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
Making an ADCP measurement on the Bear River below Alexander Reservoir, Idaho
Date Published: February 9, 2017

Surface-water information is needed for purposes of surveillance, planning, design, hazard warning, operation, and management, in water-related fields such as water supply, hydroelectric power, flood control, irrigation, bridge and culvert design, wildlife management, pollution abatement, flood-plain management, and water resources development. 

An image of an Ephemeroptera Heptageniidae Epeorus longimanuis.
Date Published: February 2, 2017

Aquatic invertebrates are a key component of freshwater ecosystems, and an understanding of aquatic invertebrate taxonomy is central to freshwater science. The U.S. Geological Survey Aquatic Experimental Lab (AXL) at the Fort Collins Science Center has developed the North American Aquatic Macroinvertebrate Digital Reference Collection (NAAMDRC) to provide users with a graphic tool to aid in...

Contacts: David Walters, Ph.D., Robert E Zuellig, Ph.D., Boris Kondratieff
Date Published: January 12, 2017
Status: Active

Oběh vody: The Water Cycle

Co to je oběh vody?

Co to je oběh vody? Mohl bych si jednoduše odpovědět – je všude kolem mne ! Oběh vody znamená přítomnost a pohyb vody na Zemi, v Zemi i nad Zemí. Voda je stále v pohybu a neustále mění svoji formu, z kapalné do plynné či pevné, a naopak. Oběh vody existuje již po miliardy let a veškerý pozemský život je na něm závislý; Země by bez...

Big Wood River at Hailey, Idaho
Date Published: January 2, 2017
Status: Completed

Wood River Valley residents rely on groundwater for domestic supply, either from domestic or municipal-supply wells. The rapid population growth since the 1970s has caused concern about the long-term sustainability of the groundwater resource.

Stalker Creek, Idaho, in summer
Date Published: January 1, 2017
Status: Completed

Nutrient enrichment can affect the ecological health of a stream. For example, excessive aquatic plant growth caused by increased nutrients can reduce dissolved oxygen necessary for other aquatic life. Topics of particular interest in this study area include:

seasonal patterns among nutrients, flows, algae and plants in streams

rooted aquatic plant vs. algae growth


Debris flow as result of 2013 Beaver Creek Fire, Idaho
Date Published: January 1, 2017
Status: Completed

In August 2013, the Beaver Creek wildfire burned more than 100,000 acres of public and private land northwest of Hailey, Idaho. According to the U.S. Forest Service, about 57 percent of the area is considered moderately burned, and the risk of post-fire soil erosion is high on more than 8,400 acres.

Acoustc Doppler velocity meter
Date Published: January 1, 2017
Status: Completed

Because fluvial sediment poses both economic and ecological problems, resource managers need a safe, cost-effective way to measure sediment in streams, particularly in remote areas.

Contacts: Ryan L Fosness
Colorized, multi-beam bathymetry showing scour hole (blue)
Date Published: January 1, 2017
Status: Completed

Sedimentation of Lower Granite Reservoir, operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, affects commercial navigation and reservoir storage capacity. Some groups are concerned that dredging the reservoir to remove excess sediment may negatively affect endangered species such as steelhead and salmon.

Contacts: Ryan L Fosness
USGS scientists drilling core
Date Published: January 1, 2017
Status: Completed

Some groups are concerned that dredging the reservoir and the confluence of the Snake and Clearwater Rivers to remove excess sediment may mobilize contaminants in sediment that could negatively affect endangered species such as steelhead and salmon.

Contacts: Ryan L Fosness
Sampling sediment during high streamflow conditions on the Selway River, Idaho
Date Published: January 1, 2017
Status: Completed

Are there ways to manage sediment before it accumulates in Lower Granite Reservoir? If so, resource managers must know exactly how much sediment is being transported in the lower Snake and Clearwater River basins, the grain-size distribution of the sediment that is being transported, which subbasins are contributing the most sediment, and how the sediment is being deposited once it is...

Erosion along the Rio Puerco during the flood of 2006 following herbicide application to control saltcedar in 2003.
Date Published: December 3, 2016

Formation of arroyos in the late 1800s greatly increased erosion across the southwestern United States. Since the 1930s, however, this erosion has decreased, partly because of bank stabilization by introduced saltcedar. With Isleta Pueblo Indian Nation, the Aquatic Systems Branch developed a new sediment dating method using saltcedar tree rings. We applied the method in a landmark study of...

