Mission Areas

Water

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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: 163
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
Monitoring set-up at the watersheds site which includes boards and such to direct water flow to drainage.
Date Published: September 24, 2016

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
River with blue reflection, in late summer, leaves just starting to turn from green to gold.
Date Published: September 24, 2016

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
Girls getting a glass of water at a well pump at The Tollgate House, Meridian Historical Village, Okemos, MI
Date Published: September 22, 2016

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
USGS Hydrologist examining water collection using specialized equipment.
Date Published: September 22, 2016

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
Filter Total Items: 1,536
Year Published: 2017

Water, Energy, and Biogeochemical Model (WEBMOD), user’s manual, version 1

The Water, Energy, and Biogeochemical Model (WEBMOD) uses the framework of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Modular Modeling System to simulate fluxes of water and solutes through watersheds. WEBMOD divides watersheds into model response units (MRU) where fluxes and reactions are simulated for the following eight hillslope reservoir types: canopy...

Webb, Richard M.T.; Parkhurst, David L.
Attribution: Water
Webb, R.M.T., and Parkhurst, D.L., 2017, Water, Energy, and Biogeochemical Model (WEBMOD), user’s manual, version 1: U.S. Geological Survey Techniques and Methods, book 6, chap. B35, 171 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/tm6B35.

Year Published: 2017

Ca isotopic geochemistry of an Antarctic aquatic system

The McMurdo Dry Valleys, Antarctica, are a polar desert ecosystem. The hydrologic system of the dry valleys is linked to climate with ephemeral streams that flow from glacial melt during the austral summer. Past climate variations have strongly influenced the closed-basin, chemically stratified lakes on the valley floor. Results of previous work...

Lyons, W. Berry; Bullen, Thomas D.; Welch, Kathleen A.
Attribution: Water
Lyons, W. B., T. D. Bullen, and K. A. Welch (2017), Ca isotopic geochemistry of an Antarctic aquatic system, Geophys. Res. Lett., 44, 882–891, doi:10.1002/ 2016GL071169.

Year Published: 2017

Estimated annual agricultural pesticide use by crop group for states of the conterminous United States, 1992-2014

This dataset provides estimates of annual agricultural use of pesticide compounds by crop group at the state level for states in the conterminous United States, for the time period 1992-2014, compiled from data used to make county-level estimates by means of methods described in Thelin and Stone (2013) and Baker and Stone (2015). The source of...

Baker, Nancy T.
Attribution: Water
Baker, N. T. , 2017, Estimated annual agricultural pesticide use by crop group for states of the conterminous United States, 1992-2014: U.S. Geological Survey Data Release, https://dx.doi.org/10.5066/F7NP22KM.

Year Published: 2017

Tracer-based characterization of hyporheic exchange and benthic biolayers in streams

Shallow benthic biolayers at the top of the streambed are believed to be places of enhanced biogeochemical turnover within the hyporheic zone. They can be investigated by reactive stream tracer tests with tracer recordings in the streambed and in the stream channel. Common in-stream measurements of such reactive tracers cannot localize where the...

Knapp, Julia L.A.; González-Pinzón, Ricardo; Drummond, Jennifer D.; Larsen, Laurel G.; Cirpka, Olaf A.; Harvey, Judson W.
Attribution: Water
Knapp, J.L.A., González-Pinzón, R., Drummond, J.D., Larsen, L.G., Cirpka, O.A. and Harvey, J.W., 2017, Tracer-based characterization of hyporheic exchange and benthic biolayers in streams, Water Resources Research, vol. 53, n. 2, p. 1575-1594.

Year Published: 2017

WARP model pesticide predictions for EPA reach file 1 segments: 1992-2012

The Watershed Regressions for Pesticides (WARP) models were developed using linear regression methods to establish quantitative linkages between pesticide concentrations measured at U.S. Geological Survey sampling sites and a variety of human-related and natural factors that affect pesticide concentrations in streams. Such factors include...

