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
hagg lake
Date Published: May 11, 2017
Status: Completed

Henry Hagg Lake is a reservoir located in the foothills of the eastern slope of the Coast Range Mountains of northwestern Oregon. The lake is used for recreation in the summer and flood control in the winter.

Contacts: Stewart Rounds
wetland near greenway park
Date Published: May 11, 2017
Status: Active

In 1990, the USGS began assessing water-quality in the Tualatin River. Almost 30 years later, we are still monitoring conditions in the basin.

Contacts: Stewart Rounds
klamath river at keno reach
Date Published: May 9, 2017
Status: Active

The Klamath River from Link River to Keno Dam experiences poor water-quality conditions on a seasonal basis, creating inhospitable conditions for fish and other aquatic organisms. These problems led the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality to prepare a Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) plan to bring the river into compliance with water-quality standards. This study uses a hydrodynamic and...

Contacts: Annett Sullivan
beaver
Date Published: May 2, 2017
Status: Active

Beavers and their dams are common sights along creeks in the Tualatin River basin. Beaver help create diverse habitats for many other animals, including birds, fish, and amphibians. The USGS studying the affect beaver activity has on the amount and quality of water in local streams, so that agencies in the basin can make strategic management and habitat restoration decisions based on science...

Shenandoah municipal and industrial discharges
Date Published: May 1, 2017
Status: Active

A key component to assessing the contaminant exposure pathways in streams and rivers of the Chesapeake Bay is using GIS-based landscape analysis to identify sources of endocrine disrupting chemicals. Municipal and industrial wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) discharges are potentially major sources of EDCs to streams, and therefore understanding the de facto wastewater reuse (represented as...

Old Perpetual Geyser
Date Published: April 11, 2017
Status: Active

Although sparsely populated, this area in southeastern Oregon, northeastern California, northwestern Nevada, and southeastern Idaho has high geothermal heat flow that may be used to generate large amounts of electricity.

Osprey on nest
Date Published: March 31, 2017
Status: Completed

Fish, wildlife, and human populations along the lower Columbia River are exposed to an ever-growing variety of contaminants as a result of increasing urbanization, industrialization, and agricultural development.

Trumpeter swans, Camas National Wildlife Refuge
Date Published: March 9, 2017
Status: Completed

The Camas National Wildlife Refugeprovides essential resting, feeding, and nesting habitat for waterfowl including migratory birds. A variety of other animals, large and small, are found there, too. Since the refuge was established in 1937, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) has been responsible for managing this vital resource.

Traditionally, Camas Creek and groundwater inflow...

Contacts: Gordon Rattray
Agricultural lands in Arizona, thumbnail
Date Published: March 9, 2017
Status: Active

The Arizona Water Use program collects and estimates annual water withdrawals for the categories of irrigation, municipal, mining, thermoelectric-power, and drainage uses. The data for these categories are compiled for the Arizona Department of Water Resources groundwater basins outside of Active Management Areas. 

Contacts: Saeid Tadayon
Scientist services an automatic sampler, in the snow, that has been installed at the gaging station on Clear Creek in Nevada.
Date Published: March 9, 2017
Status: Active

Clear Creek is a small alpine stream that begins near Lake Tahoe in the Sierra Nevada. The creek flows roughly parallel to U.S. Highway 50 and discharges to the Carson River near Carson City, Nevada. The Nevada Department of Transportation (NDOT) is concerned about how historical and ongoing development in the Clear Creek drainage basin has/is affecting Clear Creek and its sediment-transport...

Contacts: Jena Huntington
Coastal Change Portal Hurricane Matthew 2016
Date Published: February 22, 2017

As Hurricane Matthew moved up the Atlantic coast of the U.S., the USGS South Atlantic Water Science Center (SAWSC) deployed most of the USGS Storm-Tide Network along the Atlantic coast to monitor the timing, extent, and magnitude of the storm tide during the passage of Hurricane Matthew.

• Go to the USGS Hurricane Matthew...

