Mission Areas L2 Landing Page Tabs
Water is one of seven science mission areas of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). Water's mission is to collect and disseminate reliable, impartial, and timely information that is needed to understand the Nation's water resources.Read Science Plan
As basaltic lava cools and hardens, the inclination, declination, and polarity of the Earth’s ambient magnetic field is recorded in the magnetic minerals of the rock. The recorded magnetic values are largely preserved and can be deciphered by paleomagnetic analysis.
We drill and maintain wells around the INL to monitor and sample groundwater, obtain basalt and sediment cores for study and analysis, and study the physical properties of the subsurface (geophysical logging).
This information helps us to improve the scientific understanding of the eastern Snake River Plain and its aquifer. In particular, we are examining the subsidence of the plain and...
Drillers use the vertical and horizontal views captured by our downhole video camera to examine borehole integrity before placing water well casing, well screens, and submersible pumps. Hydrologists and geologists use the images to verify geophysical data such as: changes in rock type, small-scale geologic structures, rock fractures, and groundwater movement.
Our scientists collect geophysical data from wells to understand the character of rocks and fluids below the surface. Geophysical data for a well are recorded, interpreted, and then disseminated as a geophysical log. Engineers and well drillers use geophysical logs to make well construction decisions such as design for well casing, well screen, and pump placement. Hydrologists, geologists and...
Since 1966, we have archived over 6000 samples of about 500 mL each of "raw" (unfiltered and unpreserved) water from groundwater and surface-water quality sites collected during our monitoring activities. Through the years, we've kept the water samples in a secure room and tracked which samples researchers have requested and analyzed for various projects.
Contact us for more information...
Our Core Storage Library currently houses about 73,000 feet of core and several suites of cuttings from boreholes drilled at the INL. More cores and cuttings are added every year. The CSL also houses two suites of core and cuttings from the western Snake River Plain. In 2015, we added new core storage space in building CF 674. We recently...
Relatively little is known about the Yellowstone-Snake River "hotspot" system. To increase our knowledge, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Geothermal Technologies Program provided over $4.5 million of this $6.7 million project using American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds.
The U.S. Department of Energy has proposed a location for a new facility to store waste at the INL. In the unlikely event that waste leaks from the facility, it will be important to monitor whether the contamination reaches the aquifer and baseline information is need before the facility is built.
Because we need to know how water and contaminants may travel through the aquifer, we need...
As part of the Comprehensive Environmental Response Compensation and Liability Act, it is important to evaluate the effect of Naval Reactors Facility (NRF) activities on the water quality of the eastern Snake River Plain aquifer.
Rapid population growth in the Wood River Valley since the 1970s has caused concern about the long-term sustainability of the groundwater resource. Water-resource planners and managers, as well as other decision makers, need a tool for water rights administration and water-resource management and planning.
Microplastics in the environment are of increasing concern among resource managers and ecologists. With global production of plastic topping 300 million metric tons in 2015, research in fresh and marine waters throughout the world has implicated urban runoff, wastewater treatment effluent, and litter breakdown as major sources of microbeads and synthetic pieces and fibers that are slow to...
Since the late 1990s the USGS has worked to characterize the regional groundwater hydrology of the upper Klamath Basin. Research focuses on collecting data to help evaluate the state of the groundwater system and its response to external stresses, and to develop computer models to provide insights useful for water management. These efforts build on earlier USGS studies in the basin going back...
The USGS collects, analyzes, and distributes data on a wide variety of water-related issues and resources. Much of our data is publicly available through the National Water Information System (NWIS), but additional datasets and analytical tools are also available.Access NWISWeb
This tool produces shapefiles that contain the delineated basins, basin characteristics, and flow statistics for multiple sites requested at once by users. Before this tool can be used, the the points of interest will likely need to be edited in GIS so that they are coincident with the stream grid used by StreamStats for delineations and saved to a shapefile.
The StreamStats application uses data services that were created for it. When in use, the application manages interactions between the user and the services. However, the services can be directly accessed using the StreamStats Service API documented here, or consumed by a custom client application using HTTP protocols.
The water point map viewer, which monitors 234 water points from Mali to Somalia, will help a range of government and non-government actors understand the current availability of water for livestock and human consumption. This will inform food security analysis, humanitarian assistance planning, and a range of other activities. Part of the Famine Early Warning and Systems Network.
