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: 153
Microplastics sampling on Lake Mead
Date Published: August 4, 2017
Status: Active

There is mounting evidence that microplastics present a significant threat to aquatic organisms. Microplastics – defined as plastic particles less than 5 mm in diameter – come from many different sources, including synthetic textiles, industrial waste products, personal care products, and the breakdown of litter, car tires, and other objects. This study will assess the occurrence of...

Collecting sediment samples from Brownlee Reservoir, Idaho and Oregon
Date Published: August 4, 2017
Status: Active

The Hells Canyon Complex is a hydroelectric project consisting of three dams located on the Snake River along the Oregon and Idaho border. Elevated concentrations of mercury and methylmercury in the water column, bottom sediments, and biota in this reach have resulted in two of the reservoirs, Brownlee and Hells Canyon, being listed as impaired for mercury by the state of Idaho, and the entire...

Image: Water-Quality Study in Historical Idaho Mining District
Date Published: August 4, 2017
Status: Active

Mining of stibnite (antimony sulfide), tungsten, gold, silver, and mercury near the town of Stibnite in central Idaho has left a legacy of trace element contamination in the East Fork of the South Fork of the Salmon River (EFSFSR) and its tributaries. Concentrations of arsenic, antimony, and mercury frequently exceed human health criteria and may impact threatened or endangered salmonid...

Image of a new benchmark.
Date Published: June 24, 2017
Status: Active

The southern Chesapeake Bay region is experiencing land subsidence along with rising sea levels, both of which can contribute to coastal flooding. The rates at which these two processes are occurring are not exactly known. Mapping of land elevation change requires ground-truth survey data at multiple locations that are accurate and precise. With the exception of a few CORS sites that have...

Cypress Swamp Egret - Louisiana
Date Published: June 24, 2017

Links to Sources of Water Information

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) investigates the occurrence, quantity, quality, distribution, and movement of surface and underground waters and disseminates the data to the public, State and local governments, public and private utilities, and other Federal agencies involved with managing water resources

The map to the left allows you to...

Shreveport Area—Caddo and Bossier Parishes
Date Published: June 23, 2017

Flooding is a concern for everyone in Louisiana. Floods demand immediate and decisive action by governmental entities, businesses, and individual citizens, all of whom have to make critical decisions that directly impact the extent, duration, and mitigation of losses resulting from flooding. How high will the water get? How long will the flood last? What areas will be affected? What roads will...

Hardened Gages—Built to Survive
Date Published: June 23, 2017

1 June 2010

Hurricane season starts today, and the USGS Lower Mississippi Gulf Water Science Center is committed to collecting and providing the most up-to-date information before, during, and after the storms that are sure to come our way. When a hurricane or tropical storm is approaching, accurate and timely storm data are crucial in making good decisions regarding personal safety and...

Hurricane Irene, satellite view, NASA
Date Published: June 23, 2017

USGS Information and Links

Hurricane Hazards—A National Threat (fact sheet)

USGS Natural Hazards - Hurricanes

Hurricane Forecast Information

National Hurricane Center—(NWS)

Current Tropical Forecast Information

GOES-8 Atlantic Infrared Imagery

GOES-8 Atlantic Visible Imagery

Earth Scan Laboratory—(LSU)

GOES-8 Atlantic Infrared...

WERC marsh during a storm
Date Published: June 23, 2017

USGS Louisiana Coastal Sites

Hurricane season starts today, and the USGS Lower Mississippi Gulf Water Science Center is committed to collecting and providing the most up-to-date information before, during, and after the storms that are sure to come our way. When a hurricane or tropical storm is approaching, accurate and timely storm data is crucial in making good decisions regarding...

Hurricane Joaquin seen from space
Date Published: June 23, 2017

River and Coastal Forecasts

The USGS is not a forecasting agency, but the National Weather Service (NWS) is, and they make extensive use of the data we collect in their effort to provide you with the most accurate and up-to-date forecasts of many Louisiana rivers and streams, and weather along the coast. The links below will provide you with direct access to the NWS forecasts for...