Water Education Posters for Elementary and Middle Schools
Date Published: February 14, 2017

USGS Water Education Posters for Elementary and Middle Schools

Download posters covering nine different water topics that are drawn in a cartoon format. Activites are included and Elementary and Middle School versions are available.

Filter Total Items: 1,556
Year Published: 2017

Porosity and pore size distribution in a sedimentary rock: Implications for the distribution of chlorinated solvents

Characterizing properties of the rock matrix that control retention and release of chlorinated solvents is essential in evaluating the extent of contamination and the application of remediation technologies in fractured rock. Core samples from seven closely spaced boreholes in a mudstone subject to trichloroethene (TCE) contamination were analyzed...

Shapiro, Allen M.; Evans, Chrsitopher E.; Hayes, Erin C.
Attribution: Water Resources
Shapiro, A.M., Evans, C.E., Hayes, E.C., 2017, Porosity and pore size distribution in a sedimentary rock: Implications for the distribution of chlorinated solvents, Journal of Contaminant Hydrology, v. 203, 70-84.

Year Published: 2017

Spatial and temporal variability in benthic invertebrate assemblages in Upper Klamath Lake, Oregon

Upper Klamath Lake (UKL) in southern Oregon has experienced declines in water quality due to excessive nutrient loading. This has led to annual cyanobacterial blooms, primarily of Aphanizomenon flos-aquae (AFA). Benthic invertebrates are important food resources for benthic feeding fishes; however, they can increase autochthonous...

Stauffer-Olsen, Natalie J.; Carter, James L.; Fend, Steven V.
Attribution: Water Resources

Year Published: 2017

Devils Hole, Nevada—A photographic story of a restricted subaqueous environment

This report presents selected photographic images taken by the author during U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) research into paleoclimatology and geochemistry in Devils Hole cavern during 1984 to 1993 in cooperation with the National Park Service. The unaltered suite of photographs was prepared by the USGS dive team as an aid to assist nondiving...

Hoffman, Ray J.
Attribution: Water Resources
Hoffman, R.J., 2017, Devils Hole, Nevada—A photographic story of a restricted subaqueous environment: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2017–1058, 34 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/ofr20171058.

Year Published: 2017

A method for addressing differences in concentrations of fipronil and three degradates obtained by two different laboratory methods

In October 2012, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) began measuring the concentration of the pesticide fipronil and three of its degradates (desulfinylfipronil, fipronil sulfide, and fipronil sulfone) by a new laboratory method using direct aqueous-injection liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry (DAI LC–MS/MS). This method replaced the...

Crawford, Charles G.; Martin, Jeffrey D.
Attribution: Water Resources
Crawford, C.G., and Martin, J.D., 2017, A method for addressing differences in concentrations of fipronil and three degradates obtained by two different laboratory methods: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2017–1056, 26 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/ofr20171056.

Year Published: 2017

Recovery data for surface water, groundwater and lab reagent samples analyzed by the USGS National Water Quality Laboratory schedule 2437, water years 2013-15

Analytical recovery is the concentration of an analyte measured in a water-quality sample expressed as a percentage of the known concentration added to the sample (Mueller and others, 2015). Analytical recovery (hereafter referred to as “recovery”) can be used to understand method bias and variability and to assess the temporal changes in a method...

Shoda, Megan E.; Nowell, Lisa H.; Bexfield, Laura M.; Sandstrom, Mark W.; Stone, Wesley W.
Shoda, M.E., Nowell, L.H., Bexfield, L.M., Sandstrom, M.W., Stone, W.W., 2017, Recovery data for surface water, groundwater and lab reagent samples analyzed by the USGS National Water Quality Laboratory schedule 2437, water years 2013-15: U.S. Geological Survey data release, https://doi.org/10.5066/F7QZ28G4.

Year Published: 2017

Storage filters upland suspended sediment signals delivered from watersheds

Climate change, tectonics, and humans create long- and short-term temporal variations in the supply of suspended sediment to rivers. These signals, generated in upland erosional areas, are filtered by alluvial storage before reaching the basin outlet. We quantified this filter using a random walk model driven by sediment budget data, a power-law...

