Urban Waters Federal Partnership Cooperative Matching Funds Projects

Science Center Objects

The Urban Waters Federal Partnership (UWFP) reconnects urban communities with their waterways by improving coordination among federal agencies, particularly those communities that have been disproportionately impacted by pollution or economic distress. The UWFP draws upon Environmental Justice principals—the idea that all people, regardless of race, religion, national origin, or economic station, deserve fair treatment with regards to environmental laws and policy. 

The UWFP joins federal agency science and community-led revitalization efforts to improve our Nation's water systems and promote their economic, environmental and social benefits. The USGS joined the Partnership in Fiscal Year 2017 when the USGS National Water Quality Program (NWQP) was asked by Congress to make available Cooperative Matching Funds (CMF) to support water-quality related projects in designated UWFP locations. USGS UWFP activities include a wide range of water-quality related monitoring, assessment, management practice evaluation, and educational activities. These projects are done in cooperation with municipal, state, and regional partners focused on restoring and revitalizing urban waterways.

Geographic areas with USGS projects selected for funding

Inset map showing continental United States, state outline, and project areas as of 2021

Continental United States map showing USGS Urban Waters Federal Partnership Project areas, 2017-2021


Anacostia Watershed—Washington, DC, area

Map, Anacoastia watershed

Spatial/Temporal Forecasting of Bacteria Populations in the Anacostia River, Washington D.C.  (funded in 2021). 
Contact: Jon Dillow
Cooperator: District of Columbia Department of Energy and Environment (DOEE)
This 3-year project will collect hydrologic and biological data to be used in conjunction with bacteria data from the DC Department of the Environment (DOEE). The combined data (continuous data, including water temperature, turbidity, and fluorescence, as well as discrete bacteria concentrations) will support the development of modeling and forecasting of E. coli concentrations in the tidally influenced part of the Anacostia River, Washington, D.C. The project is in cooperation with the DOEE.
►News: (July 2021) Newly Installed Super Gauge Helps USGS Monitor Water Quality, Bacteria Levels in Lower Anacostia River 

Understanding Hydrologic Processes on the Tidal Anacostia River (funded in 2018).
Contact: Charles Walker
A new hydrologic monitoring station on the tidal portion of the Anacostia River measures stage (height), discharge by velocity, water temperature, specific conductance, pH, dissolved oxygen, turbidity and potentially nitrate in real time.  Monitoring at short timescales provides a unique insight into processes in the tidal Anacostia River, particularly during storm flow.  The data will have important applications for the management of flow, sediment loadings, and nutrient-induced eutrophication in the Anacostia River.



Bronx and Harlem River Watersheds—New York City, NY

"Thanks to the Urban Waters Federal Partnership, we have been able to partner with USGS on a number of water quality studies and have learned critical information about the Bronx River that we otherwise would not have had the capacity or expertise to execute on our own."
—Michelle Luebke, Director of Environmental Stewardship, Bronx River Alliance

Map, Bronx and Harlem River Watersheds

Expanding the Bronx River Gage to Include Real-Time Water-Quality  (funded in 2021).
Shawn Fisher
CooperatorNew York State Department of Environmental Conservation
The Bronx River stream gage will continue to be operated and upgraded to include water-quality monitoring to provide continuous, real-time data for stakeholders throughout the Bronx River watershed. A City University of New York student intern (with emphasis on diversity) will be hired to assist with all aspects of fieldwork and outreach including the re-establishment of the USGS Bronx Zoo kiosk. 

Assessing Sources of Pathogens to the Bronx and Harlem Rivers at Points of Public Access (funded in 2019).
Stephen TerraccianoShawn FisherIrene Fisher
CooperatorNew York State Department of Environmental Conservation
This investigation expands sampling along the Harlem River and adds the Bronx River to a current project identifying sources of fecal bacteria at locations of current or planned public access to the rivers. Information on relative contributions of host organisms and concentrations, combined with data on factors that may affect those concentrations, will assist in management of access and use at boat launches and other access points.

