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
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...
Aquatic Systems Branch scientists analyze rings of riparian trees relating tree growth and establishment to historical flow. We then use the tree rings to reconstruct the flow in past centuries. Flow reconstructions discover the frequency and magnitude of past droughts and floods—information that is essential for management of rivers and water supplies. We also use downscaled climate...
In 1992, the USGS began studying possible causes for the change in trophic status of Upper Klamath Lake. Since then research has expanded to include groundwater, geomorphology, streamflow forecasting, and fish ecology.
To meet National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permitting requirements, the City of Boise will be responsible for collecting fish tissue samples for mercury analysis upstream of and downstream of their wastewater treatment facilities discharging to the lower Boise and Snake Rivers.
Mercury is a naturally occurring element that ultimately makes its way into aquatic...
in partnership with the Idaho Department of Water Resources (IDWR) and Idaho Water Resource Board (IWRB), we will construct a numerical groundwater-flow model of the Treasure Valley and surrounding area. Resource managers will use the model to simulate potential anthropogenic and climatic effects on groundwater for water-supply planning and management. As part of model construction, the...
Blaine County’s population nearly quadrupled from about 5,700 to 22,000 people between 1970 and 2010. Residents and resource managers of the Wood River Valley of south-central Idaho are concerned about the potential effects that population growth and the expected increased demand for water might have on the quantity and quality of the valley’s ground and surface waters. Increased water use has...
The upper Blackfoot River receives runoff from 12 large phosphate mines. Shale waste rock that is a byproduct of mining is highly enriched in naturally occurring selenium. At optimal concentrations, selenium can be a positive nutrient and antioxidant in mammals and fish. At elevated concentrations, however, it can damage fish and animal immune systems. As early as 1996, livestock deaths...
In 1999, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) listed the bull trout (Salvelinus confluentus) as a threatened species. In 2010, the FWS designated critical habitat for the bull trout, including the upper Boise River basin. The Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation) operates three reservoirs on the upper Boise River for irrigation and flood control. Reclamation and FWS have a need to understand...
Streamflow Evaluation for Water Right Claims for Wild and Scenic Rivers, Owyhee Canyonlands Wilderness
Several river segments in the Owyhee Canyonlands Wilderness have been designated as “Wild and Scenic” under the Omnibus Public Lands Management Act of 2009. This designation is intended to protect the “outstanding remarkable values” (ORVs) in this area—specifically fish and wildlife habitat, scenic and geological features, and recreational opportunities.
The Bureau of Land Management (...
There is mounting evidence that microplastics present a significant threat to aquatic organisms. Microplastics – defined as plastic particles less than 5 mm in diameter – come from many different sources, including synthetic textiles, industrial waste products, personal care products, and the breakdown of litter, car tires, and other objects. This study will assess the occurrence of...
The Hells Canyon Complex is a hydroelectric project consisting of three dams located on the Snake River along the Oregon and Idaho border. Elevated concentrations of mercury and methylmercury in the water column, bottom sediments, and biota in this reach have resulted in two of the reservoirs, Brownlee and Hells Canyon, being listed as impaired for mercury by the state of Idaho, and the entire...
Mining of stibnite (antimony sulfide), tungsten, gold, silver, and mercury near the town of Stibnite in central Idaho has left a legacy of trace element contamination in the East Fork of the South Fork of the Salmon River (EFSFSR) and its tributaries. Concentrations of arsenic, antimony, and mercury frequently exceed human health criteria and may impact threatened or endangered salmonid...
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
Groundwater in the Ozark Plateaus aquifer system is an important source for municipal,
industrial, agricultural, and domestic water supply needs across much of southern
Missouri and northern Arkansas, and smaller areas of southeastern Kansas and
northeastern Oklahoma. Recent short-term drought conditions have emphasized
the need to better understand the delicate balance...
This dataset provides daily metabolism estimates and potential predictor variables to support further exploration. The format is a table with 1 row per site-date combination (1 tab-delimited file, compressed into a zip file). This dataset is part of a larger data release of metabolism model inputs and outputs for 356 streams and rivers across the United States (...
