Mission Areas

Water

Mission Areas L2 Landing Page Tabs

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
Filter Total Items: 80
Black Warrior River Map
September 22, 2012

Static flood-inundation map libraries consist of maps that have been created in advance of a flood that are ready to be served through the Internet. Each library consists of a set of flood extent and depth maps developed for predetermined stream stage intervals (for example, a map for each one foot of stage). A user can view real-time or forecast stage data from a USGS streamgage or National...

Map of Mt. Pleasant Waterworks wells in the Charleston aquifer
September 22, 2012

StreamStats is a Web-based tool that provides streamflow statistics, drainage-basin characteristics, and other information for USGS streamgaging stations and for user-selected ungaged sites on streams. When users select the location of a streamgaging station, StreamStats provides previously published information from a database. When users select a site on an ungaged stream, StreamStats will...

Terrestrial Light Detection and Ranging (T-LiDAR) Technology
September 22, 2011

T-LiDAR technology utilizes reflected laser pulses sent from a tripod-mounted scanning instrument to determine distances to targets of interest. The resulting dataset is a 3 dimensional model or "point cloud" of millions of XYZ data points, spaced only a few millimeters apart. This highly detailed dataset is used by USGS scientists to create topographic models, make detailed...

Marshy area on Chesapeake Bay
September 5, 2011

The USGS is summarizing basic information on water resources for each parish in Louisiana and presenting the information in fact-sheet format. Information presented includes groundwater and surface-water availability, quality, development, use, and trends. These brief summaries of water resources will provide parish officials, local officials and concerned citizens with information needed to...

Terrestrial Light Detection and Ranging (T-LiDAR) Technology
September 2, 2011

The live oaks framing Toomer's Corner in Auburn, Alabama were planted about 1880 and have served as a focal point for Auburn celebrations in recent decades. The trees recently received a powerful dose of an herbicide known as Spike 80DF. In an effort to save the trees, a task force made up of university horticulturists, landscapers, agronomists, engineers, chemists and others has...

USGS_partner_logo
September 26, 2010

Various environmental groups in Alabama are concerned that the use of culverts at highway crossings to convey stream flows has detrimental effects on the natural conditions of streams. Specifically, some groups are concerned that changes in stream geomorphology, sediment concentrations, and associated turbidity adversely impact the benthic macroinvertebrate community when culverts are...

Marshland
June 3, 2010

In 2002, the Davis Pond Freshwater Diversion began diverting up to 10,000 cfs of Mississippi River water into the waters surrounding the Barataria Preserve of the Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve. Previously, precipitation, local surface-water runoff, and occasional marine intrusion largely determined quality of surface and marsh porewaters at the Preserve. The new influx of...

Image: Soil Core Sample #1
September 29, 2009

The LaWSC, in collaboration with researchers from the National Wetlands Research Center (NWRC), the NRP program, Auburn University, and Clemson University, is documenting conditions in tidal swamps in Louisiana, Georgia, and South Carolina as a baseline with which to compare future data to assess the impacts of climate change in such areas. Tidal swamps in these states offer an array of...

Cave in fractured Austin Group rock located approximately 9.3 miles northeast of city of Uvalde in Uvalde County, Texas.
September 29, 2009

In early 2009, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) constructed a rock barrier across the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet (MRGO), a navigation channel between the Port of New Orleans and the Gulf of Mexico. In August 2008, prior to construction of the rock barrier, the LaWSC, in cooperation with the USACE, began monitoring specific conductance, dissolved oxygen, and discharge in the MRGO to...

Wetlands on the Fort A.P. Hill reservation are all freshwater
September 23, 2009

Wetlands in the Bayou aux Carpes area, south of New Orleans, La., currently are isolated from direct inflow of storm water runoff by levees and spoil banks. The USACE is considering removal of a spoil bank that would allow storm-water runoff to flow through and across the wetlands. . The wetlands consist of floating marshes, with a predominately organic substrate, and forested wetlands, some...

Simulation showing how geoelectric vectors (black)
April 18, 2009

Saltwater encroachment has been detected in six aquifers, including the "1,500-foot" and "2,000-foot" sands, north of the Baton Rouge fault in East Baton Rouge Parish. The encroachment is in response to ground-water withdrawals, primarily for public supply and industrial uses, in Baton Rouge. Additional information is needed for water planners and managers in the Baton...

