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: 119
McKenzie River
May 1, 2017

Drinking water for the city of Eugene, Oregon, is drawn from the McKenzie River, a high-quality source that is nonetheless threatened by urban, agricultural, and forestry land uses upstream as well as by changes in water management in the watershed. The Eugene Water and Electric Board (EWEB) developed a Drinking Water Source Protection plan for the McKenzie River Watershed that includes...

Shenandoah municipal and industrial discharges
May 1, 2017

A key component to assessing the contaminant exposure pathways in streams and rivers of the Chesapeake Bay is using GIS-based landscape analysis to identify sources of endocrine disrupting chemicals. Municipal and industrial wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) discharges are potentially major sources of EDCs to streams, and therefore understanding the de facto wastewater reuse (represented as...

Old Perpetual Geyser
April 11, 2017

A joint study between the USGS Water and Energy Mission Areas has the main goals of quantifying groundwater resources and geothermal energy potential in much of eastern Oregon, northeastern California, southwestern Idaho, and northernmost Nevada. This study area lies within a broadly-defined Northwest Volcanic Province (NVP) that has been dominated by volcanic eruptions that have shaped the...

Supplemental irrigation well in the Klamath Basin
March 22, 2017

Since the late 1990s the U.S Geological Survey has been working to characterize the regional groundwater hydrology of the Klamath Basin above Iron Gate Dam (referred to here as the upper Klamath Basin) by collecting data to help understand the state of the groundwater system and its response to external stresses, and to develop computer models to provide insights useful for water management....

Agricultural lands in Arizona, thumbnail
March 9, 2017

Because of the predominantly semiarid to arid climate in Arizona, economic development in the State is largely influenced by access to adequate water supplies. Water demand is met by pumping ground water from aquifers or by conveying surface water through a system of reservoirs and canals. Anthropogenic water use is a significant component of the hydrologic cycle in Arizona, and accurate...

Scientist services an automatic sampler, in the snow, that has been installed at the gaging station on Clear Creek in Nevada.
March 9, 2017

The Nevada Department of Transportation is concerned about how historical and ongoing development in the Clear Creek drainage basin has/is affecting Clear Creek and its sediment-transport characteristics. Clear Creek is a small alpine stream that begins near Lake Tahoe on the eastern flank of the Sierra Nevada. The USGS Nevada Water Science Center, in cooperation with the Nevada...

Coastal Change Portal Hurricane Matthew 2016
February 22, 2017

As Hurricane Matthew moves up the Atlantic coast of the U.S., the USGS South Atlantic Water Science Center (SAWSC) deployed most of the USGS Storm-Tide Network along the Atlantic coast to monitor the timing, extent, and magnitude of the storm tide during the passage of Hurricane Matthew.

• Go to the USGS Hurricane...

Making an ADCP measurement on the Bear River below Alexander Reservoir, Idaho
February 9, 2017

Surface-water information is needed for purposes of surveillance, planning, design, hazard warning, operation, and management, in water-related fields such as water supply, hydroelectric power, flood control, irrigation, bridge and culvert design, wildlife management, pollution abatement, flood-plain management, and water resources development. ...

An image of an Ephemeroptera Heptageniidae Epeorus longimanuis.
February 2, 2017

Aquatic invertebrates are a key component of freshwater ecosystems, and an understanding of aquatic invertebrate taxonomy is central to freshwater science. The U.S. Geological Survey Aquatic Experimental Lab (AXL) at the Fort Collins Science Center has developed the North American Aquatic Macroinvertebrate Digital Reference Collection (NAAMDRC) to provide users with a graphic tool to aid...

The Toxics Emerging Contaminants Project’s nation-wide effort assesses the ecological risk associated with EDC in National Parks
January 24, 2017

Endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDC) threaten the reproductive success and long-term survival of sensitive aquatic populations in U.S. National Parks. Understanding the ecological impacts of contaminants of emerging concern (CEC), in general, and EDC, in specific, has been identified as a U.S. National Park Service (NPS) management priority.

The project employs a standardized EDC risk...

Big Wood River at Hailey, Idaho
January 2, 2017

STATUS: Completed

Wood River Valley residents rely on groundwater for domestic supply, either from domestic or municipal-supply wells. The rapid population growth since the 1970s has caused concern about the long-term sustainability of the groundwater resource.

