NRP scientists study contaminants, water quality, and groundwater and surface water in order to better understand the Nation's water supply.
Water and Climate
NRP scientists study the link between climate change and the hydrologic cycle.
Water, Energy, and Food
NRP scientists study hydrologic processes as they relate to energy extraction and agricultural practices.
Water and Ecosystems
NRP scientsts use various hydrologic models to understand biogeochemical changes in ecosystems.
National Research Program
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The USGS National Research Program (NRP), part of the USGS Water Mission Area, conducts research to develop and disseminate science-based information and tools needed for a fundamental understanding of the processes that affect the availability, movement, and quality of the Nation’s water resources.Learn more about NRP
Aquatic Systems Branch scientists analyze rings of riparian trees relating tree growth and establishment to historical flow. We then use the tree rings to reconstruct the flow in past centuries. Flow reconstructions discover the frequency and magnitude of past droughts and floods—information that is essential for management of rivers and water supplies. We also use downscaled climate...
Objectives: Investigate sediment transport processes associated with our changing landscape. Research includes understanding bank erosion, bed-martial movement and development of bed-material and sediment fluxes. Methods are being developed for relating measured parameters of physical roughness to hydraulic roughness based on turbulence.
Objectives: Understand the causes of harmful algal blooms (HABs), their links to the climate system and human fertilization of lakes and coastal waters, and their economic, ecological and human-health consequences. Understand the link between the nutrient cycling and HABs and develop guidelines for the use of stable isotope techniques for determining the dominant N and P sources that trigger...
Objectives: Enhance and apply improved statistical tools for analysis of long term trends in surface water flow and quality; Provide transparent, communicable, and defensible methods to enhance the planning and decision-making ability of water planners, hydraulic engineers, regulators, and managers under change.
Objective: Leverage information in the National streamgage network to address data gaps in streamflow.
Objectives: Understand & quantify climatic and hydrologic causes, predictability and consequences of floods; Build, test, apply and distribute state-of-the-art inundation models for USGS and OFA use that include sediment movement; Develop remote sensing methods for measuring flood extent and surface water velocities during large flood events.
Objectives: Characterize selected volcanic hydrothermal systems; Characterize chemistry of waters and gases discharging in volcanic areas and from geothermal systems, in part, to better predict volcanic unrest.
Objectives: Develop large-eddy computational models; Conduct lab experiments using laser-Doppler & particle image velocimetry; Repeat imaging of mobile bedforms with hyperspectral imaging and surface velocity measurements; Conduct laser scanning of bed grains combined with large-eddy modeling to infer hydraulic roughness; Conduct studies measuring sediment ages and fluxes, and human...
Objectives: Build, test, apply and distribute state-of-the-art surface-water models for predicting flooding and river channel dynamics and estuarine ecosystem dynamics; Link hydrodynamic, climate, watershed, water quality, and ecological models to assess long-term ecosystem response to future scenarios of change (climate, earthquake, management) to better manage the San Francisco Bay-Delta (...
Objectives: Improve predictions of post-wildfire flash flooding and water-quality impairment; Provide guidance to water providers and land-management agencies to plan for post-wildfire problems; Understand how vegetation changes affect wildfire regimes.
Objectives: Determine geomorphic and ecological processes on floodplains and stream-side wetlands relevant to environmental improvement and water quality; Understand sedimentary processes and linked vegetation patterns that bind stored sediment, enhance sediment deposition, structure biogeochemical pathways, govern natural water-quality functions, and facilitate environmental restoration.
Objectives: Determine the detailed coupling between sediment motion and near-bed fluid flow, including the effects of turbulence
Predict the behavior of bedforms and associated roughness effects in unsteady flows
Improve modeling capabilities for bank erosion including vegetation effects
Use remote sensing to track bars, bedforms and other landforms and thereby estimate bed-...
The USGS has been a leader in the development of hydrologic and geochemical simulation models since the 1960's. USGS models are widely used to predict responses of hydrologic systems to changing stresses, such as increases in precipitation or ground-water pumping rates, as well as to predict the fate and movement of solutes and contaminants in water.
The HYDROTHERM computer program simulates multi-phase ground-water flow and associated thermal energy transport in three dimensions. It can handle high fluid pressures, up to 1 x 10^9 Pa (104 atm), and high temperatures, up to 1,200 °C.