Three Streamflow Measurements from the Mississippi River near Clinton, IA, Hickman, KY, and Vicksburg, MS made with an ADCP
Three streamflow measurements are used to demonstrate the use of equations developed in Mueller (in review). All three measurements are from various locations on the Mississippi River. These data were not collected for the purpose of this paper but provide practical examples of the effect of heading errors. The use of data from the Mississippi River allows the collection of 500 or more...
The USGS BioData Retrieval system provides access to aquatic bioassessment data (biological community and physical habitat data) collected by USGS scientists from stream ecosystems across the nation. USGS scientists collect fish-, aquatic macroinvertebrate-, and algae-community samples and conduct stream physical habitat surveys. Click to learn more about USGS BioData.
The USGS WaterNow service lets users receive current conditions for USGS water-data-collection stations on demand via email or cell-phone text message. The user sends an email or text message containing a USGS current-conditions gaging site number, and will quickly receive a reply with the station's most recent data for one or more of its monitored parameters.
The USGS WaterAlert service sends e-mail or cell-phone text messages when certain parameters, as measured by a USGS real-time water-data-collection station, exceed user-defined thresholds. The user selects a USGS station, sets their custom threshold values, and the WaterAlert system will notify them whenever the real-time data values from that station exceed their criteria.
StreamStats provides access to web-based, GIS analytical tools that are useful for water-resources planning and management, and for engineering and design purposes. The map-based user interface can be used to delineate drainage areas, get basin characteristics, and estimates of flow statistics. The types of information and tools available varies from state to state.
Datasets and metadata for estimates of nitrate loads and yields from groundwater to streams in the Chesapeake Bay watershed based on land use and geology
This USGS data release contains datasets, metadata, and figures associated with estimating nitrate loads and yields from groundwater to streams in the Chesapeake Bay watershed based on land use and geology.
Data from laboratory and field tests of an economical, environmentally sealed, self-contained pCO2 sensor for environmental studies
This data release contains data from field and laboratory tests conducted by the USGS Groundwater Dating Lab between 2014 and 2017 during the development of a new dissolved and gas phase carbon dioxide sensor. This data release contains results of calibration, intercomparison, temperature, humidity, and stability experiments, as well as monitoring studies of soil surface gas in Amargosa Desert...
Total water level (TWL) at the shoreline is the combination of tides, surge, and wave runup. A forecast of TWL is an estimate of the elevation where the ocean will meet the coast and can provide guidance on potential coastal erosion and flooding hazards.
High-water marks from Hurricane Sandy for coastal areas of Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts, October 2012
Because coastal areas in Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts were heavily affected by Hurricane Sandy in October 2012, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), under a mission agreement with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, collected storm tide high-water marks in those coastal areas. This effort was undertaken to better understand the...Ostiguy, Lance J.; Sargent, Timothy C.; Izbicki, Brittney J.; Bent, Gardner C.
Documentation of single-well aquifer tests and integrated borehole analyses, Pahute Mesa and Vicinity, Nevada
Single-well aquifer testing has been carried out at Pahute Mesa in southern Nevada since 1962. These tests include single-well pumping and slug tests to estimate geologic formation hydraulic properties. Initially, aquifer tests focused on identifying low-permeability rocks suitable for testing large-yield nuclear devices, whereas later hydrologic...Frus, Rebecca J.; Halford, Keith J.
When oil and water mix: Understanding the environmental impacts of shale development
Development of shale gas and tight oil, or unconventional oil and gas (UOG), has dramatically increased domestic energy production in the U.S. UOG resources are typically developed through the use of hydraulic fracturing, which creates high-permeability flow paths into large volumes of tight rocks to provide a means for hydrocarbons to move to a...Soeder, Daniel J.; Kent, Douglas B.
Thresholds and relations for soil‐hydraulic and soil‐physical properties as a function of burn severity 4 years after the 2011 Las Conchas Fire, New Mexico, USA
Wildfire effects on soil‐physical and ‐hydraulic properties as a function of burn severity are poorly characterized, especially several years after wildfire. A stratified random sampling approach was used in 2015 to sample seven sites representing a spectrum of remotely sensed burn severity in the area impacted by the 2011 Las Conchas Fire in New...Ebel, Brian A.; Romero, Orlando C.; Martin, Deborah
Contaminants of emerging concern in urban stormwater: Spatiotemporal patterns and removal by iron-enhanced sand filters (IESFs)
Numerous contaminants of emerging concern (CECs) typically occur in urban rivers. Wastewater effluents are a major source of many CECs. Urban runoff (stormwater) is a major urban water budget component and may constitute another major CEC pathway. Yet, stormwater-based CEC field studies are rare. This research...Fairbairn, David J.; Elliott, Sarah M.; Kiesling, Richard L.; Schoenfuss, Heiko L.; Ferrey, Mark L.; Westerhoff, Benjamin J.
