Mission Areas

Water Resources

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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.

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Filter Total Items: 164
Date published: August 8, 2017
Status: Active

Wood River Valley Aquatic Biology and Habitat Assessment

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...

Contacts: Dorene MacCoy
Date published: August 4, 2017
Status: Completed

Identifying Bull Trout Migration in the Upper Boise River Basin

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...

Contacts: Dorene MacCoy
Date published: August 4, 2017
Status: Active

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 (...

Contacts: Ryan L Fosness
Date published: August 4, 2017
Status: Active

Occurrence and Potential Risk of Microplastics in Lake Mead and the Delaware River

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...

Date published: August 4, 2017
Status: Active

Mercury Cycling in the Hells Canyon Complex

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...

Date published: August 4, 2017
Status: Active

Trace Elements in Streams Near the Stibnite Mining Area

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...

Date published: June 24, 2017
Status: Active

Hampton Roads Benchmark Monitoring Network

The southern Chesapeake Bay region is experiencing land subsidence along with rising sea levels, both of which can contribute to coastal flooding. The rates at which these two processes are occurring are not exactly known. Mapping of land elevation change requires ground-truth survey data at multiple locations that are accurate and precise. With the exception of a few CORS sites that have...

Date published: June 24, 2017

Learn About Water - Louisiana Resources

Links to Sources of Water Information

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) investigates the occurrence, quantity, quality, distribution, and movement of surface and underground waters and disseminates the data to the public, State and local governments, public and private utilities, and other Federal agencies involved with managing water resources

The map to the left allows you to...

Date published: June 23, 2017

LAWSC provides easy flood tracking on the web – 25 May 2007

Flooding is a concern for everyone in Louisiana. Floods demand immediate and decisive action by governmental entities, businesses, and individual citizens, all of whom have to make critical decisions that directly impact the extent, duration, and mitigation of losses resulting from flooding. How high will the water get? How long will the flood last? What areas will be affected? What roads will...

Date published: June 23, 2017

Hardened Gages—Built to Survive

1 June 2010

Hurricane season starts today, and the USGS Lower Mississippi Gulf Water Science Center is committed to collecting and providing the most up-to-date information before, during, and after the storms that are sure to come our way. When a hurricane or tropical storm is approaching, accurate and timely storm data are crucial in making good decisions regarding personal safety and...

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
Filter Total Items: 73
Date published: September 15, 2016

Shapefile and Metadata — 2011 eSDT

Estimated Secchi-disk transparency (eSDT) and corresponding estimated trophic state index (eTSI) values.  
Data is available for download in shapefile format with metadata:  2011 eSDT

 

Date published: September 15, 2016

Shapefile and Metadata — 2002 eSDT

Estimated Secchi-disk transparency (eSDT) and corresponding estimated trophic state index (eTSI) values.  

Data is available for download in shapefile format with metadata:  2002 eSDT

Date published: June 15, 2016

USGS WaterAlert Service

Now you can receive instant, customized updates about water conditions by subscribing toWaterAlert, a new service from the U.S. Geological Survey. WaterAlert allows you to receive daily or hourly updates about current conditions in rivers, lakes and groundwater when they match conditions of concern to you.

Date published: May 1, 2016

Mohawk River Basin Water Quality Sampling Sites

Mohawk River Basin Water Quality Sampling Sites

Date published: April 27, 2016

Water Quality Watch

Water Quality Watch displays maps, graphs, and tables describing real-time, recent, and past water-quality conditions for the United States

Attribution: Water Resources
Date published: April 18, 2016

National Water Information System (NWIS) mapper

This mapper provides access to over 1.5 million sites contained in the USGS National Water Information System (NWIS), including sites where surface-water, groundwater, springs, and atmospheric data has been collected.

Date published: April 18, 2016

National Water Census - Data Portal

At the National Water Census Data Portal you will find 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.

Date published: April 17, 2016

Annual Water Data Reports

Annual Water Data Reports were published annually for many decades as static archival products that supplemented direct access to current and historical water data provided by the National Water Information System (NWIS). This site helps users access historical Water Data Reports, electronic Site Data Sheets, or current on-demand, print-ready Water-Year Summaries.

