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: September 24, 2016

Groundwater Data Available Online

The USGS Michigan Water Science Center cooperates with local and state agencies to collect and maintain groundwater data across Michigan. The USGS and local partners actively monitor 90 wells. Of these 90 wells, 22 are continuously monitored with 3 of those continuously...

Contacts: Chris Hoard
Date published: September 24, 2016

Enhance Great Lakes Beach Recreational Water Quality Decision Making

Important questions about beach closures and management remain unanswered in the Great Lakes where over 500 beaches are routinely used along the nearly 11,000 miles of coastline. The economies of coastal areas are dependent on public confidence in the quality of water at the shoreline, and beach managers need reliable science-based information to make beach closure and beach management...

Contacts: Carrie Givens
Date published: September 24, 2016

Response to an oilspill on the Kalamazoo River

Enbridge Energy Partners LLP (Enbridge) reported a 30-inch pipeline ruptured on Monday, July 26, 2010, near Marshall, Michigan. The release, estimated at 819,000 gallons, entered Talmadge Creek and flowed into the Kalamazoo River, a Lake Michigan tributary. Heavy rains caused the river to overtop existing dams and carried oil 30 miles downstream on the Kalamazoo River. As the federal agency in...

Contacts: Chris Hoard
Date published: September 24, 2016

NAWQA Groundwater

The National Water-Quality Assessment Program (NAWQA) provides an understanding of water-quality conditions; whether conditions are getting better or worse over time; and how natural features and human activities affect those conditions. Regional and national assessments are possible because of a consistent study design and uniform methods of data collection and analysis. Monitoring data are...

Contacts: Chris Hoard
Date published: September 24, 2016

Microbiological Water Quality

Recreational water and industrial discharges are regulated by other federal and state agencies across the country. The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Michigan Bacteriological Research Laboratory (MI-BaRL) conducts studies to understand the fate and transport of fecal indicator bacteria in surface and groundwater to aid state and federal partners. A variety of standardized protocols are used to...

Contacts: Carrie Givens
Date published: September 24, 2016
Status: Active

Antibiotic Resistance

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Michigan Bacteriological Research Laboratory (MI-BaRL) conducts research on antibiotic-resistant bacteria and their genes. We have concentrated our studies on antibiotic-resistant bacteria of human-health concern, including vancomycin-resistant enterococci, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (...

Contacts: Carrie Givens
Date published: September 24, 2016

Microbial Ecology

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Michigan Bacteriological Research Laboratory (MI-BaRL) conducts ecological studies on the structure and function of eubacterial and archeal communities in the environment. Studies of this type give us basic information about the composition and functionality of different microbial communities and allow us to investigate the effects that natural and...

Contacts: Carrie Givens
Date published: September 24, 2016

Microbial Source Tracking

It is often important to understand the source of fecal indicator bacteria, pathogens, or chemicals that impair the normal use of water. Antibiotic-resistant bacteria and their genes, specific bacterial pathogens (such as E. coli O157:H7 which is primarily associated with cattle), and host-associated bacterial genes (such as human or animal specific Bacteroides genes), can be used to evaluate...

Contacts: Carrie Givens
Date published: September 24, 2016

Silver Lake Nutrient Study

Recently, elevated chlorophyll-a concentrations were found related to persistent algal blooms on Silver Lake in Oceana County, MI.  Elevated chlorophyll-a concentrations, high phosphorus concentrations during summer months, as well as a decrease in water clarity indicated potential accelerated eutrophication processes during the last two years, and underscore a need to characterize water and...

Contacts: Angela Brennan
Date published: September 24, 2016

Evaluation of Phosphorus Reduction in Targeted Watersheds

The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) was established to accelerate ecosystem restoration in the Great Lakes by confronting the most serious threats to the region, such as nonpoint source pollution, toxic sediments, and invasive species. Three Priority Watersheds have been targeted by the Regional Working Group's Phosphorus Reduction Work Group (Fox/Green Bay, Saginaw, and Maumee) and...

