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Cooperative Projects

USGS Cooperative Matching Funds (CMF) support joint projects with our state, regional, tribal, and local partners to provide reliable, impartial, and timely information needed by these partners to understand and manage the Nation's water resources.

CMF is combined with funds from over 1,500 partners for projects that monitor and assess water resources in every state, protectorate, and territory of the U.S. The flexibility of CMF allows USGS and its partners to respond to significant or emerging water issues in a timely manner; sometimes this results in local issues being raised to the regional or national level. Because consistent USGS national protocols are used to monitor and assess water resources, water data are directly comparable at the regional and national scale and water issues in a specific location, watershed, or aquifer can be compared to those in other geographic regions and across different time periods. Such comparisons allow for large-scale synthesis and problem-solving across state lines, in regional watersheds or aquifers, and nationally. CMF are also used to develop innovative approaches for monitoring, modeling, managing, and delivering water data and science to our partners, while also providing information that protects human lives and property, promotes healthy ecosystems, and supports sustainable economic development.  


Pie charts showing number of cooperators and percentage of funding for USGS Cooperative Matching Funds
Charts showing the number of cooperators using USGS Cooperative Matching Funds and the percentage of funding received from each group of cooperators.


NWQP CMF is used to support a wide array of projects that examine the quality of our Nation’s surface water and groundwater resources.  Water-quality projects often assess the current quality of a specific resource (stream, lake, aquifer) of interest to our partners and consist primarily of water-quality data collection. This data collection can be for basic water-quality properties and constituents such as temperature, specific conductance, pH, dissolved oxygen, turbidity, nutrients, major ions, or suspended sediment. Increasingly, such monitoring is done using sensors deployed in the water body to directly or indirectly measure the properties and constituents of interest in real time. Other projects involve discrete sample collection for analysis of a wide range of constituents in water, sediment, or tissue. These constituents include trace elements and radionuclides, isotopes and other environmental tracers that can identify sources of contaminants and the relative age of groundwater, microbial indicator organisms and specific pathogens that affect human or wildlife health, and various legacy and emerging organic contaminants including pesticides, VOCs, hormones, pharmaceuticals, wastewater compounds, and algal toxins. Monitoring studies may be done to assess current conditions or short-term (days to months to years) or long-term (years to decades) trends in water quality.  

Other water-quality studies done in cooperation with our partners develop complex analytical tools and models that are used by USGS partners to extrapolate current water-quality conditions spatially and temporally and thereby inform decision makers about the effectiveness of specific management practices or policies. Often these studies integrate the USGS’s unique capabilities to provide integrated assessments of the quantity of water available, how that water is being used, and the current quality of water and its suitability for specific uses. Ultimately, water-quality data and science provided by the USGS is being used by our partners to protect and manage the freshwater resources the public relies on for drinking water, recreation, and economic development while also maintaining healthy and productive  aquatic ecosystems. 


Pie chart and graph showing comparison of USGS Cooperative Matching Funds to reimbursable funding for the NWQP Program
Comparison of USGS Cooperative Matching Funds to reimbursable funding for the National Water Quality Program (NWQP).