Wisconsin Water Science Center
Decaying organic materials, like leaf litter, can release excess nutrients into local streams and lakes, causing eutrophication and algal blooms. To determine if a municipal leaf collection and street cleaning program can reduce nutrient concentrations and loads in stormwater runoff, the USGS measured phosphorus and nitrogen in stormwater from residential areas in Madison, Wis.
The GLRI Urban Stormwater Monitoring effort brings together the expertise of the USGS with local and national partners to assess the ability of green infrastructure to reduce stormwater runoff in Great Lakes urban areas.
Edge-of-field monitoring focuses on identifying and reducing agricultural sources of excess nutrients which can threaten the health of streams, rivers, and lakes. Edge-of-field monitoring assesses the quantity and quality of agricultural runoff and evaluates the effectiveness of conservation practices that aim to reduce nutrient loss.
Water-use information is essential for managing Wisconsin's valuable water resources. This critical information includes knowing how much, where, and for what purpose water is being used. The USGS works in cooperation with local, state, and federal environmental agencies to collect water-use information, and compiles and disseminates aggregated data at the county, state, and national level....
The USGS Mercury Research Lab is a national leader in advancing mercury research and science, specializing in low-level mercury speciation and isotope analysis and mercury-source fingerprinting. The MRL leads national cutting-edge collaborative studies, including state-of-the-art sample analysis, methods development for field and lab procedures, and data interpretation and dissemination.
Streamflow data are needed at many sites on a daily basis for forecasting flow conditions and flooding, water-management decisions, assessing water availability, managing water quality, and meeting legal requirements. The USGS has been measuring streamflow in Wisconsin since 1906 with nearly 1,000 active and discontinued gages.
Groundwater is an important water resource for Wisconsin. The USGS collects information on the quality and quantity of Wisconsin's groundwater and conducts advanced modeling of groundwater flow and groundwater/surface-water systems. The USGS also evaluates the effects of water-use, land-use, and climate change on groundwater, surface-water, and the ecosystems that rely on them.
Studying lakes provides an improved understanding of lake ecosystem dynamics and valuable information that helps lead to sound lake-management policies. The USGS collects hydrologic data in lake settings, studies water and nutrient budget development, conducts source-loading analysis, explores groundwater interactions, and performs lake water-quality modeling.
SPARROW (SPAtially Referenced Regressions On Watershed attributes) models track the transport of nutrients (particularly nitrogen and phosphorus) from local inland watersheds to regional, coastal waters by explaining spatial patterns in stream water-quality conditions in relation to human activities and natural processes.
Fluvial geomorphology studies provide an understanding of the physical processes responsible for shaping the character of streams and their riparian zones across both glaciatied and unglaciated regions of Wisconsin and the midwestern U.S.