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
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...
Since the late 1990s the USGS has worked to characterize the regional groundwater hydrology of the upper Klamath Basin. Research focuses on collecting data to help evaluate the state of the groundwater system and its response to external stresses, and to develop computer models to provide insights useful for water management. These efforts build on earlier USGS studies in the basin going back...
Aquatic Systems Branch scientists analyze rings of riparian trees relating tree growth and establishment to historical flow. We then use the tree rings to reconstruct the flow in past centuries. Flow reconstructions discover the frequency and magnitude of past droughts and floods—information that is essential for management of rivers and water supplies. We also use downscaled climate...
In 1992, the USGS began studying possible causes for the change in trophic status of Upper Klamath Lake. Since then research has expanded to include groundwater, geomorphology, streamflow forecasting, and fish ecology.
To meet National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permitting requirements, the City of Boise will be responsible for collecting fish tissue samples for mercury analysis upstream of and downstream of their wastewater treatment facilities discharging to the lower Boise and Snake Rivers.
Mercury is a naturally occurring element that ultimately makes its way into aquatic...
in partnership with the Idaho Department of Water Resources (IDWR) and Idaho Water Resource Board (IWRB), we will construct a numerical groundwater-flow model of the Treasure Valley and surrounding area. Resource managers will use the model to simulate potential anthropogenic and climatic effects on groundwater for water-supply planning and management. As part of model construction, the...
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
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.
WaterQualityWatch provides access to real-time water-quality data collected at more than 2,000 stream sites throughout the United States, including streamflow, water temperature, specific conductance, pH, dissolved oxygen, turbidity, and nitrate.
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.
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.
NEMI is a searchable database of environmental methods, protocols, statistical and analytical methods, and procedures that allows scientists and managers to find and compare methods for all stages of the monitoring process.
This mapper displays SPARROW nutrient load and yield data and the importance of various nutrient sources for the RARB, given nutrient inputs similar to 2002. Rankings can be shown by country, state/province, HUC4, HUC8, and catchment. Nutrient data can be explored using maps and interactive graphs and tables. Modeling results can be exported as an Excel spreadsheet or a geospatial dataset.
This mapper displays SPARROW nutrient load and yield data and the importance of various nutrient sources for the MRB3, given nutrient inputs similar to 2002. Rankings can be shown by major watershed, state, HUC8, tributary, and catchment. Nutrient data can be explored using maps and interactive graphs and tables. Modeling results can be exported as an Excel spreadsheet or a geospatial dataset...
This mapper displays SPARROW nutrient load and yield data specifically for U.S. tributaries to the Great Lakes. The results are based on the SPARROW models developed for the Great Lakes, Ohio, Upper Mississippi, Red River Basins (MRB3). Modeling results can be exported as an Excel spreadsheet or a geospatial dataset.
The mapper displays SPARROW nutrient load and yield data and the importance of various nutrient sources for the MARB, given nutrient inputs similar to 2002. Rankings can be shown by major watershed, state, HUC8, tributary, and catchment. Nutrient data can be explored using maps and interactive graphs and tables. Modeling results can be exported as an Excel spreadsheet or a geospatial dataset...
This mapper displays SPARROW nutrient load and yield data specifically for the Yellowstone River. The results are based on the SPARROW models developed for the Mississippi/Atchafalaya River Basin (MARB). Modeling results can be exported as an Excel spreadsheet or a geospatial dataset.
The SPARROW Decision Support System displays model predictions of water-quality conditions and sources by stream reach and catchment, tracks the transport to downstream receiving waters, and can be used to evaluate management source-reduction scenarios. Models currently available include national nitrogen, phosphorus, and suspended sediment models...
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.
Status of groundwater-level altitudes and long-term groundwater-level changes in the Chicot, Evangeline, and Jasper aquifers, Houston-Galveston region, Texas, 2018
Since the early 1900s, most of the groundwater withdrawals in the Houston-Galveston region, Texas, have been from the three primary aquifers that compose the Gulf Coast aquifer system—the Chicot, Evangeline, and Jasper aquifers. Withdrawals from these aquifers are used for municipal supply, industrial, and irrigation purposes. This report,...Shah, Sachin D.; Ramage, Jason K.; Braun, Christopher L.