Image: Alaskan Glacier
Date Published: November 10, 2016

Several Research areas are listed and their contacts regarding Glacial Aquifer System Groundwater Availability Study are available here.


<- Back to main Glacial Aquifer System Groundwater Availability Study...

Contacts: Howard W Reeves
Filter Total Items: 1,556
Year Published: 2017

On the probability distribution of daily streamflow in the United States

Daily streamflows are often represented by flow duration curves (FDCs), which illustrate the frequency with which flows are equaled or exceeded. FDCs have had broad applications across both operational and research hydrology for decades; however, modeling FDCs has proven elusive. Daily streamflow is a complex time series with flow values ranging...

Blum, Annalise G.; Archfield, Stacey A.; Vogel, Richard M.
Attribution: Water Resources

Year Published: 2017

A hybrid machine learning model to predict and visualize nitrate concentration throughout the Central Valley aquifer, California, USA

Intense demand for water in the Central Valley of California and related increases in groundwater nitrate concentration threaten the sustainability of the groundwater resource. To assess contamination risk in the region, we developed a hybrid, non-linear, machine learning model within a statistical learning framework to predict nitrate...

Ransom, Katherine M.; Nolan, Bernard T.; Traum, Jonathan A.; Faunt, Claudia; Bell, Andrew M.; Gronberg, Jo Ann M.; Wheeler, David C.; Zamora, Celia; Jurgens, Bryant; Schwarz, Gregory E.; Belitz, Kenneth; Eberts, Sandra; Kourakos, George; Harter, Thomas
Attribution: Water Resources

Year Published: 2017

Groundwater resources of the Devils Postpile National Monument—Current conditions and future vulnerabilities

This study presents an extensive database on groundwater conditions in and around Devils Postpile National Monument. The database contains chemical analyses of springs and the monument water-supply well, including major-ion chemistry, trace element chemistry, and the first information on a list of organic compounds known as emerging contaminants....

Evans, William C.; Bergfeld, Deborah
Attribution: Water Resources
Evans, W.C., and Bergfeld, D., 2017, Groundwater resources of the Devils Postpile National Monument—Current conditions and future vulnerabilities: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2017–5048, 31 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/sir20175048.

Year Published: 2017

Archaeal diversity and CO2 fixers in carbonate-/siliciclastic-rock groundwater ecosystems

Groundwater environments provide habitats for diverse microbial communities, and although Archaea usually represent a minor fraction of communities, they are involved in key biogeochemical cycles. We analysed the archaeal diversity within a mixed carbonate-rock/siliciclastic-rock aquifer system, vertically from surface soils to subsurface...

Lazar, Cassandre Sara; Stoll, Wenke; Lehmann, Robert; Herrmann, Martina; Schwab, Valérie F.; Akob, Denise M.; Nawaz, Ali; Wubet, Tesfaye; Buscot, François; Totsche, Kai-Uwe; Küsel, Kirsten
Attribution: Water Resources
Lazar, C. S.; Stoll, W.; Lehmann, R.; Herrmann, M.; Schwab, V. F.; Akob, D. M.; Nawaz, A.; Wubet, T.; Buscot, F.; Totsche, K.-U.; Küsel, K., Archaeal diversity and CO2 fixers in carbonate-/siliciclastic-rock groundwater ecosystems. Archaea 2017, 2017, 1-13, https://doi.org/10.1155/2017/2136287

Year Published: 2017

Application of an unstructured 3D finite volume numerical model to flows and salinity dynamics in the San Francisco Bay-Delta

A linked modeling approach has been undertaken to understand the impacts of climate and infrastructure on aquatic ecology and water quality in the San Francisco Bay-Delta region. The Delft3D Flexible Mesh modeling suite is used in this effort for its 3D hydrodynamics, salinity, temperature and sediment dynamics, phytoplankton and water-quality...