Preliminary Quantification of Poly- and Perfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) in the Bronx River, NY (funded in 2019).
ContactStephen TerraccianoShawn FisherIrene Fisher
This assessment leverages an ongoing study of PFAS on Long Island, NY, to include the Bronx River. A suite of 28 PFAS compounds will be measured in stream water and bed sediment collected from multiple locations along the Bronx River under storm and non-storm conditions. The results from the assessment will provide federal, state, and local entities with information regarding the extent and pervasiveness of PFAS in the Bronx River.

Assessing Green Infrastructure and Water Quality in an Urban Watershed (funded in 2018).
ContactStephen TerraccianoShawn FisherIrene Fisher
The USGS is partnering with New York City Parks to evaluate the effectiveness of different green infrastructure systems in removing stormwater-related contaminants in areas of existing and proposed parks. Activities include assessing the effectiveness of a green roof, the intertidal zone, and a bioswale at removing contaminants in stormwater runoff; evaluating whether newly planted street trees can help capture stormwater runoff; and monitoring of the effects of a newly installed geothermal well on surface-water and groundwater quality.

Monitoring Stormwater and Groundwater for Management of Geothermal and Green Infrastructure Development in New York City (funded in 2017).
ContactStephen TerraccianoShawn FisherIrene Fisher
There is a need for a better understanding of water quality and the effects of recharging water caused by various forms of geothermal systems in the Bronx, New York. This project involves equipping sites to monitor groundwater and stormwater at select locations green infrastructure and geothermal systems installed in the Bronx. Understanding dissolved minerals and composition of the groundwater from wells in New York City will aid in design, construction and longevity of geothermal systems.


Grand River / Grand Rapids—Michigan

Map, Grand River/Grand Rapids project area in Michigan

Using Novel Sensor Technology to Develop a Recreational Contact Warning System in the Grand River, Grand Rapids, MI (funded in 2021). 
Contact: Cynthia Rachol 
Cooperator: City of Grand Rapids, MI
The USGS is partnering with the City of Grand Rapids to develop an early warning tool for fluxes of the bacterium E. coli. The City of Grand Rapids has documented E. coli concentrations on the Grand River that exceed recreational water quality criteria and would limit recreational use. This tool will help provide advanced warning to the public of instances when E. coli concentrations are likely to exceed current recreational contact standards.







Greater Philadelphia Area / Delaware River Watershed—Greater Philadelphia, PA, area

Map, Delaware River Basin Watershed

Novel Bacterial Monitoring in Urbanized Areas of the Delaware River Basin in Support of Recreational Water Quality Criteria (funded in 2021).
Contact: Heather Heckathorn
Cooperator: Delaware River Basin Commission
Innovative, near real-time bacterial monitoring technology will be evaluated to provide instantaneous bacteria concentrations. Data quality will be assessed from novel pathogen monitoring systems by comparing recorded data with traditional analytical methods. The project will result in denser datasets for water-resource managers to evaluate recreational water-quality criteria in urbanized areas of the Lower Delaware River, which will potentially allow water-resource managers to assess conditions in real-time and immediately communicate them to the public.

Improved Water Quality Monitoring and Benthic Macroinvertebrate Assessment in the Darby Creek Watershed, PA (funded in 2019).
Contact: Joe Duris
CooperatorPhiladelphia Water Department
This project will add continuous water-quality monitoring capability at four sites along Darby Creek, which feeds into the John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge in Philadelphia.  Sampling of the macroinvertebrate community in the creek sediment will also be done. The water-quality and aquatic-health information for the heavily urbanized Darby Creek watershed will assist in management of the refuge.








Green-Duwamish Watershed, Seattle, WA, area

Inset map showing Duwamish River basin and surrounding state outlines

Understanding Groundwater Processes that Relate to Contaminant Transport in the Tidal Lower Duwamish Waterway (funded in 2020).
: Craig Senter
CooperatorWashington State Department of Ecology
Understanding the potential sources of sediment re-contamination within the Lower Duwamish Waterway, Seattle, WA, is key to a successful and long-lasting cleanup plan for this contaminated site. This project will determine how, when, and where contaminated groundwater drains to the tidally influenced Lower Duwamish Waterway by building a site-wide understanding of groundwater flow, using novel tracking tools to determine paths of contaminant migration in groundwater, and exploring how contaminant concentrations might change along those paths.