Five Mile Canoeing
January 7, 2005

The Black Warrior - Cahaba Rivers Land Trust and City of Tarrant (as part of the Fivemile Creek Greenway Partnership) are among the new USGS cooperators for 2003 -04. These organizations are spearheading an effort to restore Fivemile Creek in Jefferson County to its place as an important asset in daily lives for those who live and work along the creek in northern Jefferson County. The Greenway...

Explore new publications and highlighted collections.

Filter Total Items: 1,345
Hydrogeology and hydrologic conditions of the Ozark Plateaus aquifer system
Year Published: 2016

Hydrogeology and hydrologic conditions of the Ozark Plateaus aquifer system

The hydrogeology and hydrologic characteristics of the Ozark Plateaus aquifer system were characterized as part of ongoing U.S. Geological Survey efforts to assess groundwater availability across the Nation. The need for such a study in the Ozark Plateaus physiographic province (Ozark Plateaus) is highlighted by increasing demand on groundwater...

Hays, Phillip D.; Knierim, Katherine J.; Breaker, Brian K.; Westerman, Drew A.; Clark, Brian R.
Hays, P.D., Knierim, K.J., Breaker, Brian, Westerman, D.A., and Clark, B.R., 2016, Hydrogeology and hydrologic conditions of the Ozark Plateaus aquifer system: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2016–5137, 61 p., http://dx.doi.org/10.3133/sir20165137.
Special issue “The phreatic eruption of Mt. Ontake volcano in 2014”
Year Published: 2016

Special issue “The phreatic eruption of Mt. Ontake volcano in 2014”

Mt. Ontake volcano erupted at 11:52 on September 27, 2014, claiming the lives of at least 58 hikers. This eruption was the worst volcanic disaster in Japan since the 1926 phreatic eruption of Mt. Tokachidake claimed 144 lives (Table 1). The timing of the eruption contributed greatly to the heavy death toll: near midday, when many hikers were near...

Yamaoka, Koshun; Geshi, Nobuo; Hashimoto, Tasheki; Ingebritsen, Steven E.; Oikawa, Teruki
Yamaoka, K., Geshi, N., Hashimoto, T., Ingebritsen, S.E., and Oikawa, T., 2016, Special issue “The phreatic eruption of Mt. Ontake volcano in 2014”: Earth, Planets, and Space, v. 68, doi:10.1186/s40623-016-0548-4.
Atomic weights of the elements 2013 (IUPAC Technical Report)
Year Published: 2016

Atomic weights of the elements 2013 (IUPAC Technical Report)

The biennial review of atomic-weight determinations and other cognate data has resulted in changes for the standard atomic weights of 19 elements.

Meija, Juris; Coplen, Tyler B.; Berglund, Michael; Brand, Willi A.; De Bièvre, Paul; Gröning, Manfred; Holden, Norman E.; Irrgeher, Johanna; Loss, Robert D.; Walczyk, Thomas; Prohaska, Thomas
Isotopic compositions of the elements 2013 (IUPAC Technical Report)
Year Published: 2016

Isotopic compositions of the elements 2013 (IUPAC Technical Report)

The Commission on Isotopic Abundances and Atomic Weights (ciaaw.org) of the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (iupac.org) has revised the Table of Isotopic Compositions of the Elements (TICE). The update involved a critical evaluation of the recent published literature. The new TICE 2013 includes evaluated data from the “best...

Meija, Juris; Coplen, Tyler B.; Berglund, Michael; Brand, Willi A.; De Bièvre, Paul; Gröning, Manfred; Holden, Norman E.; Irrgeher, Johanna; Loss, Robert D.; Walczyk, Thomas; Prohaska, Thomas
Pure Appl. Chem. 2016; 88(3): 293–306
Deposition, accumulation, and alteration of Cl−, NO3−, ClO4− and ClO3− salts in a hyper-arid polar environment: Mass balance and isotopic constraints
Year Published: 2016

Deposition, accumulation, and alteration of Cl−, NO3−, ClO4− and ClO3− salts in a hyper-arid polar environment: Mass balance and isotopic constraints

The salt fraction in permafrost soils/sediments of the McMurdo Dry Valleys (MDV) of Antarctica can be used as a proxy for cold desert geochemical processes and paleoclimate reconstruction. Previous analyses of the salt fraction in MDV permafrost soils have largely been conducted in coastal regions where permafrost soils are variably affected by...

