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: 167
Image of a new benchmark.
Date Published: June 24, 2017
Status: Active

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...

Cypress Swamp Egret - Louisiana
Date Published: June 24, 2017

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...

Shreveport Area—Caddo and Bossier Parishes
Date Published: June 23, 2017

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...

Hardened Gages—Built to Survive
Date Published: June 23, 2017

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...

Hurricane Irene, satellite view, NASA
Date Published: June 23, 2017

USGS Information and Links

Hurricane Hazards—A National Threat (fact sheet)

USGS Natural Hazards - Hurricanes

Hurricane Forecast Information

National Hurricane Center—(NWS)

Current Tropical Forecast Information

GOES-8 Atlantic Infrared Imagery

GOES-8 Atlantic Visible Imagery

Earth Scan Laboratory—(LSU)

GOES-8 Atlantic Infrared...

WERC marsh during a storm
Date Published: June 23, 2017

USGS Louisiana Coastal Sites

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 is crucial in making good decisions regarding...

Hurricane Joaquin seen from space
Date Published: June 23, 2017

River and Coastal Forecasts

The USGS is not a forecasting agency, but the National Weather Service (NWS) is, and they make extensive use of the data we collect in their effort to provide you with the most accurate and up-to-date forecasts of many Louisiana rivers and streams, and weather along the coast. The links below will provide you with direct access to the NWS forecasts for...

Acoustic Doppler current profiler (ADCP) is connected to an onboard computer to measure streamflow.
Date Published: June 1, 2017

In the mid-1990s, a new technology emerged in the field of inland streamflow monitoring. The South Atlantic Water Science Center is making great use of the acoustic Doppler current profiler (ADCP). It was originally developed for oceanographic work, but was adapted for inland streamflow measurements. This instrument is transforming the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) streamgaging program.

Hydrologist collecting data on South Fork Coeur d'Alne River, Idaho
Date Published: May 26, 2017
Status: Active

We partner with the EPA to conduct long-term water-quality and streamflow monitoring and streamflow measurements in the Coeur d’Alene River Basin, which has been widely impacted by historic mining activities. We collect water-quality samples 2-4 times per year at 20 sites throughout the basin. Our scientists analyze these samples for metals, hardness, sediment, and nutrients. In addition, we ...

Lookout Point Dam
Date Published: May 18, 2017
Status: Completed

Hills Creek, Lookout Point, and Dexter Dams are located on the Middle Fork Willamette River upstream of Eugene in western Oregon, and are important resources managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) for flood control, hydroelectric power, recreation, navigation, and irrigation. On the South Santiam River east of Albany in western Oregon, Green Peter and Foster Dams provide functions...

Contacts: Stewart Rounds
Crooked Canyon spring
Date Published: May 16, 2017
Status: Completed

Groundwater monitoring in the Deschutes Basin shows water-level declines are larger than might be expected from climate variations alone, raising questions regarding the influence of groundwater pumping, canal lining, and other human influences.

Contacts: Terrence Conlon

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: 54
Screenshot of the Water Quality Portal
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.

Screenshot of National Ground-Water Monitoring Network (NGWMN) data portal
April 11, 2016

National Ground-Water Monitoring Network (NGWMN) Data Portal

The NGWMN Data Portal provides access to groundwater data from multiple, dispersed databases in a web-based mapping application. The Portal contains current and historical data including water levels, water quality, lithology, and well construction.

January 25, 2016

Stream Suspended Sediment Loads in Western Oregon and Northwest California (2012)

This ASCII file contains mean annual suspended-sediment loads predicted for western Oregon and northwestern California and the relative contribution to those loads from different types of upstream lithology. These suspended-sediment predictions can be joined to the NHDPlus v.2 hydrography (COMID), allowing users to perform additional analysis and create their own map products.