Lake Pontchartrain Area / New Orleans—New Orleans, LA, area

(We are) happy to finally get current water level and other data for the refuge.
—Shelly Stiaes, USFWS Refuge Manager for BSNWR

Map, Lake Pontchartrain Area Watershed

Waterbirds as Indicators of Water-quality and Ecological Conditions in Bayou Sauvage Urban National Wildlife Refuge, New Orleans, LA (funded in 2019). 
Scott Mize
CooperatorLouisiana Department of Wildlife & Fisheries
The Hurricane and Storm Damage Risk Reduction System (levee system) for New Orleans has blocked surface water exchange between Bayou Sauvage National Wildlife Refuge and the surrounding lakes and Gulf of Mexico. Monitoring subsequent changes in hydrology, water quality, habitat, and waterbird and nekton communities within the refuge is important for the sustainability of these aquatic resources. Work focuses on linking changes in water levels to changes in water quality, bird populations, and habitat. 

Water-Quality Conditions Associated with Water Level Changes in Bayou Sauvage Urban National Wildlife Refuge (funded in 2019).
Scott Mize
CooperatorLouisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries
The 24,000-acre Bayou Sauvage, one of the last remaining marsh areas adjacent to Lake Pontchartrain, is an urban National Wildlife Refuge that connects people with nature. Recent work to protect New Orleans from storm damage has blocked the exchange of water between the Bayou and the larger water bodies to which it once was connected. This investigation will monitor water level and water quality in the Bayou to determine how those conditions may be affected by the lack of exchange and will aid in managing recreation and outreach.



Los Angeles River Watershed—California

Map, Los Angeles River Watershed

Continuous, Real-Time Water-Quality Monitoring in the Los Angeles River (funded in 2019).
: Greg Mendez
CooperatorWater Replenishment District of Southern California
This project will provide high-quality, real-time, continuous water-quality data in a reach of the Los Angeles River slated for revitalization. Data are expected to provide information for enhanced recreational use, inform local organizations and municipal entities interested in current water-quality and flow conditions, contribute to future assessments of factors affecting surface-water quality in this heavily urbanized area, and support science-based management practices to protect public land and water.








Meramec River and Big River—Missouri

"USGS involvement in the Meramec / Big River Urban Waters Federal Partnership fulfills a critical need for scientific assessment of water quality that will lead to actions that directly address the source of pollution and result in a healthier watershed."
—Mary Grace Lewandowski, East-West Gateway Council of Governments

Map, Meramec River in Missouri

Origin and Source of E. coli and Wastewater Impacts in the Impaired Kiefer Creek Watershed (funded in 2021).  
ContactJohn Schumacher 
CooperatorMetropolitan St. Louis Sewer District
The USGS will be using traditional longitudinal and bi-monthly sampling and innovative techniques to investigate excessive E. coli densities in Kiefer Creek, a tributary of the Meramec River, MO. Techniques will include optical brighteners, thermal imaging, isotopes, and microbial source tracking. Understanding the origin (human or non-human) and source (onsite septic or municipal sewers) of the E. coli will allow stakeholders to more effectively address the impairment.  








Middle Blue River—Kansas City, MO, area

Map, Middle Blue River Watershed

Implementation of a Bi-State Long-Term Benchmark Water-Quality Monitoring Network for the Blue River Federal Urban Waters (funded in 2019).
John Schumacher, Heather Krempa
This project will take the first step toward the establishment of a network of long-term water-quality monitoring “benchmark sites” on the Blue River. These benchmark sites will become the framework around which other monitoring efforts by multiple local and state organizations, currently being carried out piecemeal, can be designed.  Multiple sites will be screened for a range of water- and sediment-quality properties and compounds, and habitat and biological assessments will be done at a subset of sites to aid at final benchmark sites selection.