Contacts: Cynthia Rachol
Date published: September 24, 2016
Status: Archived

Water Chemistry Monitoring Project - Rivers and Streams

In support of the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) Water Chemistry Monitoring Project, the USGS Michigan Water Science Center has been collecting long-term water quality data for Michigan's rivers and streams. 

Contacts: Cynthia Rachol
Date published: September 22, 2016
Status: Active

Water Use

The USGS compiles water use information by State including estimated amounts, sources, and categories of use every five years since 1950. 

Contacts: Carol Luukkonen
Filter Total Items: 14,548
Year Published: 2018

A biodynamic understanding of dietborne and waterborne Ag uptake from Ag NPs in the sediment-dwelling oligochaete, Tubifex tubifex

Metal nanoparticles (Me-NPs) are increasingly used in various products, such as inks and cosmetics, enhancing the likelihood of their release into aquatic environments. An understanding of the mechanisms controlling their bioaccumulation and ecotoxicity in aquatic biota will help support environmental risk...

Tangaa, Stine Rosendal; Winther-Nielsen, Margrethe; Selck, Henriette; Croteau, Marie-Noele

Year Published: 2018

Blurred lines: Multiple freshwater and marine algal toxins at the land-sea interface of San Francisco Bay, California

San Francisco Bay (SFB) is a eutrophic estuary that harbors both freshwater and marine toxigenic organisms that are responsible for harmful algal blooms. While there are few commercial fishery harvests within SFB, recreational and subsistence harvesting for shellfish is common. Coastal shellfish are monitored for domoic acid and...

Peacock, Melissa B.; Gibble, Corinne M.; Senn, David B.; Cloern, James E.; Kudela, Raphael M.

Year Published: 2018

Nanomaterials in the environment: Behavior, fate, bioavailability, and effects—An updated review

The present review covers developments in studies of nanomaterials (NMs) in the environment since our much cited review in 2008. We discuss novel insights into fate and behavior, metrology, transformations, bioavailability, toxicity mechanisms, and environmental impacts, with a focus on terrestrial and aquatic systems. Overall, the findings were...

Lead, Jamie R.; Batley, Graeme E.; Alvarez, Pedro J.J.; Croteau, Marie-Noele; Handy, Richard D.; McLaughlin, Michael J.; Judy, Jonathon D.; Schirmer, Kristin

Year Published: 2018

Streamflow, water quality, and constituent loads and yields, Scituate Reservoir Drainage Area, Rhode Island, water year 2015

Streamflow and concentrations of sodium and chloride estimated from records of specific conductance were used to calculate loads of sodium and chloride during water year (WY) 2015 (October 1, 2014, through September 30, 2015) for tributaries to the Scituate Reservoir, Rhode Island. Streamflow and water-quality data used in the study were collected...

Smith, Kirk P.
Smith, K.P., 2018, Streamflow, water quality, and constituent loads and yields, Scituate Reservoir drainage area, Rhode Island, water year 2015: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2018–1065, 28 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/ofr20181065.

Year Published: 2018

Comparison of NEXRAD multisensor precipitation estimates to rain gage observations in and near DuPage County, Illinois, 2002–12

In this report, precipitation data from 2002 to 2012 from the hourly gridded Next-Generation Radar (NEXRAD)-based Multisensor Precipitation Estimate (MPE) precipitation product are compared to precipitation data from two rain gage networks—an automated tipping bucket network of 25 rain gages operated by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and 51...

Spies, Ryan R.; Over, Thomas M.; Ortel, Terry W.
Spies, R.R., Over, T.M., and Ortel, T.W., 2018, Comparison of NEXRAD multisensor precipitation estimates to rain gage observations in and near DuPage County, Illinois, 2002–12: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2018–1061, 30 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/ofr20181061.