Data Release for Metamodeling and Mapping of Nitrate Flux in the Unsaturated Zone and Groundwater, Wisconsin, USA
Widespread nitrate contamination of groundwater in agricultural areas poses a major challenge to sustainable water resources. Efficient analysis of nitrate fluxes across large regions also remains difficult. This study introduces a method of characterizing nitrate transport processes continuously across regional unsaturated zones and groundwater based on surrogate, machine-learning metamodels...
MODFLOW-NWT model scenarios used to evaluate potential effects of proposed drainage modifications on groundwater discharge in the vicinity of Long Lake, Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, near Gary, Indiana
A previously developed three-dimensional groundwater-flow model that used the MODFLOW-NWT code
was updated to simulate the effects of various proposed drainage modifications aimed at reducing
discharge to a sanitary sewer system near Long Lake in Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, near Gary,
Indiana. The original steady-state model documented in the USGS report (...
Heat is used as a tracer for a variety of physical hydrogeological process. Several types of instruments are used to measure the temperature of surface water and saturated sediments. In the Quashnet River we have been using methods that include: infrared, fiber-optic distributed temperature sensing, and individual logging thermistors. The latter type of data (thermistor) are described and...
Mercury speciation and other constituent data from deep sediment cores in Alviso Slough, South San Francisco Bay, California, 2012-16.
This dataset includes mercury and other constituent concentration and physical properties data for seven deep sediment profiles (ranging from 79 cm to 214 cm in length) collected from the thalwag of Alviso Slough, a major tributary to South San Francisco Bay (California, USA). Field sampling occurred during May 2012 (4 sites) and January 2016 (3 sites). Each profile was comprised of 1&#...
Downwelling spectral irradiance profile from the Snake River in Grand Teton National Park, WY, August 23, 2015
A vertical profile of downwelling spectral irradiance at different depths within the water column was measured on the Snake River in Grand Teton National Park, WY, August 23, 2015, to support research on remote sensing of rivers. Downwelling spectral irradiance data were collected using an Analytical Spectral Devices FieldSpec3 spectroradiometer operated in irradiance mode and deployed from a...
This dataset provides key diagnostics and overall assessments of metabolism model performance. The format is a table with 1 row per model (1 tab-delimited file, compressed into zip file). See the accompanying publication for rationale for the choices of specific diagnostics. This dataset is part of a larger data release of metabolism model inputs and outputs for 356 streams and rivers across...
Fish and selected physical and chemical water-quality data for the U.S. Geological Survey Midwest Stream Quality Assessment
In 2013, the first of several Regional Stream Quality Assessments (RSQA) was done in the Midwest United States. The Midwest Stream Quality Assessment (MSQA) was a collaborative study by the U.S. Geological Survey National Water Quality Assessment and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency National Rivers and Streams Assessment. One of the objectives of the RSQA, and thus the MSQA, is to...
Common hydraulic fracturing fluid additives alter the structure and function of anaerobic microbial communities
Data supporting "Common hydraulic fracturing fluid additives alter the structure and function of anaerobic microbial communities", describing iron reduction experiments, microbial community profiling, and statistical testing of data.
Changes in anthropogenic influences on streams and rivers in the conterminous U.S. over the last 40 years, derived for 16 data themes
This product consists of time-series calculations of anthropogenic characteristics derived for 16 data themes for multiple scales covering the conterminous United States. The characteristics are those which (a) have consistent data sources, and (b) have the potential to affect the water quality of streams and rivers. All 16 data themes are provided for Hydrologic Unit Code level-10 (HUC-10...
Surface geophysical tools remotely sense hydrogeological properties that can control subsurface flow and water quality. There are numerous geophysical tools, for the Quashnet River work we have principally used ground penetrating radar (GPR) and electromagnetic imaging (EMI). The instruments are either hand carried or floated down the stream channel and other cross-sections of the river...
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.
Implementation of MOVE.1, censored MOVE.1, and piecewise MOVE.1 low-flow regressions with applications at partial-record streamgaging stations in New Jersey
The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) uses Maintenance of Variance Extension Type 1 (MOVE.1) regression to transfer streamflows measured at long-term continuous-record streamgaging stations to partial-record (PR) streamgaging stations where intermittent base-flow measurements are available. MOVE.1 regression is used widely throughout the hydrologic...Colarullo, Susan J.; Sullivan, Samantha L.; McHugh, Amy R.