Flow-mediated effects on travel time, routing, and survival of juvenile Chinook salmon in a spatially complex, tidally forced river delta
We evaluated the interacting influences of river flows and tides on travel time, routing, and survival of juvenile late-fall Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) migrating through the Sacramento–San Joaquin River Delta. To quantify these effects, we jointly modeled the travel time, survival, and migration routing in relation to individual...Perry, Russell W.; Pope, Adam C.; Romine, Jason G.; Brandes, Patricia L.; Burau, Jon R.; Blake, Aaron R.; Ammann, Arnold J.; Michel, Cyril J.
Stream‐centric methods for determining groundwater contributions in karst mountain watersheds
Climate change influences on mountain hydrology are uncertain, but likely to be mediated through changes in subsurface hydrologic residence times and flowpaths. The heterogeneity of karst aquifers add complexity in assessing the resiliency of these water sources to perturbation, suggesting a clear need to quantify contributions from and losses to...Neilson, Bethany; Tennant, Hyrum; Barnes, Michelle; Stout, Trinity; Miller, Matthew P.; Gabor, Rachel S.; Jameel, Yusef; Millington, Mallory; Gelderloos, Andrew; Bowen, Gabriel J.; Brooks, Paul D.
Effect of spatial and temporal scale on simulated groundwater recharge investigations
Hydrologic model input datasets such as climate, land use, elevation, soil, and geology information are available in a range of scales for use in water resources investigations. Smaller spatial and temporal scale input data allow groundwater recharge models to simulate more physically realistic processes and presumably result in more accurate...Tillman, Fred; Pruitt, Tom; Gangopadhyay, Subhrendu
Mercury methylation and bioaccumulation in Sinclair Inlet, Kitsap County, Washington
The U.S. Geological Survey evaluated the transformation of mercury to bioavailable methylmercury in Sinclair Inlet, Kitsap County, Washington, and assessed the effect of the transformation processes on the mercury burden in marine organisms and sediment. In August 2008, samples of sediment, water, and biota from six sites in Sinclair Inlet and...Paulson, A.J.; Marvin-DiPasquale, M.C.; Moran, P.W.; DeWild, J.F.; Stewart, J.F.; Toft, J.; Agee, J.L.; Kakouros, E.; Kieu, Le H.; Carter, B.; Sheibley, R.W.; Cordell, J.; Krabbenhoft, D. P.
Evaluation of the effects of changes in the timing of water-level drawdowns on the export of phosphorus from Little St. Germain Lake, Wisconsin
Little St. Germain Lake is a 978-acre, multibasin lake in Vilas County, Wisconsin. In the interest of improving its water quality, the Little St. Germain Lake Protection and Rehabilitation District initiated a cooperative study with the U.S. Geological Survey to describe the current phosphorus input into and export from Little St. Germain Lake and...Dantoin, Eric D.; Robertson, Dale M.
Manure and fertilizer inputs to land in the Chesapeake Bay watershed, 1950–2012
Understanding changing nutrient concentrations in surface waters requires quantitative information on changing nutrient sources in contributing watersheds. For example, the proportion of nutrient inputs reaching streams and rivers is directly affected by when and where those nutrients enter the landscape. The goal of this report is to contribute...Keisman, Jennifer L.D.; Devereux, Olivia H.; LaMotte, Andrew E.; Sekellick, Andrew J.; Blomquist, Joel D.
