Upper Midwest Water Science Center capabilities

The Upper Midwest Water Science Center (UMid WSC) has the capacity and expertise to collect high-quality hydrologic data and to conduct unbiased, scientifically sound hydrologic investigations about our Nation's water resources, including surface water, groundwater, water quality, and water use.

We seek to develop innovative studies that advance USGS science and provide applied solutions to problems faced by cooperators in the Great Lakes, rivers, and streams of the Upper Midwest. To support these goals, the UMid WSC focuses on three efforts: hydrologic data collection, geospatial analysis and mapping, and water resource studies. 

Hydrologic data collection is focused in Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin, and includes stream, lake, and groundwater monitoring networks. These networks are part of the larger USGS national program.

Geospatial analysis and mapping supports USGS science and other federal science initiatives by creating full-featured, web-based database applications, data visualizations, and decision support tools. We use our collective expertise in cartography, science, and web technology to create custom products that are practical, intuitive, and focused on our cooperators’ needs.

Water resource studies are comprised of eight science teams:

  • Aquatic Contaminants: Studies the occurrence, distribution, and ecological and human-health effects of organic, inorganic, and microbiological contaminants in the environment.
  • Groundwater & Watershed Modeling: Application of analytical and numerical models, including advanced techniques for model calibration and uncertainty analysis. This team seeks to quantify, understand, and predict the interplay of surface-water and groundwater resources and respond to questions of water availability, including the impacts of water withdrawals and use, changes in water quality, and ecological water needs.
  • Integrated Ecosystem Studies: Investigates the processes within the ecosystem from the watershed scale down to aquatic biology that lives in lakes and rivers.
  • Environmental Microbiology: Incorporates a wide array of traditional and modern molecular approaches to address how microorganisms affect water quality, the environment, and wildlife and human health.  
  • River & Coastal Processes: Uses expertise in such fields as surrogate technologies, geomorphology, sediment fingerprinting, flood inundation modeling, human-health risk analysis, ecological flow analysis, and regional analyses of large data sets.
  • Water Quality Networks & Assessments: Advanced instrumentation, data collection, and analysis for rural and urban nonpoint pollution.
  • USGS Mercury Research Lab: Specializes in low-level speciation and isotope analysis for mercury in water, sediment, boita, and air.
  • Groundwater Characterization: Field investigations, application of geophysical and isotopic methods. and advanced data analysis to characterize groundwater systems, including quantifying flows and sustainability, understanding groundwater/surface-water interactions, assessing groundwater quality, and understanding relations with land uses.