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: January 1, 2017
Status: Completed

Lower Granite Reservoir Bathymetric and Underwater Video Surveys

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
Date published: January 1, 2017
Status: Completed

Lower Granite Reservoir Bed Sediment Coring and Analysis

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
Date published: January 1, 2017
Status: Completed

Sediment Sampling in the Snake and Clearwater River Basins

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...

Date published: December 3, 2016

Erosion and Invasive Saltcedar

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...

Date published: October 26, 2016
Status: Active

Economics and Ecosystem Services

Federal policymakers and land managers are accountable to the public for how they use public resources and for the outcomes of policy and management decisions. Through a variety of economic analyses and custom modeling, SEA economists evaluate how investments and management decisions affect individuals, local communities, and society as a whole.

Date published: September 29, 2016

Structure maps of the Carrizo-Wilcox aquifer in northwestern Louisiana

Groundwater resources in northwestern Louisiana may be needed for development of natural gas production from the Haynesville Shale. Use of groundwater for hydro-fracturing of the shale may lower water levels and alter groundwater flow directions in the Carrizo-Wilcox aquifer and other local aquifers. Regional maps of aquifers in northwestern Louisiana are unavailable. The LaWSC, in cooperation...

Date published: September 28, 2016

Water Use Trends in Alabama

Since 1950 when the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) first conducted water-use compilations, important changes in water use have occurred in Alabama. The early part of the history (1950 to 1980) showed a steady increase in water use. During this time, the expectation was that, as the population increased, so would water use. Contrary to this expectation, reported water withdrawals declined in...

Date published: September 26, 2016

Lower Tennessee River (LTEN) Basin Study

Welcome....the Lower Tennessee River Basin in Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, and Mississippi is one of the 59 study units that are part of the U.S. Geological Survey's National Water-Quality Assessment (NAWQA) Program.The long-term goals of this program are to describe the status and trends in the quality of a large, representative part of the Nation's surface- and ground-water...

Date published: September 24, 2016

Bacterial Pathogens

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Michigan Bacteriological Research Laboratory (MI-BaRL) studies the source, occurrence, and distribution of the bacterial pathogens Shiga-toxin producing E. coli (STEC), Salmonella, Shigella, Campylobacter, Enterococcus, and Staphylococcus and the relation of occurrence of pathogens with fecal indicator bacteria, land-use, season, hydrology, geology, weather...

Contacts: Natasha Isaacs
Date published: September 24, 2016

Avian Botulism in Distressed Great Lakes Environments

Botulism outbreaks occur within the Great Lakes and often result in significant bird die offs. It is believed that Clostridium botulinum is the reason for these die offs and the trophic pathways that this organism travels are of interest to understanding its place within the food web. The GLRI Avian Botulism Project is investigating six different matrices: sediment, Cladophora, invertebrates,...

Contacts: Natasha Isaacs
Date published: September 24, 2016

Michigan Bacteriological Research Laboratory (MI-BaRL)

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Michigan Bacteriological Research Laboratory (MI-BaRL) is a newly renovated laboratory space operated by the USGS Michigan Water Science Center in Lansing, MI. The laboratory is staffed by two Ph.D. level microbiologists and five M.S. level microbiologists with a combined 70 years of experience in microbiology and water resources research. The USGS MI-BaRL...

Contacts: Natasha Isaacs
Date published: September 24, 2016

Determine Baseline and Sources of Contaminant Loadings to the Great Lakes

To better understand the quality of water flowing into the Great Lakes, the USGS is conducting water-quality analyses for nutrients, sediment, and toxic substances and estimating the amount (load) of these substances for tributaries to the Great Lakes. Information on the occurrence and distribution of contaminants is needed to provide baseline information, measure progress towards restoration...

