Nevada Water Science Center

Water Quality and Environmental Health

Water quality of streams and lakes in Nevada can vary significantly in different parts of the State as well as during different times of the year. NVWSC researchers monitor water-quality throughout the state as well as study how chemical and physical stressors affect environmental health.

Filter Total Items: 23
Date published: October 2, 2020
Status: Active

Quantifying watershed controls on fine sediment particles and nutrient loading to Lake Tahoe using data mining and machine learning

Since the late 1980’s, the USGS has collected discharge, sediment, and water quality data at seven major drainages under the Lake Tahoe Interagency Monitoring Program (LTIMP). Recently, continuous, real-time measurements of turbidity were added to the LTIMP. These data can be combined with in situ, model simulations, and remotely-sensed datasets available from the USGS, National Aeronautics...

Date published: May 8, 2020
Status: Active

Nutrient Source Identification in Groundwater and Periphyton Along the Nearshore of Lake Tahoe

High concentrations of phosphorus (P) and nitrogen (N) are responsible for excessive, or nuisance algal blooms in many ecosystems world-wide, and climate change is predicted to exacerbate the problem1,2. Excessive nutrients supplied to the nearshore zone of Lake Tahoe may have significant consequences to ecological communities, water clarity, and water quality. The nearshore zone...

Contacts: Ramon C Naranjo
Date published: June 12, 2019
Status: Active

Lake Tahoe Water Quality Shorezone Monitoring

USGS Nevada Water Science Center (NVWSC) is sampling for Volitile Organic Compounds (VOCs) in 2019 in order to confirm previous data collection efforts at Lake Tahoe. The Tahoe Regional Planning Agency (TRPA) requested sampling in targeted locations and at times when petroleum constituents are most likely to be detected in the lake.  

Contacts: Jena Huntington
Date published: July 17, 2018
Status: Active

Collection of arsenic and associated geochemical data important to occurrence and mobility of arsenic in groundwater used for public supply in southern Carson Valley, Douglas County, Nevada

The Nevada Water Science Center (NVWSC) is increasing the spatial understanding of the distribution of arsenic and important geochemical information in groundwater resources near select water-supply wells in southern Carson Valley by collecting groundwater samples to complement the existing dataset (2006 – 2015).

Contacts: Angela Paul
Date published: July 17, 2018
Status: Active

Evaluating Potential Refugia for the Endangered Mohave Tui Chub

The USGS Nevada Water Science Center (NVWSC), in partnership with the National Park Service (NPS), is evaluating and monitoring the basic water quality and sediment chemistry of two proposed refugia and three established habitats for the endangered Mohave Tui Chub over the course of the year. NVWSC will also compare and evaluate findings to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency screening levels...

Contacts: Katherine Earp
Date published: July 17, 2018
Status: Active

Monitoring Mercury and Suspended Sediment in the Carson River, Nevada: Continuation of a Unique, Long-Term Dataset

The USGS Nevada Water Science Center (NVWSC), in collaboration with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), monitored mercury in the Carson River from 1997 to 2013. To preserve this long-term dataset, NVWSC is monitoring mercury concentrations and suspended sediment in the Carson River above and below Lahontan Reservoir. NVWSC also is beginning process-based sampling above and below...

Date published: June 13, 2018
Status: Active

Assessment of Springsnail Abundance at Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge

USGS Nevada Water Science Center (NVWSC), in cooperation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), is performing a systematic field investigation designed to survey the status of springsnails and the condition of the springs in which they occur at Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge (AMNWR). 

Contacts: Erin Orozco
Date published: December 22, 2017
Status: Active

National Water-Quality Program Studies in Nevada

The USGS National Water-Quality Assessment Project (NAWQA) is now part of the USGS National Water-Quality Program (NWQP). NAWQA provides nationally consistent data and...

Contacts: Jena Huntington
Date published: December 19, 2017
Status: Active

How are Endocrine-Disrupting Compounds Moving Through the Food Web in Lake Mead National Recreation Area?

Water quality in the Lake Mead National Recreation Area (LAKE), particularly Las Vegas Bay, is affected by water coming from the Las Vegas Wash, an urban perennial stream whose water is comprised of treated wastewater and urban runoff coming from the Las Vegas metropolitan area.  Common carp collected from Las Vegas Wash and Las Vegas Bay and largemouth bass collected from Las Vegas Bay have...

Date published: December 19, 2017

Near-Continuous Depth-Dependent Water-Quality Data from Automatic Profiling Systems and Meteorological Data, Lakes Mead and Mohave, Arizona and Nevada, USA

The Colorado River is one of the most intensely used rivers in the western United States, providing recreational watercraft activities and domestic drinking, industrial, and irrigation water for over 22 million users in the desert southwest. The quality of this water must be maintained to guarantee a reliable and safe resource for its many uses. The Colorado River provides an estimated 97...

Contacts: Erin Orozco
Date published: December 18, 2017

TROD: Temperature Profiling Probe

Temperature measurements are routinely made for investigating ecological and hydrological processes. Temperature is a key parameter for monitoring the suitability of fisheries habitat and streambed temperature data are useful for estimating surface water and groundwater exchange. Measuring vertically nested temperatures at the streambed interface poses practical challenges. 

Contacts: Ramon C Naranjo
Date published: December 18, 2017
Status: Completed

Lake Tahoe Nearshore Periphyton Study

Periphyton, a type of algae, is growing on bottom sediment and rocks along nearshore areas of Lake Tahoe. Periphyton is seen as a nuisance and negatively impacts the recreational value of the lake. Periphyton biomass (PB) data collected along the nearshore of Lake Tahoe exhibit increasing trends over the last decade. However, the mechanisms that have caused these changes are not well...

Contacts: Ramon C Naranjo