September 22, 2012

Alkalinity Calculator

The Alkalinity Calculator will analyze the titration curve and calculate the alkalinity or acid neutralizing capacity (ANC) of the sample using one or more of several different methods. Alkalinity is for filtered samples, while ANC is for unfiltered samples. The results will be displayed in tabular and graphical form.

Scoggins DEM
November 2, 2007

Digital Elevation Model of Scoggins Creek Drainage & Henry Hagg Lake

Digital dataset of surface topology for the Scoggins Creek watershed.

small excerpt of Yosemite Valley topographic map in shades of green and brown
September 26, 2001

Geological Survey of Alabama - Downloadable GIS datasets

Spatial/GIS data sets for Alabama are available numerous spatial data clearinghouses. Spatial/GIS data sets for USGS studies that include Alabama or include parts of Alabama are also available from USGS.

Downloadable GIS Datasets, OGB GIS Datasets, Digital Raster Graphics (DRG), 1:24000 DRG, 1:100000 DRG, 1:250000 DRG, Hazards GIS Data, Hazards Data Water GIS Data, HUC 11 Watersheds

Filter Total Items: 1,556
Year Published: 2017

The role of alluvial aquifer sediments in attenuating a dissolved arsenic plume

In a crude-oil-contaminated sandy aquifer at the Bemidji site in northern Minnesota, biodegradation of petroleum hydrocarbons has resulted in release of naturally occurring As to groundwater under Fe-reducing conditions. This study used chemical extractions of aquifer sediments collected in 1993 and 2011–2014 to evaluate the relationship between...

Ziegler, Brady A.; Schreiber, Madeline E.; Cozzarelli, Isabelle M.
Attribution: Water Resources
Brady A. Ziegler, Madeline E. Schreiber, Isabelle M. Cozzarelli, 2017, The role of alluvial aquifer sediments in attenuating a dissolved arsenic plume, Journal of Contaminant Hydrology, 204C, pp. 90-101

Year Published: 2017

A field study of selected U.S. Geological Survey analytical methods for measuring pesticides in filtered stream water, June - September 2012

U.S. Geological Survey monitoring programs extensively used two analytical methods, gas chromatography/mass spectrometry and liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry, to measure pesticides in filtered water samples during 1992–2012. In October 2012, the monitoring programs began using direct aqueous-injection liquid chromatography tandem mass...

Martin, Jeffrey D.; Norman, Julia E.; Sandstrom, Mark W.; Rose, Claire E.
Attribution: Water Resources
Martin, J.D., Norman, J.E., Sandstrom, M.W., and Rose, C.E., 2017, A field study of selected U.S. Geological Survey analytical methods for measuring pesticides in filtered stream water, June–September 2012: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2017–5049, 106 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/sir20175049.

Year Published: 2017

Atmospheric rivers emerge as a global science and applications focus

Recent advances in atmospheric sciences and hydrology have identified the key role of atmo-spheric rivers (ARs) in determining the distribution of strong precipitation events in the midlatitudes. The growth of the subject is evident in the increase in scientific publications that discuss ARs (Fig. 1a). Combined with related phenomena, that is,...

Ralph, F. Martin; Dettinger, Michael; Lavers, David A.; Gorodetskaya, Irina; Martin, Andrew; Viale, Maximilliano; White, Allen; Oakley, Nina; Rutz, Jonathan; Spackman, J. Ryan; Wernli, Heini; Cordeira, Jason
Attribution: Water Resources
Ralph, M., Dettinger, M., Lavers, D., Gorodetskaya, I., Martin, A., Viale, M., White, A.B., Oakley, N., Rutz, J., Spackman, J.R., Wernli, H., and Cordeira, J., 2017, Atmospheric rivers emerge as a global science and applications focus: Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, 5 p., doi:10.1175/BAMS-D-16-0262.1.

Year Published: 2017

Coastal eolian sand-ramp development related to paleo-sea-level changes during the Latest Pleistocene and Holocene (21–0 ka) in San Miguel Island, California, U.S.A.