Jackson, Andrew; Davila, Alfonso F.; Böhlke, John Karl; Sturchio, Neil C.; Sevanthi, Ritesh; Estrada, Nubia; Brundrett, Maeghan; Lacelle, Denis; McKay, Christopher P.; Poghosyan, Armen; Pollard, Wayne; Zacny, Kris
A dynamic leaf gas-exchange strategy is conserved in woody plants under changing ambient CO2: evidence from carbon isotope discrimination in paleo and CO2 enrichment studies
Year Published: 2016

A dynamic leaf gas-exchange strategy is conserved in woody plants under changing ambient CO2: evidence from carbon isotope discrimination in paleo and CO2 enrichment studies

Rising atmospheric [CO2], ca, is expected to affect stomatal regulation of leaf gas-exchange of woody plants, thus influencing energy fluxes as well as carbon (C), water, and nutrient cycling of forests. Researchers have proposed various strategies for stomatal regulation of leaf gas-exchange that include maintaining a constant leaf internal [CO2...

Voelker, Steven L.; Brooks, J. Renée; Meinzer, Frederick C.; Anderson, Rebecca D.; Bader, Martin K.-F.; Battipaglia, Giovanna; Becklin, Katie M.; Beerling, David; Bert, Didier; Betancourt, Julio L.; Dawson, Todd E.; Domec, Jean-Christophe; Guyette, Richard P.; Körner, Christian; Leavitt, Steven W.; Linder, Sune; Marshall, John D.; Mildner, Manuel; Ogée, Jérôme; Panyushkina, Irina P.; Plumpton, Heather J.; Pregitzer, Kurt S.; Saurer, Matthias; Smith, Andrew R.; Siegwolf, Rolf T.W.; Stambaugh, Michael C.; Talhelm, Alan F.; Tardif, Jacques C.; Van De Water, Peter K.; Ward, Joy K.; Wingate, Lisa
Bounded fractional diffusion in geological media: Definition and Lagrangian approximation
Year Published: 2016

Bounded fractional diffusion in geological media: Definition and Lagrangian approximation

Spatiotemporal Fractional-Derivative Models (FDMs) have been increasingly used to simulate non-Fickian diffusion, but methods have not been available to define boundary conditions for FDMs in bounded domains. This study defines boundary conditions and then develops a Lagrangian solver to approximate bounded, one-dimensional fractional diffusion.

Zhang, Yong; Green, Christopher T.; LaBolle, Eric M.; Neupauer, Roseanna M.; Sun, HongGuang
Zhang, Y, C.T. Green, E.M. LaBolle, R.M. Neupauer, ,and H.G. Sun, 2016, Bounded fractional diffusion in geological media: Definition and Lagrangian approximation, Water Resources Research, DOI: 10.1002/2016WR019178
Estimation of time-variable fast flow path chemical concentrations for application in tracer-based hydrograph separation analyses
Year Published: 2016

Estimation of time-variable fast flow path chemical concentrations for application in tracer-based hydrograph separation analyses

Mixing models are a commonly used method for hydrograph separation, but can be hindered by the subjective choice of the end-member tracer concentrations. This work tests a new variant of mixing model that uses high-frequency measures of two tracers and streamflow to separate total streamflow into water from slowflow and fastflow sources. The ratio...

Kronholm, Scott C.; Capel, Paul D.
Comment on “Reconciliation of the Devils Hole climate record with orbital forcing”
Year Published: 2016

Comment on “Reconciliation of the Devils Hole climate record with orbital forcing”

Moseley et al.’s (Reports, 8 January 2016, p. 165) preferred-Termination-II age is subjective, as evidenced by variation in their Termination-II ages of 2500 years per meter. Termination-II-age bias decreases to zero at ~1.5 meters below the present-day water table, if one assumes linear variation with core-sample height. Maintaining the required...