Mercury concentrations in water and mercury and selenium concentrations in fish from Brownlee Reservoir and selected sites in the Boise and Snake Rivers, Idaho and Oregon, 2013-17
Mercury (Hg) analyses were conducted on samples of water and sport fish collected from selected sampling sites in the Boise and Snake Rivers and Brownlee Reservoir, in Idaho and Oregon, to meet National Pollution Discharge and Elimination System permit requirements for the City of Boise, Idaho, from 2013 to 2017. City of Boise personnel collected...MacCoy, Dorene E.; Mebane, Christopher A.
Laboratory evaluation of the Sea-Bird Scientific HydroCycle-PO4 phosphate sensor
Sea-Bird Scientific’s HydroCycle-PO4 phosphate sensor is a single-analyte wet-chemistry sensor designed for in situ environmental monitoring. The unit was evaluated at the U.S. Geological Survey Hydrologic Instrumentation Facility to assess the accuracy of the sensor in solutions with known phosphorous concentration and to test the effects of...Snazelle, Teri T.
Conceptual and numerical models of dissolved solids in the Colorado River, Hoover Dam to Imperial Dam, and Parker Dam to Imperial Dam, Arizona, California, and Nevada
Conceptual and numerical models were developed to understand and simulate monthly flow-weighted dissolved-solids concentrations in the Colorado River at Imperial Dam. The ability to simulate dissolved-solids concentrations at this location will help the Bureau of Reclamation satisfy the binational agreement on the volume and salinity of Colorado...Anning, David W.; Coes, Alissa L.; Mason, Jon P.
Input data processing tools for the integrated hydrologic model GSFLOW
Integrated hydrologic modeling (IHM) encompasses a vast number of processes and specifications, variable in time and space, and development of models can be arduous. Model input construction techniques have not been formalized or made easily reproducible. Creating the input files for integrated hydrologic models requires complex GIS...Gardner, Murphy A.; Morton, Charles G.; Huntington, Justin L.; Niswonger, Richard G.; Henson, Wesley
Twelve questions for the participatory modeling community
Participatory modeling engages the implicit and explicit knowledge of stakeholders to create formalized and shared representations of reality and has evolved into a field of study as well as a practice. Participatory modeling researchers and practitioners who focus specifically on environmental resources met at the National Socio‐Environmental...Jordan, Rebecca; Gray, Steven; Zellner, Moira; Glynn, Pierre D.; Voinov, Alexey; Hedelin, Beatrice; Sterling, Eleanor J.; Leong, Kirsten; Olabisi, Laura Schmitt; Hubacek, Klaus; Bommel, Pierre; BenDor, Todd K.; Jetter, Antonie J.; Laursen, Bethany; Singer, Alison; Giabbanelli, Philippe J.; Kolagani, Nagesh; Carrera, Laura Basco; Jenni, Karen; Prell, Christina
Geochemical data for water, streambed sediment, and fish tissue from the Sierra Nevada Mercury Impairment Project, 2011–12
This report presents geochemical data for surface water, streambed sediment, and fish tissue samples collected during low-flow conditions in 20 to 24 Sierra Nevada streams during 2011 and 2012. The dataset is part of a larger study designed to assess the factors that control mercury concentrations in fish tissue and to develop a model that...Stumpner, Elizabeth B.; Alpers, Charles N.; Marvin-DiPasquale, Mark C.; Agee, Jennifer L.; Kakouros, Evangelos; Arias, Michelle R.; Kieu, Le H.; Roth, David A.; Slotton, Darrell G.; Fleck, Jacob A.
Water-quality response to changes in phosphorus loading of the Winnebago Pool Lakes, Wisconsin, with special emphasis on the effects of internal loading in a chain of shallow lakes
The Winnebago Pool is a chain of four shallow lakes (Lake Poygan, Lake Winneconne, Lake Butte des Morts, and Lake Winnebago) that are fed primarily by the Fox and Wolf Rivers, two large agriculturally dominated rivers in Wisconsin, United States. Because the lakes have received extensive phosphorus inputs from their watershed, they have become...Robertson, Dale M.; Siebers, Benjamin J.; Diebel, Matthew W.; Somor, Andrew J.
