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Water information is fundamental to national and local economic well-being, protection of life and property, and effective management of the Nation’s water resources. The USGS works with partners to monitor, assess, conduct targeted research, and deliver information on a wide range of water resources and conditions including streamflow, groundwater, water quality, and wateruse and availability.
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
Expertise in large river research provides science information to inform decisions on river management and restoration in the Midwest Region. Connectivity is a fundamental concept in river ecology and refers to opportunities for water to flow along and through riverine ecosystems. It is considered one of the primary drivers of river productivity, biological diversity and ecosystem health.
The occurrence of toxic blue-green algae causes harmful algal blooms in lakes, reservoirs, and rivers and is a growing threat to public health, with human and animal illness and death reported in at least 43 states.
With the ever-increasing rate of utilization of and competition for water (particularly during periods of drought) accurate, current water-use information is of considerable value. This is particularly so in determining future water availability in hydrologically critical areas and for making sound resource-management decisions. For the Oregon Water Science Center, a viable water-use data-...
SPARROW can be used to relate water-quality data to landscape characteristics, such as natural properties and human activities
Proposed new coal export terminals in Washington and Oregon could increase rail traffic through the Northwest and potentially increase unintended release of coal dust to the environment.
The Malheur National Wildlife Refuge provides habitat for a variety of highly valued ecosystem services, including shorebirds, waterfowl, and a diversity of other wildlife species.
USGS research directly helps local public agencies that are responsible for the design and maintenance of the levees that surround the northern Portland metropolitan area with the goal of protecting life and property in the event of flooding from the Columbia and Willamette Rivers that surround the city.
"Determining water availability in the Upper Klamath Basin has always had a degree of uncertainty as a result of the complex hydrology and geology in the region and limited streamflow data."
Water management in the arid Umatilla Basin has become increasingly complex in recent years. Competing demands from society for generating hydro-electric power, maintaining and restoring fisheries, restoring watershed health, providing water for growing communities, and increasing agricultural production through irrigation, have put water resources in the Umatilla Basin and throughout the...
Evaluating Spring Vulnerability to Climate Change on BLM Priority Management Areas in Southeastern Oregon
This study will characterize and quantify the groundwater system in the Harney Basin to address gaps in our present understanding.
USGS total dissolved gas (TDG) data help guide spill and discharge management from dams operated along tributaries of the Willamette River.
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
Wyoming Pesticide Surface-Water Sampling Sites
Thumbnail image of Southeastern Wyoming Pesticide Groundwater Sampling Sites
Northeastern Wyoming Pesticide Groundwater Sampling Sites
Northwestern Wyoming Pesticide Groundwater Sampling Sites
Southwestern Wyoming Pesticide Groundwater Sampling Sites
Maximum likelihood logistic regression is used to estimate drought probabilities for selected Virginia rivers and streams. Hydrologic drought streamflow probabilities for summer months are provided as functions of streamflows during the previous winter months. This application allows the display and query of these drought streamflow probabilities for Virginia streams.
Models of the Klamath River from Link River to Keno Dam were constructed and calibrated by the U.S. Geological Survey for calendar years 2006-09.
Suspended-sediment concentration data from National Real-Time Water Quality (NRTWQ) website.
Map of currently active monitors in the Tualatin River Basin, Oregon.
Real-time compilation of water quality samples for Tualatin River Basin from USGS National Water Information System (NWIS).
Map viewer of groundwater sites in the Harney Basin, Oregon
Downloadable spatial data files for exploration and analysis.
StreamStats is a Web-based geographic information system application that was created by the USGS to provide users with access to an assortment of analytical tools that are useful for water-resource planning and management.
Map of intensive sites and rapid sites where data was collected for the Tualatin River Basin Beaver Study.
Current stream conditions and NWS forecast stream conditions.
The Texas Water Dashboard presents USGS real-time stream, lake and reservoir, precipitation and groundwater data for more than 750 USGS real-time observation stations in Texas.