Coplen, Tyler B.
Three whole-wood isotopic reference materials, USGS54, USGS55, and USGS56, for δ2H, δ13C, δ15N, and δ18O measurements
Year Published: 2016

Three whole-wood isotopic reference materials, USGS54, USGS55, and USGS56, for δ2H, δ13C, δ15N, and δ18O measurements

Comparative measurements of stable hydrogen and oxygen isotopes in wood are hampered by the lack of proper reference materials (RMs). The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) has prepared three powdered, whole-wood RMs, USGS54 (Pinus contorta, Canadian lodgepole pine), USGS55 (Cordia cf. dodecandra, Mexican ziricote), and USGS56 (Berchemia cf. zeyheri,...

Qi, Haiping; Coplen, Tyler B.; Jordan, James A.
Review of footnotes and annotations to the 1949–2013 tables of standard atomic weights and tables of isotopic compositions of the elements (IUPAC Technical Report)
Year Published: 2016

Review of footnotes and annotations to the 1949–2013 tables of standard atomic weights and tables of isotopic compositions of the elements (IUPAC Technical Report)

The Commission on Isotopic Abundances and Atomic Weights uses annotations given in footnotes that are an integral part of the Tables of Standard Atomic Weights to alert users to the possibilities of quite extraordinary occurrences, as well as sources with abnormal atomic-weight values outside an otherwise acceptable range.

Coplen, Tyler B.; Holden, Norman E.
Biodynamics of copper oxide nanoparticles and copper ions in an oligochaete - Part II: Subcellular distribution following sediment exposure
Year Published: 2016

Biodynamics of copper oxide nanoparticles and copper ions in an oligochaete - Part II: Subcellular distribution following sediment exposure

The use and likely incidental release of metal nanoparticles (NPs) is steadily increasing. Despite the increasing amount of published literature on metal NP toxicity in the aquatic environment, very little is known about the biological fate of NPs after sediment exposures. Here, we compare the bioavailability and subcellular distribution of copper...

Thit, Amalie; Ramskov, Tina; Croteau, Marie-Noele; Selck, Henriette
Thit A, Ramskow T, Croteau MN, Selck H. 2016. Biodynamics of copper oxide nanoparticles and copper ions in an oligochaete, Part II: subcellular distribution following sediment exposure. Aquat. Toxicol.

