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: 161
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

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

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

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

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. Water samples are collected 4 to 12 times a year for selected nutrients, trace metals, sediment, and other water-quality constituents. Intensive sampling (12 samples...

Contacts: Cynthia Rachol
Date published: September 22, 2016

Water Use

The USGS compiles water use information by State including estimated amounts, sources, and categories of use every five years since 1950. Sources include surface water and groundwater, both fresh and saline. Categories include public supply, domestic, livestock, industrial, irrigation, and thermoelectric power. These data provide a source of information about regional and national trends in...

Contacts: Carol Luukkonen
Date published: September 22, 2016

Lansing Area Emerging Contaminants

The USGS, in cooperation with the Tri-County Regional Planning Commission, will analyze water sample results from 20 Lansing area wells. The objective of this study is to investigate well characteristics and other factors that may influence the susceptibility of drinking water-supply wells to contamination by contaminants of emerging concern. This information can be used by Lansing and other...

Contacts: Carol Luukkonen
Date published: September 22, 2016

Mobile River Basin Study

The Mobile River Basin in Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, and Tennessee 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 resources, and to provide a sound,...

Filter Total Items: 1,661
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.

Year Published: 2017

U.S. Geological Survey Karst Interest Group Proceedings, San Antonio, Texas, May 16–18, 2017

Introduction and AcknowledgmentsKarst aquifer systems are present throughout parts of the United States and some of its territories, and have developed in carbonate rocks (primarily limestone and dolomite) and evaporites (gypsum, anhydrite, and halite) that span an interval of time encompassing more than 550 million years. The depositional...

Kuniansky, Eve L.; Spangler, Lawrence E.
Attribution: Water Resources
Kuniansky, E.L., and Spangler, L.E., eds., 2017, U.S. Geological Survey Karst Interest Group Proceedings, San Antonio, Texas, May 16–18, 2017: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2017–5023, 245 p., http://doi.org/10.3133/sir20175023.

Year Published: 2017

Reconstructing a herbivore’s diet using a novel rbcL DNA mini-barcode for plants

Next Generation Sequencing and the application of metagenomic analyses can be used to answer questions about animal diet choice and study the consequences of selective foraging by herbivores. The quantification of herbivore diet choice with respect to native versus exotic plant species is particularly relevant given concerns of invasive species...

Erickson, David L.; Reed, Elizabeth; Ramachandran, Padmini; Bourg, Norman; McShea, William J.; Ottesen, Andrea
Attribution: Water Resources
Erickson, D.L., Reed, E., Ramachandran, P., Bourg, N.A., McShea, W.J. and Ottesen, A., 2017. Reconstructing a herbivore’s diet using a novel rbcL DNA mini-barcode for plants. AoB Plants 9(3): plx015.

Year Published: 2017

Stable isotope analyses of oxygen (18O:17O:16O) and chlorine (37Cl:35Cl) in perchlorate: reference materials, calibrations, methods, and interferences

RationalePerchlorate (ClO4−) is a common trace constituent of water, soils, and plants; it has both natural and synthetic sources and is subject to biodegradation. The stable isotope ratios of Cl and O provide three independent quantities for ClO4− source attribution and natural attenuation studies: δ37Cl, δ18O, and δ17O (or Δ17O or 17Δ) values....

Böhlke, John Karl; Mroczkowski, Stanley J.; Sturchio, Neil C.; Heraty, Linnea J.; Richman, Kent W.; Sullivan, Donald B.; Griffith, Kris N.; Gu, Baohua; Hatzinger, Paul B.
Attribution: Water Resources
Böhlke, J.K., Mroczkowski, S.J., Sturchio, N.C., Heraty, L.J., Richman, K.W., Sullivan, D.B., Griffith, K.N., Gu, B., and Hatzinger, P.B., 2017, Stable isotope analyses of oxygen (18O:17O:16O) and chlorine (37Cl:35Cl) in perchlorate: Reference materials, calibrations, methods, and interferences. Rapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry, v. 31, p. 85-110, doi: 10.1002/rcm.7751

Year Published: 2017

A practical method for the determination of total selenium in environmental samples using isotope dilution-hydride generation-inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry

A safe, practical, and accurate method for the determination of selenium (Se) in range of environmental samples was developed. Small sample masses, 5–20 mg, were amended with 82Se enriched isotope for the isotope dilution (ID), preceding a multi-step wet digestion with nitric acid (HNO3) and hydrogen peroxide (H2O2). Samples were incubated in an...