Coastal eolian sand ramps (5–130 m elevation) on the northern slope (windward) side of the small San Miguel Island (13 km in W-E length) range in age from late Pleistocene to modern time, though a major hiatus in sand-ramp growth occurred during the early Holocene marine transgression (16–9 ka). The Holocene sand ramps (1–5 m measured thicknesses...

Peterson, Curt D.; Erlandson, Jon M.; Stock, Errol; Hostetler, Steven W.; Price, David M.
Attribution: Water Resources
Curt D. Peterson, Jon M. Erlandson, Errol Stock, Steve W. Hostetler, and David M. Price (2017) Coastal Eolian Sand-Ramp Development Related to Paleo-Sea-Level Changes during the Latest Pleistocene and Holocene (21–0 ka) in San Miguel Island, California, U.S.A.. Journal of Coastal Research: Volume 33, Issue 5: pp. 1022 – 1037.

Year Published: 2017

Evidence of coupled carbon and iron cycling at a hydrocarbon-contaminated site from time lapse magnetic susceptibility

Conventional characterization and monitoring of hydrocarbon (HC) pollution is often expensive and time-consuming. Magnetic susceptibility (MS) has been proposed as an inexpensive, long-term monitoring proxy of the degradation of HC. We acquired repeated down hole MS logging data in boreholes at a HC-contaminated field research site in Bemidji, MN...

Lund, Anders L.; Slater, Lee D.; Atekwana, Estella A.; Ntarlagiannis, Dimitrios; Cozzarelli, Isabelle M.; Bekins, Barbara A.
Attribution: Water Resources
Lund, Anders & Slater, Lee & Atekwana, Estella & Ntarlagiannis, Dimitrios & Cozzarelli, Isabelle & Bekins, Barbara. (2017). Evidence of Coupled Carbon and Iron Cycling at a Hydrocarbon-Contaminated Site from Time Lapse Magnetic Susceptibility. Environmental Science & Technology. 51. . 10.1021/acs.est.7b02155.

Year Published: 2017

Interactive effects of deer exclusion and exotic plant removal on deciduous forest understory communities

Mammalian herbivory and exotic plant species interactions are an important ongoing research topic, due to their presumed impacts on native biodiversity. The extent to which these interactions affect forest understory plant community composition and persistence was the subject of our study. We conducted a 5-year, 2 × 2 factorial experiment in three...

Bourg, Norman; McShea, William J.; Herrmann, Valentine; Stewart, Chad M.
Attribution: Water Resources
Bourg, N.A., McShea, W.J., Herrmann, V. and Stewart, C.M., 2017. Interactive effects of deer exclusion and exotic plant removal on deciduous forest understory communities. AoB Plants 9(5): plx046.

Year Published: 2017

The fascinating and complex dynamics of geyser eruptions

Geysers episodically erupt liquid and vapor. Despite two centuries of scientific study, basic questions persist—why do geysers exist? What determines eruption intervals, durations, and heights? What initiates eruptions? Through monitoring eruption intervals, analyzing geophysical data, taking measurements within geyser conduits, performing...

Hurwitz, Shaul; Manga, Michael
Attribution: Water Resources
Hurwitz, S. and Manga, M., 2017, The Fascinating and Complex Dynamics of Geyser Eruptions, Annual Review of Earth and Planetary Sciences, 45, 31-59, http://dx.doi.org/10.1146/annurev-earth-063016-015605

Year Published: 2017

Detection of diazotrophy in the acetylene-fermenting anaerobe Pelobacter sp. strain SFB93

Acetylene (C2H2) is a trace constituent of the present Earth's oxidizing atmosphere, reflecting a mixture of terrestrial and marine emissions from anthropogenic, biomass-burning, and unidentified biogenic sources. Fermentation of acetylene was serendipitously discovered during C2H2 block assays of N2O reductase, and Pelobacter acetylenicus was...