Stalker Creek, Idaho, in summer
January 1, 2017

STATUS: Completed

Nutrient enrichment can affect the ecological health of a stream. For example, excessive aquatic plant growth caused by increased nutrients can reduce dissolved oxygen necessary for other aquatic life. Topics of particular interest in this study area include:

seasonal patterns among nutrients, flows, algae and plants in streams

rooted aquatic plant vs....

Filter Total Items: 1,463
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
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.

Year Published: 2017

Stable isotopic composition of perchlorate and nitrate accumulated in plants: Hydroponic experiments and field data

Natural perchlorate (ClO4−) in soil and groundwater exhibits a wide range in stable isotopic compositions (δ37Cl, δ18O, and Δ17O), indicating that ClO4− may be formed through more than one pathway and/or undergoes post-depositional isotopic alteration. Plants are known to accumulate ClO4−, but little is known about their ability to alter its...

Estrada, Nubia Luz; Böhlke, John Karl; Sturchio, Neil C.; Gu, Baohua; Harvey, Greg; Burkey, Kent O.; Grantz, David A.; McGrath, Margaret T.; Anderson, Todd A.; Rao, Balaji; Sevanthi, Ritesh; Hatzinger, Paul B.; Jackson, W. Andrew
Attribution: Water
Estrada, N.L., Böhlke, J.K., Sturchio, N.C., Gu, B., Harvey, G., Burkey, K.O., Grantz, D.A., MacGrath, M.T., Anderson, T.A., Rao, B., Sevanthi, R., Hatzinger, P.B., and Jackson, W.A., 2017, Stable isotopic composition of perchlorate and nitrate accumulated in plants: Hydroponic experiments and field data. Science of the Total Environment, v. 595, p. 556–566, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2017.03.223.

Year Published: 2017

Final data report for factors controlling DDE dechlorination rates on the Palos Verdes Shelf: A field and laboratory investigation

This data report provides a compilation of information developed over the last 6+ years by a multi-disciplinary, multi-institutional research team. The overall goal of this work has been to identify the biological, chemical, and physical factors that control rates of reductive dechlorination of DDE and DDMU in sediments of the Palos Verdes Shelf (...

Eganhouse, Robert P.; Pontolillo, James; Orem, William H.; Webster, Daniel M.; Hackley, Paul C.; Edwards, Brian D.; Rosenberger, Kurt; Dickhudt, Patrick; Sherwood, Christopher R.; Reinhard, Martin; Qin, Sujie; Dougherty, Jennifer; Hopkins, Gary; Marshall, Ian; Spormann, Alfred
Attribution: Water
Eganhouse, R., Pontolillo, J., DiFilippo, E., Orem, W., Webster, D., Hackley, P., Edwards, B., Rosenberger, K., Swarzenski, P., Dickhudt, P., Sherwood, C., Reinhard, M., Qin, S., Dougherty, J., Hopkins, G., Marshall, I. and Spormann, A., Final Data Report for Factors Controlling DDE Dechlorination Rates on the Palos Verdes Shelf: A Field and Laboratory Investigation, submitted to J. Huang, Remedial Project Manager, Region 9, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, July 18, 2016, 1076p

Year Published: 2017

Final synthesis report for factors controlling DDE dechlorination rates on the palos verdes shelf: A field and laboratory investigation

This project was organized into separate field and laboratory studies aimed at answering “18 questions” in the original Scope of Work (cf., section 2 of this report, Background, for explanation). Because of some early results, certain questions became irrelevant and were, therefore, not pursued. In other cases, there simply was not enough time to...

Eganhouse, Robert P.; Orem, William H.; Reinhard, Martin
Attribution: Water
Eganhouse, R., Orem, W. and Reinhard, M., Final Synthesis Report for Factors Controlling DDE Dechlorination Rates on the Palos Verdes Shelf: A Field and Laboratory Investigation, submitted to J. Huang, Remedial Project Manager, Region 9, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, December 19, 2016, 31p.

Year Published: 2017

Extent and persistence of secondary water quality impacts after enhanced reductive bioremediation

Electron donor (ED) addition can be very effective in stimulating enhanced reductive bioremediation (ERB) of a wide variety of groundwater contaminants. However, ERB can result in Secondary Water Quality Impacts (SWQIs) including decreased levels of dissolved oxygen (O2), nitrate (NO3- ), and sulfate (SO42- ), and elevated levels of dissolved...