The USGS collects, analyzes, and distributes data on a wide variety of water-related issues and resources. Much of our data is publicly available through the National Water Information System (NWIS), but additional datasets and analytical tools are also available.

Access NWISWeb
Filter Total Items: 41
 Logo-Water Census Data Portal
April 18, 2016

National Water Census - Data Portal

At the National Water Census Data Portal you will find national estimates of water budget components for local watersheds, water withdrawal data for counties, tools to calculate statistics of daily streamflow records, modeled daily streamflow at ungaged stations, and access to records of aquatic biology observations.

Screenshot of the Water Quality Portal
April 12, 2016

Water Quality Portal

The Water Quality Portal integrates and provides access to publicly available water-quality data from databases such as USGS NWIS and BioData, EPA STORET, and USDA-ARS STEWARDS through a single search interface.

Screenshot of National Ground-Water Monitoring Network (NGWMN) data portal
April 11, 2016

National Ground-Water Monitoring Network (NGWMN) Data Portal

The NGWMN Data Portal provides access to groundwater data from multiple, dispersed databases in a web-based mapping application. The Portal contains current and historical data including water levels, water quality, lithology, and well construction.

Scoggins DEM
November 2, 2007

Digital Elevation Model of Scoggins Creek Drainage & Henry Hagg Lake

Digital dataset of surface topology for the Scoggins Creek watershed.

small excerpt of Yosemite Valley topographic map in shades of green and brown
September 26, 2001

Geological Survey of Alabama - Downloadable GIS datasets

Spatial/GIS data sets for Alabama are available numerous spatial data clearinghouses. Spatial/GIS data sets for USGS studies that include Alabama or include parts of Alabama are also available from USGS.

Downloadable GIS Datasets, OGB GIS Datasets, Digital Raster Graphics (DRG), 1:24000 DRG, 1:100000 DRG, 1:250000 DRG, Hazards GIS Data, Hazards Data Water GIS Data, HUC 11 Watersheds

Filter Total Items: 1,532
Year Published: 2017

Autotrophic microbial arsenotrophy in arsenic-rich soda lakes

A number of prokaryotes are capable of employing arsenic oxy-anions as either electron acceptors [arsenate; As(V)] or electron donors [arsenite; As(III)] to sustain arsenic-dependent growth (‘arsenotrophy’). A subset of these microorganisms function as either chemoautotrophs or photoautotrophs, whereby they gain sufficient energy from their redox...

Oremland, Ronald S.; Saltikov, Chad W.; Stolz, John F.; Hollibaugh, James T.
Attribution: Water
Oremland, R.S., Saltikov, C.W., Stolz, J.F., Hollibaugh, J.T., 2017, Autotrophic microbial arsenotrophy in arsenic-rich soda lakes. FEMS Microbiology Letters, 364(15), http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/femsle/fnx146

Year Published: 2017

Water quality measurements in San Francisco Bay by the U.S. Geological Survey, 1969–2015

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) maintains a place-based research program in San Francisco Bay (USA) that began in 1969 and continues, providing one of the longest records of water-quality measurements in a North American estuary. Constituents include salinity, temperature, light extinction coefficient, and concentrations of chlorophyll-a,...

Schraga, Tara; Cloern, James E.
Attribution: Water
Schraga, T.S., Cloern, J.E., 2017, Water quality measurements in San Francisco Bay by the U.S. Geological Survey, 1969-2015, Scientific Data, 4, http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/sdata.2017.98

Year Published: 2017

Managed aquifer recharge through off-season irrigation in agricultural regions

Options for increasing reservoir storage in developed regions are limited and prohibitively expensive. Projected increases in demand call for new long-term water storage to help sustain agriculture, municipalities, industry, and ecological services. Managed aquifer recharge (MAR) is becoming an integral component of water resources around the...

Niswonger, Richard; Morway, Eric; Triana, Enrique; Huntington, Justin L.
Attribution: Water
Niswonger, R. G., E. D. Morway,E. Triana, and J. L. Huntington (2017),Managed aquifer recharge throughoff-season irriga tion in agriculturalregions, Water Resour. Res., 53, 6970–6992, doi:10.1002/2017WR020458.