Akob, Denise M.; Baesman, Shaun; Sutton, John M.; Fierst, Janna L.; Mumford, Adam; Shrestha, Yesha; Poret-Peterson, Amisha T.; Bennett, Stacy; Dunlap, Darren S.; Haase, Karl B.; Oremland, Ronald S.
Attribution: Water Resources
Akob, D. M.; Baesman, S. M.; Sutton, J. M.; Fierst, J. L.; Mumford, A. C.; Shrestha, Y.; Poret-Peterson, A. T.; Bennett, S.; Dunlap, D. S.; Haase, K. B.; Oremland, R. S., (2017) Detection of diazotrophy in the acetylene-fermenting anaerobe Pelobacter sp. strain SFB93. Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 83(17): e01198-17, 10.1128/aem.01198-17.

Year Published: 2017

Climate scenarios for the Truckee-Carson River system

In this study, the scenarios ultimately take the form of gridded, daily (maximum and minimum) temperatures and precipitation totals spanning the entire Truckee-Carson River System, from which meteorological inputs to various hydrologic, water-balance and watermanagement models can be extracted by other parts of the Water for the Seasons project...

Dettinger, Michael; Sterle, Kelley; Simpson, Karen; Singletary, Loretta; Fitzgerald, Kelsey; McCarthy, Maureen
Attribution: Water Resources
Dettinger, M.D., Sterle, K., Simpson, K., Singletary, L, McCarthy, M., and Fitzgerald, K., 2017, Climate scenarios for the Truckee—Carson River system: University of Nevada Cooperative Extension Special Publication 17-05, 12 p.

Year Published: 2017

Autotrophic microbial arsenotrophy in arsenic-rich soda lakes

A number of prokaryotes are capable of employing arsenic oxy-anions as either electron acceptors [arsenate; As(V)] or electron donors [arsenite; As(III)] to sustain arsenic-dependent growth (‘arsenotrophy’). A subset of these microorganisms function as either chemoautotrophs or photoautotrophs, whereby they gain sufficient energy from their redox...

Oremland, Ronald S.; Saltikov, Chad W.; Stolz, John F.; Hollibaugh, James T.
Attribution: Water Resources
Oremland, R.S., Saltikov, C.W., Stolz, J.F., Hollibaugh, J.T., 2017, Autotrophic microbial arsenotrophy in arsenic-rich soda lakes. FEMS Microbiology Letters, 364(15), http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/femsle/fnx146

Year Published: 2017

Water quality measurements in San Francisco Bay by the U.S. Geological Survey, 1969–2015

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) maintains a place-based research program in San Francisco Bay (USA) that began in 1969 and continues, providing one of the longest records of water-quality measurements in a North American estuary. Constituents include salinity, temperature, light extinction coefficient, and concentrations of chlorophyll-a,...

Schraga, Tara; Cloern, James E.
Attribution: Water Resources
Schraga, T.S., Cloern, J.E., 2017, Water quality measurements in San Francisco Bay by the U.S. Geological Survey, 1969-2015, Scientific Data, 4, http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/sdata.2017.98

Year Published: 2017

Managed aquifer recharge through off-season irrigation in agricultural regions

Options for increasing reservoir storage in developed regions are limited and prohibitively expensive. Projected increases in demand call for new long-term water storage to help sustain agriculture, municipalities, industry, and ecological services. Managed aquifer recharge (MAR) is becoming an integral component of water resources around the...

Niswonger, Richard; Morway, Eric; Triana, Enrique; Huntington, Justin L.
Attribution: Water Resources
Niswonger, R. G., E. D. Morway,E. Triana, and J. L. Huntington (2017),Managed aquifer recharge throughoff-season irriga tion in agriculturalregions, Water Resour. Res., 53, 6970–6992, doi:10.1002/2017WR020458.