Connecting People and Water in the Kansas City Metro Area (funded in 2018).
John Schumacher, Heather Krempa
As part of “Renew the Blue”, a program to increase public engagement with the Middle Blue River, the USGS is assessing water quality, habitat, fish, and macroinvertebrate communities on the Middle Blue River and some of its tributaries. The assessment will provide key information on the ecological health of the river. USGS also is involved in an ecological assessment at the Kansas City Municipal Farm. The Municipal Farm, long abandoned, is an opportunity for environmental restoration, research, and recreation for the surrounding Eastwood Hills neighborhood. The USGS is assessing the phytoplankton community, algal toxins, and fish tissue toxins in three of the farm’s ponds.



Middle Rio Grande / Albuquerque—Albuquerque, NM, area

The USGS Urban Waters Cooperative Matching Funds helps Bernalillo County and other stormwater managers in the Middle Rio Grande watershed better understand the distribution and sources of E. coli in the river, and ultimately supports improved stormwater quality and watershed restoration and management practices.
—Kali Bronson, Stormwater Program Compliance Manager, Bernalillo County

Map, Middle Rio Grande watershed

Evaluating the Potential Influence and Diurnal Variation of Wastewater Effluent on Water Quality in the Rio Grande, Albuquerque, New Mexico (funded in 2021) 
Contact: Rebecca Travis
Cooperator: New Mexico Environment Department
Preliminary data collected on the Rio Grande show an increase in PFAS compounds as the river flows through the Albuquerque, New Mexico metropolitan area. PFAS concentrations are highly variable between discrete sample collection events. A combination of passive and active samplers and a single 24-hour sampling event will be used to gain understanding of the evolution and daily fluctuations of anthropogenic compounds, including PFAS and wastewater tracers, through the urban area and downstream from a wastewater treatment plant.  

Microbial Source Tracking and Escherichia coli Monitoring in the Rio Grande During Dry Season in the South Valley, Albuquerque, New Mexico (funded in 2020).
ContactRebecca Travis
CooperatorCounty of Bernalillo
The Rio Grande, in southern Albuquerque, is an impaired reach for bacteria. Past studies have found that E. coli bacteria concentrations are consistently elevated in this impaired reach of the Rio Grande even without stormwater present, during what is referred to as “dry season”. Water and sediment samples for bacterial analysis will be collected in this reach over a range of flows including during the dry season. Water samples will be analyzed for E. coli, microbial source tracking markers, suspended sediments, and field parameters. River-bottom sediments will be sampled for fecal indicator bacteria and markers. An interpretive analysis, including E. coli yields, is expected by the end of FY22.

Gauging the Effects of Habitat Restoration in the Valle de Oro National Wildlife Refuge (funded in 2018).
ContactRebecca Travis
In the Valle de Oro, the Southwest’s first Urban National Wildlife Refuge, irrigated fescue and alfalfa farm fields are being restored to diverse floodplain habitats, including seasonal wetlands, bosque, grasslands, and upland habitats. To help gauge the success of habitat restoration, the USGS is collecting data on the quality of surface water and groundwater at the refuge before and during the restoration process. Similar baseline data collection also is ongoing at the Albuquerque South Valley Community Commons’ McEwen Pond, where multiple partners are building an urban ecosystem in the South Valley and revitalizing a 4-acre lot near McEwen Pond.

Preliminary Assessment of Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs) loads into the Rio Grande from three Stormwater Basins in Bernalillo County (funded in 2017). 
Rebecca Travis
 PCBs are persistent legacy contaminants that present a health risk to aquatic organisms and humans. This project involves water and soil sampling at four stormwater collection basins to characterize PCB concentrations in soil and water samples, estimate stormwater discharges from the four basins, and estimate PCB loads for the four basins.  PCB loading to the Rio Grande from each urban watershed is simulated using a computer-based, rainfall-runoff model.



