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
Geochemical models for the eastern Snake River Plain aquifer system are being used to better understand the flow of groundwater beneath the INL and, ultimately, to better understand the fate and transport of radiochemical and chemical constituents. As water moves through the ground, it picks up chemicals from the gases and rocks it comes in contact with.
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...
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
De facto wastewater reuse from Wastewater Treatment Facilities (WWTF) has the potential to contribute unregulated Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals. To visualize the typical contributions of treated effluent into Shenandoah River watershed streams, an ArcGIS model of WWTFs, NHDPlus Version 2 (USGS and EPA 2012) stream networks, and USGS Streamgages across the Shenandoah River watershed was...
A Baseline Assessment of Contaminant Concentrations in Sediment and Biota in Proximity to Coal Transport Tracks in the Pacific Northwest (2014)
This dataset provides baseline concentrations of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH), other aromatic organic compounds, mercury (Hg), and trace metal concentrations in sediment and biota collected from two sites along an existing rail line used for coal transport in the Columbia River Gorge, Washington.
StreamStats is a Web-based tool that provides streamflow statistics, drainage-basin characteristics, and other information for USGS streamgaging stations and for user-selected ungaged sites on streams.
Willamette River at Portland, OR, is one of the most extensively monitoring streams in the US. The monitor located at the Morrsion Bridge in downtown Portland measures thirteen real-time parameters.
The National Water Information System (NWIS) web application provides access to surface-water, groundwater, water-quality, and water-use data collected at approximately 1.5 million sites across all 50 states.
The National Water Information System (NWIS) Mapper provides access to water-resources data at over 1.5 million sites across the U.S., including current and historical data. Users can search by site type, data type, site number, or place.
The National Water Census Data Portal contains national estimates of water budget components for local watersheds, water withdrawal data for counties, tools to calculate statistics of daily streamflow records, modeled daily streamflow at ungaged stations, and access to records of aquatic biology observations.
Data from wells, springs, test holes, tunnels, drains, and excavations in North Dakota; well location data includes information such as latitude and longitude, well depth, and aquifer. Groundwater level data are collected and stored as either discrete field-water-level measurements or as continuous time-series data from automated recorders.
Downloadable spatial data files for exploration and analysis.
River and Coastal Forecast Information
Mississippi and Ohio River 7-Day Summary and Forecast
Water is one of the most important of Alabama's natural resources. Water is not only a vital component of human existence, it is critical to the overall quality of life. In order to protect and preserve this resource for future generations, we must have a baseline of information to make decisions. Decision and policy makers must know the answers to three fundamental questions: where is the water u
Water is one of the most important of Alabama's natural resources. Water is not only a vital component of human existence, it is critical to the overall quality of life. In order to protect and preserve this resource for future generations, we must have a baseline of information to make decisions.
The goals of the NAWQA program are being achieved through ongoing or planned investigations of 59 of the Nation's most important river and aquifer systems, which are referred to as study units. These study units were selected to represent the diverse geography, water resources, and land and water uses of the Nation. The Mobile River Basin is one such study unit, designed to supplement water.
Pharmaceuticals, hormones, pesticides, and other bioactive contaminants in water, sediment, and tissue from Rocky Mountain National Park, 2012–2013
Pharmaceuticals, hormones, pesticides, and other bioactive contaminants (BCs) are commonly detected in surface water and bed sediment in urban and suburban areas, but these contaminants are understudied in remote locations. In Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP), Colorado, USA, BCs may threaten the reproductive success and survival of native...Battaglin, William A.; Bradley, Paul M.; Iwanowicz, Luke R.; Journey, Celeste A.; Walsh, Heather L.; Blazer, Vicki S.