Pizzuto, James E.; Keeler, Jeremy; Skalak, Katherine; Karwan, Diana
Attribution: Water Resources
Pizzuto J., Keeler J., Skalak K., Karwan D., 2017, Storage filters upland suspended sediment signals delivered from watersheds, Geology, v. 45, no. 2, p. 151-154, https://doi.org/10.1130/G38170.1

Year Published: 2017

Hourly storm characteristics along the U.S. West Coast: Role of atmospheric rivers in extreme precipitation

Gridded hourly precipitation observations over the conterminous U.S., from 1948 to 2002, are analyzed to determine climatological characteristics of storm precipitation totals. Despite generally lower hourly intensities, precipitation totals along the U.S. West Coast (USWC) are comparable to those in southeast U.S. (SEUS). Storm durations, more so...

Lamjiri, Maryam A.; Dettinger, Michael; Ralph, F. Martin; Guan, B.
Attribution: Water Resources
Lamjiri, M. A., M. D. Dettinger, F. M. Ralph, and B. Guan (2017), Hourly storm characteristics along the U.S. West Coast: Role of atmospheric rivers in extreme precipitation, Geophys. Res. Lett., 44, doi:10.1002/2017GL074193.

Year Published: 2017

Complex networks of functional connectivity in a wetland reconnected to its floodplain

Disturbances such as fire or flood, in addition to changing the local magnitude of ecological, hydrological, or biogeochemical processes, can also change their functional connectivity—how those processes interact in space. Complex networks offer promise for quantifying functional connectivity in watersheds. The approach resolves connections...

Larsen, Laurel G.; Newman, Susan; Saunders, Colin; Harvey, Judson
Attribution: Water Resources
Larsen, L.G., Newman, S., Saunders, C., and Harvey, J.W., 2017, Complex networks of functional connectivity in a wetland reconnected to its floodplain, Water Resources Research, 53, 6089–6108, doi:10.1002/ 2017WR020375.

Year Published: 2017

Fine particle retention within stream storage areas at base flow and in response to a storm event

Fine particles (1–100 µm), including particulate organic carbon (POC) and fine sediment, influence stream ecological functioning because they may contain or have a high affinity to sorb nitrogen and phosphorus. These particles are immobilized within stream storage areas, especially hyporheic sediments and benthic biofilms. However, fine particles...

Drummond, J. D.; Larsen, L. G.; González-Pinzón, R.; Packman, A. I.; Harvey, Judson
Attribution: Water Resources
Drummond, J.D., Larsen, L.G., Gonzalez-Pinzon, R., Packman, A.I. and Harvey, J.D., 2017, Fine particle retention within stream storage areas at base flow and in response to a storm event, Water Resources Research, 53, 5690–5705, doi:10.1002/2016WR020202.

Year Published: 2017

Plant diversity increases with the strength of negative density dependence at the global scale

Theory predicts that higher biodiversity in the tropics is maintained by specialized interactions among plants and their natural enemies that result in conspecific negative density dependence (CNDD). By using more than 3000 species and nearly 2.4 million trees across 24 forest plots worldwide, we show that global patterns in tree species diversity...

LaManna, Joseph A.; Mangan, Scott A.; Alonso, Alfonso; Bourg, Norman; Brockelman, Warren Y.; Bunyavejchewin, Sarayudh; Chang, Li-Wan; Chiang, Jyh-Min; Chuyong, George B.; Clay, Keith; Condit, Richard; Cordell, Susan; Davies, Stuart J.; Furniss, Tucker J.; Giardina, Christian P.; Gunatilleke, I.A.U. Nimal; Gunatilleke, C.V. Savitri; He, Fangliang; Howe, Robert W.; Hubbell, Stephen P.; Hsieh, Chang-Fu; Inman-Narahari, Faith M.; Janik, David; Johnson, Daniel J.; Kenfack, David; Korte, Lisa; Kral, Kamil; Larson, Andrew J.; Lutz, James A.; McMahon, Sean M.; McShea, William J.; Memiaghe, Herve R.; Nathalang, Anuttara; Novotny, Vojtech; Ong, Perry S.; Orwig, David A.; Ostertag, Rebecca; Parker, Geoffrey G.; Phillips, Richard P.; Sack, Lawren; Sun, I-Fang; Tello, J. Sebastian; Thomas, Duncan W.; Turner, Benjamin L.; Vela Diaz, Dilys M.; Vrska, Tomas; Weiblen, George D.; Wolf, Amy; Yap, Sandra; Myers, Jonathan A.
Attribution: Water Resources
J.A. LaManna et al., 2017, Plant diversity increases with the strength of negative density dependence at the global scale, Science, 356, 6345, 1389-1392.