Borden, Robert C.; Jason M. Tillotson; Ng, Gene-Hua Crystal.; Bekins, Barbara A.; Kent, Douglas B.; Curtis, Gary P.
Attribution: Water
Borden, R.C., Tillotson, J.M., Ng, G.C., Bekins, B.A., Kent, D.B., Curtis, G.P., 2015, Extent and Persistence of Secondary Water Quality Impacts after Enhanced Reductive Bioremediation, SERDP Project ER-2131

Year Published: 2017

Reversible reduction of estrone to 17β-estradiol by Rhizobium, Sphingopyxis, and Pseudomonas isolates from the Las Vegas Wash

Environmental endocrine-disrupting compounds (EDCs) are a growing concern as studies reveal their persistence and detrimental effects on wildlife. Microorganisms are known to affect the transformation of steroid EDCs; however, the diversity of estrogen-degrading microorganisms and the range of transformations they mediate remain relatively little...

Blunt, Susanna; Benotti, Mark; Rosen, Michael R.; Hedlund, Brian; Moser, Duane
Attribution: Water
Blunt, S., Benotti, M., Rosen, M.R., Hedlund B., and Moser, 2017, Reversible Reduction of Estrone to 17β -estradiol by Rhizobium, Sphingopyxis, and Pseudomonas Isolates from the Las Vegas Wash. Journal of Environmental Quality, 46 281–287. https://dx.doi:10.2134/jeq2016.08.0286

Year Published: 2017

Clarifying atomic weights: A 2016 four-figure table of standard and conventional atomic weights

To indicate that atomic weights of many elements are not constants of nature, in 2009 and 2011 the Commission on Isotopic Abundances and Atomic Weights (CIAAW) of the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) replaced single-value standard atomic weight values with atomic weight intervals for 12 elements (hydrogen, lithium, boron,...

Coplen, Tyler B.; Meyers, Fabienne; Holden, Norman E.
Attribution: Water
Coplen, T. B., Meyers, F., and Holden, N. E., 2017, Clarifying Atomic Weights: A 2016 Four-Figure Table of Standard and Conventional Atomic Weights: Journal of Chemical Education, v. 94, p. 311-319. http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acs.jchemed.6b00510

Year Published: 2017

Ecosystem variability along the estuarine salinity gradient: Examples from long-term study of San Francisco Bay

The salinity gradient of estuaries plays a unique and fundamental role in structuring spatial patterns of physical properties, biota, and biogeochemical processes. We use variability along the salinity gradient of San Francisco Bay to illustrate some lessons about the diversity of spatial structures in estuaries and their variability over time....

Cloern, James E.; Jassby, Alan D.; Schraga, Tara; Kress, Erica S.; Martin, Charles A.
Attribution: Water
Cloern, J.E. A.D. Jassby, T.S. Schraga, E. Nejad and C.S. Martin. 2017. Ecosystem Variability along the Estuarine Salinity Gradient: Examples from Long-term Study of San Francisco Bay. Limnology and Oceanography. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/lno.10537

Year Published: 2017

Optimization of on-line hydrogen stable isotope ratio measurements of halogen- and sulfur-bearing organic compounds using elemental analyzer–chromium/high-temperature conversion isotope ratio mass spectrometry (EA-Cr/HTC-IRMS)

Rationale: Accurate hydrogen isotopic analysis of halogen- and sulfur-bearing organics has not been possible with traditional high-temperature conversion (HTC) because the formation of hydrogen-bearing reaction products other than molecular hydrogen (H2) is responsible for non-quantitative H2 yields and possible hydrogen isotopic fractionation....

Gehre, Matthias; Renpenning, Julian; Geilmann, Heike; Qi, Haiping; Coplen, Tyler B.; Kümmel, Steffen; Ivdra, Natalija; Brand, Willi A.; Schimmelmann, Arndt
Attribution: Water
Gehre, M., Renpenning, J., Geilmann, H., Qi, H., Coplen, T. B., Kümmel, S., Ivdra, N., Brand, W. A., Schimmelmann, A., 2017, Optimization of on-line hydrogen stable isotope ratio measurements of halogen- and sulfur-bearing organic compounds using elemental analyzer–chromium/high-temperature conversion isotope ratio mass spectrometry (EA-Cr/HTC-IRMS): Rapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry, v. 31, 475-484. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/rcm.7810

Year Published: 2017

Flood effects provide evidence of an alternate stable state from dam management on the Upper Missouri River

We examine how historic flooding in 2011 affected the geomorphic adjustments created by dam regulation along the approximately 120 km free flowing reach of the Upper Missouri River bounded upstream by the Garrison Dam (1953) and downstream by Lake Oahe Reservoir (1959) near the City of Bismarck, ND, USA. The largest flood since dam regulation...