Date published: April 15, 2016

WaterWatch (surface water)

WaterWatch displays maps, graphs, and tables describing real-time, recent, and past streamflow conditions for the United States, including flood and droughts. Real-time information generally is updated on an hourly basis.

Date published: April 14, 2016

Groundwater Watch

Groundwater Watch displays maps, graphs, and tables describing real-time, recent, and historical groundwater data from wells and springs across the United States. Groundwater Watch groups related wells and data from active well networks and provides basic statistics about the water-level data collected by the USGS and from data supplied to us from partners through cooperative agreements.

Date published: April 13, 2016

WaterQualityWatch

WaterQualityWatch provides access to real time water-quality data collected in surface waters throughout the United States, including streamflow, water temperature, specific conductance, pH, dissolved oxygen, turbidity, and nitrate.

Date published: April 12, 2016

Water Quality Portal

The Water Quality Portal integrates and provides access to publicly available water-quality data from databases such as USGS NWIS and BioData, EPA STORET, and USDA-ARS STEWARDS through a single search interface.

Filter Total Items: 14,518
Year Published: 2018

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
Maupin, M.A., Ivahnenko, T., and Bruce, B., 2018, Estimates of water use and trends in the Colorado River Basin, Southwestern United States, 1985–2010: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2018–5049, 61 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/sir20185049.

Year Published: 2018

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
Marvin-DiPasquale, M., Windham-Myers, L., Fleck, J.A., Ackerman, J.T., Eagles-Smith, C., and McQuillen, H., 2018, Mercury on a landscape scale—Balancing regional export with wildlife health: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2018–1092, 93 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/ofr20181092.

Year Published: 2018

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
Black, R.W., Barnes, A., Elliot, C., and Lanksbury, J., 2018, Nearshore sediment monitoring for the Stormwater Action Monitoring (SAM) Program, Puget Sound, western Washington: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2018-5076, 53 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/sir20185076.

Year Published: 2018

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.
Denise M Akob, John M Sutton, Janna L Fierst, Karl B Haase, Shaun Baesman, George W Luther, Laurence G Miller, Ronald S Oremland; Acetylenotrophy: a hidden but ubiquitous microbial metabolism?, FEMS Microbiology Ecology, Volume 94, Issue 8, 1 August 2018, fiy103, https://doi.org/10.1093/femsec/fiy103.

Year Published: 2018

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.
Elliott, S.M., Brigham, M.E., Kiesling, R.L., Schoenfuss, H.L., Jorgenson, Z.G., 2018, Environmentally relevant chemical mixtures of concern in surface waters of United States tributaries to the Great Lakes

Year Published: 2018

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.
Feinstein, D.T., Kauffman, L.J., Haserodt, M.J., Clark, B.R., and Juckem, P.F., 2018, Extraction and development of inset models in support of groundwater age calculations for glacial aquifers: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2018–5038, 96 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/sir20185038.

Year Published: 2018

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.
Pfeifle, B.D., Stamm, J.F. and Stone, J.J., 2018, Arsenic geochemistry of alluvial sediments and pore waters affected by mine tailings along the Belle Fourche and Cheyenne River floodplains: Water, Air, and Soil Pollution, v. 229, https://doi.org/10.1007/s11270-018-3836-8.

Year Published: 2018

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
Schoellhamer, D., McKee, L., Pearce, S., Kauhanen, P., Salomon, M., Dusterhoff, S., Grenier, L., Marineau, M., and P. Trowbridge. 2018. Sediment Supply to San Francisco Bay, WY 1995 - WY 2016: Data, trends, and monitoring recommendations to support decisions about tidal wetlands and resilience to sea level rise. Richmond, Calif., San Francisco Estuary Institute, SFEI Contribution Number 842, 80 p., available at http://www.sfei.org/sites/default/files/biblio_files/Sediment%20Supply%20Synthesis%20Report%202017%20-%202018-06-11.pdf