Year Published: 2017

Porosity and pore size distribution in a sedimentary rock: Implications for the distribution of chlorinated solvents

Characterizing properties of the rock matrix that control retention and release of chlorinated solvents is essential in evaluating the extent of contamination and the application of remediation technologies in fractured rock. Core samples from seven closely spaced boreholes in a mudstone subject to trichloroethene (TCE) contamination were analyzed...

Shapiro, Allen M.; Evans, Chrsitopher E.; Hayes, Erin C.
Attribution: Water
Shapiro, A.M., Evans, C.E., Hayes, E.C., 2017, Porosity and pore size distribution in a sedimentary rock: Implications for the distribution of chlorinated solvents, Journal of Contaminant Hydrology, v. 203, 70-84.

Year Published: 2017

Spatial and temporal variability in benthic invertebrate assemblages in Upper Klamath Lake, Oregon

Upper Klamath Lake (UKL) in southern Oregon has experienced declines in water quality due to excessive nutrient loading. This has led to annual cyanobacterial blooms, primarily of Aphanizomenon flos-aquae (AFA). Benthic invertebrates are important food resources for benthic feeding fishes; however, they can increase autochthonous...

Stauffer-Olsen, Natalie J.; Carter, James L.; Fend, Steven V.
Attribution: Water

Year Published: 2017

Devils Hole, Nevada—A photographic story of a restricted subaqueous environment

This report presents selected photographic images taken by the author during U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) research into paleoclimatology and geochemistry in Devils Hole cavern during 1984 to 1993 in cooperation with the National Park Service. The unaltered suite of photographs was prepared by the USGS dive team as an aid to assist nondiving...

Hoffman, Ray J.
Attribution: Water
Hoffman, R.J., 2017, Devils Hole, Nevada—A photographic story of a restricted subaqueous environment: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2017–1058, 34 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/ofr20171058.

Year Published: 2017

A method for addressing differences in concentrations of fipronil and three degradates obtained by two different laboratory methods

In October 2012, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) began measuring the concentration of the pesticide fipronil and three of its degradates (desulfinylfipronil, fipronil sulfide, and fipronil sulfone) by a new laboratory method using direct aqueous-injection liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry (DAI LC–MS/MS). This method replaced the...

Crawford, Charles G.; Martin, Jeffrey D.
Attribution: Water
Crawford, C.G., and Martin, J.D., 2017, A method for addressing differences in concentrations of fipronil and three degradates obtained by two different laboratory methods: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2017–1056, 26 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/ofr20171056.

Year Published: 2017

Recovery data for surface water, groundwater and lab reagent samples analyzed by the USGS National Water Quality Laboratory schedule 2437, water years 2013-15

Analytical recovery is the concentration of an analyte measured in a water-quality sample expressed as a percentage of the known concentration added to the sample (Mueller and others, 2015). Analytical recovery (hereafter referred to as “recovery”) can be used to understand method bias and variability and to assess the temporal changes in a method...

Shoda, Megan E.; Nowell, Lisa H.; Bexfield, Laura M.; Sandstrom, Mark W.; Stone, Wesley W.
Attribution: Water
Shoda, M.E., Nowell, L.H., Bexfield, L.M., Sandstrom, M.W., Stone, W.W., 2017, Recovery data for surface water, groundwater and lab reagent samples analyzed by the USGS National Water Quality Laboratory schedule 2437, water years 2013-15: U.S. Geological Survey data release, https://doi.org/10.5066/F7QZ28G4.

Year Published: 2017

Storage filters upland suspended sediment signals delivered from watersheds

Climate change, tectonics, and humans create long- and short-term temporal variations in the supply of suspended sediment to rivers. These signals, generated in upland erosional areas, are filtered by alluvial storage before reaching the basin outlet. We quantified this filter using a random walk model driven by sediment budget data, a power-law...