Contacts: Daniel Obenauer
Filter Total Items: 14,548
Year Published: 2018

Conceptual framework and trend analysis of water-level responses to hydrologic stresses, Pahute Mesa–Oasis Valley groundwater basin, Nevada, 1966-2016

This report identifies water-level trends in wells and provides a conceptual framework that explains the hydrologic stresses and factors causing the trends in the Pahute Mesa–Oasis Valley (PMOV) groundwater basin, southern Nevada. Water levels in 79 wells were analyzed for trends between 1966 and 2016. The magnitude and duration of water-level...

Jackson, Tracie R.; Fenelon, Joseph M.
Jackson, T.R., and Fenelon, J.M., 2018, Conceptual framework and trend analysis of water-level responses to hydrologic stresses, Pahute Mesa–Oasis Valley groundwater basin, Nevada, 1966-2016: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2018-5064, 89 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/sir20185064.

Year Published: 2018

Construction and calibration of a groundwater-flow model to assess groundwater availability in the uppermost principal aquifer systems of the Williston Basin, United States and Canada

The U.S. Geological Survey developed a groundwater-flow model for the uppermost principal aquifer systems in the Williston Basin in parts of Montana, North Dakota, and South Dakota in the United States and parts of Manitoba and Saskatchewan in Canada as part of a detailed assessment of the groundwater availability in the area. The assessment was...

Davis, Kyle W.; Long, Andrew J.
Davis, K.W., and Long, A.J., 2018, Construction and calibration of a groundwater-flow model to assess groundwater availability in the uppermost principal aquifer systems of the Williston Basin, United States and Canada: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2017–5158, 70 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/sir20175158.

Year Published: 2018

Managing salinity in Upper Colorado River Basin streams: Selecting catchments for sediment control efforts using watershed characteristics and random forests models

Elevated concentrations of dissolved-solids (salinity) including calcium, sodium, sulfate, and chloride, among others, in the Colorado River cause substantial problems for its water users. Previous efforts to reduce dissolved solids in upper Colorado River basin (UCRB) streams often focused on reducing suspended-sediment transport to streams, but...

Tillman, Fred; Anning, David W.; Heilman, Julian A.; Buto, Susan G.; Miller, Matthew P.
Tillman, F.D, Anning, D.W., Heilman, J.A, Buto, S.G., and Miller, M.P., 2018, Managing salinity in upper Colorado River basin streams: Selecting catchments for sediment control efforts using watershed characteristics and random forests models: Water, 10, 676, https://doi.org/10.3390/w10060676

Year Published: 2018

Rio Grande transboundary integrated hydrologic model and water-availability analysis, New Mexico and Texas, United States, and Northern Chihuahua, Mexico

Note**July 17, 2018: The purpose of a USGS Open-file report is dissemination of information that must be released immediately to fill a public need or information that is not sufficiently refined to warrant publication in one of the other USGS series. As part of that refinement process an error has been discovered in the version of the Rio Grande...

Hanson, Randall T.; Ritchie, Andre; Boyce, Scott E.; Ferguson, Ian; Galanter, Amy; Flint, Lorraine E.; Henson, Wesley
Hanson, R.T., Ritchie, A.B., Boyce, S.E., Galanter, A.E., Ferguson, I.A., Flint, L.E., and Henson, W.R., 2018, Rio Grande transboundary integrated hydrologic model and water-availability analysis, New Mexico and Texas, United States, and Northern Chihuahua, Mexico: U.S Geological Survey Open-File Report 2018–1091, 185 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/ofr20181091.

Year Published: 2018

Geochemistry of groundwater in the eastern Snake River Plain aquifer, Idaho National Laboratory and vicinity, eastern Idaho

Nuclear research activities at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Idaho National Laboratory (INL) in eastern Idaho produced radiochemical and chemical wastes that were discharged to the subsurface, resulting in detectable concentrations of some waste constituents in the eastern Snake River Plain (ESRP) aquifer. These waste constituents may pose...

Rattray, Gordon W.
Rattray, G.W., 2018, Geochemistry of groundwater in the eastern Snake River Plain aquifer, Idaho National Laboratory and vicinity, eastern Idaho: U.S. Geological Survey Professional Paper 1837-A (DOE/ID-22246), 198 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/pp1837A.