Year Published: 2018

Analysis of groundwater response to tidal fluctuations, Operable Unit 2, Area 8, Naval Base Kitsap, Keyport, Washington

Operable Unit 2, Area 8, at Naval Base Kitsap, Keyport is the site of a former chrome-plating facility that released metals (primarily chromium and cadmium), chlorinated volatile organic compounds, and petroleum compounds into the local environment. To ensure long-term protectiveness, as stipulated in the Fourth Five-Year Review for the site,...

Opatz, Chad C.; Dinicola, Richard S.
Opatz, C.C., and Dinicola, R.S., 2018, Analysis of groundwater response to tidal fluctuations, Operable Unit 2, Area 8, Naval Base Kitsap, Keyport, Washington: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2018-1082, 20 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/ofr20181082.

Year Published: 2018

Do downscaled general circulation models reliably simulate historical climatic conditions?

The accuracy of statistically downscaled (SD) general circulation model (GCM) simulations of monthly surface climate for historical conditions (1950–2005) was assessed for the conterminous United States (CONUS). The SD monthly precipitation (PPT) and temperature (TAVE) from 95 GCMs from phases 3 and 5 of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (...

Bock, Andrew R.; Hay, Lauren E.; McCabe, Gregory J.; Markstrom, Steven L.; Atkinson, R. Dwight
Bock, A.R., L.E. Hay, G.J. McCabe, S.L. Markstrom, and R.D. Atkinson, 2018: Do Downscaled General Circulation Models Reliably Simulate Historical Climatic Conditions?: Earth Interact., v. 22, p.1-22. https://doi.org/10.1175/EI-D-17-0018.1.

Year Published: 2018

Surface-water quality in the Lycoming Creek watershed, north-central Pennsylvania, August 1–3, 2011

This report presents the methodology and results for a study of surface-water quality of the Lycoming Creek watershed in north-central Pennsylvania during August 1–3, 2011. The study was done in cooperation with the Williamsport Municipal Water Authority and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection. Samples of stream water were...

Risser, Dennis W.; Conlon, Matthew D.
Risser, D.W., and Conlon, M.D., 2018, Surface-water quality in the Lycoming Creek watershed, north-central Pennsylvania, August 1–3, 2011: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2017–5154, 77 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/sir20175154.

Year Published: 2018

A method to quantify and value floodplain sediment and nutrient retention ecosystem services

Floodplains provide critical ecosystem services to local and downstream communities by retaining floodwaters, sediments, and nutrients. The dynamic nature of floodplains is such that these areas can both accumulate sediment and nutrients through deposition, and export material downstream through erosion. Therefore, estimating floodplain sediment...

Hopkins, Kristina G.; Noe, Gregory; Franco, Fabiano; Pindilli, Emily; Gordon, Stephanie; Metes, Marina J.; Claggett, Peter; Gellis, Allen; Hupp, Cliff R.; Hogan, Dianna
Hopkins, K.G., G.B. Noe, F. Franco, E.J. Pindilli, S. Gordon, M.J. Metes, P.R. Claggett, A.C. Gellis, C.R. Hupp, D.M. Hogan. 2018. A method to quantify and value floodplain sediment and nutrient retention ecosystem services. Journal of Environmental Management, 220: 65-76. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jenvman.2018.05.013

Year Published: 2018

Preliminary synthesis and assessment of environmental flows in the middle Verde River watershed, Arizona

A 3-year study was undertaken to evaluate the suitability of the available modeling tools for characterizing environmental flows in the middle Verde River watershed of central Arizona, describe riparian vegetation throughout the watershed, and estimate sediment mobilization in the river. Existing data on fish and macroinvertebrates were analyzed...