Pizzuto, James E.; Keeler, Jeremy; Skalak, Katherine; Karwan, Diana
Attribution: Water
Pizzuto J., Keeler J., Skalak K., Karwan D., 2017, Storage filters upland suspended sediment signals delivered from watersheds, Geology, v. 45, no. 2, p. 151-154, https://doi.org/10.1130/G38170.1

Year Published: 2017

Hourly storm characteristics along the U.S. West Coast: Role of atmospheric rivers in extreme precipitation

Gridded hourly precipitation observations over the conterminous U.S., from 1948 to 2002, are analyzed to determine climatological characteristics of storm precipitation totals. Despite generally lower hourly intensities, precipitation totals along the U.S. West Coast (USWC) are comparable to those in southeast U.S. (SEUS). Storm durations, more so...

Lamjiri, Maryam A.; Dettinger, Michael; Ralph, F. Martin; Guan, B.
Attribution: Water
Lamjiri, M. A., M. D. Dettinger, F. M. Ralph, and B. Guan (2017), Hourly storm characteristics along the U.S. West Coast: Role of atmospheric rivers in extreme precipitation, Geophys. Res. Lett., 44, doi:10.1002/2017GL074193.

Year Published: 2017

Complex networks of functional connectivity in a wetland reconnected to its floodplain

Disturbances such as fire or flood, in addition to changing the local magnitude of ecological, hydrological, or biogeochemical processes, can also change their functional connectivity—how those processes interact in space. Complex networks offer promise for quantifying functional connectivity in watersheds. The approach resolves connections...

Larsen, Laurel G.; Newman, Susan; Saunders, Colin; Harvey, Judson
Attribution: Water
Larsen, L.G., Newman, S., Saunders, C., and Harvey, J.W., 2017, Complex networks of functional connectivity in a wetland reconnected to its floodplain, Water Resources Research, 53, 6089–6108, doi:10.1002/ 2017WR020375.

Year Published: 2017

Fine particle retention within stream storage areas at base flow and in response to a storm event

Fine particles (1–100 µm), including particulate organic carbon (POC) and fine sediment, influence stream ecological functioning because they may contain or have a high affinity to sorb nitrogen and phosphorus. These particles are immobilized within stream storage areas, especially hyporheic sediments and benthic biofilms. However, fine particles...

Drummond, J. D.; Larsen, L. G.; González-Pinzón, R.; Packman, A. I.; Harvey, Judson
Attribution: Water
Drummond, J.D., Larsen, L.G., Gonzalez-Pinzon, R., Packman, A.I. and Harvey, J.D., 2017, Fine particle retention within stream storage areas at base flow and in response to a storm event, Water Resources Research, 53, 5690–5705, doi:10.1002/2016WR020202.