The USGS produces many types of multimedia products. Use the links below to browse our offerings of photograph galleries, podcasts and sound files, videos, aerial photos, and posters related to water. The USGS Newsroom has a Web page that highlights the main collection of multimedia products.
USGS hydrologic technician Rob Forde flags a high water mark above the eaves at Presbyterian Church of the Covenant, 118 Manchester Road, Spring Hill, North Carolina on Sept. 21, 2018, in the wake of flooding brought on by Hurricane Florence.
High-water marks provide valuable data for understanding recent and historical flood events. The proper collection and recording of high-water mark data from perishable and preserved evidence informs flood assessments, research, and water resource management. This video provides guidance for skilled high-water mark identification, including marks left behind in natural and...
USGS hydrographer Kyle Marchman measures a high water mark on the rear wall of a Kangaroo gas station on Highway 24 north of Fayetteville, NC on Sept. 18, 2018, after flooding caused by Hurricane Florence.
A WaterWatch web map shows streamgages in North and South Carolina that approached or exceeded major flood stage EST on September 19, 2018, as the former Hurricane Florence, now downgraded to a tropical depression, deluged the states with rain.
David Stillwell, USGS hydrologic technician, performs a discharge measurement to help document and forecast flooding caused by Hurricane Florence at Long Creek in Rhyne, North Carolina on Sept. 16.
A USGS storm-tide sensor, deployed in advance of Hurricane Florence's landfall. The sensors are housed in vented steel pipes a few inches wide and about a foot long. They are being installed on bridges, piers, and other structures that have a good chance of surviving the storm.
The information the sensors collect will help define the depth and duration of a storm...
A reef with little living coral and extensive bioerosion in the Florida Keys. Photo: Ilsa Kuffner, USGS.
Two views from the Rainbow Falls overlook, downstream of the Wailuku River streamgage near Hilo, Hawaii. The image on the left shows a typical base flow of about 35 cubic feet per second (cfs). The image on the right shows the early impact of Hurricane Lane with a flow of about 26,000 cfs taken at 8:35 a.m. HST, August 23, 2018. This U.S. Geological Survey streamgage has...
Research Oceanographer Lauren Toth and student volunteer Liz Whitcher drill a coral-reef core from a reef off Key West, Florida. Photo: Anastasios Stathakopoulos, USGS.
This video provides an overview of the different indirect measurement methods used by the USGS, as well as a brief description of what you'll need to survey for each.
U.S. Geological Survey field crews are measuring heavy flooding in the Columbus and Newark Ohio areas, as well as the northwest part of the state.
Human activity, such as groundwater pumping, land management, reservoir operations and urbanization, has a measurable effect on streamflows in Kansas locally, regionally and statewide, according to a new report by the U.S. Geological Survey, done in cooperation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism.
Larger-than-average low and no oxygen area may affect the region’s shrimp fisheries
The U.S. Geological Survey has released a new report detailing changes of groundwater levels in the High Plains aquifer. The report presents water-level change data in the aquifer for two separate periods: from 1950 – the time prior to significant groundwater irrigation development – to 2015, and from 2013 to 2015.
Low- and no-oxygen area threatens crabs, oysters, fish
U.S. Geological Survey scientists will inject a harmless, bright red fluorescent dye into the auxiliary lock at Locks and Dam 14 on the Mississippi River near Pleasant Valley, Iowa, Tuesday, June 13, 2017, weather permitting. If needed, a backup date is scheduled for June 27, 2017.
New USGS Science Plan Designed to Help Plan for Drought Effects on People, Communities, and Ecosystems
The U. S. Geological Survey is poised to bring a dynamic array of science and tools to help decision-makers manage and offset effects of increased drought across the United States, according to a drought plan report released today.
Decades or longer may be needed to fully assess the effects of unconventional oil and gas production on the quality of groundwater used for drinking water in Arkansas, Louisiana, and Texas
The U.S. Geological Survey in cooperation with Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, and the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative is measuring streamflow and collecting nutrient and sediment samples at stream gages in the Western Lake Erie Basin in Northwest Ohio.