Year Published: 2018

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.
Barry, P.H., Kulongoski, J.T., Landon, M.K., Tyne, R.L., Gillespie, J.M., Stephens, M.J., Hillegonds, D.J., Byrne, D.J. and Ballentine, C.J., 2018. Tracing enhanced oil recovery signatures in casing gases from the Lost Hills oil field using noble gases. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, v. 496, p. 57-67, at https://doi.org/10.1016/j.epsl.2018.05.028 [Available online 30 May 2018]

Year Published: 2018

Response of mercury in an Adirondack (NY, USA) forest stream to watershed lime application

Surface waters in Europe and North America previously impacted by acid deposition are recovering in conjunction with declining precursor emissions since the 1980s. Lime has been applied to some impacted watersheds to accelerate recovery. The response to liming can be considered a proxy for future recovery from acid deposition. Increases in...

Millard, Geoffrey D.; Driscoll, Charles T.; Burns, Douglas; Montesdeoca, Mario R.; Murray, Karen

Year Published: 2018

Shoreline erosion at selected areas along Lake Sharpe on the Lower Brule Reservation in South Dakota, 1966–2015

The Lower Brule Reservation in central South Dakota is losing land because of shoreline erosion along Lake Sharpe, a reservoir on the Missouri River, which has caused detrimental effects for the Lower Brule Sioux Tribe including losses of cultural sites, recreation access points, wildlife habitat, irrigated cropland, and landmass. To better...

Thompson, Ryan F.; Stamm, John F.
Thompson, R.F., and Stamm, J.F., 2018, Shoreline erosion at selected areas along Lake Sharpe on the Lower Brule Reservation, South Dakota, 1966–2015: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2018–5058, 29 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/sir20185058.

Year Published: 2018

Stability of mercury concentration measurements in archived soil and peat samples

Archived soil samples can provide important information on the history of environmental contamination and by comparison with recently collected samples, temporal trends can be inferred. Little previous work has addressed whether mercury (Hg) concentrations in soil samples are stable with long-term storage under standard laboratory conditions. In...

Navrátil, Tomáš; Burns, Douglas; Nováková, Tereza; Kaňa, Jiří; Rohovec, Jan; Roll, Michal; Ettler, Vojtěch

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.

Filter Total Items: 1,058
Blackfeet Reservation Groundwater Monitoring Program Study Area Map
February 9, 2018

Blackfeet Reservation Groundwater Monitoring Program Study Area Map

Blackfeet Reservation Groundwater Monitoring Program Study Area Map

Reston Microbiology Laboratory 2016
January 31, 2018

Reston Microbiology Laboratory 2016

The Reston Microbiology Laboratory Group headed by Denise Akob. 2016

Attribution: Water Resources
January 25, 2018

Welcome to the USGS GeoLog Locator

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

...
Ice rings on trees
January 17, 2018

Ice rings on tree on Auglaize River

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

Two technicians in a cablecar over a river, with an instrument hanging below them
December 31, 2017

Lowering an acoustic Doppler current profiler from a cable way.

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. 

Photograph showing Monitoring equipment at Frio River at Concan, Tex.
December 31, 2017

Monitoring equipment at Frio River at Concan, Tex.

Monitoring equipment at Frio River at Concan, Tex.

two men in camo-patterned overalls standing next to a boat on the shore of a river with an instrument on the ground.
December 31, 2017

Technicians prepare to board a boat to measure water flow.

USGS technicians prepare to board a boat to go out to the center of the channel in the San Joaquin River below Friant Dam to get an accurate measurement of water flow during releases from the Dam for flood control.

