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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.Read Science Plan
Historically, Idaho has been home to many productive underground and open-pit mining operations. These activities have also produced water quality problems in some areas. One such example is the Blackbird Mine in central Idaho. Following mining operations from the 1940s through the 1960s, Panther Creek and its tributaries were severely damaged by runoff from the Blackbird Mine. Water-quality...
The USGS employs state-of-the-science techniques to estimate nutrient and suspended-sediment loads to Upper Klamath Lake.
The USGS has characterized nutrient concentrations in the Klamath River and Lost River drainages over multiple years, identified spatial and temporal patterns in nutrient and organic carbon concentrations, and quantified surface water nutrient loads entering and exiting the Klamath Project.
The Mobile River Basin study is one of several NAWQA studies that began in Federal fiscal year 1997 (October 1996). Study planning and design, and analysis of existing data will be done during the first 2 years, which is consistent with all NAWQA studies. After the 2-year planning period, surface- and ground-water and biological data will be collected intensively for 3 years during a high-...
To make scientifically based water-resource decisions, elected officials, water managers, and the general public need additional information about the Wood River Valley aquifer system. A crucial part of this information is an improved understanding of the extent, thickness, and hydraulic properties of the aquifer—a hydrogeologic framework.
A component of groundwater availability is whether the water quality is suitable for a particular use. Elected officials, water managers, and the general public have raised concerns about whether water quality has been affected in developed and agricultural areas by wastewater disposal, fertilizer application, and animal waste.
Groundwater is the primary source of water supply to Ada County’s growing population. Because of a proposed development near Mayfield, the Idaho Department of Water Resources (IDWR) initiated the East Ada County Hydrologic Project to improve the scientific understanding of the groundwater resources in the area.
The endangered Bruneau hot springsnail (Pyrgulopsis bruneauensis) exists only in a geographically limited habitat of thermal springs and seeps in southwestern Idaho. As a part of its 2002 recovery plan for the springsnail, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) targeted conservation efforts to increase groundwater levels in the Bruneau area to protect the geothermal spring discharges...
As part of their mission to protect public health and aquatic ecosystems, Alabama state agencies need accurate and representative streamflow statistics to establish realistic and applicable criteria for both water quality and water quantity (fig. 1). Historically, low-flow statistics, such as the annual minimum 7-day average flow that likely will occur, on average, once every 10 years (7Q10),...
The State of Idaho needs to determine stream discharge, adjusted to remove fluctuations resulting from the operation of hydropower facilities, in the Snake River below Swan Falls Dam near Murphy, Idaho. The State will use this information to distribute water to owners of water rights in the middle Snake River, particularly at thresholds of 3,900 and 5,600 ft3/s.
Water exchange between...
Development around Coeur d'Alene Lake has accelerated over the past 25 years. Commercial and residential development adjacent to the lake plus demands for irrigation, recreation, and hydropower raise concerns about the potential for declining lake levels.
A comprehensive lake water budget helps resource managers determine the possible effects of growth on lake levels.
The mining district in the South Fork Coeur d’Alene River valley was among the Nation’s largest producers of silver, lead, zinc, and other metals from the 1880s to the 1980s. These activities have produced large quantities of waste material that contain environmentally hazardous contaminants such as cadmium, lead, and zinc. Much of this material has been discharged directly to or washed into...
Potentially exploitable supercritical geothermal resources in the ductile crust
The hypothesis that the brittle–ductile transition (BDT) drastically reduces permeability implies that potentially exploitable geothermal resources (permeability >10−16 m2) consisting of supercritical water could occur only in rocks with unusually high transition temperatures such as basalt. However, tensile fracturing is possible even in...Watanabe, Noriaki; Numakura, Tatsuya; Sakaguchi, Kiyotoshi; Saishu, Hanae; Okamoto, Atsushi; Ingebritsen, Steven E.; Tsuchiya, Noriyoshi
Changes in the Chemistry of Groundwater Reacted with CO2: Comparison of Laboratory Results with the ZERT Field Pilot
As part of the ZERT program, sediments from two wells at the ZERT site, located in Bozeman, Montana, USA were reacted with a solution having the composition of local groundwater. A total of 50 water samples were collected from 7 containers placed for 15 days in a glove box with one atmosphere of CO2 to investigate detailed changes in the...Kharaka, Yousif K.; Thordsen, James J.; Abedini, Atosa A.; Beers, Sarah; Thomas, Burt
Using groundwater age distributions to understand changes in methyl tert-butyl ether (MtBE) concentrations in ambient groundwater, northeastern United States
Temporal changes in methyl tert-butyl ether (MtBE) concentrations in groundwater were evaluated in the northeastern United States, an area of the nation with widespread low-level detections of MtBE based on a national survey of wells selected to represent ambient conditions. MtBE use in the U.S. peaked in 1999 and was largely discontinued by 2007...Lindsey, Bruce; Ayotte, Joseph; Jurgens, Bryant; DeSimone, Leslie
Local geology controlled the feasibility of vitrifying Iron Age buildings
During European prehistory, hilltop enclosures made from polydisperse particle-and-block stone walling were exposed to temperatures sufficient to partially melt the constituent stonework, leading to the preservation of glassy walls called ‘vitrified forts’. During vitrification, the granular wall rocks partially melt, sinter viscously and densify...Fabian B Wadsworth; Michael J Heap; Damby, David; Kai-Uwe Hess; Jens Najorka; Jérémie Vasseur; Dominik Fahrner; Donald B Dingwell
The contribution of rice agriculture to methylmercury in surface waters: A review of data from the Sacramento Valley, California
Methylmercury (MeHg) is a bioaccumulative pollutant produced in and exported from flooded soils, including those used for rice (Oriza sativa L.) production. Using unfiltered aqueous MeHg data from MeHg monitoring programs in the Sacramento River watershed from 1996 to 2007, we assessed the MeHg contribution from rice systems to the Sacramento...Tanner, K. Christy; Windham-Myers, Lisamarie; Fleck, Jacob; Tate, Kenneth W.; McCord, Stephen A.; Linquist, Bruce A.