Cinnamon gulch revisited: Another look at separating natural and mining-impacted contributions to instream metal load
Baseline, premining data for streams draining abandoned mine lands is virtually non existent, and indirect methods for estimating premining conditions are needed to establish realistic, cost effective cleanup goals. One such indirect method is the proximal analog approach, in which premining conditions are estimated using data from nearby...Runkel, Robert L.; Verplanck, Philip; Kimball, Briant; Walton-Day, Katie
Comparison of U.S. Geological Survey and Bureau of Reclamation water-use reporting in the Colorado River Basin
The use of water in the United States is arguably one of the most important factors determining water availability at any specific place and time. Numerous local, State, and Federal entities develop, compile, and report water-use data, which can lead to confusing or conflicting information. This report was authored jointly by the U.S. Geological...Bruce, Breton; Prairie, James; Maupin, Molly A.; Dodds, Jeremy; Eckhardt, David; Ivahnenko, Tamara I.; Matuska, Paul; Evenson, Eric; Harrison, Alan
Estimates of water use and trends in the Colorado River Basin, Southwestern United States, 1985–2010
The Colorado River Basin (CRB) drains 246,000 square miles and includes parts of California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming, and all of Arizona (Basin States). This report contains water-use estimates by category of use for drainage basins (Hydrologic Unit Code 8; HUC‑8) within the CRB from 1985 to 2010, at 5-year intervals....Maupin, Molly A.; Ivahnenko, Tamara I.; Bruce, Breton
Mercury on a landscape scale—Balancing regional export with wildlife health
The Cosumnes River watershed requires a 57–64 percent reduction in loads to meet the new Delta methylmercury (MeHg) total maximum daily load allocation, established by the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board. Because there are no large point sources of MeHg in the watershed, the focus of MeHg load reductions will fall upon non-...Marvin-DiPasquale, Mark C.; Windham-Myers, Lisamarie; Fleck, Jacob A.; Ackerman, Joshua T.; Eagles-Smith, Collin A.; McQuillen, Harry
Nearshore sediment monitoring for the Stormwater Action Monitoring (SAM) Program, Puget Sound, western Washington
Chemicals such as metals and organics (polychlorinated biphenyl [PCBs], polybrominated diphenyl ethers [PBDEs], polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons [PAHs], and phthalates) continue to enter Puget Sound, western Washington, from point sources (such as industrial and municipal outfalls) and combined sewer outfalls and non-point sources (such as...Black, Robert W.; Barnes, Abby; Elliot, Colin; Lanksbury, Jennifer
Acetylenotrophy: A hidden but ubiquitous microbial metabolism?
Acetylene (IUPAC name: ethyne) is a colorless, gaseous hydrocarbon, composed of two triple bonded carbon atoms attached to hydrogens (C2H2). When microbiologists and biogeochemists think of acetylene, they immediately think of its use as an inhibitory compound of certain microbial processes and a tracer for nitrogen fixation. However, what is less...Akob, Denise M.; Sutton, John M.; Fierst, Janna L.; Haase, Karl B.; Baesman, Shaun; Luther, George; Miller, Laurence G.; Oremland, Ronald S.
Environmentally relevant chemical mixtures of concern in waters of United States tributaries to the Great Lakes
The North American Great Lakes are a vital natural resource that provide fish and wildlife habitat, as well as drinking water and waste assimilation services for millions of people. Tributaries to the Great Lakes receive chemical inputs from various point and nonpoint sources, and thus are expected to have complex mixtures of chemicals. However,...Elliott, Sarah M.; Brigham, Mark E.; Kiesling, Richard L.; Schoenfuss, Heiko L.; Jorgenson, Zachary G.
Extraction and development of inset models in support of groundwater age calculations for glacial aquifers
The U.S. Geological Survey developed a regional model of Lake Michigan Basin (LMB). This report describes the construction of five MODFLOW inset models extracted from the LMB regional model and their application using the particle-tracking code MODPATH to simulate the groundwater age distribution of discharge to wells pumping from glacial deposits...Feinstein, Daniel T.; Kauffman, Leon J.; Haserodt, Megan J.; Clark, Brian R.; Juckem, Paul F.
Arsenic geochemistry of alluvial sediments and pore waters affected by mine tailings along the Belle Fourche and Cheyenne River floodplains
Gold mining operations in the northern Black Hills of South Dakota resulted in the discharge of arsenopyrite-bearing mine tailings into Whitewood Creek from 1876 to 1977. Those tailings were transported further downstream along the Belle Fourche River, the Cheyenne River, and the Missouri River. An estimated 110 million metric tons of tailings...Pfeifle, Bryce D.; Stamm, John F.; Stone, James J.