Martyr-Koller, R.C.; Kernkamp, H.W.J.; Van Dam, Anne A.; Mick van der Wegen; Lucas, Lisa; Knowles, N.; Jaffe, B.; Fregoso, T.A.
Martyr-Koller, R.C., Kernkamp, H.W.J., van Dam, A., van der Wegen, M., Lucas, L.V., Knowles, N., Jaffe, B., Fregoso, T.A., 2017, Application of an unstructured 3D finite volume numerical model to flows and salinity dynamics in the San Francisco Bay-Delta: Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, 192, 86-107, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ecss.2017.04.024

Year Published: 2017

Analyzing cloud base at local and regional scales to understand tropical montane cloud forest vulnerability to climate change

The degree to which cloud immersion provides water in addition to rainfall, suppresses transpiration, and sustains tropical montane cloud forests (TMCFs) during rainless periods is not well understood. Climate and land use changes represent a threat to these forests if cloud base altitude rises as a result of regional warming or deforestation. To...

Van Beusekom, Ashley E.; González, Grizelle; Scholl, Martha A.
Attribution: Water Resources
Van Beusekom, A. E., González, G., and Scholl, M. A.:, 2017, Analyzing cloud base at local and regional scales to understand tropical montane cloud forest vulnerability to climate change, Atmos. Chem. Phys., 17, 7245-7259, https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-17-7245-2017.

Year Published: 2017

Complex mixtures of Pesticides in Midwest U.S. streams indicated by POCIS time-integrating samplers

The Midwest United States is an intensely agricultural region where pesticides in streams pose risks to aquatic biota, but temporal variability in pesticide concentrations makes characterization of their exposure to organisms challenging. To compensate for the effects of temporal variability, we deployed polar organic chemical integrative samplers...

Van Metre, Peter C.; Alvarez, David; Mahler, Barbara J.; Nowell, Lisa H.; Sandstrom, Mark W.; Moran, Patrick W.
Attribution: Water Resources
Environ Pollut. 2017 Jan;220(Pt A):431-440. doi: 10.1016/j.envpol.2016.09.085. Epub 2016 Sep 30.

Year Published: 2017

Reexamining ultrafiltration and solute transport in groundwater

Geologic ultrafiltration—slowing of solutes with respect to flowing groundwater—poses a conundrum: it is consistently observed experimentally in clay-rich lithologies, but has been difficult to identify in subsurface data. Resolving this could be important for clarifying clay and shale transport properties at large scales as well as interpreting...

Neuzil, Christopher E.; Person, Mark
Attribution: Water Resources
Neuzil, C. E. and M. Person (2017), Reexamining ultrafiltration and solute transport in groundwater, Water Resour. Res., 53, 4922-4941, doi:10.1002/2017WR020492.

Year Published: 2017

Steady state fractionation of heavy noble gas isotopes in a deep unsaturated zone

To explore steady state fractionation processes in the unsaturated zone (UZ), we measured argon, krypton, and xenon isotope ratios throughout a ∼110 m deep UZ at the United States Geological Survey (USGS) Amargosa Desert Research Site (ADRS) in Nevada, USA. Prior work has suggested that gravitational settling should create a nearly linear increase...

Seltzer, Alan M.; Severinghaus, Jeffrey P.; Andraski, Brian J.; Stonestrom, David A.
Seltzer, A.M., Severinghaus, J.P., Andraski, B.J., and Stonestrom, D.A., 2017, Steady-state fractionation of heavy noble gas isotopes in a deep unsaturated zone: Water Resources Research, v. 53, p. 2716-2732, doi:10.1002/2016WR019655.

Year Published: 2017

Bacteria versus selenium: A view from the inside out

Bacteria and selenium (Se) are closely interlinked as the element serves both essential nutrient requirements and energy generation functions. However, Se can also behave as a powerful toxicant for bacterial homeostasis. Conversely, bacteria play a tremendous role in the cycling of Se between different environmental compartments, and bacterial...

Staicu, Lucian; Oremland, Ronald S.; Tobe, Ryuta; Mihara, Hisaaki
Attribution: Water Resources
Staicu, L. C.; Oremland, R. S.; Tobe, R.; Mihara, H. Chapter 6: Bacteria Versus Selenium: A View from the Inside Out. In Selenium in plants; Plant Ecophysiology; Springer International Publishing, 2017; Vol. 11, pp 79–108. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-56249-0_6

Year Published: 2017

Methane fluxes from tropical coastal lagoons surrounded bymangroves, Yucatán, Mexico

Methane concentrations in the water column and emissions to the atmosphere were determined for three tropical coastal lagoons surrounded by mangrove forests on the Yucatán Peninsula, Mexico. Surface water dissolved methane was sampled at different seasons over a period of 2 years in areas representing a wide range of salinities and...