Amite River Basin
The clickable sites, Water Resources Conditions List, and Data Table at the bottom of the map are all connected. Interacting with any of them will activate pop-ups and display the site in both the Map, List and Table.
This interactive map shows current and cumulative rainfall total for precipitation sites in Virginia. Map provides real-time precipitation radar image to overlay from National Weather Service.
Endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDC) threaten the reproductive success and long-term survival of sensitive aquatic populations in the U.S. National Park Service (NPS). The project employs a standardized EDC risk assessment framework to link new and ongoing research efforts in individual Parks and in Park Monitoring Networks, in order to provide a service-wide assessment of EDC risk in the NPS.
Explore water resources maps and GIS data.
Volume-weighted particle-tracking method for solute-transport modeling; Implementation in MODFLOW–GWT
In the traditional method of characteristics for groundwater solute-transport models, advective transport is represented by moving particles that track concentration. This approach can lead to global mass-balance problems because in models of aquifers having complex boundary conditions and heterogeneous properties, particles can originate in cells...Winston, Richard B.; Konikow, Leonard F.; Hornberger, George Z.
Iterative near-term ecological forecasting: Needs, opportunities, and challenges
Two foundational questions about sustainability are “How are ecosystems and the services they provide going to change in the future?” and “How do human decisions affect these trajectories?” Answering these questions requires an ability to forecast ecological processes. Unfortunately, most ecological forecasts focus on centennial-scale climate...Dietze, Michael C.; Fox, Andrew; Beck-Johnson, Lindsay; Betancourt, Julio L.; Hooten, Mevin B.; Jarnevich, Catherine S.; Keitt, Timothy H.; Kenney, Melissa A.; Laney, Christine M.; Larsen, Laurel G.; Loescher, Henry W.; Lunch, Claire K.; Pijanowski, Bryan; Randerson, James T.; Read, Emily; Tredennick, Andrew T.; Vargas, Rodrigo; Weathers, Kathleen C.; White, Ethan P.
The metabolic regimes of flowing waters
The processes and biomass that characterize any ecosystem are fundamentally constrained by the total amount of energy that is either fixed within or delivered across its boundaries. Ultimately, ecosystems may be understood and classified by their rates of total and net productivity and by the seasonal patterns of photosynthesis and respiration....Bernhardt, Emily S.; Heffernan, Jim B.; Grimm, Nancy B.; Stanley, Emily H.; Harvey, Judson; Arroita, M.; Appling, Alison; Cohen, M.J.; McDowell, William H.; Hall, R.O.; Read, Jordan S.; Roberts, B.J.; Stets, Edward; Yackulic, Charles B.
Floodplain trapping and cycling compared to streambank erosion of sediment and nutrients in an agricultural watershed
Floodplains and streambanks can positively and negatively influence downstream water quality through interacting geomorphic and biogeochemical processes. Few studies have measured those processes in agricultural watersheds. We measured inputs (floodplain sedimentation and dissolved inorganic loading), cycling (floodplain soil nitrogen [N] and...Gillespie, Jaimie; Noe, Gregory; Hupp, Cliff R.; Gellis, Allen; Schenk, Edward R.
Unraveling the dynamics of magmatic CO2 degassing at Mammoth Mountain, California
The accumulation of magmatic CO2 beneath low-permeability barriers may lead to the formation of CO2-rich gas reservoirs within volcanic systems. Such accumulation is often evidenced by high surface CO2 emissions that fluctuate over time. The temporal variability in surface degassing is believed in part to reflect a complex interplay...Pfeiffer, Loic; Wanner, Christoph; Lewicki, Jennifer L.
Why large cells dominate estuarine phytoplankton
Surveys across the world oceans have shown that phytoplankton biomass and production are dominated by small cells (picoplankton) where nutrient concentrations are low, but large cells (microplankton) dominate when nutrient-rich deep water is mixed to the surface. I analyzed phytoplankton size structure in samples collected over 25 yr in San...Cloern, James E.