Variations on a method for evaluating decadal-scale changes in the groundwater quality of two GAMA coastal study units 2004–14, California GAMA Priority Basin Project
Decadal changes in groundwater quality in two study units on the north-central California coast were evaluated by the Priority Basin Project (PBP) of the Groundwater Ambient Monitoring and Assessment (GAMA) Program. Groundwater samples collected from wells during 2004–05 were compared on a pair-wise basis to samples collected from the same wells...Kent, Robert
Assessment of water resources in areas that affect the habitat of the endangered Hine’s emerald dragonfly in the Lower Des Plaines River Valley, Illinois
Review of previous investigations indicates that potential decreases in groundwater recharge and increased groundwater extraction in the vicinity of the Lower Des Plaines River Valley in Will County, Illinois, may reduce the amount of groundwater flow in the Silurian aquifer in this area. Groundwater discharge from the Silurian aquifer to wetlands...Kay, Robert T.; Gahala, Amy M.; Bailey, Clinton
Mechanisms of earthquake‐induced chemical and fluid transport to carbonate groundwater springs after earthquakes
Mechanisms by which hydrochemical changes occur after earthquakes are not well documented. We use the 2016–2017 central Italy seismic sequence, which caused notable hydrochemical transient variations in groundwater springs to address this topic, with special reference to effects on fractured carbonate aquifers. Hydrochemistry measured before and...Rosen, Michael R.; Binda, Gilberto; Archer, Claire; Pozzi, Andrea; Michetti, Alessandro; Noble, Paula
Brackish groundwater and its potential as a resource in the southwestern United States
Secure, reliable, and sustainable water resources are fundamental to food production, energy independence, and the health of humans and ecosystems. But the large-scale development of fresh groundwater resources has stressed aquifers in some areas, causing declines in the amount of groundwater in storage and decreases in discharge to surface-water...Anning, David W.; Beisner, Kimberly R.; Paul, Angela P.; Stanton, Jennifer S.; Thiros, Susan A.
Factors influencing fine sediment on stream beds in the Midwestern United States
Fine sediment (particles <2 mm in diameter) in stream beds has wide-ranging effects on hydraulics, geomorphology, and ecology and is a primary focus for stream quality management in many regions. We identify reach- and basin-scale factors associated with fine sediment in the beds of 83 stream reaches in the Midwestern United States using...Konrad, Christopher P.; Gellis, Allen
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.
USGS hydrographer Kyle Marchman measures a high water mark on the rear wall of a Kangaroo gas station on Highway 24 north of Fayetteville, NC on Sept. 18, 2018, after flooding caused by Hurricane Florence.
A WaterWatch web map shows streamgages in North and South Carolina that approached or exceeded major flood stage EST on September 19, 2018, as the former Hurricane Florence, now downgraded to a tropical depression, deluged the states with rain.
David Stillwell, USGS hydrologic technician, performs a discharge measurement to help document and forecast flooding caused by Hurricane Florence at Long Creek in Rhyne, North Carolina on Sept. 16.
A USGS storm-tide sensor, deployed in advance of Hurricane Florence's landfall. The sensors are housed in vented steel pipes a few inches wide and about a foot long. They are being installed on bridges, piers, and other structures that have a good chance of surviving the storm.
The information the sensors collect will help define the depth and duration of a storm...
A reef with little living coral and extensive bioerosion in the Florida Keys. Photo: Ilsa Kuffner, USGS.
Two views from the Rainbow Falls overlook, downstream of the Wailuku River streamgage near Hilo, Hawaii. The image on the left shows a typical base flow of about 35 cubic feet per second (cfs). The image on the right shows the early impact of Hurricane Lane with a flow of about 26,000 cfs taken at 8:35 a.m. HST, August 23, 2018. This U.S. Geological Survey streamgage has...
Research Oceanographer Lauren Toth and student volunteer Liz Whitcher drill a coral-reef core from a reef off Key West, Florida. Photo: Anastasios Stathakopoulos, USGS.
This video provides an overview of the different indirect measurement methods used by the USGS, as well as a brief description of what you'll need to survey for each.
Did you know that plants can help us understand what is happening underground? Studying plants in an area can sometimes provide information about soil conditions, water availability, and water quality. In this photo, USGS Oregon Water Science Center hydrologists Brandon Overstreet and Gabe Gordon are using a small...
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.
Low- and no-oxygen area threatens crabs, oysters, fish
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.
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.
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
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.
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 new U.S. Geological Survey study has discovered high levels of radon in wells across certain areas of Pennsylvania.
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.