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
Collage of various photos of processing in a Microbiology Laboratory showing equipment
Date Published: September 24, 2016

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
Water Quality Monitoring site with Isco Sampler and Virus Sampler on the Clinton River, for GLRI sampling effort.
Date Published: September 24, 2016

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
Acoustics boat with ADCP in river with tree branch in foreground, across river is USGS Hydro Tech holding line to boat.
Date Published: September 24, 2016

Michigan Water Science Center used acoustic meters for about 90 percent of the streamflow measurements made in Fiscal Year 2012. Wading measurements are done using a modified top setting wading rod equipped with an acoustic Doppler velocimeter (ADV). Acoustic Doppler current profilers (ADCP) are used when measurement depths are too deep to wade. ADCP measurements can either be made with a...

Contacts: Donald James
Roadmap of Michigan with Groundwater stations marked with triangles
Date Published: September 24, 2016

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
Parents and children enjoying the beach in Macomb County, Michigan with seagulls.
Date Published: September 24, 2016

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
Boats on Kalamazoo River of various agencies in response to a oil spill.
Date Published: September 24, 2016

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
Complicated groundwater drill rigs mounted on big trucks and their crew.
Date Published: September 24, 2016

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
Multiple Petri dishes with various water samples monitoring showing color differences for antibiotic resistance.
Date Published: September 24, 2016

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
Water Quality and a Petri dish with blue organisms.
Date Published: September 24, 2016

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
Illustration of Relational Chart for Microbial Ecology
Date Published: September 24, 2016

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
Collage of a drainage culvert and cows at a feedlot.
Date Published: September 24, 2016

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
View of Silver Lake and Sand Dunes, Michigan with sunlight reflecting off of lake.
Date Published: September 24, 2016

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
Filter Total Items: 1,557
Year Published: 2017

From data to decisions: Processing information, biases, and beliefs for improved management of natural resources and environments

Our different kinds of minds and types of thinking affect the ways we decide, take action, and cooperate (or not). Derived from these types of minds, innate biases, beliefs, heuristics, and values (BBHV) influence behaviors, often beneficially, when individuals or small groups face immediate, local, acute situations that they and their ancestors...

Glynn, Pierre D.; Voinov, Alexey A.; Shapiro, Carl D.; White, Paul A.
Attribution: Water Resources
Glynn, P. D., A. A. Voinov, C. D. Shapiro, and P. A.White (2017), From data to decisions: Processing information, biases, and beliefs for improved management of natural resources and environments, Earth’s Future, 5, 356-378.

Year Published: 2017

Clarifying atomic weights: A 2016 four-figure table of standard and conventional atomic weights

To indicate that atomic weights of many elements are not constants of nature, in 2009 and 2011 the Commission on Isotopic Abundances and Atomic Weights (CIAAW) of the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) replaced single-value standard atomic weight values with atomic weight intervals for 12 elements (hydrogen, lithium, boron,...

Coplen, Tyler B.; Meyers, Fabienne; Holden, Norman E.
Attribution: Water Resources
Coplen, T. B., Meyers, F., and Holden, N. E., 2017, Clarifying Atomic Weights: A 2016 Four-Figure Table of Standard and Conventional Atomic Weights: Journal of Chemical Education, v. 94, p. 311-319. http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acs.jchemed.6b00510

Year Published: 2017

Ecosystem variability along the estuarine salinity gradient: Examples from long-term study of San Francisco Bay

The salinity gradient of estuaries plays a unique and fundamental role in structuring spatial patterns of physical properties, biota, and biogeochemical processes. We use variability along the salinity gradient of San Francisco Bay to illustrate some lessons about the diversity of spatial structures in estuaries and their variability over time....

Cloern, James E.; Jassby, Alan D.; Schraga, Tara; Kress, Erica S.; Martin, Charles A.
Cloern, J.E. A.D. Jassby, T.S. Schraga, E. Nejad and C.S. Martin. 2017. Ecosystem Variability along the Estuarine Salinity Gradient: Examples from Long-term Study of San Francisco Bay. Limnology and Oceanography. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/lno.10537

Year Published: 2017

Optimization of on-line hydrogen stable isotope ratio measurements of halogen- and sulfur-bearing organic compounds using elemental analyzer–chromium/high-temperature conversion isotope ratio mass spectrometry (EA-Cr/HTC-IRMS)

Rationale: Accurate hydrogen isotopic analysis of halogen- and sulfur-bearing organics has not been possible with traditional high-temperature conversion (HTC) because the formation of hydrogen-bearing reaction products other than molecular hydrogen (H2) is responsible for non-quantitative H2 yields and possible hydrogen isotopic fractionation....