Paretti, Nicholas; Brasher, Anne M. D.; Pearlstein, Susanna L.; Skow, Dena M.; Gungle, Bruce W.; Garner, Bradley D.
Paretti, N.V., Brasher, A.M.D., Pearlstein, S.L., Skow, D.M., Gungle, Bruce, and Garner, B.D., 2018, Preliminary synthesis and assessment of environmental flows in the middle Verde River watershed, Arizona: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2017–5100, 104 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/sir20175100.

Year Published: 2018

Long-term changes in soil and stream chemistry across an acid deposition gradient in the northeastern United States

Declines in acidic deposition across Europe and North America have led to decreases in surface water acidity and signs of chemical recovery of soils from acidification. To better understand the link between recovery of soils and surface waters, chemical trends in precipitation, soils, and streamwater were investigated in three watersheds...

Siemion, Jason; McHale, Michael; Lawrence, Gregory B.; Burns, Douglas A.; Antidormi, Michael
Siemion, J., McHale, M.R., Lawrence, G.B., Burns, D.A., and Antidormi, M.R. 2018. Long-term Changes in Soil and Stream Chemistry across an Acid Deposition Gradient in the Northeastern United States. J. Environ. Qual. 47:410–418. doi:10.2134/jeq2017.08.0335

Year Published: 2018

Testing a two-scale focused conservation strategy for reducing phosphorus and sediment loads from agricultural watersheds

This study tested a focused strategy for reducing phosphorus (P) and sediment loads in agricultural streams. The strategy involved selecting small watersheds identified as likely to respond relatively quickly, and then focusing conservation practices on high-contributing fields within those watersheds. Two 5,000 ha (12,360 ac) watersheds in the...

Carvin, Rebecca; Good, Laura W.; Fitzpatrick, Faith A.; Diehl, Curt; Songer, Katherine; Meyer, Kimberly J.; Panuska, John C.; Richter, Steve; Whalley, Kyle
R. Carvin, L.W. Good, F. Fitzpatrick, C. Diehl, K. Songer, K.J. Meyer, J.C. Panuska, S. Richter, and K. Whalley. Testing a two-scale focused conservation strategy for reducing phosphorus and sediment loads from agricultural watersheds. Journal of Soil and Water Conservation 2018 73(3):298-309; doi:10.2489/jswc.73.3.298

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
Lake Erie algal bloom
September 30, 2017

Lake Erie algal bloom

Landsat satellites captured this image of Lake Erie during a harmful algal bloom event.

A USGS hydrologic technician installs a Rapid-Deployment Gauge on a bridge in Norfolk, Virginia.
September 30, 2017

A USGS hydrologic technician installs a Rapid-Deployment Gauge

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

...
September 30, 2017

Borehole Nuclear Magnetic Resonance for Environmental Site Management

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

...
Attribution: Water Resources
USGS scientists collect a sediment sample from Brownlee Reservoir
September 28, 2017

USGS scientists collect a sediment sample from Brownlee Reservoir

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. 

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Hydro techs from the New Mexico Water Science Center perform a well integrity test
September 19, 2017

Hydro Techs Perform Well Integrity Test

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

...
Image shows a USGS scientist in a PFD taking a high-water measurement
September 11, 2017

Taking a High-Water Mark after Hurricane Harvey

USGS scientist Steve Hannes marks high water marks along the Colorado River after flooding from Hurricane Harvey in Wharton County, Texas.

Image shows a USGS scientist in a PFD taking a high-water measurement
September 11, 2017

Taking a High-Water Mark after Hurricane Harvey

USGS scientist Steve Hannes marks high water marks along the Colorado River after flooding from Hurricane Harvey in Wharton County, Texas.

Image shows a USGS scientist in a PDF taking a high-water mark
September 11, 2017

Taking a High-Water Mark after Hurricane Harvey

USGS scientist Steve Hannes marks high water marks along the Colorado River after flooding from Hurricane Harvey in Wharton County, Texas.