Year Published: 2018

Groundwater quality in the shallow aquifers of the Monterey Bay, Salinas Valley, and adjacent highland areas, California

Groundwater provides more than 40 percent of California’s drinking water. To protect this vital resource, the State of California created the Groundwater Ambient Monitoring and Assessment (GAMA) Program. The Priority Basin Project of the GAMA Program provides a comprehensive assessment of the State’s groundwater quality and increases public access...

Burton, Carmen
Burton, C.A., 2018, Groundwater quality in the shallow aquifers of the Monterey Bay, Salinas Valley, and adjacent highland areas, California (ver. 1.1, June 2018): U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2018–3026, 4 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/fs20183026.

Year Published: 2018

Status and understanding of groundwater quality in the Monterey-Salinas Shallow Aquifer Study Unit, 2012–13: California GAMA Priority Basin Project

Groundwater quality in the approximately 7,820-square-kilometer (km2) Monterey-Salinas Shallow Aquifer (MS-SA) study unit was investigated from October 2012 to May 2013 as part of the second phase of the Priority Basin Project of the Groundwater Ambient Monitoring and Assessment (GAMA) Program. The study unit is in the central coast region of...

Burton, Carmen; Wright, Michael
Burton, C.A., and Wright, M.T., 2018, Status and understanding of groundwater quality in the Monterey-Salinas Shallow Aquifer study unit, 2012–13: California GAMA Priority Basin Project: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2018–5057, 116 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/sir20185057.

Year Published: 2018

Concentrations of nitrate in drinking water in the lower Yakima River Basin, Groundwater Management Area, Yakima County, Washington, 2017

The U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with the lower Yakima River Basin Groundwater Management Area (GWMA) group, conducted an intensive groundwater sampling collection effort of collecting nitrate concentration data in drinking water to provide a baseline for future nitrate assessments within the GWMA. About every 6 weeks from April through...

Huffman, Raegan L.
Huffman, R.L., 2018, Concentrations of nitrate in drinking water in the lower Yakima River Basin, Groundwater Management Area, Yakima County, Washington, 2017: U.S. Geological Survey Data Series 1084, 18 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/ds1084.

Year Published: 2018

Klamath River Basin water-quality data

The Klamath River Basin stretches from the mountains and inland basins of south-central Oregon and northern California to the Pacific Ocean, spanning multiple climatic regions and encompassing a variety of ecosystems. Water quantity and water quality are important topics in the basin, because water is a critical resource for farming and municipal...

Sobieszczyk, Steven; Smith, Cassandra D.; Rounds, Stewart A.; Orzol, Leonard L.
Smith, C.D., Rounds, S.A., and Orzol, L.L., 2018, Klamath River Basin water-quality data: U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2018-3031, 4 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/fs20183031.

Year Published: 2018

Comparability among four invertebrate sampling methods and two multimetric indexes, Fountain Creek Basin, Colorado, 2010–2012

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), in cooperation with Colorado Springs City Engineering and Colorado Springs Utilities, analyzed previously collected invertebrate data to determine the comparability among four sampling methods and two versions (2010 and 2017) of the Colorado Benthic Macroinvertebrate Multimetric Index (MMI). For this study,...

Bruce, James F.; Roberts, James J.; Zuellig, Robert E.
Bruce, J.F., Roberts, J.J., and Zuellig, R.E., 2018, Comparability among four invertebrate sampling methods and two multimetric indexes, Fountain Creek Basin, Colorado, 2010–2012: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2018–5061, 11 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/sir20185061.

Year Published: 2018

Aligning environmental management with ecosystem resilience: a First Foods example from the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation, Oregon, USA

The concept of “reciprocity” between humans and other biota arises from the creation belief of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation (CTUIR). The concept acknowledges a moral and practical obligation for humans and biota to care for and sustain one another, and arises from human gratitude and reverence for the contributions...