Kleckner, Amy E.; Kakouros, Evangelos; Stewart, A. Robin
Attribution: Water Resources
Kleckner, A. E., E. Kakouros, and A. R. Stewart. 2017. A practical method for the determination of total selenium in environmental samples using Isotope Dilution-Hydride Generation-Inductively Coupled Plasma-Mass Spectrometry. Limnol. Oceanogr. Methods 15: 363-371. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/lom3.10164

Year Published: 2017

Density-driven free-convection model for isotopically fractionated geogenic nitrate in sabkha brine

Subsurface brines with high nitrate (NO3−) concentration are common in desert environments as atmospheric nitrogen is concentrated by the evaporation of precipitation and little nitrogen uptake. However, in addition to having an elevated mean concentration of ∼525 mg/L (as N), NO3− in the coastal sabkhas of Abu Dhabi is enriched in 15N (mean δ15N...

Wood, Warren W.; Böhlke, John Karl
Attribution: Water Resources
Wood, W.W., and Böhlke, J.K., 2017, Density-driven free-convection model for isotopically fractionated geogenic nitrate in sabkha brine. Groundwater, v. 55(2), p. 199-207, doi: 10.1111/gwat.12463

Year Published: 2017

Planting richness affects the recovery of vegetation and soil processes in constructed wetlands following disturbance

The resilience of constructed wetland ecosystems to severe disturbance, such as a mass herbivory eat-out or soil disturbance, remains poorly understood. In this study, we use a controlled mesocosm experiment to examine how original planting diversity affects the ability of constructed freshwater wetlands to recover structurally and functionally...

Means, Mary M.; Ahn, Changwoo; Noe, Gregory
Attribution: Water Resources
Means, M.M., C. Ahn, and G.B. Noe. 2017. Planting richness affects the recovery of vegetation and soil processes in created wetlands following disturbance. Science of the Total Environment 579: 1366-1378.

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: 1,056
ວັດທະຈັກ ນໍ້າ ສໍາລັບ ໂຮງຮຽນ - The Water Cycle, Lao
February 19, 2018

ວັດທະຈັກ ນໍ້າ ສໍາລັບ ໂຮງຮຽນ - The Water Cycle, Lao

ວັດທະຈັກ ນໍ້າ ສໍາລັບ ໂຮງຮຽນ - The Water Cycle, Lao

Attribution: Water Resources
Veden kiertokulusta -The Water Cycle, Finnish
February 19, 2018

Veden kiertokulusta -The Water Cycle, Finnish

Veden kiertokulusta -The Water Cycle, Finnish

Attribution: Water Resources
Ūdens aprite dabā - The Water Cycle, Latvian
February 19, 2018

Ūdens aprite dabā - The Water Cycle, Latvian

Ūdens aprite dabā - The Water Cycle, Latvian

Attribution: Water Resources
The water cycle - diagram
February 16, 2018

The Water Cycle (Natural water cycle)

Learn About Water!

Earth's water is always in movement, and the natural water cycle, also known as the hydrologic cycle, describes the continuous movement of water on, above, and below the surface of the Earth. Water is always changing states between liquid, vapor, and ice, with these processes happening in the blink of an eye and over millions of years....

Attribution: Water Resources
Blackfeet Reservation Groundwater Monitoring Program Study Area Map
February 9, 2018

Blackfeet Reservation Groundwater Monitoring Program Study Area Map

Blackfeet Reservation Groundwater Monitoring Program Study Area Map

Reston Microbiology Laboratory 2016
January 31, 2018

Reston Microbiology Laboratory 2016

The Reston Microbiology Laboratory Group headed by Denise Akob. 2016

Attribution: Water Resources
January 25, 2018

Welcome to the USGS GeoLog Locator

Welcome to the USGS GeoLog Locator, an online tool for viewing and downloading digital borehole geophysical logs. These borehole logs are used to answer scientific questions about things like groundwater availability, geologic structure of the Earth, and certain characteristics of the structure of the soil and rock formations. The Geolog map viewer allows users to zoom and click on individual...

Ice rings on trees
January 17, 2018

Ice rings on tree on Auglaize River

This picture was taken January 16 by Hydro Tech Tim Nicholson as he was assessing site conditions for a discharge measurement, which he determined was unsafe to make. 04191500 Auglaize River near Defiance

Two technicians in a cablecar over a river, with an instrument hanging below them
December 31, 2017

Lowering an acoustic Doppler current profiler from a cable way.

USGS technicians preparing for a streamflow measurement by lowering an acoustic Doppler current profiler from a cable way on the American River near Fair Oaks, California. 

two men in camo-patterned overalls standing next to a boat on the shore of a river with an instrument on the ground.
December 31, 2017

Technicians prepare to board a boat to measure water flow.

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.

Hampton Roads Benchmark Monitoring: Occupying a Benchmark
December 31, 2017

Hampton Roads Benchmark Monitoring: Occupying a Benchmark

Hampton Roads Benchmark Monitoring: Occupying a Benchmark

Filter Total Items: 364
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.

 

Date published: January 9, 2017

Nation’s River Quality Data Could Power Deeper Science Insights

Challenges remain in combining data from multiple organizations

Date published: January 8, 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 Monday, Jan. 9 at a USGS streamgage location below Friant Dam, a streamflow site with significance to the San Juan River Restoration Project.