Hampton Roads Benchmark Monitoring: Occupying a Benchmark
December 31, 2017

Hampton Roads Benchmark Monitoring: Occupying a Benchmark

Hampton Roads Benchmark Monitoring: Occupying a Benchmark

Photograph showing pump hoist truck at Shavano Park at Fawn Drive
December 31, 2017

Pump hoist truck at Shavano Park at Fawn Drive

Back cover photo from
Opsahl, S.P., Musgrove, M., Mahler, B.J., and Lambert, R.B., 2018, Water-quality observations of the San Antonio segment of the Edwards aquifer, Texas, with an emphasis on processes influencing nutrient and pesticide geochemistry and factors affecting aquifer vulnerability, 2010–16: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2018–

...
man in yellow slicker standing in rushing river up to his thighs, holding a stick-like instrument in the water
December 31, 2017

Measuring streamflow in fast moving floodwater.

USGS hydrographer measuring streamflow using a handheld Acoustic Doppler Velocimeter in fast moving floodwater Cajon Creek near Keenbrook, California. 

Photograph showing Groundwater sampling equipment at AY-68-27-610 (Parkwood Park)
December 31, 2017

Groundwater sampling equipment at AY-68-27-610 (Parkwood Park).

Back cover photo from
Opsahl, S.P., Musgrove, M., Mahler, B.J., and Lambert, R.B., 2018, Water-quality observations of the San Antonio segment of the Edwards aquifer, Texas, with an emphasis on processes influencing nutrient and pesticide geochemistry and factors affecting aquifer vulnerability, 2010–16: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2018–

...
Filter Total Items: 367
Date published: July 7, 2017

USGS Scientists to Track Effects of Historic Lake Ontario Flooding

Media Alert: Reporters wishing to accompany USGS scientists in the field the week of July 10 should contact Bill Coon, 607-220-6280 or wcoon@usgs.gov by 5 pm EDT Friday, July 7.

Date published: June 26, 2017

Human Activity Alters Streamflow Throughout Kansas

Human activity, such as groundwater pumping, land management, reservoir operations and urbanization, has a measurable effect on streamflows in Kansas locally, regionally and statewide, according to a new report by the U.S. Geological Survey, done in cooperation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism.

Date published: June 20, 2017

NOAA, USGS and partners predict third largest Gulf of Mexico summer ‘dead zone’ ever

Larger-than-average low and no oxygen area may affect the region’s shrimp fisheries

Date published: June 16, 2017

USGS: High Plains Aquifer Groundwater Levels Continue to Decline

The U.S. Geological Survey has released a new report detailing changes of groundwater levels in the High Plains aquifer. The report presents water-level change data in the aquifer for two separate periods: from 1950 – the time prior to significant groundwater irrigation development – to 2015, and from 2013 to 2015.

Date published: June 6, 2017

Red Dye Study Will Examine Water Flow through Auxiliary Lock 14 near the Quad Cities

U.S. Geological Survey scientists will inject a harmless, bright red fluorescent dye into the auxiliary lock at Locks and Dam 14 on the Mississippi River near Pleasant Valley, Iowa, Tuesday, June 13, 2017, weather permitting. If needed, a backup date is scheduled for June 27, 2017.  

Date published: June 5, 2017

New USGS Science Plan Designed to Help Plan for Drought Effects on People, Communities, and Ecosystems

The U. S. Geological Survey is poised to bring a dynamic array of science and tools to help decision-makers manage and offset effects of increased drought across the United States, according to a drought plan report released today.

Date published: June 1, 2017

As Hurricane Season Opens, USGS Is Ready

Scientists work in the field before, during and after landfall to improve forecasting and recovery.

 

 

Date published: May 31, 2017

Unconventional Oil and Gas Production Not Currently Affecting Drinking Water Quality

Decades or longer may be needed to fully assess the effects of unconventional oil and gas production on the quality of groundwater used for drinking water in Arkansas, Louisiana, and Texas

Date published: May 28, 2017

Western Lake Erie Tributary-Water Monitoring Summary

The U.S. Geological Survey in cooperation with Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, and the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative is measuring streamflow and collecting nutrient and sediment samples at stream gages in the Western Lake Erie Basin in Northwest Ohio.  

Date published: May 11, 2017

New Real-Time Streamgage, Reservoir, and Precipitation Sites

The United States Geological Survey (USGS) operates a network of real-time streamgages that continually record stage and streamflow every 15 to 60 minutes.