Alternate wetting and drying decreases methylmercury in flooded rice (Oryza sativa) systems
In flooded soils, including those found in rice (Oryza sativa L.) fields, microbes convert inorganic Hg to more toxic methylmercury (MeHg). Methylmercury is accumulated in rice grain, potentially affecting health. Methylmercury in rice field surface water can bioaccumulate in wildlife. We evaluated how introducing aerobic periods into an...Tanner, K. Christy; Windham-Myers, Lisamarie; Marvin-DiPasquale, Mark C.; Fleck, Jacob; Linquist, Bruce A.
Regional variability of nitrate fluxes in the unsaturated zone and groundwater, Wisconsin, USA
Process-based modeling of regional NO3− fluxes to groundwater is critical for understanding and managing water quality, but the complexity of NO3− reactive transport processes make implementation a challenge. This study introduces a regional vertical flux method (VFM) for efficient estimation of reactive transport of NO3− in the vadose zone and...Green, Christopher T.; Liao, Lixia; Nolan, Bernard T.; Juckem, Paul F.; Shope, Christopher L.; Tesoriero, Anthony J.; Jurgens, Bryant
Potential for western US seasonal snowpack prediction
Western US snowpack—snow that accumulates on the ground in the mountains—plays a critical role in regional hydroclimate and water supply, with 80% of snowmelt runoff being used for agriculture. While climate projections provide estimates of snowpack loss by the end of th ecentury and weather forecasts provide predictions of weather conditions out...Kapnick, Sarah B.; Yang, Xiaosong; Vecchi, Gabriel A.; Delworth, Thomas L.; Gudgel, Rich; Malyshev, Sergey; Milly, Paul C.; Shevliakova, Elena; Underwood, Seth; Margulis, Steven A.
On factors influencing air-water gas exchange in emergent wetlands
Knowledge of gas exchange in wetlands is important in order to determine fluxes of climatically and biogeochemically important trace gases and to conduct mass balances for metabolism studies. Very few studies have been conducted to quantify gas transfer velocities in wetlands, and many wind speed/gas exchange parameterizations used in...Ho, David T.; Engel, Victor C; Ferron, Sara; Hickman, Benjamin; Choi, Jay; Harvey, Judson W.
Tidal extension and sea-level rise: recommendations for a research agenda
Sea-level rise is pushing freshwater tides upstream into formerly non-tidal rivers. This tidal extension may increase the area of tidal freshwater ecosystems and offset loss of ecosystem functions due to salinization downstream. Without considering how gains in ecosystem functions could offset losses, landscape-scale assessments of ecosystem...Ensign, Scott H.; Noe, Gregory
A conceptual framework for effectively anticipating water-quality changes resulting from changes in agricultural activities
Agricultural activities can affect water quality and the health of aquatic ecosystems; many water-quality issues originate with the movement of water, agricultural chemicals, and eroded soil from agricultural areas to streams and groundwater. Most agricultural activities are designed to sustain or increase crop production, while some are designed...Capel, Paul D.; Wolock, David M.; Coupe, Richard H.; Roth, Jason L.
Software and related material (data and documentation) are made available by the USGS to be used in the public interest and the advancement of science.
StreamStats is a Web application that incorporates a Geographic Information System (GIS) to provide users with access to an assortment of analytical tools that are useful for a variety of water-resources planning and management purposes, and for engineering and design purposes.
What’s New: A new version of the SPARROW code is being developed in the R programming language. The advantage of R is that it is non-proprietary and does not require a license or software cost. The R – SPARROW code is now being completed and should be available early in CY18. Stay Tuned.
SELDM is a database application where users can easily create and run highway-runoff simulations. SELDM simulates storm flows, concentrations, and loads. SELDM calculates the risk of exceeding water-quality criteria with and without user-defined BMPs. SELDM calculates annual runoff loads and is able to do a simple annual lake-loading analysis.