Gehre, Matthias; Renpenning, Julian; Geilmann, Heike; Qi, Haiping; Coplen, Tyler B.; Kümmel, Steffen; Ivdra, Natalija; Brand, Willi A.; Schimmelmann, Arndt
Attribution: Water Resources
Gehre, M., Renpenning, J., Geilmann, H., Qi, H., Coplen, T. B., Kümmel, S., Ivdra, N., Brand, W. A., Schimmelmann, A., 2017, Optimization of on-line hydrogen stable isotope ratio measurements of halogen- and sulfur-bearing organic compounds using elemental analyzer–chromium/high-temperature conversion isotope ratio mass spectrometry (EA-Cr/HTC-IRMS): Rapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry, v. 31, 475-484. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/rcm.7810

Year Published: 2017

Flood effects provide evidence of an alternate stable state from dam management on the Upper Missouri River

We examine how historic flooding in 2011 affected the geomorphic adjustments created by dam regulation along the approximately 120 km free flowing reach of the Upper Missouri River bounded upstream by the Garrison Dam (1953) and downstream by Lake Oahe Reservoir (1959) near the City of Bismarck, ND, USA. The largest flood since dam regulation...

Skalak, Katherine; Benthem, Adam J.; Hupp, Cliff R.; Schenk, Edward R.; Galloway, Joel M.; Nustad, Rochelle A.
Attribution: Water Resources
Skalak, K., Benthem, A., Hupp, C., Schenk, E., Galloway, J., and Nustad, R. (2016) Flood Effects Provide Evidence of an Alternate Stable State from Dam Management on the Upper Missouri River. River Res. Applic., doi: 10.1002/rra.3084.

Year Published: 2017

Assessing the dietary bioavailability of metals associated with natural particles: Extending the use of the reverse labeling approach to zinc

We extend the use of a novel tracing technique to quantify the bioavailability of zinc (Zn) associated with natural particles using snails enriched with a less common Zn stable isotope. Lymnaea stagnalis is a model species that has relatively fast Zn uptake rates from the dissolved phase, enabling their rapid enrichment in 67Zn during the initial...

Croteau, Marie-Noele; Cain, Daniel J.; Fuller, Christopher C.
Attribution: Water Resources
Croteau, M.N., Cain, D.J. and Fuller, C.C., 2017. Assessing the Dietary Bioavailability of Metals Associated with Natural Particles: Extending the Use of the Reverse Labeling Approach to Zinc. Environmental Science & Technology. 51: 2803-2810, http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acs.est.6b06253

Year Published: 2017

Influence of atmospheric rivers on vegetation productivity and fire patterns in the southwestern U.S.

In the southwestern U.S., the meteorological phenomenon known as atmospheric rivers (ARs) has gained increasing attention due to its strong connections to floods, snowpacks, and water supplies in the West Coast states. Relatively less is known about the ecological implications of ARs, particularly in the interior Southwest, where AR storms are...

Albano, Christine M.; Dettinger, Michael; Soulard, Christopher E.
Attribution: Water Resources
Albano, C.M., Dettinger, M.D. and Soulard, C.E., 2017. Influence of atmospheric rivers on vegetation productivity and fire patterns in the southwestern US. Journal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences, 122, 308-323, http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/2016JG003608.

Year Published: 2017

Ascii grids of predicted pH in depth zones used by domestic and public drinking water supply depths, Central Valley, California

The ascii grids associated with this data release are predicted distributions of continuous pH at the drinking water depth zones in the groundwater of Central Valley, California. The two prediction grids produced in this work represent predicted pH at the domestic supply and public supply drinking water depths, respectively and are bound by the...

Zamora, Celia; Nolan, Bernard T.; Gronberg, JoAnn M.
Attribution: Water Resources
Celia Z. Rosecrans, 2017, Ascii grids of predicted pH in depth zones used by domestic and public drinking water supply depths, Central Valley, California: U.S. Geological Survey data release, https://doi.org/10.5066/F7FX77K4

Year Published: 2017

Predicted pH at the domestic and public supply drinking water depths, Central Valley, California

This scientific investigations map is a product of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) National Water-Quality Assessment (NAWQA) project modeling and mapping team. The prediction grids depicted in this map are of continuous pH and are intended to provide an understanding of groundwater-quality conditions at the domestic and public supply drinking...

Rosecrans, Celia Z.; Nolan, Bernard T.; Gronberg, Jo Ann M.
Attribution: Water Resources
Rosecrans, C.Z., Nolan, B.T., Gronberg, J.M., 2017, Predicted pH at the domestic and public supply drinking water depths, Central Valley, California: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Map 3377, 1 sheet, scale 1:2,400,000, https://doi.org/10.3133/sim3377.

Year Published: 2017

Prediction and visualization of redox conditions in the groundwater of Central Valley, California

Regional-scale, three-dimensional continuous probability models, were constructed for aspects of redox conditions in the groundwater system of the Central Valley, California. These models yield grids depicting the probability that groundwater in a particular location will have dissolved oxygen (DO) concentrations less than selected threshold...

Rosecrans, Celia Z.; Nolan, Bernard T.; Gronberg, JoAnn M.
Attribution: Water Resources
Rosecrans, C.Z., Nolan, B.T., Gronberg J.M., 2017. Prediction and Visualization of Redox Conditions in the Groundwater of Central Valley, California. Journal of Hydrology, v. 546 (March), p. 341-356. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jhydrol.2017.01.014

Year Published: 2017

Volcanic ash supports a diverse bacterial community in a marine mesocosm

Shallow-water coral reef ecosystems, particularly those already impaired by anthropogenic pressures, may be highly sensitive to disturbances from natural catastrophic events, such as volcanic eruptions. Explosive volcanic eruptions expel large quantities of silicate ash particles into the atmosphere, which can disperse across millions of square...

