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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
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 Model Assessments of Nutrients and Suspended Sediment in the Pacific Northwest and California
SPARROW can be used to relate water-quality data to landscape characteristics, such as natural properties and human activities
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."
Evaluating Spring Vulnerability to Climate Change on BLM Priority Management Areas in Southeastern Oregon
USGS total dissolved gas (TDG) data help guide spill and discharge management from dams operated along tributaries of the Willamette River.
Sediment fingerprinting has been used successfully to identify land uses that are the major sources of sediment. This study will apply these techniques in a predominantly rural, volcanic landscape.
"SELDM facilitates analysis by providing precipitation, pre-storm streamflow, and other variables by region or from hydrologically similar sites."
Macroinvertebrate Communities Evaluated Before and After a Channel Restoration Project in Silver Creek, Blaine County
The U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with Blaine County and The Nature Conservancy, evaluated the status of macroinvertebrate1 communities prior to and following a channel restoration project in Silver Creek, Blaine County, Idaho. The objective of the evaluation was to determine whether 2014 remediation efforts to restore natural channel conditions in an impounded area of Silver Creek...
The U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with Gem County and the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality, is assessing the quality of groundwater from freshwater aquifers used for drinking-water supplies.
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
The NWIS mapper provides access to over 1.5 million sites contained in the USGS National Water Information System (NWIS), including sites where current and historical surface-water, groundwater, springs, and atmospheric data has been collected. 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.
Water-use data are collected by area type (state, county, watershed, or aquifer) and source (rivers or groundwater), and category (such as public supply or irrigation). Water-use data has been reported every five years since 1950. The USGS works with local, State, and Federal agencies as well as other organizations to collect and report withdrawals.
Identify, access, and interpret USGS discrete and (or) daily suspended sediment data suspended-sediment and related data. The U.S. Geological Survey National Water Information System (NWIS) is the original source for all suspended-sediment data provided in the portal.
Aquatic invertebrates are a key component of freshwater ecosystems, and an understanding of aquatic invertebrate taxonomy is central to freshwater science. The North American Aquatic Macroinvertebrate Digital Reference Collection (NAAMDRC) was created by the USGS Aquatic Experimental Lab (AXL) to provide users with high-quality digital microscopy photographs.
A long-term study of the geomorphic history of the lower Rio Puerco arroyo in north-central New Mexico included the collection of high-precision (Real-time kinematic) GPS survey data (2002, 2007, 2010, and 2014), registration and rectification of historical aerial photographs (1935, 1950s, 1970s, and 1996), aerial LiDAR survey (2005) and post-flood (2006) satellite imagery.
This tool provides access to information and maps of watershed nutrient contributions to the Nation's Estuaries and Great Lakes.
An online graphical data tool provides annual summaries of nutrient and sediment concentrations and loads and streamflow information for 106 sites monitored as part of the USGS National Water-Quality Network for Streams and Rivers.
Stream water-quality characteristics provide scientists and water managers with a better understanding of the effects of natural and anthropogenic (human) activities on streams and ecosystems. The USGS operates a network of near-real-time water-quality monitoring stations that provide data for temperature, specific conductance, pH, dissolved oxygen, and turbidity of surface water.
Streamflow contributions from tribal lands to major river basins of the United States
While many studies on tribal water resources of individual tribal lands in the United States (US) have been conducted, the importance of tribal water resources at a national scale has largely gone unrecognized because their combined totals have not been quantified. Thus, we sought to provide a numerical estimate of major water budget components on...Blasch, Kyle; Hundt, Stephen; Wurster, Patrick; Sando, Thomas R.; Berthelote, Antony
Changes in Earth’s gravity reveal changes in groundwater storage
Changes in the amount of water stored in underground aquifers cause small changes in Earth’s gravitational field. The U.S. Geological Survey’s Southwest Gravity Program has developed methods for measuring terrestrial gravity changes with part-per-billion precision. The measurements allow scientists to map changes in groundwater storage and to...Kennedy, Jeffrey R.
Selected trace-elements in alluvium and rocks, western Mojave Desert, southern California
Concentrations of twenty-seven elements, including naturally-occurring water-quality contaminants arsenic, chromium, and uranium, were measured in 217 samples of alluvium and rock from the western Mojave Desert, southern California, using portable (pXRF) and laboratory (LXRF) X-ray fluorescence. Comparison of measurements with NIST-traceable...Groover, Krishangi D.; Izbicki, John A.
Methods used to reconstruct historical daily streamflows in northern New Jersey and southeastern New York, water years 1922–2010
A study was conducted by the U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, to reconstruct streamflows for use in the RiverWare model. Methods and data used to estimate daily reconstructed streamflows at 53 sites in selected subbasins in northern New Jersey and southeastern New York are presented...Hickman, R. Edward; McHugh, Amy R.
Multiphase flow and underpressured shale at the Bruce nuclear site, Ontario, Canada
Hydraulic testing has revealed dramatic underpressures in Paleozoic shales and carbonates at the Bruce nuclear site in Ontario. Although evidence from both laboratory and field studies suggests that a small amount of gas-phase methane could be present in the shale, previous studies examining causal linkages between the gas phase and the...Plampin, Michael R.; Neuzil, Christopher E.
Tidal flushing of mercury from the Bremerton Naval Complex through the PSNS015 stormwater drain system to Sinclair Inlet, Kitsap County, Washington, 2011 -12
The sediments of Sinclair Inlet, in Puget Sound, Washington, have elevated levels of contaminants including mercury. The Bremerton Naval Complex is adjacent to Sinclair Inlet, and has known areas of historical soil mercury contamination. The U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with the U.S. Navy, has been investigating the potential for mercury...Conn, Kathleen E.; Paulson, Anthony J.; Dinicola, Richard S.; DeWild, John F.
Leveraging big data towards functionally-based, catchment scale restoration prioritization
The persistence of freshwater degradation has necessitated the growth of an expansive stream and wetland restoration industry, yet restoration prioritization at broad spatial extents is still limited and ad-hoc restoration prevails. The River Basin Restoration Prioritization tool has been developed to incorporate vetted, distributed data models...Lovette, John P.; Duncan, Jonathan M.; Smart, Lindsey S.; Fay, John P.; Urban, Dean L.; Daly, Nancy; Blackwell, Jamie; Hoos, Anne B.; García, Ana María; Band, Lawrence E.
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.
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.
Artesian Well, John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, Key Largo, FL
USGS Research Oceanographer Lauren Toth and Oceanographer Anastasios Stathakopoulos study a coral-reef core in the USGS’s Core Archive in St. Petersburg, Florida. Photo: Dominique Gallery, USGS.
Each one these blue dots represents a site where a storm-tide sensor bracket has been installed for the Gulf of Mexico pre-defined network. There are currently 85 brackets in Florida, 6 in Alabama, 3 in Mississippi, 18 in Louisiana and 26 in Texas, for a total of 138 bracketed sites. (Not all brackets will be used in all storms.)
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.
The U.S. Geological Survey has deployed storm-tide sensors, forecast what coastal change to expect, and is ready to measure the extent of flooding likely to result from this powerful storm, Hurricane Harvey. Click HERE for more information.