
Status: Active

Sleepers River Research Watershed

The Sleepers River Research Watershed in Danville, Vermont has been the site of active hydrologic research since 1959, when the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) established a research program in the watershed. The Sleepers River site is now operated by the USGS, in cooperation with several other Federal agencies and universities. 

Contacts: James Shanley
Date published: September 4, 2020
Status: Active

Monitoring Merrimack River Mainstem and Tidal Reaches in Massachusetts to Evaluate Water Quality Conditions, May to September 2020

The Merrimack River watershed, the 4th largest watershed in New England (Massachusetts Executive Office of Environmental Affairs, 2001), has seen substantial growth and development in recent years.

Contacts: Jason Sorenson
Date published: February 24, 2020
Status: Active

Assessment of Hydrologic Conditions in the Three Bays Watershed in Support of Nutrient Management Activities, Cape Cod, Massachusetts

      In 2019 the USGS began a partnership with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Office of Research and Development (ORD), EPA Region 1 Southeast New England Program for Coastal Watershed Restoration (SNEP), Barnstable Clean Water Coalition (BCWC), and other stakeholders to conduct hydrologic monitoring and assessment in support of multifaceted nutrient-management activities in...

Date published: October 24, 2019
Status: Active

Herring River Water Quality

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) New England Water Science Center installed, operated, and maintained surface water-quality sites at the Chequessett Neck Road dike on the Herring River from November 2015 through September 2018.

Date published: July 9, 2019
Status: Active

Development of a Water Quality Monitoring Strategy for Mount Hope Bay and the Taunton River Estuary, Massachusetts

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) are collaborating on a study to develop a water quality monitoring strategy for Mount Hope Bay and the Taunton River Estuary.

Date published: October 16, 2018
Status: Active

Groundwater and Surface-Water Monitoring in the Mill Creek Watershed, Wellfleet and Truro, Massachusetts

The Herring River estuary and salt marsh system, within the Cape Cod National Seashore in Wellfleet, Massachusetts, has been diked off from the ocean for more than 100 years. The National Park Service is now preparing to restore the 1,100 acre estuary-marsh system.  

Date published: September 26, 2018
Status: Active

Nutrient and Sediment Load Reduction Estimates from Intensive Street Cleaning and Leaf Litter Removal Practices in Vermont

Urban stormwater runoff contains high phosphorus concentrations that contribute to the eutrophication to receiving waters. Recent studies have further shown that leaf fall management presents an opportunity to maximize the effectiveness of common municipal practices such as street cleaning and leaf litter removal and substantially nutrient loading.

Contacts: Jason Sorenson
Date published: June 19, 2018
Status: Completed

Updating a Method to Estimate Probable High Groundwater Levels in Massachusetts

Periodic high groundwater levels are a major cause of septic system-failures, wet basements, and other problems for suburban and rural residents in Massachusetts. To address this issue, a method (commonly referred to as the Frimpter method) was developed in early 1980’s to estimate probable high groundwater levels across the state. The USGS New England Water Science Center, in cooperation with...