Skalak, Katherine; Benthem, Adam J.; Hupp, Cliff R.; Schenk, Edward R.; Galloway, Joel M.; Nustad, Rochelle A.
Attribution: Water
Skalak, K., Benthem, A., Hupp, C., Schenk, E., Galloway, J., and Nustad, R. (2016) Flood Effects Provide Evidence of an Alternate Stable State from Dam Management on the Upper Missouri River. River Res. Applic., doi: 10.1002/rra.3084.

Year Published: 2017

Assessing the dietary bioavailability of metals associated with natural particles: Extending the use of the reverse labeling approach to zinc

We extend the use of a novel tracing technique to quantify the bioavailability of zinc (Zn) associated with natural particles using snails enriched with a less common Zn stable isotope. Lymnaea stagnalis is a model species that has relatively fast Zn uptake rates from the dissolved phase, enabling their rapid enrichment in 67Zn during the initial...

Croteau, Marie-Noele; Cain, Daniel J.; Fuller, Christopher C.
Attribution: Water
Croteau, M.N., Cain, D.J. and Fuller, C.C., 2017. Assessing the Dietary Bioavailability of Metals Associated with Natural Particles: Extending the Use of the Reverse Labeling Approach to Zinc. Environmental Science & Technology. 51: 2803-2810, http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acs.est.6b06253

Year Published: 2017

Influence of atmospheric rivers on vegetation productivity and fire patterns in the southwestern U.S.

In the southwestern U.S., the meteorological phenomenon known as atmospheric rivers (ARs) has gained increasing attention due to its strong connections to floods, snowpacks, and water supplies in the West Coast states. Relatively less is known about the ecological implications of ARs, particularly in the interior Southwest, where AR storms are...

Albano, Christine M.; Dettinger, Michael; Soulard, Christopher E.
Attribution: Water
Albano, C.M., Dettinger, M.D. and Soulard, C.E., 2017. Influence of atmospheric rivers on vegetation productivity and fire patterns in the southwestern US. Journal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences, 122, 308-323, http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/2016JG003608.

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: 770
White Heron in Marsh
2017 (approx.)
A white heron flying across a marsh in York County, Virginia.
A flying insect on lakeshore grasses.
2017 (approx.)
A flying insect perched on lakeshore grasses, Albemarle County, Virginia.
King Creek in York County, Virginia
June 27, 2017
A panoramic photo of King Creek near the Colonial Parkway in York County, Virginia.
York River in York County, Virginia
June 27, 2017
The York River, looking across the bridge to York, Virginia.
Young Boy Fishing
June 24, 2017
A young boy fishing in a lake in Albemarle County, Virginia.
Johanna Blake demonstrates how to use a water quality sonde
June 21, 2017
USGS NMWSC Hydrologists Johanna Blake and Jeb Brown attended the 2nd Annual Conference on Environmental Conditions of the Animas and San Juan Watersheds with Emphasis on Gold King Mine and other Mine Waste Issues in Farmington, NM from June 20-21. Johanna and Jeb presented on the USGS long-term monitoring work of continuous monitoring sondes, water quality, and sediment measurement. On June 22nd...
Hydrologists doing field work near Farmington, NM
June 20, 2017
USGS NMWSC Hydrologists Johanna Blake and Jeb Brown attended the 2nd Annual Conference on Environmental Conditions of the Animas and San Juan Watersheds with Emphasis on Gold King Mine and other Mine Waste Issues in Farmington, NM from June 20-21. Johanna and Jeb presented on the USGS long-term monitoring work of continuous monitoring sondes, water quality, and sediment measurement. On June 22nd...
Vandens apytakos ratas mokykloms - The Water Cycle, Lithuanian
June 2, 2017
Vandens apytakos ratas mokykloms The Water Cycle for Schools, Lithuanian Jungtinių Amerikos Valstijų Geologijos tarnyba (USGS) ir Jungtinių Tautų Maisto ir žemės ūkio organizacija (FAO) sukūrė vandens apytakos rato plakatą mokykloms The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) have teamed up to create a water-cycle diagram for schools. •...
Vannets Kretsløp for Barn - The Water Cycle, Norwegian
June 2, 2017
Vannets Kretsløp for Barn The Water Cycle for Schools, Norwegian Amerikas geologiske undersøkelse (USGS) og FNs mat og jordbruksorganisasjon (FAO) har gått sammen for å lage en plakat om vannets kretsløp for barn opp til ungdomsskolealder. The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) have teamed up to create a water-cycle diagram for...
O Ciclo d'água para Crianças  - The Water Cycle for Kids, Portuguese
June 2, 2017
O Ciclo d'água para Crianças - The Water Cycle for Kids, Portuguese O Serviço Geológico dos Estados Unidos (em inglês, U.S. Geological Survey, conhecido pela sigla USGS) e a Organização das Nações Unidas para Agricultura e Alimentação (em inglês, Food and Agriculture Organization, instituição conhecida pela sigla FAO) uniram-se para criar um diagrama didático e divertido sobre o ciclo d'água,...
어린이를 위한 물의 순환 - The Water Cycle for Kids, Korean
June 2, 2017
어린이를 위한 물의 순환 - The Water Cycle for Kids, Korean 어린이와 초등 중학생을 위해 물의 순환과정을 설명한 이 그림은 미국 지질조사국 (USGS) 과 국제연합식량농업기구 (FAO) 가 함께 만들었습니다 • https://water.usgs.gov/edu/watercycle-kids-korean.html • https://water.usgs.gov/edu/watercyclekorean.html Learn About Water! The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) have teamed up to create a water-...
Kitaran Air Untuk Kanak-Kanak - The Water Cycle for Schools, Malay
June 2, 2017
Kitaran Air Untuk Kanak-Kanak - The Water Cycle for Schools, Malay The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) have teamed up to create a water-cycle diagram for schools. It is available in over 20 languages and also in an interactive version made for online viewing and investigating . Learn About Water! This diagram is a small part of...
Filter Total Items: 325
This image shows a damaged street sign and flood debris left behind by record flood waters of the Blanco River near Martindale,
April 10, 2017