Stone, Wesley W.
Attribution: Water

Year Published: 2017

Microbially mediated barite dissolution in anoxic brines

Fluids injected into shale formations during hydraulic fracturing of black shale return with extraordinarily high total-dissolved-solids (TDS) and high concentrations of barium (Ba) and radium (Ra). Barite, BaSO4, has been implicated as a possible source of Ba as well as a problematic mineral scale that forms on internal well surfaces, often in...

Ouyang, Bingjie; Akob, Denise M.; Dunlap, Darren S.; Renock, Devon
Attribution: Water
Ouyang, B., D. M. Akob, D. S. Dunlap, and D. Renock. 2017. Microbially mediated barite dissolution in anoxic brines. Applied Geochemistry, 76: 51-59.

Year Published: 2017

Evaluating mountain meadow groundwater response to Pinyon-Juniper and temperature in a great basin watershed

This research highlights development and application of an integrated hydrologic model (GSFLOW) to a semiarid, snow-dominated watershed in the Great Basin to evaluate Pinyon-Juniper (PJ) and temperature controls on mountain meadow shallow groundwater. The work used Google Earth Engine Landsat satellite and gridded climate archives for model...

Carroll, Rosemary W.H.; Huntington, Justin L.; Snyder, Keirith A.; Niswonger, Richard G.; Morton, Charles; Stringham, Tamzen K.
Attribution: Water
Carroll, R. W., Huntington, J. L., Snyder, K. A., Niswonger, R., Morton, C., & Stringham, T. K. (2016). Evaluating mountain meadow groundwater response to Pinyon‐Juniper and temperature in a Great Basin watershed. Ecohydrology.

Year Published: 2017

Nutrient processes at the stream-lake interface for a channelized versus unmodified stream mouth

Inorganic forms of nitrogen and phosphorous impact freshwater lakes by stimulating primary production and affecting water quality and ecosystem health. Communities around the world are motivated to sustain and restore freshwater resources and are interested in processes controlling nutrient inputs. We studied the environment where streams flow...

Niswonger, Richard G.; Naranjo, Ramon C.; Smith, David; Constantz, James E.; Allander, Kip K.; Rosenberry, Donald O.; Neilson, Bethany; Rosen, Michael R.; Stonestrom, David A.
Attribution: Water
Niswonger, R., Naranjo, R., Smith, D., Constantz, J., Allander, K., Rosenberry, D., Neilson, B., Rosen, M., Stonestrom, D., 2017, Nutrient processes at the stream-lake interface for a channelized versus unmodified stream mouth, Water Resour. Res., 53, http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/2016WR019538

Year Published: 2017

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
Attribution: Water

Year Published: 2017

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
Attribution: Water
Kharaka, Y. K., Thordsen, J. J., Abedini, A., Beers, S. Thomas, B., 2017, Changes in the chemistry of groundwater reacted with CO2: Comparison of laboratory results with the ZERT field pilot. Procedia Earth and Planetary Science, v. 17, p. 241 – 244. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.proeps.2016.12.043

Year Published: 2017

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
Attribution: Water
Lindsey, B.D., Ayotte, J.D., Jurgens, B.C., Desimone, L.A., 2017, Using Groundwater Age Distributions to Understand Changes in Methyl tert-butyl ether (MtBE) Concentrations, Northeastern United States, Science of the Total Environment, v 579, 1 February 2017, p. 579-587. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2016.11.058.

Year Published: 2017

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
Attribution: Water
Wadsworth, F. B. et al. 2017. Local geology controlled the feasibility of vitrifying Ion Age buildings. Scientific Reports, 7:40028; doi: 10.1038/srep40028.