Verena Witt; Paul M Ayris; Damby, David; Corrado Cimarelli; Ulrich Kueppers; Donald B Dingwell; Gert Wörheide
Attribution: Water Resources
Witt V, Ayris PM, Damby DE, et al. Volcanic ash supports a diverse bacterial community in a marine mesocosm. Geobiology 2017;00:1-11. http://doi.org/10.1111/gbi.12231

Year Published: 2017

Divergent surface and total soil moisture projections under global warming

Land aridity has been projected to increase with global warming. Such projections are mostly based on off-line aridity and drought metrics applied to climate model outputs but also are supported by climate-model projections of decreased surface soil moisture. Here we comprehensively analyze soil moisture projections from the Coupled Model...

Berg, Alexis; Sheffield, Justin; Milly, Paul C.D.
Attribution: Water Resources
Alexis Berg, Justin Sheffield, P. C. D. Milly, 2017, Divergent surface and total soil moisture projections under global warming. Geophys. Res. Lett., 44(1), 236-244.DOI: 10.1002/2016GL071921

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: 1,002
2017 (approx.)
Groundwater use from the Ozark Plateaus aquifer system, 1900 to 2010” is a short video showing modeled groundwater withdrawal rates from the Ozark Plateaus aquifer system (Ozark system) in the central United States. The Ozark Plateaus Groundwater Availability Study aims to quantify current groundwater resources in the Ozark system, evaluate how these resources have changed over time, and provide...
Dry wash in San Rafael Desert with white surface salts
2017 (approx.)
Dry wash in San Rafael Desert with white surface salts. White efflorescent salts form on the soil surface as water evaporates from the soil leaving the salt at the surface. Salinity loads that originate from groundwater within the Upper Colorado River Basin have decreased from 1986-2011, according to a new U.S. Geological Survey study done in cooperation with the Colorado River Basin Salinity...
scientific instruments and platform next to river surrounded by snow
2017 (approx.)
USGS Streamgaging equipment and cableway on the Pit River near Canby, California operates year round.
Wintry trees and grasses line New Jersey's Mantua Creek.
2017 (approx.)
Wintry, leafless trees and tawny grasses provide a natural buffer along the undeveloped banks of New Jersey's Mantua Creek.
two men in camo-patterned overalls standing next to a boat on the shore of a river with an instrument on the ground.
2017 (approx.)
USGS technicians prepare to board a boat to go out to the center of the channel in the San Joaquin River below Friant Dam to get an accurate measurement of water flow during releases from the Dam for flood control.
All water on Earth in a sphere, placed over a "dry" globe
December 12, 2017
This image shows blue spheres representing relative amounts of Earth's water in comparison to the size of the Earth. Are you surprised that these water spheres look so small? They are only small in relation to the size of the Earth. These images attempt to show three dimensions, so each sphere represents "volume." They show that in comparison to the volume of the globe, the amount of water on the...
 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
Filter Total Items: 357
USGS
January 12, 2017

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

USGS: Science for a changing world
January 10, 2017

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.

 

View of rapids on the ​Ocoee River in Tennessee with green trees in the background
January 9, 2017

Challenges remain in combining data from multiple organizations

Image: USGS Logo
January 8, 2017

The U.S. Geological Survey’s California Water Science Center is hosting a media event Monday, Jan. 9 at a USGS streamgage location below Friant Dam, a streamflow site with significance to the San Juan River Restoration Project.

A USGS hydrologist collects a water sample
December 21, 2016

Population Growth and Changing Land Uses Prompted Assessment

Photo of scientists conducting water chemistry tests for the San Pedro River aquifer. 
December 20, 2016

For the first time, information about the San Pedro River Aquifer is now available from both the U.S. and Mexico in a new, collaborative report issued from the International Boundary and Water Commission, the Mexican National Water Commission, the U.S. Geological Survey and the Universities of Arizona and Sonora.

USGS streamgage
December 19, 2016

10 New Streamgages Installed to Help Manage the Valuable Water Resources

Center-pivot sprinkler in Nebraska.
December 14, 2016

The USGS National Water-Use Science project has documented 60 years of water-use from 1950 to 2010 in an interactive map.  Choose a year and pick a category to see how much water your state uses. 

Map of Northern High Plains Aquifer
December 13, 2016

A new U.S. Geological Survey publication and model can be applied by multiple entities to better understand flow, quantity, sources and sinks of groundwater in the Northern High Plains Aquifer, which covers approximately 100,000 square miles across Nebraska, South Dakota, Kansas, Colorado and Wyoming.

Photo of two of the main spring discharge points of Comal springs.
December 7, 2016

A new U.S. Geological Survey website provides important information about streamflow in the Comal and San Marcos Rivers and springflow at Comal and San Marcos Springs. This website was developed in collaboration with the Edwards Aquifer Authority.

Christian Schmidt
November 28, 2016

Former Montana Water Quality Administrator Begins Work in Boise