Washington Water Science Center

Aquatic Ecosystems and Habitats

WAWSC activities related to aquatic ecosystems and habitats provides unbiased science, tools, and decision support to federal, state and tribal natural resource managers to help them better manage aquatic habitats needed to support species of cultural and economic value with consideration of water use needs for human consumption, irrigation and hydropower energy production. Studies performed by the WAWSC inform how changes in land cover and water use affect the timing and magnitude of river flows and sediment transport and the subsequent impact on the abundance and location of specific types of aquatic habitats. These studies generate data and predictive models to help resource managers evaluate management scenarios and restoration activities.

Filter Total Items: 32
Date published: May 30, 2019
Status: Active

Quantifying suspended-sediment load and transport characteristics in the Calawah and Upper Bogachiel Rivers, Washington

The issue: Salmonid fisheries are an important cultural and economic activity and efforts to support a thriving fisheries industry remain a major priority for the Quileute Tribe on the Olympic Peninsula, Washington. Land use changes can have a profound influence on basin sediment production with direct effects on fisheries (Madej and Ozaki, 2009). Studies are needed to improve...

Date published: May 28, 2019
Status: Active

Fine sediment infiltration in Chinook spawning gravels in the Sauk River Basin, Washington

The Issue: Salmonid fisheries are an important cultural and economic activity and efforts to support a thriving fisheries industry remain a major priority for the Quileute Tribe. Land use changes can have a profound influence on basin sediment production with direct effects on fisheries. A reconnaissance evaluation for water year 1978 indicated that annual sediment loads in...

Date published: February 20, 2018
Status: Active

Central Columbia Plateau - Yakima River Basin

The Central Columbia Plateau/Yakima River Basin (CCYK) National Water-Quality Assessment (NAWQA) study unit is located in Central Washington, USA. The study unit is dominated by intensive agricultural practices, with irrigated agriculture a common practice for crop production (see study area description). Due to the intensive...

Contacts: Robert W Black
Date published: February 14, 2018
Status: Active

Puget Sound Basin NAWQA

The Puget Sound Basin (PUGT) study unit of the National Water Quality Assessment (NAWQA) program encompasses a 13,700-square-mile area that drains to Puget Sound and adjacent marine waters. Included in this region are all or part of 13 counties in western Washington, as well as the headwaters of the Skagit River and part of the Nooksack River in British Columbia, Canada. The Puget Sound Basin...

Contacts: Robert W Black
Date published: January 25, 2018
Status: Active

Sauk River Sediment

Fine-grained sediments in the lower reach of the Sauk River are adversely affecting the health and spawning of Chinook salmon. Climate change and forestry practices have been proposed as suspected causes of a reported increase in sediment loading to the river.

To determine the amount and timing of suspended-sediment loading to the river and possible connections to adverse effects on...

Date published: January 25, 2018
Status: Active

Stillaguamish Emerging Contaminants

Emerging contaminants are a group of chemical compounds that generally include pharmaceuticals, personal-care products, surfactants, industrial and household chemicals, and food additives. Their presence in the environment is typically associated with discharges from wastewater treatment-plants (WWTP), on-site septic systems, and some animal production operations. They are of particular...

Contacts: Patrick W Moran
Date published: December 8, 2017
Status: Completed

SR 530 Slide

In the immediate aftermath of the SR530 Landslide, the USGS supported first responders and decision-makers as a key member of the collaborative effort to monitor the stability of the landslide deposit and the associated impoundment of the North Fork Stillaguamish River during rescue operations. With the initial disaster response now over, longer-term questions have arisen regarding the...

Date published: January 1, 2017
Status: Completed

Regional Stormwater Monitoring Program Sampling

The Issue: The State of Washington issues Municipal Stormwater Permits to local governments in the Puget Sound region that require them to develop and implement a stormwater management program that reduces the discharge of pollutants and protects the quality of water in rivers, streams, lakes and Puget Sound. The permitees in partnership with the State need to measure whether...

Date published: January 1, 2017
Status: Completed

Coal Transport

The Issue: Federal and state natural resource managers and Tribes are concerned with the environmental impacts from unintentional release of coal dust from train cars during transport through the Northwest. Proposed new coal export terminals in Washington and Oregon would substantially increase rail traffic through the Northwest and the release of coal dust to the environment...

Contacts: Robert W Black
Date published: January 1, 2015
Status: Completed

South Fork Nooksack River Basin Groundwater and Surface-water Interactions and Processes

High water temperatures and low instream flows during the summer have been identified as some of the key limitations for the viability of South Fork Nooksack River salmon populations including summer and spring-run Chinook salmon. Restoration strategies including the placement of engineered log jams, the restoration of floodplains and wetlands, and instream flow negotiation have been developed...

Date published: January 1, 2015
Status: Completed

White River Bioenergetics

The White River Basin is located in western Washington and drains an area of about 500 square miles. Rivers in the White River Basin are fed by melt water from glaciers on Mt. Rainier, runoff from snowmelt and rain, and groundwater discharge. Beginning in the early to mid-twentieth century, the White River from river mile (RM) 9 to its confluence with the Puyallup River was extensively...

Contacts: Robert W Black
Date published: January 1, 2014
Status: Completed

Nooksack River Streamflow and Network Analysis

The Lummi Nation is partner to six USGS streamflow-gaging stations in the Nooksack River basin that measure streamflow in small streams. The Lummi Nation uses data from these stations to help manage its natural resources and has requested that the USGS analyze the available data record. As a result, the USGS is using streamflow data collected in and near the Nooksack River basin to develop...