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: 836
Hydro techs from the New Mexico Water Science Center perform a well integrity test
September 19, 2017
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 then...
Image shows a USGS scientist in a PFD taking a high-water measurement
September 11, 2017
USGS scientist Steve Hannes marks high water marks along the Colorado River after flooding from Hurricane Harvey in Wharton County, Texas.
Image shows a USGS scientist in a PDF taking a high-water mark
September 11, 2017
USGS scientist Steve Hannes marks high water marks along the Colorado River after flooding from Hurricane Harvey in Wharton County, Texas.
Image shows a USGS scientist in a PFD taking a high-water measurement
September 11, 2017
USGS scientist Steve Hannes marks high water marks along the Colorado River after flooding from Hurricane Harvey in Wharton County, Texas.
Image shows a USGS scientist in a PFD taking a high-water mark
September 11, 2017
USGS scientist Steve Hannes marks high water marks along the Colorado River after flooding from Harvey in Matagorda County, Texas.
A small boat with scientific equipment loaded onboard resting near shore of a lake.
September 10, 2017
The Maine Office boat, "Miss Q", is parked next to the boat launch on Verona Island, ready to begin data collection on the Penobscot River. The crew was preparing to collect ADCP data (depth and velocity) as well as conductivity, temperature and depth profiles at various locations. In the background is the Penobscot Narrows Bridge and Fort Knox.
Hurricane Irma satellite image
September 5, 2017
Satellite Image of Hurricane Irma on September 5, 2017. Photo by NASA/NOAA GOES Project
Preparing to measure Irma's storm surge in Puerto Rico
September 4, 2017
Along the northeast coast of Puerto Rico, USGS hydrologic technician Francisco Almanzar surveys reference elevation points to ensure the accuracy of water level data. Almanzar and other USGS employees installed nine storm surge sensors along the coast on Labor Day, Monday, Sept. 4, 2017 as Hurricane Irma approached.
USGS scientists Lisa Ashmore and Lee Bodkin collect water-quality samples on Lake Houston in response to Harvey.
August 31, 2017
USGS scientists Lisa Ashmore and Lee Bodkin collect water-quality samples on Lake Houston in response to the high flow conditions that resulted from Harvey.
Image shows a USGS scientist in a PFD servicing a streamgage
August 31, 2017
USGS scientist Jimmy Hopkins repairs a streamgage downstream of Addicks reservoir at Buffalo Bayou after flooding from Hurricane Harvey. This gauge is normally accessed on land from a platform on the side of a bridge.
Image shows USGS scientists planning their water quality work on a whiteboard
August 31, 2017
A peek into a USGS planning meeting to coordinate water-quality sampling efforts in response to Harvey. This sampling effort is part of the federal government’s broad efforts to ensure public health and to support the state, tribal, and local response to the storm
August 31, 2017
Hurricane Harvey made landfall on August 25th. Over the next few days, record rain totals had devastated the area. At the USGS EROS Center, we study land change, operate the Landsat satellites, and maintain the longest, continuously acquired collection of images of the Earth's land surface. USGS EROS Center ( https://eros.usgs.gov/ )
Filter Total Items: 350
Image: Vegetation Drought
June 5, 2017

The U. S. Geological Survey is poised to bring a dynamic array of science and tools to help decision-makers manage and offset effects of increased drought across the United States, according to a drought plan report released today.

Hurricane Irene, satellite view, NASA
June 1, 2017

Scientists work in the field before, during and after landfall to improve forecasting and recovery.

 

 

Two men collecting groundwater samples at a public well in the middle of a grassy field in Texas
May 31, 2017

Decades or longer may be needed to fully assess the effects of unconventional oil and gas production on the quality of groundwater used for drinking water in Arkansas, Louisiana, and Texas

Image of first page of Western Lake Erie Water Monitoring Summary
May 28, 2017

The U.S. Geological Survey in cooperation with Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, and the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative is measuring streamflow and collecting nutrient and sediment samples at stream gages in the Western Lake Erie Basin in Northwest Ohio.  

Housing structure for USGS Stream gage with Clear Fork Mohican River in the background
May 11, 2017

The United States Geological Survey (USGS) operates a network of real-time streamgages that continually record stage and streamflow every 15 to 60 minutes. 

A map of Pennsylvania indicating radon concentrations of water samples collected during a multi-year groundwater radon study. Ma
May 11, 2017

A new U.S. Geological Survey study has discovered high levels of radon in wells across certain areas of Pennsylvania.

Measuring Streamflow
May 11, 2017

Gary Moore spent the last three days of 2015 stacking hefty bags of sand in front of a fellow church member’s brick home. With only 1,000 feet between the house and the swelling Mississippi and Meramec Rivers, Moore and other volunteers worked quickly, in frigid temperatures, to assemble a 10-foot high, 1,000-foot-long sandbag wall to ward off floodwaters.

Image: Old Faithful Erupting
May 10, 2017

Despite two centuries of scientific study, basic questions persist about geysers—why do they exist? What determines their behavior?

USGS
May 3, 2017

A report published today by the U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with the Connecticut Department of Public Health, reveals that water from some private wells across the state has registered high levels of Arsenic and Uranium.

USGS hydrologic technician Christopher Rowden verifies the accuracy of streamgage information at the Jacks Fork River.
April 30, 2017

Reporters: Do you want to interview USGS scientists as they measure flooding? Please contact Jennifer LaVista.

Low-flying helicopter survey
April 27, 2017

Starting on May 2 and lasting for about two days, a helicopter towing a large, cylindrical sensor will make low-level flights over parts of Cedar Rapids as part of a groundwater survey.