Acetylene fuels TCE reductive dechlorination by defined Dehalococcoides/Pelobacter consortia
Acetylene (C2H2) can be generated in contaminated groundwater sites as a consequence of chemical degradation of trichloroethene (TCE) by in situ minerals, and C2H2 is known to inhibit bacterial dechlorination. In this study, we show that while high C2H2 (1.3 mM) concentrations reversibly inhibit reductive dechlorination of TCE by Dehalococcoides...Mao, Xinwei; Oremland, Ronald S.; Liu, Tong; Landers, Abigail A; Baesman, Shaun; Alvarez-Cohen, Lisa
Long-term flow-through column experiments and their relevance to natural granitoid weathering rates
Four pairs of fresh and partly-weathered granitoids, obtained from well-characterized watersheds—Merced River, CA, USA; Panola, GA, USA; Loch Vale, CO, USA, and Rio Icacos, Puerto Rico—were reacted in columns under ambient laboratory conditions for 13.8 yrs, the longest running experimental weathering study to date. Low total column mass losses (...White, Arthur F.; Schulz, Marjorie S.; Lawrence, Corey R.; Vivit, Davison V.; Stonestrom, David A.
Evaluation of diffuse and preferential flow pathways of infiltratedprecipitation and irrigation using oxygen and hydrogen isotopes
Subsurface-water flow pathways in three different land-use areas (non-irrigated grassland, poplar forest, and irrigated arable land) in the central North China Plain were investigated using oxygen (18O) and hydrogen (2H) isotopes in samples of precipitation, soils, and groundwater. Soil water in the top 10 cm was significantly affected by...Ma, Bin; Liang, Xing; Liu, Shaohua; Jin, Menggui; Nimmo, John R.; Li, Jingxin
Differences in flood hazard projections in Europe – their causes and consequences for decision making
This paper interprets differences in flood hazard projections over Europe and identifies likely sources of discrepancy. Further, it discusses potential implications of these differences for flood risk reduction and adaptation to climate change. The discrepancy in flood hazard projections raises caution, especially among decision makers in charge...Kundzewicz, Z. W.; Krysanova, V.; Dankers, R.; Hirabayashi, Y.; Kanae, S.; Hattermann, F. F.; Huang, S.; Milly, Paul C.D.; Stoffel, M.; Driessen, P.P.J.; Matczak, P.; Quevauviller, P.; Schellnhuber, H.-J.
Hydrochemical determination of source water contributions to Lake Lungo and Lake Ripasottile (central Italy)
Lake Lungo and Lake Ripasottile are two shallow (4-5 m) lakes located in the Rieti Basin, central Italy, that have been described previously as surface outcroppings of the groundwater table. In this work, the two lakes as well as springs and rivers that represent their potential source waters are characterized physio-chemically and isotopically,...Archer, Claire; Noble, Paula; Kreamer, David; Piscopo, Vincenzo; Petitta, Marco; Rosen, Michael R.; Poulson, Simon R.; Piovesan, Gianluca; Mensing, Scott
Phosphorus (P) and HABs: Sources of P discharged from the Maumee River into Lake Erie
No abstract available.Muenich, Rebecca Logsdon; Johnson, Laura; Bratton, John F.; Fussell, Kristin DeVanna; Kane, Doug; Kalcic, Margaret; Robertson, Dale M.; Eberts, Sandra; Evans, Mary; Gibbons, Kenneth J.
Preliminary viability assessment of Lake Mendocino forecast informed reservoir operations
This report describes the preliminary viability assessment (PVA) of forecast informed reservoir operations (FIRO) for Lake Mendocino, which is located on the East Fork Russian River three miles east of Ukiah, California. The results described in this report represent the collective activities of the Lake Mendocino FIRO Steering Committee (SC) (SC...Jasperse, Jay; Ralph, Marty; Anderson, Michael; Brekke, Levi D.; Dillabough, Mike; Dettinger, Michael; Haynes, Alan; Hartman, Robert; Jones, Christy; Forbis, Joe; Rutten, Patrick; Talbot, Cary; Webb, Robert H.
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.
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.
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...
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...
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...
Landsat satellites captured this image of Lake Erie during a harmful algal bloom event.
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...
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.
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...
Reporters: Do you want to accompany a USGS field crew as they measure flooding? Please contact Jason McVay at 319-430-6962.
New research from the U.S. Geological Survey and partners illustrates how climate change is perceived among different generations of indigenous residents in subarctic Alaska. While all subjects agreed climate change is occurring, the older participants observed more overall changes than the younger demographic.
Now in its ninth year, Watershed Watch educates children and adults about the health of the Boise River watershed
A recent study looks at the impact of climate change on certain fish in Wisconsin lakes.
Working quickly, making decisions based on the National Hurricane Center’s latest forecasts, often working in storm winds and rain, USGS scientists use a variety of techniques to forecast and track coastal flooding caused by Hermine.
After the floodwaters recede, the search for the high-water marks begins
TECHNICAL ANNOUNCEMENT: Monitoring, verification and accounting are key parts to demonstrating the feasibility or success of integrated carbon capture and storage technologies.
In celebration of the National Park Service Centennial, 1916-2016
Reporters: Do you want to accompany a USGS field crew as they measure flooding? Please contact Jason McVay at 319-430-6962.
A U.S. Geological Survey streamgage, dormant since 2003, was recently reactivated in the city of Frankton, Indiana through a funding partnership with the Indiana Department of Transportation.