Mystic River Watershed - Boston, MA, area

The Mystic StreamStats Project will assist 19 municipalities in the Commonwealth in meeting MS4 requirements and provide valuable information in decision making on nutrient load reductions within each municipality. It also sets a standard for future stormwater infrastructure mapping efforts throughout the state.
—Laura Schifman, Stormwater Coordinator, MassDEP

Inset map showing Mystic River basin and surrounding state outlines

Understanding Stormwater Drainage in the Mystic River Basin using StreamStats (funded in 2020)
ContactAlana Spaetzel
CooperatorMassachusetts Department of Environmental Quality
Characterizing hydrology and contaminant inputs in urban watersheds requires the consideration of both the natural and manmade environment. Applications like the U.S. Geological Survey’s (USGS) StreamStats make topographic delineations accessible to all users. However, stormwater infrastructure and associated contributing areas remains inaccessible to many end users. StreamStats functionality will be expanded to include the stormwater drainage network in areas of the Mystic River Watershed with available quality-assured data. This tool will give users the ability to accurately determine topographic drainage areas, stormwater network contributing areas, and corresponding basin characteristics.






Northwest Indiana Area—Northwest Indiana

"USGS water monitoring projects in northwestern Indiana, utilizing Urban Waters Federal Partnership Cooperative Matching Funds, provide valuable data to local partners, including real-time water-quality monitoring in the Grand Calumet River."
—Jennifer Birchfield, Urban Waters Ambassador for Northwest Indiana

Map, Northwest Indiana watershed

Dissolved Oxygen and Algal Monitoring to Evaluate Eutrophication in the Grand Calumet River Basin, Northwestern Indiana (funded in 2020).
ContactPaul Buszka, Dave Lampe
CooperatorIndiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM)
The Grand Calumet River and Indiana Harbor Canal (GCR/IHC) in northwest Indiana have been characterized as impaired for beneficial public use, in part because of eutrophication connected with nuisance algae. This project will provide quality-assured, warm-season (April thru September) continuous water-quality data for eutrophication related parameters for three years from two sites. The data will assist UWFP partner agencies in evaluating whether the eutrophication beneficial use impairment can be removed.

Water Quality GW/SW Interactions at Restored Wetlands near Grand Calumet River, Gary, Indiana (funded in 2020).  
ContactPaul Buszka, Dave Lampe
CooperatorIndiana Department of Natural Resources (IDNR)
The Pine Station and Clark-Pine Nature Preserves are restored wetlands in the Grand Calumet-Indiana Harbor Canal Area of Concern (AOC) that harbor State endangered and threatened plant species.  Water-level fluctuations and groundwater/surface-water interactions are key controls on viability of plant communities in these and other restored wetlands in the AOC. This project will monitor water-level fluctuations and analyze water quality to investigate how water budget components and prior land use may relate to water quality.

Watershed-Wide Temperature Monitoring, Little Calumet River (funded in 2019).
ContactPaul Buszka, Dave Lampe
This project adds real-time monitoring of temperature to other data collected at 10 USGS stage and streamflow monitors along the Little Calumet River. Temperature data are among the key indicators of appropriate conditions for fishing and paddling sports and of habitat restoration effectiveness. Temperature data also will contribute to future enhanced flow, flood simulation, and thermal modeling efforts. Seasonal continuous water-quality monitoring is being added to one site to understand conditions relative to high and low flows.

Rain garden monitoring and real-time temperature data (funded in 2018).
Paul Buszka, Dave Lampe
This project evaluates how rain gardens affect infiltration of stormwater that seasonally contains deicing chemicals. The monitoring, which involves continuous measurement of specific conductance, feeds into existing work between the USGS and the City of Gary, Indiana, designed to better understand how rain gardens affect the water budget of stormwater flows. In a second project, the USGS assisted in the installation of water temperature sensors in tributaries of Lake Michigan and the Illinois River, and in managing and reporting the data. The real-time streamflow and temperature data benefit recreational use of the stream and flood and thermal forecasting.