Streamflow - Water Year 2017
The maps and graphs in this summary describe national streamflow conditions for water year 2017 (October 1, 2016, to September 30, 2017) in the context of streamflow ranks relative to the 88-year period of 1930–2017, unless otherwise noted. The illustrations are based on observed data from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) National Streamflow...Jian, Xiaodong; Wolock, David M.; Brady, Steven J.; Lins, Harry F.
Water temperature in the Lower Quinault River, Olympic Peninsula, Washington, June 2016 - August 2017
The availability of cold-water refugia during summertime river-water temperature maximums is important for cold-water fish species including Endangered Species Act listed salmonids since water temperature influences metabolism, growth, and phenology. The U.S. Geological Survey monitored water temperature at 10 sites approximately evenly-spaced...Jaeger, Kristin L.; Curran, Christopher A.; Wulfkuhle, Elyse J.; Opatz, Chad C.
An initial comparison of pesticides and amphibian pathogens between natural and created wetlands in the New Jersey Pinelands, 2014–16
A study conducted by the U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with the New Jersey Pinelands Commission and Montclair State University, was designed to compare pesticide concentrations and the presence and prevalence of amphibian pathogens between natural ponds and two types of created wetlands, excavated ponds and stormwater basins, throughout...Smalling, Kelly L.; Bunnell, John F.; Cohl, Jonathan; Romanok, Kristin M.; Hazard, Lisa; Monsen, Kirsten; Akob, Denise M.; Hansen, Angela M.; Hladik, Michelle L.; Abdallah, Nicole; Ahmed, Quratulain; Assan, Araba; De Parsia, Matthew; Griggs, Amaryl; McWayne-Holmes, Megan; Patel, Naisargi; Sanders, Corey; Shrestha, Yesha; Stout, Sean M.; Williams, Brianna
Hydrologic conditions and simulation of groundwater and surface water in the Great Dismal Swamp of Virginia and North Carolina
The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), in cooperation with the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service, has investigated the hydrology of the Great Dismal Swamp (Swamp) National Wildlife Refuge (Refuge) in Virginia and North Carolina and developed a three-dimensional numerical model to simulate groundwater and surface-water hydrology. The model was developed...Eggleston, Jack R.; Decker, Jeremy D.; Finkelstein, Jason S.; Wurster, Frederic C.; Misut, Paul E.; Sturtevant, Luke P.; Speiran, Gary K.
Evaluating long-term patterns of decreasing groundwater discharge through a lake-bottom permeable reactive barrier
Identifying and quantifying groundwater exchange is critical when considering contaminant fate and transport at the groundwater/surface-water interface. In this paper, areally distributed temperature and point seepage measurements are used to efficiently assess spatial and temporal groundwater discharge patterns through a glacial-kettle lakebed...McCobb, Timothy D.; Briggs, Martin A.; LeBlanc, Denis R.; Day-Lewis, Frederick D.; Johnson, Carole D.
Status of groundwater-level altitudes and long-term groundwater-level changes in the Chicot, Evangeline, and Jasper aquifers, Houston-Galveston region, Texas, 2018
Since the early 1900s, most of the groundwater withdrawals in the Houston-Galveston region, Texas, have been from the three primary aquifers that compose the Gulf Coast aquifer system—the Chicot, Evangeline, and Jasper aquifers. Withdrawals from these aquifers are used for municipal supply, industrial, and irrigation purposes. This report,...Shah, Sachin D.; Ramage, Jason K.; Braun, Christopher L.
Flow-mediated effects on travel time, routing, and survival of juvenile Chinook salmon in a spatially complex, tidally forced river delta
We evaluated the interacting influences of river flows and tides on travel time, routing, and survival of juvenile late-fall Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) migrating through the Sacramento–San Joaquin River Delta. To quantify these effects, we jointly modeled the travel time, survival, and migration routing in relation to individual...Perry, Russell W.; Pope, Adam C.; Romine, Jason G.; Brandes, Patricia L.; Burau, Jon R.; Blake, Aaron R.; Ammann, Arnold J.; Michel, Cyril 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.
