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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.Read Science Plan
Data on low-flow characteristics are used by water-resources managers for a variety of purposes, including water-supply planning, making decisions about wastewater-discharge and water withdrawal permits, and evaluating in-stream flow requirements. The Michigan low-flow network currently consists of seven sites where streamflow is typically measured only during low-flow periods. In addition to...
The USGS operates a network of real-time water-quality monitoring stations that measure up to five physical parameters. The parameters are temperature, specific conductance, pH, dissolved oxygen, and turbidity. One to four of those parameters are measured at 26 sites, while all five parameters are measured at 13 sites. These data are used for decision making about hydroelectric power...
Historically, small streams with drainage areas less than 100 square miles have not been adequately represented in regional peak- (high) flow analysis. In Michigan, USGS operates 24 traditional crest-stage gages, where stage and streamflow is only measured during high flows, and 6 continuous-record crest-stage gages, where cooperators can continually monitor stage and USGS maintains a high-...
In response to decreasing water levels in the Great Lakes, especially Lake Michigan and Lake Huron, the International Upper Great Lakes Study (IUGLS) asked USGS to continuously measure flows in the connecting channels of St. Marys, St. Clair, and Detroit Rivers, and Water Survey Canada (WSC) to measure flows of Niagara River. To accommodate the effects of variable backwater and the...
The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Michigan Bacteriological Research Laboratory (MI-BaRL) studies the source, occurrence, and distribution of the bacterial pathogens Shiga-toxin producing E. coli (STEC), Salmonella, Shigella, Campylobacter, Enterococcus, and Staphylococcus and the relation of occurrence of pathogens with fecal indicator bacteria, land-use, season, hydrology, geology, weather...
Botulism outbreaks occur within the Great Lakes and often result in significant bird die offs. It is believed that Clostridium botulinum is the reason for these die offs and the trophic pathways that this organism travels are of interest to understanding its place within the food web. The GLRI Avian Botulism Project is investigating six different matrices: sediment, Cladophora, invertebrates,...
The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Michigan Bacteriological Research Laboratory (MI-BaRL) is a newly renovated laboratory space operated by the USGS Michigan Water Science Center in Lansing, MI. The laboratory is staffed by two Ph.D. level microbiologists and five M.S. level microbiologists with a combined 70 years of experience in microbiology and water resources research. The USGS MI-BaRL...
To better understand the quality of water flowing into the Great Lakes, the USGS is conducting water-quality analyses for nutrients, sediment, and toxic substances and estimating the amount (load) of these substances for tributaries to the Great Lakes. Information on the occurrence and distribution of contaminants is needed to provide baseline information, measure progress towards restoration...
Michigan Water Science Center used acoustic meters for about 90 percent of the streamflow measurements made in Fiscal Year 2012. Wading measurements are done using a modified top setting wading rod equipped with an acoustic Doppler velocimeter (ADV). Acoustic Doppler current profilers (ADCP) are used when measurement depths are too deep to wade. ADCP measurements can either be made with a...
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...
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...
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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
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
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
The contribution of rice agriculture to methylmercury in surface waters: A review of data from the Sacramento Valley, California
Methylmercury (MeHg) is a bioaccumulative pollutant produced in and exported from flooded soils, including those used for rice (Oriza sativa L.) production. Using unfiltered aqueous MeHg data from MeHg monitoring programs in the Sacramento River watershed from 1996 to 2007, we assessed the MeHg contribution from rice systems to the Sacramento...Tanner, K. Christy; Windham-Myers, Lisamarie; Fleck, Jacob; Tate, Kenneth W.; McCord, Stephen A.; Linquist, Bruce A.
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.
New research shows how river diversions may change water quality in estuaries.
The U.S. Geological Survey is pleased to announce the selection of Dr. Christian Zimmerman as the new director of their Alaska Science Center in Anchorage, Alaska. Zimmerman succeeds Dr. Mark Shasby who held the position for the past six years.
Consistent, national-scale and long-term water-quality monitoring of the Nation's rivers and streams has declined, in some cases, by more than half over time
USGS uses state-of-the-art science techniques to estimate phosphorus and suspended-sediment loads to Upper Klamath Lake in the Klamath Basin.
Uranium levels in Pigeon Spring, just north of the Grand Canyon, are likely due to a natural source of uranium and not related to the nearby former Pigeon Mine, according to a recent study by the U.S. Geological Survey.
A regional assessment of untreated groundwater in the Basin and Range basin-fill aquifers, which include parts of Nevada, California, Arizona, Utah and adjacent states, is now available from the U.S. Geological Survey.
A regional assessment of untreated groundwater in the Coastal Lowlands aquifer system in the southeastern United States is now available from the U.S. Geological Survey.
A regional assessment of untreated groundwater in the Northern Atlantic Coastal Plain aquifer system in the eastern United States is now available from the U.S. Geological Survey.
The U.S. Geological Survey is near the midpoint of a complex undertaking to survey the quality of the nation’s largest drinking-water resource. From 2012 – 2023, the USGS is assessing groundwater throughout the country through extensive sampling. The latest results from five regional aquifers have become available today.
A regional assessment of untreated groundwater in the Southeastern Coastal Plain aquifer system is now available from the U.S. Geological Survey.
A regional assessment of untreated groundwater in the combined Valley and Ridge and Piedmont and Blue Ridge aquifers in the eastern United States is now available from the U.S. Geological Survey.