Real-time monitoring of Grand Calumet River and Little Calumet River (funded in 2017).
Paul Buszka, Dave Lampe
Real time water-quality data can shed light on water quality dynamics at Lake Michigan basin-Illinois River basin flow exchanges. For the project, two multi-parameter water-quality sondes recorded continuous readings for water temperature, pH, dissolved oxygen, specific conductance, chlorophyll and blue-green algae. These data are needed to fill a gap to understand how post-restoration water-quality properties related to prior dredging might affect in-stream habitat sustainability.



Passaic River / Network, Newark, NJ, area

Inset map showing Passaic River basin and surrounding state outlines

Microbial Source Tracking in the Saddle River, Lower Passaic River basin, New Jersey (funded in 2021).  
Contact: Pam Reilly
CooperatorPassaic Valley Sewerage Commission
This project will investigate the occurrence and potential sources of fecal indicator bacteria (FIB) in the Hohokus Creek and Saddle River tributaries to the urbanized lower Passaic River. The Saddle River is on the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection’s 303(d) list of impaired waters contaminated with FIB.  Stream sites will be sampled for E. coli, caffeine, and four genetic biomarkers to identify sources of pathogens during different streamflow conditions. 

Microbial Source Tracking in the Lower Passaic River Basin, New Jersey (funded in 2020).  
Contact: Bob Reiser
The Passaic River and some tributaries are on the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection’s 303(d) list of impaired waters contaminated with fecal indicator bacteria.  This project will investigate the occurrence and potential sources of E. coli in the Second River and Third River tributaries to the urbanized lower Passaic River. Stream sites will be sampled for E. coli, caffeine, and four genetic biomarkers to identify sources of pathogens during various streamflow conditions.



Patapsco Watershed / Baltimore Region—Baltimore, MD, area

Map, Patapsco Watershed

Occurrence and Fate of Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances and Polychlorinated Biphenyls in Wastewater Treatment Facilities of the Patapsco Watershed (funded in 2021).
Contact: Emily Majcher
Cooperator: Maryland Department of the Environment
Wastewater treatment plants (WWTP) can contribute to point and nonpoint source loading of legacy and emerging contaminants in their effluent and biosolids. USGS will perform sampling of influent, effluent and biosolids at WWTPs in the Patapsco watershed for PCBs and PFAS. The data collected will be used to estimate annual contaminant loads, inform fate of PFAS throughout the WWTP, and start to evaluate associations of contaminants with land use, plant capacity and age.

Refining Sources of PCBs to Back River (funded in 2019).
: Emily Majcher
This study investigates whether fats, oils, and grease (FOG), which are common a common problem in aging sanitary sewer pipes, are accumulating polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and contributing them to the Back River within the Patapsco River watershed. The presence of PCBs in FOG deposits in the sanitary sewer system may result in ongoing loading of PCBs to liquid sewage, which then enters the wastewater treatment plant.  The work will further the understanding of the role that the century-old sanitary sewer system plays in the occurrence of PCBs.

Determining Sources of PCBs to Back River (funded in 2018).
: Emily Majcher
This USGS pilot study is helping to determine sources of PCBs to the Back River and will demonstrate innovative monitoring and analysis techniques for more efficient use of mitigation resources. Three general sources are being investigated:  1) mobile sediment-bound PCBs under low-flow and stormflow conditions, 2) stationary sediment-bound PCBs in areas with known PCB contamination, and 3) PCBs in wastewater, including effluent and sanitary sewer overflows. The results of pilot study could aid in eventual cleanup efforts in other urban areas in the region and around the country. The project is being done in cooperation with Baltimore City, Baltimore County and University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC).



Rio Reimagined-Rio Salado—Phoenix, AZ, area

Map, Lower Gila river in Arizona

Groundwater and Surface Water Characterization for the Restoration of Native Vegetation on the Lower Gila River for the Rio Salado Project (funded in 2020).
ContactJessica AndersonJamie Macy
The El Rio Vegetation Management Plan as part of the Rio Salado Project was developed to identify areas to remove salt cedar and revegetate with native plant species including cottonwoods, willows, and mesquite. Revegetation efforts will reduce the floodplain expanse, enhance ecosystem function, and improve water quality. Water sampling and continuous monitoring of specific conductance, surface water, and shallow groundwater level fluctuations will provide baseline data for identifying restoration areas suitable for planting native species.