Arial Image of the Effects of the 2011 Missouri River Flood
Arial Image of the 2011 Missouri River Flood
A modern coral reef in the Florida Keys There is little living coral and high rates of bioerosion. Photo: Lauren Toth, USGS
Molly Schreiner water quality sampling at Bound Brook in Middlesex, NJ
Map of the U.S. by state, showing total water withdrawals, 2015
In this photo, we are performing a Groundwater Integrity Test by pumping the well with a Grundfos Submersible Pump. Shown in the photo on the "left" is James Caldwell checking the pump rate in 5 gallon buckets, while Dale Tom shown on the "right" is checking the water level and rate drop off in the well with an electric tape. The location of this photo is at Groundwater...
Water measurements, VT
Chris Mason (VAWSC) sampling on the Rappahannock River Cableway at Fredericksburg, VA.
Fog along the Yukon River showing a Black Spruce dominated forest in the foreground, which is prone to wildfire. Photo by Bruce Wylie, USGS
Real-time flow meter installed on a center-pivot irrigation well in Mississippi County, Arkansas as part of a cooperative project conducted between USGS and the Arkansas Natural Resources Commission. The meter will measure water use for irrigation, providing data which will help improve water-use information in other locations as well.
In this second installment of a two part series, The Arizona Water Science Center, in partnership with the USDA Agricultural Research Service, reviews the results of an experiment to verify remote methods that measure flood flows at the Walnut Gulch Experimental Watershed. What makes this experiment unique are the super-critical runoff flumes that precisely measure...
The new table includes both standard and conventional atomic weights values to clarify that many atomic weights have natural variation and to provide single values for chemical education use
Nitrogen and phosphorus are essential nutrients—yet too much of a good thing is not always a good thing. Scientists are investigating nutrient pollution down the Mississippi River.
USGS Finds Elevated Levels of Arsenic, Radon, Methane in Some Private Wells in Lycoming County, Pennsylvania
Tests of 75 private drinking water wells in Lycoming County, in north-central Pennsylvania, found water from most of the sampled wells contained concentrations of radon that exceeded a proposed, nonbinding health standard for drinking water. Smaller percentages of the wells contained concentrations of arsenic or methane that exceed existing drinking water standards.
Human and bovine, or cattle, viruses were detected in a small percentage of some Great Lakes Basin streams, with human viruses more prevalent in urban streams and bovine viruses more common in streams in agricultural areas, according to a recent U.S. Geological Survey-led study.
Philadelphia communities along the Schuylkill River and Darby Creek now have new tools to help inform residents of impending flooding. The U.S. Geological Survey recently installed three new streamgages in Manayunk, Eastwick, and downtown near 30th St., which will monitor water levels, and provide vital data used by emergency managers and flood forecasters to help protect lives and property.
A USGS analysis of New Jersey water quality trends found levels of total nitrogen and total phosphorus, which fuel algae blooms, declined or stayed the same at most stream sites between the 1970s and 2011. At all sites studied, chlorides from road salt increased over that time.
Joyce E. Williamson, a native of South Dakota and a South Dakota School of Mines and Technology alumna, was selected as the director of the newly formed U.S. Geological Survey Dakota Water Science Center. Williamson is located in the center’s Rapid City, South Dakota, office.
A better understanding of sediment and freshwater flow into Galveston Bay is now available from a new U.S. Geological Survey report, done in cooperation with the Texas Water Development Board, and the Galveston Bay Estuary Program.
Land Elevation Changes Due to Groundwater Withdrawals Indicate Regional Shifts in Houston-Galveston Area
New Report Marks 40 Years of Subsidence Investigations
The U.S. Geological Survey published a new report highlighting a portable continuous-flow centrifuge which aims to save time and money on contaminant analysis of particles suspended in water samples.
New USGS Map of High Plains Aquifer Represents Conditions After Enacting Changes To Agricultural Management Practices
Water-level changes from 2002 to 2015 were examined in wells screened in the High Plains aquifer within the Republican River Basin and the results are now available in a new U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Map.