The new “Water On-the-Go” mobile app gives the public easy access to current conditions in streams across Texas. This product was developed by the U.S. Geological Survey to help raise water awareness during both floods and normal conditions.

Little Plover River Wells
April 6, 2017

Both irrigation wells and municipal wells affect flows in the Little Plover River near Plover, Wisconsin, stretches of which ran dry in past years, according to a new scientific report.

Looking northeast along the Bear River Duck Club Canal toward the Wellsville Mountains. 
April 6, 2017

A new report illustrates how groundwater pumping can affect the amount of water available in streams within the Malad-Lower Bear River Area in Utah. The product was developed by the U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with the Utah Department of Natural Resources, Division of Water Rights.

Bath Creek, Bath County, VA
April 4, 2017

USGS provides a long-term look at changes in the quality of our nation’s rivers and streams

Image: Harmful Algal Blooms
March 31, 2017

Two decades of harmful algal bloom, nutrient and sediment research by the U.S. Geological Survey is helping to support Wichita’s long-term vision of a sustainable water supply into the future. Early warning indicators of harmful algal blooms have been developed for Cheney Reservoir, Kansas, according to a new USGS publication done in cooperation with the City of Wichita, Kansas.

Image: Redwater River, South Dakota
March 27, 2017

Media and the public are invited to attend a free meeting about South Dakota water issues on Thursday, April 6, in Rapid City, South Dakota. 

Santa Cruz River
March 27, 2017

Desert communities throughout the Southwest are putting water availability at the top of their municipal agendas.

Lake Mead
March 15, 2017

The Colorado River system provides about 35 million Americans with a portion of their water supply. It irrigates 5½ million acres of land in the West and provides water to tribes, parks, and wildlife. The system serves parts of seven States and Mexico—but reservoir levels have crept lower over the past several years, sparking questions about how much water remains and who will have access.

Chinook Salmon
March 13, 2017

The water in the Delta arrives primarily from the Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers, supplying water for more than 22 million people. This water source supports California’s trillion-dollar economy—the sixth largest in the world—and its $27 billion agricultural industry.

Image: Oklahoma Groundwater Efforts
March 9, 2017

Groundwater, which flows out of sight through aquifers beneath our feet, is one of the Nation’s most important natural resources. In recognition of National Groundwater Awareness Week, March 5–11, 2017, here’s an opportunity to put your knowledge of this vital resource to the test!

mount hood
March 8, 2017

Our lunchtime "brownbag" seminars are held Tuesdays from 12pm to 1 pm PT. The science lectures are held at the USGS Oregon Water Science Center at 2130 SW 5th Avenue in Portland, OR. The presentations are informal and are open to the public. Please, bring your lunch.