Quaempts, Eric J; Jones, Krista; O'Daniel, Scott J.; Beechie, Timothy J.; Poole, Geoffrey C.
Quaempts, E. J., K. L. Jones, S. J. O'Daniel, T. J. Beechie, and G. C. Poole. 2018. Aligning environmental management with ecosystem resilience: a First Foods example from the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation, Oregon, USA. Ecology and Society 23(2):29. https://doi.org/10.5751/ES-10080-230229

Year Published: 2018

Unprecedented biological shifts in the global ocean

Beaugrand, G.; Conversi, A.; Atkinson, A.; Cloern, James E.; Chiba, S.; Fonda-Umani, S.; Kirby, R.R.; Greene, C.H.; Mantua, N.; Goberville, E.; Otto, S.A.; Reid, P.C.; Stemmann, L.; Sugisaki, H.; Edwards, M.

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: 1,059
Unmanned Aerial System takes images in Arizona
December 31, 2017

Unmanned Aerial System in Flight

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.
December 31, 2017

Measuring streamflow in the Sisquoc River near Garey, California.

USGS technician measuring streamflow in the Sisquoc River near Garey, California, upstream of the Santa Maria Mesa Road Bridge.

USGS Gagehouse
December 31, 2017

Gagehouse

USGS groundwater site 414831072173002 in Tolland County, Connecticut, near the Hydrogeophysics Branch office.

Attribution: Water Resources
scientific instruments and platform next to river surrounded by snow
December 31, 2017

USGS Streamgaging on the Pit River operates year round.

 USGS Streamgaging equipment and cableway on the Pit River near Canby, California operates year round.

Hampton Roads Benchmark Monitoring: R10-bipod.
December 31, 2017

R10-bipod.

Occupying a surveying benchmark.

 03146500 Licking River near Newark, log jam, safety
December 4, 2017

03146500 Licking River near Newark Log Jam

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

...
high water measurement, floods
November 6, 2017

Biologist John Tertuliani making a high water measurement

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
November 6, 2017

Jemez Falls

Jemez Falls located in the Jemez Mountains near Santa Fe, New Mexico

September 30, 2017

USGS Hurricane Preparedness

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

...
Filter Total Items: 367
Date published: February 28, 2017

New USGS Streamgages Provide Flood Monitoring for Additional Philadelphia Neighborhoods

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. 

Date published: February 27, 2017

40-year trend study finds signs of improved water quality in New Jersey streams

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.

Date published: February 22, 2017

South Dakota Native to Head USGS Dakota Water Science Center

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. 

Date published: February 22, 2017

Sediment Flows into Galveston Bay Studied to Help Understand Health of Watershed

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.

Date published: February 16, 2017

Land Elevation Changes Due to Groundwater Withdrawals Indicate Regional Shifts in Houston-Galveston Area

New Report Marks 40 Years of Subsidence Investigations

Date published: February 13, 2017

New USGS Field Method is a Breakthrough for Contaminant Analysis in Water Samples

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.

Date published: February 13, 2017

New USGS Map of High Plains Aquifer Represents Conditions After Enacting Changes To Agricultural Management Practices

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.

Date published: February 8, 2017

USGS Releases New JavaScript Library for Plotting Water Data for the Nation

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.

Date published: February 8, 2017

Bigger May Not Be Better When It Comes to Mississippi River Diversions

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

Date published: February 1, 2017

Christian Zimmerman to Lead Studies as New Director of the Alaska Science Center

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.

Date published: January 30, 2017

Shrinking Number of Long-term Monitoring Sites Could Hamper Scientists’ Ability to Measure Recovery of Impaired Streams

Consistent, national-scale and long-term water-quality monitoring of the Nation's rivers and streams has declined, in some cases, by more than half over time

Attribution: Water Resources
Date published: January 24, 2017

USGS Uses State-of-the-Art Science to Estimate Nutrient and Suspended-Sediment Loads in the Klamath Basin

USGS uses state-of-the-art science techniques to estimate phosphorus and suspended-sediment loads to Upper Klamath Lake in the Klamath Basin.