Year Published: 2017

Response of deep groundwater to land use change in desert basins of the Trans-Pecos region, Texas, USA: Effects on infiltration, recharge, and nitrogen fluxes

Quantifying the effects of anthropogenic processes on groundwater in arid regions can be complicated by thick unsaturated zones with long transit times. Human activities can alter water and nutrient fluxes, but their impact on groundwater is not always clear. This study of basins in the Trans-Pecos region of Texas links anthropogenic land use and...

Robertson, Wendy Marie; Böhlke, John Karl; Sharp, John M.
Attribution: Water Resources
Robertson, W.M., Böhlke, J.K., and Sharp, J.M.Jr., 2017, Response of deep groundwater to land use change in desert basins of the Trans-Pecos region, Texas, USA: Effects on infiltration, recharge, and nitrogen fluxes. Hydrological Processes, v. 31, p. 2349-2364. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/hyp.11178.

Year Published: 2017

Tracking the fate of nitrate through pulse-flow wetlands: A mesocosm scale 15N enrichment tracer study

Quantitative information about the fate of applied nitrate (NO3-N) in pulse-flow constructed wetlands is essential for designing wetland treatment systems and assessing their nitrogen removal services for agricultural and stormwater applications. Although many studies have documented NO3-N losses in wetlands, controlled experiments indicating the...

Messer, Tiffany L.; Burchell, Michael R.; Böhlke, John Karl; Tobias, Craig R.
Attribution: Water Resources
Messer, T.L., Burchell, M.R., Böhlke, J.K., and Tobias, C.R., 2017, Tracking the fate of nitrate through pulse-flow wetlands: A mesocosm scale 15N enrichment tracer study. Ecological Engineering, v. 106, p. 597-608. DOI: 10.1016/j.ecoleng.2017.06.016