Chuang, Pei-Chuan; Young, Megan B.; Dale, Andrew W.; Miller, Laurence G.; Herrera-Silveira, Jorge A; Paytan, Adina
Attribution: Water Resources
Chuang, P.-C., Young, M.B., Dale, A.W., Miller, L.G., Herrera-Silveira, J.A., Paytan, A., 2017, Methane fluxes from tropical coastal lagoons surrounded bymangroves, Yucatán, Mexico: J. Geophys. Res. Biogeosci., 122, 1156-1174, http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/2017JG003761

Year Published: 2017

Evaluating the impact of irrigation on surface water – groundwater interaction and stream temperature in an agricultural watershed

Changes in groundwater discharge to streams caused by irrigation practices can influence stream temperature. Observations along two currently flood-irrigated reaches in the 640-square-kilometer upper Smith River watershed, an important agricultural and recreational fishing area in west-central Montana, showed a downstream temperature decrease...

Essaid, Hedeff I.; Caldwell, Rodney R.
Attribution: Water Resources
Essaid, H. I., and Caldwell, R. R., 2017, Evaluating the impact of irrigated agriculture on surface water – groundwater interaction and stream temperature in an agricultural watershed: Science of the Total Environment, v. 599-600, pp. 581-596.

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
 03146500 Licking River near Newark, log jam, safety
December 4, 2017
Some days, measurements just can't be made... This is 03146500 Licking River near Newark. Licking County Highway department works diligently to clear an 80' x 40' log jam that was putting pressure on bridge piers. Adverse conditions like those pictured above are the norm for a hydro tech. On this day, the risk of debris floating down and getting caught on either the hydro tech or equipment was...
high water measurement, floods
November 6, 2017
Biologist, John T. makes a high water measurement at stream gage 03145484 Raccoon Creek near Granville, OH. High water measurements ensure accurate flood forecasting by NOAA for downstream citizens and property owners. These forecasts can help people prepare for the rising waters, help reduce property damages, and most importantly save lives.
Jemez Falls
2017 (approx.)
Jemez Falls located in the Jemez Mountains near Santa Fe, New Mexico
Cikli i Ujit për Fëmijë - The Water Cycle, Albanian
November 1, 2017
Cikli i Ujit për Fëmijë Shërbimi Gjeologjik i SHBA-ve dhe Organizata e Kombeve të Bashkuara për Bujqësinë dhe Ushqimin (FAO) kanë krijuar një diagramë të ciklit të ujit për shkollat. Ti mund të mendosh se çdo pikë shiu që bie nga qielli, ose çdo gotë uji që pini, është e re fare, por në fakt ka qënë aty gjithmonë dhe është pjesë e ciklit të ujit. You may think that every drop of rain that falls...
The distribution of water on, in, and above the Earth
October 31, 2017
The World's Water - Distribution of Earth's Water The Earth is a watery place. But just how much water exists on, in, and above our planet? About 71 percent of the Earth's surface is water-covered, and the oceans hold about 96.5 percent of all Earth's water. Water also exists in the air as water vapor , in rivers and lakes , in icecaps and glaciers , in the ground as soil moisture and in aquifers...
A USGS hydrologic technician installs a Rapid-Deployment Gauge on a bridge in Norfolk, Virginia.
2017 (approx.)
Jim Duda, USGS hydrologic technician, installs a Rapid-Deployment Gauge near the Elizabeth River in Norfolk, Virginia, to monitor elevated water levels caused by Hurricane Jose. An RDG is a fully functional streamgage designed to be quickly deployed for real-time data monitoring of a stream or river in emergency situations. RDGs are indispensable tools used for flood forecasting by augmenting...
2017 (approx.)
Borehole nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) is an emerging geophysical method being applied to hydrogeology investigations. NMR is a quantitative geophysical method that can be used to make in situ assessments of porosity, water content, mobile and immobile water fraction, and estimates of permeability. While borehole NMR is commonly used in the oil and gas industry, it is only recently that NMR...
2017 (approx.)
Before a hurricane, USGS Scientists undertake a data collection effort of a grand scale. They install a temporary mobile network of sensors along the coasts to collect additional data on the intensity of storm surge, one of the most dangerous elements of a hurricane. This effort provides critical information that allows various USGS partners and emergency responders to make better informed...
Lake Erie algal bloom
2017 (approx.)
Landsat satellites captured this image of Lake Erie during a harmful algal bloom event.
USGS scientists collect a sediment sample from Brownlee Reservoir
September 28, 2017
Scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey and Idaho Power Company collected water, sediment, and biological samples from Brownlee Reservoir as part of an ongoing, cooperative study of mercury cycling in the Hells Canyon complex of reservoirs along the Snake River bordering Idaho and Oregon. The Idaho Department of Environmental Quality is also a partner in the study.
Hydro techs from the New Mexico Water Science Center perform a well integrity test
September 19, 2017
On September 19th, 2017 staff from the USGS NM WSC Albuquerque and Las Cruces offices visited a Climate Response Network (CRN) well just on the east side of the Organ Mountains outside of Las Cruces to receive training on integrity testing groundwater wells. What is integrity testing? Integrity testing involves adding a slug of clean water to a well and measuring how fast the water comes up then...
Image shows a USGS scientist in a PFD taking a high-water measurement
September 11, 2017
USGS scientist Steve Hannes marks high water marks along the Colorado River after flooding from Hurricane Harvey in Wharton County, Texas.
Filter Total Items: 357
Farms, forests and rolling hills in Lycoming County, PA
March 6, 2017