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: 851
Hydro techs check water quality sensor calibration prior to redeployment
2017 (approx.)
Hydro tech Kate Allison demonstrates how to check a water quality sensor for calibration before being deployed at the Cochiti Dam in New Mexico.
2017 (approx.)
The USGS Texas Water Science Center has developed a new mobile application called “Water On-the-Go” that gives people easy access to current conditions in streams across Texas. The information reflects what is happening in streams near you at that very moment. Go to -- https://txpub.usgs.gov/water-onthego -- to see where waters are rising and how current conditions are changing around you. #...
Hydro techs inspecting water quality sensors at Cochiti Dam
2017 (approx.)
Hydrologic technicians Joe Beman and Hal Nelson remove a deployed sensor for cleaning and recalibration, as needed. This sensor is left in place to continuously log water quality parameters.
Hydro techs clean a water quality sensor prior to deployment
2017 (approx.)
Hydrologic technicians Joe Beman, Hal Nelson, and Kate Allison, and course instructor Mike Nyman clean a water quality sensor prior to redeployment at a Water Quality Field Course put on by the New Mexico Water Science Center.
Scientist standing in streamgaging platform hanging over a river.
March 23, 2017
USGS Hydrologic Technician Kim Cesal measuring 3170 cfs at 12409000 Colville River at Kettle Falls, WA. This measurement is the highest made at the gaging site. The gage has been in operation since October 1922. The gage was installed to monitor flows from Meyer Falls Dam and Power Generation.
Microplastics sampling on Lake Mead
March 21, 2017
Sampling for microplastics on Lake Mead, March 21, 2017
snow and ice on Mohawk River at Lock 8
March 20, 2017
Mohawk River at Lock 8 near Schenectady, New York (01354330)
March 11, 2017
Caribbean-Florida Water Science Center, Davie Office, supported Broward County Watter Matters Day on March 11, 2017 as part of an outreach event to the public. http://www.broward.org/WaterMatters/Pages/ProgramsWMD.aspx
bridge over Mohawk River at Lock 8 dam
March 10, 2017
Mohawk River at Lock 8 near Schenectady (01354330) Live Ice Jam Web Camera
USGS hydrologic technician collecting data with ADCP from a cableway
March 9, 2017
USGS hydrologic technician Michael Allen collects streamflow data from the Boise River at streamgage station 13206000 using an acoustic Doppler current profiler.
February 24, 2017
On February 24, 2017, Nick Stasulis (Data Section Chief of the USGS New England Water Science Center, Maine Office) met with police and fire officials from the City of Bangor and surrounding communities to ride along with the US Coast Guard on the ice breaker Bridle. Along with Bridle, ice breaker Tackle worked to clear ice on the Penobscot River in preparation for spring runoff. Clearing ice on...
Large ruler-like instrument under a bridge standing up in the river water
February 11, 2017
USGS staff gage (ruler) measuring the height of the water, on the Carson River, near Brunswick Canyon, Nevada.
Filter Total Items: 351
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

This picture was taken June 23, 2010 along the Louisiana shoreline in Barataria Bay and shows oil spilled from Deepwater Horizon
November 17, 2016

A new USGS-NASA study found widespread shoreline loss along heavily oiled areas of Louisiana's coast after the 2010 BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill and compared the erosion from the spill with coastal changes Hurricane Isaac caused in 2012.

A group of Brook Trout swim through a stream.
November 16, 2016

A new USGS study shows non-native Brown Trout can place a burden on native Brook Trout under the increased water temperatures climate change can cause.

USGS: Science for a changing world
October 27, 2016

In partnership with the Federal Advisory Committee on Water Information

Cyanobacterial bloom in Lake Okeechobee, FL (July 2016)
October 24, 2016

Building knowledge to protect ecological and human health

Hydrologic technician Samantha Kephart.points out a high water mark
October 21, 2016

The heavy rains and storm surge Hurricane Matthew produced caused severe flooding in many parts of the south east, resulting in almost 40 peak flood records. As the flood waters continue to recede from some affected areas, the U. S. Geological Survey will continue its efforts to record this historic flooding. Click here to learn more about the work the USGS has completed for Hurricane Matthew.