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: 915
Unmanned Aerial System takes images in Arizona
2017 (approx.)
Small Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) collecting digital photos to create digital elevation models. UAS are an increasingly important tool for monitoring, assessing, and conducting targeted scientific research for the nation.
man in yellow shirt and camo coveralls standing in thigh-high water with instrument.
2017 (approx.)
USGS technician measuring streamflow in the Sisquoc River near Garey, California, upstream of the Santa Maria Mesa Road Bridge.
Salt Wash in the San Rafael Swell with white surface salts
2017 (approx.)
Muddy Creek in the San Rafael Swell with white surface salts. 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.
Two technicians in a cablecar over a river, with an instrument hanging below them
2017 (approx.)
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.
man in yellow slicker standing in rushing river up to his thighs, holding a stick-like instrument in the water
2017 (approx.)
USGS hydrographer measuring streamflow using a handheld Acoustic Doppler Velocimeter in fast moving floodwater Cajon Creek near Keenbrook, California.
Woman standing in middle of stream next to instruments
2017 (approx.)
USGS technician measuring streamflow in northern Nevada.
Filter Total Items: 357
Housing structure for USGS Stream gage with Clear Fork Mohican River in the background
May 11, 2017

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

A map of Pennsylvania indicating radon concentrations of water samples collected during a multi-year groundwater radon study. Ma
May 11, 2017

A new U.S. Geological Survey study has discovered high levels of radon in wells across certain areas of Pennsylvania.

Measuring Streamflow
May 11, 2017

Gary Moore spent the last three days of 2015 stacking hefty bags of sand in front of a fellow church member’s brick home. With only 1,000 feet between the house and the swelling Mississippi and Meramec Rivers, Moore and other volunteers worked quickly, in frigid temperatures, to assemble a 10-foot high, 1,000-foot-long sandbag wall to ward off floodwaters.

Image: Old Faithful Erupting
May 10, 2017

Despite two centuries of scientific study, basic questions persist about geysers—why do they exist? What determines their behavior?

May 3, 2017

A report published today by the U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with the Connecticut Department of Public Health, reveals that water from some private wells across the state has registered high levels of Arsenic and Uranium.

USGS hydrologic technician Christopher Rowden verifies the accuracy of streamgage information at the Jacks Fork River.
April 30, 2017

Reporters: Do you want to interview USGS scientists as they measure flooding? Please contact Jennifer LaVista.

Low-flying helicopter survey
April 27, 2017

Starting on May 2 and lasting for about two days, a helicopter towing a large, cylindrical sensor will make low-level flights over parts of Cedar Rapids as part of a groundwater survey.

Walker Lake on a Spring day
April 24, 2017

USGS model simulations suggest that Walker Lake will rise by as much as 15 to 18 feet this year, the most in a single year in recorded history.

Hydrologic Regions of Alaska
April 14, 2017

While freshwater ecosystems cover only a small amount of the land surface in Alaska, they transport and emit a significant amount of carbon, according to new U.S. Geological Survey research. An invited feature article for Ecological Applications provides the first-ever major aquatic carbon flux assessment for the entire state. Carbon flux refers to the rate of carbon transfer between pools.

This image shows a damaged street sign and flood debris left behind by record flood waters of the Blanco River near Martindale,
April 10, 2017

The new “Water On-the-Go” mobile app gives the public easy access to current conditions in streams across Texas. This product was developed by the U.S. Geological Survey to help raise water awareness during both floods and normal conditions.

Little Plover River Wells
April 6, 2017

Both irrigation wells and municipal wells affect flows in the Little Plover River near Plover, Wisconsin, stretches of which ran dry in past years, according to a new scientific report.

Looking northeast along the Bear River Duck Club Canal toward the Wellsville Mountains. 
April 6, 2017

A new report illustrates how groundwater pumping can affect the amount of water available in streams within the Malad-Lower Bear River Area in Utah. The product was developed by the U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with the Utah Department of Natural Resources, Division of Water Rights.