CE-QUAL-W2 is a water quality and hydrodynamic model in 2D (longitudinal-vertical) for rivers, estuaries, lakes, reservoirs and river basin systems. W2 models basic eutrophication processes such as temperature-nutrient-algae-dissolved oxygen-organic matter and sediment relationships.
GCLAS is a program designed primarily to compute daily and annual loadings of constituents transported in streamflow.
Model archive for Wood River Valley groundwater-flow model
The R package wrv is for processing the groundwater-flow model of the Wood River Valley (WRV) aquifer system, south-central Idaho. The groundwater-flow model is described in the associated model report and model archive. Included in the package is MODFLOW-USG version 1.3, a U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) computer code that solves the groundwater-flow equation.
In 1977, the Congress of the United States recognized the need for uniform, current, and reliable information on water use and directed the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) to establish a National Water-Use Information Program (NWUIP) to complement the Survey's data on the availability and quality of the Nations water resources.
Software and related material (data and documentation) are made available by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) to be used in the public interest and the advancement of science.
The Shoreline Management Tool—An ArcMap Tool for Analyzing Water Depth, Inundated Area, Volume, and Selected Habitats, with an Example for the Lower Wood River Valley, Oregon
STRMDEPL08—An Extended Version of STRMDEPL with Additional Analytical Solutions to Calculate Streamflow Depletion by Nearby Pumping Well
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.
The reliability of arsenic testing for drinking water in Minnesota depends on how and when well water samples are collected, according to a new U.S. Geological Survey and the Minnesota Department of Health study, which highlights ways to improve the accuracy of arsenic tests for private wells.
A new water-quality monitoring program, established by the U.S. Geological Survey, can provide scientists and managers with the best available data to help evaluate the health of Great Lakes ecosystems and improve water quality for recreation and commercial fishing.
One week ago, on January 23rd at 12:31 a.m. local time, Alaskans were rocked by a magnitude 7.9 earthquake, with an epicenter in the Gulf of Alaska, about 350 miles southwest of Anchorage, and about 175 miles southeast of Kodiak Island.
Salinity loads that originate from groundwater within the Upper Colorado River Basin have decreased from 1986-2011, according to a new U.S. Geological Survey study done in cooperation with the Colorado River Basin Salinity Control Program.
At 12:32 am Alaska time on January 23, 2018, a magnitude 7.9 earthquake shook Alaska residents out of their beds and set off fears of a tsunami all down the West Coast. Fortunately, the tsunami was only a few inches in height, but within an hour of the earthquake in Alaska, waves of a different sort were hitting far away in Florida.
Fayette County Georgia, Water System Director, Lee Pope, discusses water management efforts to alleviate issues downstream.
Our lunchtime "brownbag" seminars are held Tuesdays from 12pm to 1 pm PT. The science lectures are held at the USGS Oregon Water Science Center at 2130 SW 5th Avenue in Portland, OR. The presentations are informal and are open to the public. Please, bring your lunch.
A regional assessment of untreated groundwater in the Cambrian-Ordovician aquifer system, which includes parts of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Iowa, Illinois, Missouri and Indiana, is now available from the U.S. Geological Survey.
A regional assessment of untreated groundwater in the Glacial aquifer system, which includes parts of 25 states across the northern contiguous United States, is now available from the U.S. Geological Survey.
A regional assessment of untreated groundwater in the Rio Grande aquifer system, which includes parts of Colorado, New Mexico and Texas, is now available from the U.S. Geological Survey.
A regional assessment of untreated groundwater in the Piedmont and Blue Ridge crystalline-rock aquifers, which includes parts of 11 states across the contiguous United States, is now available from the U.S. Geological Survey.
This story was updated on December 7, 2017.
The U.S. Geological Survey is near the midpoint of a complex undertaking to survey the quality of the nation’s largest drinking-water resource.