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: 886
Hurricane Irma satellite image
September 5, 2017
Satellite Image of Hurricane Irma on September 5, 2017. Photo by NASA/NOAA GOES Project
Preparing to measure Irma's storm surge in Puerto Rico
September 4, 2017
Along the northeast coast of Puerto Rico, USGS hydrologic technician Francisco Almanzar surveys reference elevation points to ensure the accuracy of water level data. Almanzar and other USGS employees installed nine storm surge sensors along the coast on Labor Day, Monday, Sept. 4, 2017 as Hurricane Irma approached.
USGS scientists Lisa Ashmore and Lee Bodkin collect water-quality samples on Lake Houston in response to Harvey.
August 31, 2017
USGS scientists Lisa Ashmore and Lee Bodkin collect water-quality samples on Lake Houston in response to the high flow conditions that resulted from Harvey.
Image shows a USGS scientist in a PFD servicing a streamgage
August 31, 2017
USGS scientist Jimmy Hopkins repairs a streamgage downstream of Addicks reservoir at Buffalo Bayou after flooding from Hurricane Harvey. This gauge is normally accessed on land from a platform on the side of a bridge.
Image shows USGS scientists planning their water quality work on a whiteboard
August 31, 2017
A peek into a USGS planning meeting to coordinate water-quality sampling efforts in response to Harvey. This sampling effort is part of the federal government’s broad efforts to ensure public health and to support the state, tribal, and local response to the storm
August 31, 2017
Hurricane Harvey made landfall on August 25th. Over the next few days, record rain totals had devastated the area. At the USGS EROS Center, we study land change, operate the Landsat satellites, and maintain the longest, continuously acquired collection of images of the Earth's land surface. USGS EROS Center ( https://eros.usgs.gov/ )
Image shows a USGS scientist in a PFD servicing a water quality monitor on a lake
August 31, 2017
USGS scientist Lisa Ashmore services a water-quality monitor on Lake Houston. These instruments stayed afloat and collected data throughout the storm.
USGS scientist Lisa Ashmore services a water-quality monitor on Lake Houston. These instruments stayed afloat throughout Harvey.
August 31, 2017
USGS scientist Lisa Ashmore services a water-quality monitor on Lake Houston. These instruments stayed afloat and collected data throughout Harvey.
Image shows USGS scientists in PFDs taking water quality samples from Lake Houston
August 31, 2017
A USGS field crew takes water-quality samples on Lake Houston following Harvey.
A USGS scientist wearing a PFD measures flooding on the Guadalupe River
August 30, 2017
USGS scientist Alec MacDonald takes flood measurements on the Guadalupe River in Victoria, Texas.
Image shows flooding around a streamgage at Addicks Reservoir
August 29, 2017
USGS field crew measure reservoir water-level data at Addicks Reservoir, which are critical for helping the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers make informed reservoir operation decisions.
Image shows a USGS scientist in a PFD servicing a streamgage
August 29, 2017
USGS scientist Tom Pistillo services the streamgage at Addicks Reservoir to ensure that accurate reservoir water-level data are being measured, which are critical for helping the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Harris County Flood Control District make informed reservoir operation decisions.
Filter Total Items: 357
Bath Creek, Bath County, VA
April 4, 2017

USGS provides a long-term look at changes in the quality of our nation’s rivers and streams

Image: Harmful Algal Blooms
March 31, 2017

Two decades of harmful algal bloom, nutrient and sediment research by the U.S. Geological Survey is helping to support Wichita’s long-term vision of a sustainable water supply into the future. Early warning indicators of harmful algal blooms have been developed for Cheney Reservoir, Kansas, according to a new USGS publication done in cooperation with the City of Wichita, Kansas.

Image: Redwater River, South Dakota
March 27, 2017

Media and the public are invited to attend a free meeting about South Dakota water issues on Thursday, April 6, in Rapid City, South Dakota. 

Santa Cruz River
March 27, 2017

Desert communities throughout the Southwest are putting water availability at the top of their municipal agendas.

Lake Mead
March 15, 2017

The Colorado River system provides about 35 million Americans with a portion of their water supply. It irrigates 5½ million acres of land in the West and provides water to tribes, parks, and wildlife. The system serves parts of seven States and Mexico—but reservoir levels have crept lower over the past several years, sparking questions about how much water remains and who will have access.

Chinook Salmon
March 13, 2017

The water in the Delta arrives primarily from the Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers, supplying water for more than 22 million people. This water source supports California’s trillion-dollar economy—the sixth largest in the world—and its $27 billion agricultural industry.

Image: Oklahoma Groundwater Efforts
March 9, 2017

Groundwater, which flows out of sight through aquifers beneath our feet, is one of the Nation’s most important natural resources. In recognition of National Groundwater Awareness Week, March 5–11, 2017, here’s an opportunity to put your knowledge of this vital resource to the test!

USGS
March 8, 2017

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.

USGS: Science for a changing world
March 8, 2017

In order to provide long-term storage of diverted surface water from the Rio Grande as part of the Aamodt water rights settlement, managed aquifer recharge by surface infiltration in Pojoaque River Basin arroyos was proposed as an option.

Pie Diagram for Sulfur Showing Standard and Conventional Atomic Weight
March 7, 2017

The new table includes both standard and conventional atomic weights values to clarify that many atomic weights have natural variation and to provide single values for chemical education use

Stream in the Midwest Corn Belt Region
March 6, 2017

Nitrogen and phosphorus are essential nutrients—yet too much of a good thing is not always a good thing. Scientists are investigating nutrient pollution down the Mississippi River.