Water Resources

Aquatic Biology and Ecosystems

Regional Stream Quality Assessment (RSQA)

Regional Stream Quality Assessment (RSQA)

Studying water-quality factors that stress aquatic life

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Surface Water and Ecology

Surface Water and Ecology

Research on water quality of rivers and streams

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National Water Census: Environmental Flows

National Water Census: Environmental Flows

What flows are needed to sustain ecosystems?

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Filter Total Items: 62
Date published: March 2, 2019
Status: Active

Agriculture and the Quality of the Nation's Waters

Intensive studies by the USGS National Water-Quality Assessment (NAWQA) Project in agricultural areas provide insight into how agricultural activities have altered the natural flow of water and the way that agricultural chemicals enter streams and aquifers, and in particular how nutrients affect algal and invertebrate communities in agricultural streams.

Attribution: Water Resources
Date published: March 2, 2019
Status: Active

Agricultural Contaminants

About 40 percent of the land in the United States is used for agriculture, and agriculture supplies a major part of the our food, feed, and fiber needs. Agricultural chemicals move into and through every component of the hydrologic system, including air, soil, soil water, streams, wetlands, and groundwater.

Attribution: Water Resources
Date published: March 2, 2019
Status: Active

Large Oil Spills

Oil spills, such as the 2010 Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill, are impactful environmental disasters that have long lasting effects to the landscape, native species, and inhabitants who depend on the area. The USGS explores the adverse effect that large-scale oil spills have on the environment and helps responders prepare for environmental recovery and rehabilitation.

Attribution: Water Resources
Date published: March 1, 2019
Status: Active

Coal-Tar-Based Pavement Sealcoat, PAHs, and Environmental Health

Sealcoat is the black, viscous liquid applied to many asphalt parking lots, driveways, and playgrounds in North America to protect and enhance the appearance of the underlying asphalt. Coal-tar-based pavement sealcoat is a potent source of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) contamination in urban and suburban areas and a potential concern for human health and aquatic life.

Contacts: Barbara Mahler
Attribution: Water Resources
Date published: March 1, 2019
Status: Active

Pesticides and Water Quality

Pesticides are chemicals designed to kill pests, including insects (insecticides), weeds (herbicides), and fungi (fungicides). The USGS assesses the occurrence and behavior of pesticides in streams, lakes, and groundwater and the potential for pesticides to contaminate our drinking-water supplies or harm aquatic ecosystems.

Contacts: Lisa Nowell
Date published: March 1, 2019
Status: Active

Mercury

Mercury is a potent neurotoxin that can affect the human nervous system. Eating fish contaminated with mercury can cause serious harm to people and wildlife.

Contacts: Mark E Brigham
Attribution: Water Resources
Date published: March 1, 2019
Status: Active

Water Quality After Wildfire

Wildfires are devastating and can lead to long-term changes to the landscape. With a significant amount of our Nation’s drinking water sources originating in forested watersheds, evaluating the effect fires have on water quality is incredibly important. The USGS works with other federal and state land managers to assess water-quality after wildfires in order to help protect one of our most...

Attribution: Water Resources
Date published: March 1, 2019
Status: Active

Metals and Other Trace Elements

Metals, metalloids, and radionuclides all are trace elements that occur naturally in the Earth's crust. In small quantities many trace elements are essential for health in all living organisms, but some trace elements can be toxic or cause cancer, and some can bioaccumulate. The USGS investigates where and how trace elements make their way into our Nation's surface water and groundwater.

Attribution: Water Resources
Date published: March 1, 2019
Status: Active

Streamflow Alteration

Humans, just like aquatic organisms, need water.  Flood control, urban infrastructure, irrigation of agriculture, and myriad other ways we manage water affect the natural flow of streams and rivers.  How do the ways we manage land and water affect the natural patterns of streamflow that ecosystems depend on? 

Date published: March 1, 2019
Status: Active

Water-Quality Benchmarks for Contaminants

How does the water quality measure up?  It all depends on what the water will be used for and what contaminants are of interest.  Water-quality benchmarks are designed to protect drinking water, recreation, aquatic life, and wildlife.  Here you’ll find links to some of the most widely used sets of water, sediment, and fish tissue benchmarks and general guidance about their interpretation.

Contacts: Lisa Nowell
Attribution: Water Resources
Date published: February 28, 2019
Status: Active

Linking Selenium Sources to Ecosystems: Local and Global Perspectives

The sources, biogeochemistry, and ecotoxicology of selenium (Se) combine to produce a widespread potential for ecological risk such as deformities in birds and fish. Linking the understanding of source characteristics to a mechanistic, biodynamic dietary model of Se exposure on an ecosystem-scale improves the prediction of Se effects and its potential remediation.

Contacts: Theresa Presser, Joseph P. Skorupa
Attribution: Water Resources
Date published: February 28, 2019
Status: Active

National Water Census: Regional Groundwater Availability Studies

The National Water Census includes regional analysis of groundwater availability, enabling information to be integrated and consistent so the resource can be analyzed and understood on an aquifer–wide scale.  The NWC also seeks to increase capacity to integrate groundwater and surface water into watershed-level assessments of water availability.

Attribution: Water Resources