San Antonio River Basin within Bexar County—Texas

Map, Bexar County

21st Century Data Delivery from the USGS Urban Hydrology Network to the Greater San Antonio Area   (funded in 2021). 
: Steve Opsahl
CooperatorSan Antonio Water System
This project will develop data visualization tools to improve stakeholder access to the wealth of existing groundwater and surface-water data in the greater San Antonio area. Innovative science-based data analysis and visualization tools will include a regionally focused interactive map and dynamic interactive tools to graphically depict surface-water and groundwater data simultaneously from select sites associated with the San Antonio segment of the Edwards aquifer system. 

Next Generation Approaches to Model Suspended-Sediment and Organic Carbon Concentrations and Loads in the San Antonio River Basin  (funded in 2021). 
Cassi Crow 
CooperatorSan Antonio River Authority
Technical improvements will augment existing monitoring in the San Antonio River Basin in Bexar County. These next-generation approaches, which include non-contact and continuous water-quality instrumentation, will support development of sediment and organic carbon surrogate models to estimate loads in real time downstream from the City of San Antonio. The new approaches offer potential cost reductions from standard methods. Additionally, remote sensing will be evaluated for quantification of erosion rates in hillslope environments. 

Enhancing the Edwards Aquifer Recharge Zone Network (funded in 2019). 
Doug Schnoebelen
This project work will add value to the existing Edwards aquifer recharge zone network, which provides information on short-term and long-term water-quality changes in a dynamic karst aquifer underlying a rapidly urbanizing area. The new funding will allow upgrading of three monitoring wells with multi-parameter sondes for continuous measurement of fluorescent dissolved organic matter (FDOM), turbidity, dissolved oxygen, and pH, and will add an unconfined monitoring well to the network to increase the spatial coverage of sites in key areas.

Suspended Sediment and Nutrient Delivery to the Gulf of Mexico—The Role of Urban Areas (funded in 2018).
Doug Schnoebelen
How do urban activities within the City of San Antonio, such as home and commercial construction, demolition, and road construction, contribute to the ultimate load of sediment and nutrients, including nitrate, that is delivered to the Gulf? For this project, the USGS has upgraded a critical streamflow gaging station to a “Super Station” that measures streamflow, turbidity, nitrate, and other properties of water in real time. This site integrates the upstream urban tributaries, and data collected here can be compared to data from a gaging station that captures the rural component of the watershed.

Surface and Groundwater Water Quality Network for the Recharge Zone (funded in 2017).
ContactDoug Schnoebelen
The City of San Antonio is unique in that urban surface-water runoff occurs over the recharge zone of the Edwards aquifer, one of the largest karst (limestone) aquifers in the world. The City’s rapid growth could directly impact groundwater quality. This project adds critical sites and infrastructure to the existing project forming a new “cutting edge” water-quality network over the recharge zone. The work, which pairs new urban sites with existing sites, includes new sensors, streamflow sites, and water-quality analyses.

Learn more about how the USGS is helping inform management agencies in the San Antonio region about the effects of urbanization by monitoring water quality and water quantity.



South Platte Watershed, Headwaters to Denver Metropolitan Area—Denver, CO, area

Map, South Platte Watershed

Phosphorous Monitoring in Denver (funded in 2019).
ContactBill Battaglin
Cooperator: City and County of DenverMetro Wastewater Reclamation District
This project will develop and implement strategies to monitor phosphorus in the South Platte River and Cherry Creek through Denver. The monitoring is critical to establish a baseline of current phosphorus concentrations in these downstream urban waterways prior to Denver Water’s pending addition of orthophosphate to drinking water to reduce corrosion and associated risk of lead exposure for its customers. Baseline concentrations will be key in future identification and quantification of changes associated with the drinking-water treatment.