Sediment supply to San Francisco Bay, water years 1995 through 2016: Data, trends, and monitoring recommendations to support decisions about water quality, tidal wetlands, and resilience to sea level rise
Knowledge of the status and trends of sediment supply to San Francisco Bay is critically important for management decisions about dredging, marsh restoration, flood control, contaminants, water clarity (in relation to primary production), and sea level rise. Several sitespecific studies of sediment supply to San Francisco Bay have been conducted,...Schoellhamer, David H.; McKee, Lester; Pearce, Sarah; Kauhanen, Pete; Saloman, Micha; Dusterhoff, Scott; Grenier, Letitia; Marineau, Mathieu D.; Trowbridge, Philip
Tracing enhanced oil recovery signatures in casing gases from the Lost Hills oil field using noble gases
Enhanced oil recovery (EOR) and hydraulic fracturing practices are commonly used methods to improve hydrocarbon extraction efficiency; however the environmental impacts of such practices remain poorly understood. EOR is particularly prevalent in oil fields throughout California where water resources are in high demand and disposal of high volumes...Barry, Peter H.; Kulongoski, Justin; Landon, Matthew K.; Tyne, R.L.; Gillespie, Janice; Stephens, Michael; Hillegonds, D.J.; Byrne, D.J.; Ballentine, C.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.
This video describes how and where to flag high water marks for a road overflow or broad-crested weir indirect measurement of peak discharge.
Blackfeet Reservation Groundwater Monitoring Program Study Area Map
Welcome to the USGS GeoLog Locator, an online tool for viewing and downloading digital borehole geophysical logs. These borehole logs are used to answer scientific questions about things like groundwater availability, geologic structure of the Earth, and certain characteristics of the structure of the soil and rock formations. The Geolog map viewer allows users to zoom and...
This picture was taken January 16 by Hydro Tech Tim Nicholson as he was assessing site conditions for a discharge measurement, which he determined was unsafe to make. 04191500 Auglaize River near Defiance
Occupying a surveying benchmark.
USGS technicians preparing for a streamflow measurement by lowering an acoustic Doppler current profiler from a cable way on the American River near Fair Oaks, California.
Hampton Roads Benchmark Monitoring: Occupying a Benchmark
Monitoring equipment at Frio River at Concan, Tex.
TACOMA, Wash. — The U.S. Geological Survey recently published the results of a new five-year suspended-sediment and water temperature study from the Sauk River. The purpose of this study is to improve understanding of the magnitude and timing of suspended sediment from the Sauk River and its tributaries to the Skagit River.
A new assessment of channel bed erosion near 13 highway bridges in the greater St. Louis, Missouri, area is now available in an online report from the U.S. Geological Survey, produced in cooperation with the Missouri Department of Transportation.
Levels of Possible Human Carcinogen Declining in Most Wells in Tucson International Airport Superfund Site
Levels of a potential human carcinogen, 1,4-dioxane, have mostly declined in wells in the commercial and residential areas of the Tucson International Airport Area Superfund Site during 2002-2017, according to a new map published by the U.S. Geological Survey.
MODFLOW 6, the newest version of the world’s most widely used groundwater modeling software, is now available for download from the U.S. Geological Survey
BONNERS FERRY, Idaho — From Sept. 24 through 29, scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey will conduct dye tracer and aerial mapping studies on northern Idaho’s Kootenai River. Data from the studies will support Idaho Department of Fish and Game and Kootenai Tribe of Idaho fisheries and river restoration projects.
When a major storm is on the horizon, the USGS uses its water monitoring, coastal change, mapping, and modeling expertise to help prepare for, respond to, and recover from hurricanes and tropical storms.
Both precipitation and groundwater withdrawals, among other factors, influence lake-water levels in the northeast Twin Cities metropolitan area, and the extent of these changes vary among lakes, according to a new U.S. Geological Survey study.