Image shows a USGS scientist in a PFD taking a high-water mark
September 11, 2017

Taking a High-Water Mark after Hurricane Harvey

USGS scientist Steve Hannes marks high water marks along the Colorado River after flooding from Harvey in Matagorda County, Texas.

A small boat with scientific equipment loaded onboard resting near shore of a lake.
September 10, 2017

"Miss Q" Ready to Go

The Maine Office boat, "Miss Q", is parked next to the boat launch on Verona Island, ready to begin data collection on the Penobscot River. The crew was preparing to collect ADCP data (depth and velocity) as well as conductivity, temperature and depth profiles at various locations. In the background is the Penobscot Narrows Bridge and Fort Knox.

Hurricane Irma satellite image
September 5, 2017

Hurricane Irma on the Move

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

Preparing to measure Irma's storm surge in Puerto Rico

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. 

Filter Total Items: 367
Date published: January 24, 2017

Uranium in Spring Water North of Grand Canyon Likely Not Related to Nearby Mining Activity

Uranium levels in Pigeon Spring, just north of the Grand Canyon, are likely due to a natural source of uranium and not related to the nearby former Pigeon Mine, according to a recent study by the U.S. Geological Survey.

Date published: January 19, 2017

Groundwater Quality in the West: Examining Basin and Range Basin-Fill Aquifers

A regional assessment of untreated groundwater in the Basin and Range basin-fill aquifers, which include parts of Nevada, California, Arizona, Utah and adjacent states, is now available from the U.S. Geological Survey.

Date published: January 19, 2017

Groundwater Quality in the Coastal Lowlands Aquifer System

A regional assessment of untreated groundwater in the Coastal Lowlands aquifer system in the southeastern United States is now available from the U.S. Geological Survey.

Date published: January 19, 2017

Groundwater Quality in the Northern Atlantic Coastal Plain Aquifer System

A regional assessment of untreated groundwater in the Northern Atlantic Coastal Plain aquifer system in the eastern United States is now available from the U.S. Geological Survey.

Date published: January 19, 2017

Groundwater Quality in the Southeastern Coastal Plain Aquifer System

A regional assessment of untreated groundwater in the Southeastern Coastal Plain aquifer system is now available from the U.S. Geological Survey.

Date published: January 19, 2017

Groundwater Quality in Eastern U.S.

A regional assessment of untreated groundwater in the combined Valley and Ridge and Piedmont and Blue Ridge aquifers in the eastern United States is now available from the U.S. Geological Survey.

Date published: January 18, 2017

Extensometer Drilling in Virginia

Deep drilling in eastern Virginia will evaluate past effects of groundwater pumping, land subsidence, and relative sea-level rise. Future injection of water is expected to add pressure, expand the aquifer, and raise the land surface.

Date published: January 18, 2017

USGS Scientist Wins Governor’s Medal for Science and Technology

U.S. Geological Survey scientist Dr. Robert Baskin is being awarded with a 2016 Governor’s Medal for Science and Technology. Gov. Gary R. Herbert will present awards to 11 individuals and one company at the 30th anniversary awards dinner tonight.

Date published: January 12, 2017

New Tool Shows Historic and Simulated Future Water Conditions in the U.S.

Water users around the country can now view the past and simulated future of hydrologic processes. 

Date published: January 12, 2017

Reporters: Accompany a USGS Field Crew as They Monitor Stream Flow and Flooding

You are invited to join USGS scientists and field technician crews as they collect discharge measurements in rainfall-affected areas.

Date published: January 12, 2017

StreamStats Provides New Information for Montana

Helpful new information for anyone designing structures over or near water, managing water distribution, or interested in the flow of local streams.

Date published: January 10, 2017

Reporters: Accompany a USGS field crew as they monitor stream flow and flooding

The U.S. Geological Survey’s California Water Science Center is hosting a media event Wednesday, Jan. 11 at a USGS streamgage location about 7 miles north of Santa Cruz, California. A hydrologist will be available for interviews as field crews collect streamflow data.