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: 637
September 2016 (approx.)
In this video, we will demonstrate how to collect data at a station as part of an under ice midsection ADCP measurement in TRDI SxS Pro. Note: Use of trade names is for descriptive purposes only, and does not imply endorsement by the USGS. For additional videos in this series, visit the following link: https://www2.usgs.gov/humancapital/ecd/hydrotube/hydrotube-ADCP.html
A U.S. Geological Survey hydrologic technician, uses an Acoustic Doppler Velocimeter to measure stream flow on a Florida creek.
September 2, 2016
Neil Yobbi, U.S. Geological Survey hydrologic technician, uses an Acoustic Doppler Velocimeter to measure stream flow on Curlew Creek in Tampa, Florida. While Hurricane Hermine might have made landfall almost 200 miles away in St. Marks, Florida, a USGS rain gauge in Pinellas County, Florida, still measured more than 16 inches of total rain during the past three-day storm event. Photo by Suzana...
U.S. Geological Survey streamflow-gaging station 08111000 Navasota River near Bryan, Texas, upstream from U.S. Hwy. 190.
August 27, 2016
U.S. Geological Survey streamflow-gaging station 08111000 Navasota River near Bryan, Texas, looking upstream from U.S. Highway 190 bridge, August 27, 1975.
August 27, 2016
This was a Facebook Live video conducted with James Fountain of the USGS discussing the Louisiana flooding in August 2016 and the personal experience James had with this event. Questions and comments during the live video at: https://www.facebook.com/USGeologicalSurvey/videos/1144228595623122/
Two men walk by debris along the side of the road
August 26, 2016
Daniel McCay and Chris Henry, U.S. Geological Survey hydrologic technicians, search a neighborhood south of Denham Springs, Louisiana, for high-water marks August 26. The term high-water mark refers to the debris flood waters will leave on walls, buildings and trees. This thin line of residue is an indicator of how high the waters reached, yet the fragile nature of these marks means they must be...
Two men stand next to a building in yellow life jackets
August 26, 2016
Chris Henry and Daniel McCay, USGS hydrologic technicians, use GPS equipment to survey a high-water mark outside of a flooded elementary school in Denham Springs, Louisiana, August 28. This school was located in one of the hardest hit flood areas and the blue line simulates how high the water was at its peak during this historic flood.
Two men mark a high-water mark on a structure
August 26, 2016
Daniel McCay and Chris Henry, USGS hydrologic technicians, use a level to draw a line on a high-water mark August 26. In most circumstances, when a high-water mark is flagged it would then be surveyed with GPS equipment to obtain its exact coordinates and elevation. However, because of the possibility of more storms hitting Louisiana the teams were initially only flagging marks at first, in order...
A man in an orange shirt writes on a pad of paper
August 26, 2016
Jonathan Gillip, USGS hydrologist, documents a high-water mark he flagged near a damage retirement community in Denham Springs, Louisiana, August 26. So far, USGS teams have flagged and surveyed more than 400 high-watermarks across southern Louisiana.
A buoy warning of the under-bay sewage treatment plant pipeline in Great South Bay, Long Island
August 24, 2016
A buoy warning of the under-bay sewage treatment plant pipeline appears to guide the AUV on its course; confirming that the AUV’s position is accurate. The AUV uses a differential global positioning system (GPS) receiver and bottom-tracking Doppler velocimetry log (DVL) to maintain position.
3 USGS scientists retrieve AUV from Great South Bay, Long Island
August 24, 2016
Retrieval and Results Processed data are exported to two- and three- dimensional mapping applications to visualize water-quality distributions. Combined with observed water currents and bathymetric contours, this allows for an integrated analysis of the system under investigation.
The AUV travels along the under-bay section of the Bergen Point Sewage Treatment Plant outfall pipe in Babylon, NY.
August 24, 2016
The AUV travels along the under-bay section of the Bergen Point Sewage Treatment Plant outfall pipe in Babylon, NY. The goal is to see if changes in surrounding water-quality suggest potential leaks in the aging infrastructure.
2 men in boat on Great South Bay using a hydrophone to locate AUV
August 22, 2016
If the vehicle becomes stuck or disabled at depth, a hydrophone can be used to locate the submerged instrument. When at the surface, the AUV can send its retrieval location to a web server or cell phone.
Filter Total Items: 294
This is a photograph of a storm-tide sensor used by the USGS to measure storm surge.
October 8, 2016

The U.S. Geological Survey is using many forms of technology to track and document Hurricane Matthew’s effects on the eastern seaboard. Here is an in-depth look at one of those tools, the storm-tide sensor.

To learn about storm sensors and see their location, explore the USGS Coastal Change Hazard Portal, or see satellite imagery before and after the storm, visit the USGS Hurricane Matthew page.

USGS logo
October 6, 2016

As the east coast prepares for Hurricane Matthew's arrival, the U.S. Geological Survey uses advanced models to forecast the coastal impacts Matthew could bring. 

USGS logo
October 3, 2016

As coastal development along the Gulf Coast continues to expand, tidal saline wetlands could have difficulty adjusting to rising sea levels.

Image shows flooded roads with boats alongside the banks
September 28, 2016

Some regional trends; no widespread national pattern

USGS: Science for a changing world
September 26, 2016

Reporters: Do you want to accompany a USGS field crew as they measure flooding? Please contact Jason McVay at 319-430-6962.

Iowa
September 23, 2016

Reporters: Do you want to accompany a USGS field crew as they measure flooding? Please contact Jason McVay at 319-430-6962.

Ariel photo of the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta
September 20, 2016

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.

Image: Boise Watershed Watch
September 19, 2016

Now in its ninth year, Watershed Watch educates children and adults about the health of the Boise River watershed

A U.S. Geological Survey hydrologic technician, uses an Acoustic Doppler Velocimeter to measure stream flow on a Florida creek.
September 2, 2016

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.