Tests of 75 private drinking water wells in Lycoming County, in north-central Pennsylvania, found water from most of the sampled wells contained concentrations of radon that exceeded a proposed, nonbinding health standard for drinking water. Smaller percentages of the wells contained concentrations of arsenic or methane that exceed existing drinking water standards.

River with blue reflection, in late summer, leaves just starting to turn from green to gold.
March 2, 2017

Human and bovine, or cattle, viruses were detected in a small percentage of some Great Lakes Basin streams, with human viruses more prevalent in urban streams and bovine viruses more common in streams in agricultural areas, according to a recent U.S. Geological Survey-led study.

A USGS Hydrologic Technician installs a new streamgage
February 28, 2017

Philadelphia communities along the Schuylkill River and Darby Creek now have new tools to help inform residents of impending flooding. The U.S. Geological Survey recently installed three new streamgages in Manayunk, Eastwick, and downtown near 30th St., which will monitor water levels, and provide vital data used by emergency managers and flood forecasters to help protect lives and property. 

Wintry trees and grasses line New Jersey's Mantua Creek.
February 27, 2017

A USGS analysis of New Jersey water quality trends found levels of total nitrogen and total phosphorus, which fuel algae blooms, declined or stayed the same at most stream sites between the 1970s and 2011. At all sites studied, chlorides from road salt increased over that time.

February 22, 2017

Joyce E. Williamson, a native of South Dakota and a South Dakota School of Mines and Technology alumna, was selected as the director of the newly formed U.S. Geological Survey Dakota Water Science Center. Williamson is located in the center’s Rapid City, South Dakota, office. 

Photo of USGS streamgage measures flooding in the lower Trinity River
February 22, 2017

A better understanding of sediment and freshwater flow into Galveston Bay is now available from a new U.S. Geological Survey report, done in cooperation with the Texas Water Development Board, and the Galveston Bay Estuary Program.

Centrifuge Bowl Containing River Suspended Sediment
February 13, 2017

The U.S. Geological Survey published a new report highlighting a portable continuous-flow centrifuge which aims to save time and money on contaminant analysis of particles suspended in water samples.

USGS: Science for a changing world
February 13, 2017

Water-level changes from 2002 to 2015 were examined in wells screened in the High Plains aquifer within the Republican River Basin and the results are now available in a new U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Map.

February 8, 2017

A new JavaScript library, called GWIS (Graphing Water Information System), can create time-series plots of information measured at U.S. Geological Survey hydrologic data collection sites across the United States.

The Caernarvon Freshwater Diversion structure, located at the head of Breton Sound Estuary, became operational in 1992.
February 8, 2017

New research shows how river diversions may change water quality in estuaries. 

Dr. Christian Zimmerman, USGS Alaska Science Center Director
February 1, 2017

The U.S. Geological Survey is pleased to announce the selection of Dr. Christian Zimmerman as the new director of their Alaska Science Center in Anchorage, Alaska. Zimmerman succeeds Dr. Mark Shasby who held the position for the past six years.