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History of the Oklahoma Water Science Center

Oklahoma Water Science Center merged with the Texas Water Science Center in July 2019. There have been USGS presence since the first systematic geologic studies occurred in Oklahoma around 1902.

Oklahoma and Texas water science centers have been separate entities until the end of June 2019, when the two merged and formed Oklahoma-Texas Water Science Center.

C.N. Gould, father of Oklahoma Geology
Part of a US Geological Survey outfit northwest of Lawton, Comanche County, Oklahoma Territory, 1901. Man in photo is C.N. Gould, father of Oklahoma Geology.

However, both of them shared the same rich history that can be dated to the year of 1888, when USGS initiated the National Streamgaging Program with training and gage installation on the Rio Grande River near Embudo, New Mexico.

The actual USGS and official water studies presence in Oklahoma began on Oct. 27, 1902, with a discharge measurement by W.G. Russell in the area of the North Canadian River near El Reno. The first systematic geologic studies in Oklahoma occurred about the same time.

USGS geologist and also Oklahoma state geologist Charles Newton Gould (1868 - 1949) has always been considered as a father of geology in Oklahoma. When he graduated with master's degree in geology in University of Nebraska in 1900, he was hired by the University of Oklahoma, where he organized its geology department. Soon after C. N. Gould explored Oklahoma as he was commissioned by the Hydrographic Branch of the U.S. Geological Survey in 1903 to explore Oklahoma and Indian Territories and as a result of his exploration was publishing of the Geology and Water Resources of Oklahoma in 1905.

In 1908 Gould founded Oklahoma Geological Survey, where he served as its director between 1908 - 1911 and then again 1924 - 1931.



  1. In Denver, M.C. Hinderlider (1903-05),
  2. As OK-NM,  J.M. Giles (District Hydrographer 1905-06)
  3. W.A. Lamb (1906-07?9)
  4. Merged into Rocky Mountain District
  5. Subdistrict office of Arkansas District (1928-48?)
  6. Oklahoma District, S.K. Jackson (1948-57), Chief Engineer
  7. A.A. Fishback (1957-67?)
  8. J.W. Odell (1967-71)
  9. J.H. Irwin (1971-85)
  10. C.R. Burchett (1986-89)
  11. K.D. Peter (1990-2002)
  12. K.T. Winton (2002-12?)
  13. D. Mott (2013-15?)
  14. W.J. Andrews (2015-17)
  15. J.M. Lewis (2018-19)


Gould, C. N. (1905). Geology and water resources of Oklahoma. Govt. Print. Off.

Society, O. H. (n.d.). Gould, Charles Newton. Oklahoma Historical Society | OHS. 

Rabbitt, M.C., 1989, The United States Geological Survey: 1879-1989: U.S. Geological Survey Circular 1050, 52 p.

USGS retirees newsletter 169. November 2015. (n.d.).


Banner image description

Draper Lake, OK