Wisconsin Water Science Center

Water Quality

Water quality is measure of the suitability of water for a particular use based on selected physical, chemical, and biological characteristics. Water-quality monitoring is used to help water-resource managers understand and avert potential negative effects of man-made and natural stresses on water resources. The Wisconsin Water Science Center investigates water-quality issues using new technologies and techniques to study the physical, chemical, biological, geological interactions in rivers, streams, lakes, and groundwater in Wisconsin and across the Nation. Some of the issues we address include the occurrence, distribution, trends, and modeling of pollutants; the relationship between ecological responses and water quality; and the relationships between natural factors, land use, and water quality, in both rural and urban settings.

Browse WI WSC science related to:
Stream water quality
Lake water quality
Groundwater water quality
Urban water quality
Rural water quality

Filter Total Items: 45
Photograph of a cow using a streambank for scratching
Date Published: February 24, 2016

Pioneer Farm bank erosion study

Riparian grazing allows cattle free access to streams, but may accelerate erosion by the removal or trampling of vegetation. This study measured stream bank erosion, channel morphology, and stream substrate through seven experimental intensive-rotational pastures. It also evaluated the use of photo-electronic erosion pins (PEEPs) for measuring bank erosion in this type of geomorphic setting....

Photograph of USGS, Inter-Fluve, Inc. and WI DNR examine new bluff erosion on North Fish Creek near Moquah, WI
Date Published: February 23, 2016

Bayfield tributaries geomorphic assessment for restoration

Lake Superior tributaries in Bayfield County, Wis., have accelerated erosion and sedimentation influenced by changing land use, steep slopes, erodible soils, and flashy runoff. This project assessed the geomorpology of five tributaries, identified problem areas, and assessed rehabilitation alternatives and watershed management strategies specifically related to the rehabilitation of brook...

Photograph of a tributary to the Fox River
Date Published: February 22, 2016

Water quality of the lower Fox River tributaries and Duck Creek watersheds

The USGS is evaluating the effectiveness of non-point pollution control measures in five watersheds in the Lower Fox River and Duck Creek watersheds and comparing daily phosphorus and suspended solids loads for each watershed.

Photo of a rural wadeable stream in Wisconsin
Date Published: February 21, 2016

Impact of phosphorus and nitrogen concentrations on the biological integrity of Wisconsin streams

The USGS and Wisconsin DNR collected water-quality and biological data from 240 wadeable streams and 40 nonwadeable rivers throughout Wisconsin to evaluate the potential environmental benefits of enforcing nutrient criteria and standards for streams and rivers if they better reflected regionally defined, scientifically defensible thresholds to biotic response.

Abstract cover art from PEST++ publication
Date Published: February 19, 2016

PEST++: A Parameter ESTimation code optimized for large environmental models

The PEST++ software suite is object-oriented universal computer code written in C++ that expands on and extends the algorithms included in PEST, a widely used parameter estimation code written in Fortran. PEST++ is designed to lower the barriers of entry for users and developers while providing efficient algorithms that can accommodate large, highly parameterized problems.

Abstract cover art for PESTCommander report cover
Date Published: February 18, 2016

PESTCommander: A graphical user interface for file and run management across networks

PESTCommander is an object-oriented Graphical User Interface (GUI) written in Python® that facilitates the management of model files ("file management") and remote launching and termination of slave computers across a distributed network of computers ("run management").

Abstract illustration representing GENIE
Date Published: February 17, 2016

GENIE: A general model-independent TCP/IP run manager

GENIE is a model-independent suite of programs that can be used to generally distribute, manage, and execute multiple model runs via the TCP/IP infrastructure. The suite consists of a file distribution interface, a run manage, a run executer, and a routine that can be compiled as part of a program and used to exchange model runs with the run manager.

Contacts: Randall J Hunt, Ph.D., Chris Muffels
Photo of abstract art from TSPROC report cover
Date Published: February 16, 2016

TSPROC: a general time-series processor to assist in model calibration and result summarization

TSPROC (Time Series PROCessor) is a software package designed to assist in the calibration of models by editing and distilling time series datasets into more meaningful observations to be used in the optimization objective function. The software performs calculations on time-series data associated with surface-water models, including calculation of flow volumes, transformation by means of...

Screenshot of the homepage of the "Western Lake Michigan Drainages (WMIC) NAWQA Study Unit" archived website
Date Published: February 15, 2016

Western Lake Michigan NAWQA Study Unit

Western Lake Michigan Drainages Study Unit in Wisconsin and Michigan was part of the U.S. Geological Survey's National Water-Quality Assessment Program during Cycle 1 and 2. Research in this study unit included assessments of surface water and ecology, groundwater, urbanization effects, and mercury.