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August 30, 2023

New studies will monitor water quality and investigate contaminants, microplastics, novel bacteria and harmful algal blooms.

RESTON, Va. — The U.S. Geological Survey today announced an investment of \$1.5 million to improve urban waterways with science-based projects, which local partners will match with nearly \$1.5 million in additional funds as part of the Urban Waters Federal Partnership.

“Rivers are fundamental to the character of many of our cities but are too often neglected assets. Investments in the Urban Waters Federal Partnership to restore these waterways can transform communities, drive urban revival, and improve the quality of life for millions of Americans,” said Michael Brain, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Water and Science at the Department of the Interior. “This funding will help advance USGS’s key role by providing resources and foundational science to local partners to help them manage and restore the Nation's urban water resources.”

“The Urban Waters Federal Partnership is a great way for the USGS to engage communities and advance science by pursuing specific projects that make a difference to the people who live near these waterways,” said USGS Director David Applegate, “We look forward to continuing strong science partnerships that deliver clear local benefits.”

Map, Bronx and Harlem River Watersheds
Map, Bronx and Harlem River Watersheds

The 11 new projects funded by the USGS and partners in fiscal year 2023 represent a total investment of nearly \$3 million. As part of these projects, the USGS and partners will:

  • Study polychlorinated biphenal, also known as PCB, loads in the Lower Duwamish Waterway in Seattle, Washington. This carcinogenic chemical was formerly used in industrial and consumer products.
  • Monitor sediment transport in the Los Angeles River in Los Angeles, California.
  • Study water quality to support the Rio Salado Project in Phoenix, Arizona. The project’s goal is to protect, restore and revitalize the Salt and Middle Gila River watersheds. 
  • Study groundwater and characterize surface waters to support restoration of native vegetation on the Lower Gila River in Phoenix, Arizona.
  • Investigate the sources and sinks of per- and polyfluoroalkyl, or PFAS, substances in the Middle Rio Grande River near Albuquerque, New Mexico.
  • Examine water quality, groundwater age estimates and other hydrologic characteristics of the Chase Street Flowing Well and similar confined wells in Northwest Indiana’s Little Calumet River Watershed.
  • Conduct a readiness evaluation of novel bacteria monitoring instrumentation on the Delaware, Bronx, Harlem, and Anacostia Rivers.
  • Advance water-quality monitoring in support of shoreline redevelopment along the Harlem River.
  • Assess microplastics in urban streams in the Bronx and Harlem Rivers of New York.
  • Study urban water-modification impacts on water quality, wildlife and habitat in Bayou Sauvage and Big Branch Urban National Wildlife Refuges in southeastern Louisiana.
  • Study harmful algal blooms in the Caño Martín Peña in Puerto Rico.

In addition to the new projects, funding will continue to support 11 ongoing projects in and around San Antonio, Texas, St. Louis, Missouri, Grand Rapids, Michigan, Baltimore, Maryland, Washington, D.C., and Atlanta, Georgia. These projects include a wide range of water‐quality-related monitoring, assessment and management-practice evaluation, and educational activities.

For a full list of past and ongoing projects, visit: Urban Waters Federal Partnership Cooperative Matching Funds Projects | U.S. Geological Survey (

To learn more, visit: Urban Waters Federal Partnership.

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The USGS provides science for a changing world. Learn more at or follow us on Facebook @USGeologicalSurvey, YouTube @USGS, Instagram @USGS, or Twitter @USGS.

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