The USGS Groundwater Age Mixtures and Contaminant Trends Tool can be used to explore the effects of basic aquifer properties and well configurations on groundwater age mixtures in groundwater discharge and on contaminant trends from varying nonpoint-source contaminant input scenarios.
TracerLPM is an interactive Excel workbook program used to evaluate groundwater age distributions from environmental tracer data by using lumped parameter models (LPMs).
Exploration and Graphics for RivEr Trends (EGRET) is an R-package for the analysis of long-term changes in water quality and streamflow, including the water-quality method Weighted Regressions on Time, Discharge, and Season (WRTDS).
The VS2DI package contains all the tools that a user needs to create, run, and view results for a simulation of flow and transport through variably saturated porous media.
PHREEQC is a general purpose geochemical model for reactions in water and between water and rocks and sediments.
The Precipitation-Runoff Modeling System (PRMS) is a deterministic, distributed-parameter, physical process based modeling system developed to evaluate the response of various combinations of climate and land use on streamflow and general watershed hydrology.
PHAST is a 3D groundwater flow and solute transport model that has extensive capabilities to simulate water-rock and biogeochemical reactions that include all of the reactions available in PHREEQC.
ModelMuse is a graphical user interface (GUI) for the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) models MODFLOW-2005, MODFLOW-LGR, MODFLOW-NWT, MODPATH, ZONEBUDGET, and PHAST and for MT3DMS.
The U.S. Geological Survey’s (USGS) Multi-Dimensional Surface-Water Modeling System (MD_SWMS) is a pre- and post-processing application for computational models of surface-water hydraulics.
The Global Climate Change Viewer (GCCV) is used to visualize future temperature and precipitation changes simulated by global climate models.
Ground-water and Surface-water FLOW (GSFLOW) is used to simulate coupled ground-water and surface-water resources.
JJ Thordsen (USGS) and a wireline operator retrieving downhole vacuum sampler from a characterization well near a CO2 injection well at Citronelle oil field, Alabama.
Presents descriptions of the USGS Precipitation Runoff Modeling System (PRMS) Surface-Runoff modules, which compute Hortonian surface runoff, soil infiltration, and impervious surface and surface depression storage and flows.
Presents descriptions of the USGS Precipitation Runoff Modeling System (PRMS) Soilzone module.
Presents descriptions of the USGS Precipitation Runoff Modeling System (PRMS) streamflow routing modules.
Presents descriptions of the USGS Precipitation Runoff Modeling System (PRMS) Summary modules.
Presents descriptions of the USGS Precipitation Runoff Modeling System (PRMS) cascading-flow computation option, which allows for reinfiltration across the land surface, shallow subsurface, and saturated zone
eruption of Lone Star Geyser, Yellowstone National Park
Upper Geyser Basin at El Tatio Geyser Field, Chile
Geyser cone in the El Tatio geyser field, Chile
Great Geysir (left) and Strokker Geyser (right) in Iceland
Picturesque view of Mt.Diablo early in the morning from Suisun Marsh.
USGS conducts water quality sampling to describe changes in water quality along the deep channel of the San Francisco Bay-Delta system. Sampling includes continuious sampling and discrete sampling. Here a water discrete water sample is collected using a Niskin sampler at sunset in north San Francisco Bay.
Despite two centuries of scientific study, basic questions persist about geysers—why do they exist? What determines their behavior?
While freshwater ecosystems cover only a small amount of the land surface in Alaska, they transport and emit a significant amount of carbon, according to new U.S. Geological Survey research. An invited feature article for Ecological Applications provides the first-ever major aquatic carbon flux assessment for the entire state. Carbon flux refers to the rate of carbon transfer between pools.
The new table includes both standard and conventional atomic weights values to clarify that many atomic weights have natural variation and to provide single values for chemical education use
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.
Mercury contamination is widespread, at various levels across western North America in air, soil, sediment, plants, fish and wildlife.
TECHNICAL ANNOUNCEMENT: Monitoring, verification and accounting are key parts to demonstrating the feasibility or success of integrated carbon capture and storage technologies.
To gain insights into the risks associated with uranium mining and processing, U.S. Geological Survey scientists are investigating how uranium moves into and up food chains.
The thawing of the planet’s permafrost is replumbing arctic environments, creating several hydrologic consequences and possibly some opportunities according to a new study published in Vadose Zone.