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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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Acoustic Doppler current profiler (ADCP) is connected to an onboard computer to measure streamflow.
Date Published: June 1, 2017
Status: Active

In the mid-1990s, a new technology emerged in the field of inland streamflow monitoring. The South Atlantic Water Science Center is making great use of the acoustic Doppler current profiler (ADCP). It was originally developed for oceanographic work, but was adapted for inland streamflow measurements. This instrument is transforming the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) streamgaging program.

Hydrologist collecting data on South Fork Coeur d'Alne River, Idaho
Date Published: May 26, 2017
Status: Active

We partner with the EPA to conduct long-term water-quality and streamflow monitoring and streamflow measurements in the Coeur d’Alene River Basin, which has been widely impacted by historic mining activities. We collect water-quality samples 2-4 times per year at 20 sites throughout the basin. Our scientists analyze these samples for metals, hardness, sediment, and nutrients. In addition, we ...

Lookout Point Dam
Date Published: May 18, 2017
Status: Completed

Hills Creek, Lookout Point, and Dexter Dams are located on the Middle Fork Willamette River upstream of Eugene in western Oregon, and are important resources managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) for flood control, hydroelectric power, recreation, navigation, and irrigation. On the South Santiam River east of Albany in western Oregon, Green Peter and Foster Dams provide functions...

Crooked Canyon spring
Date Published: May 16, 2017

Groundwater-level monitoring in the upper Deschutes Basin of central Oregon from 1997 to 2008 shows water-level declines in some places that are larger than might be expected from climate variations alone, raising questions regarding the influence of groundwater pumping, canal lining (which decreases recharge), and other human influences. Between the mid-1990s and mid-2000s, water levels in...

USGS: Science for a changing world
Date Published: May 11, 2017
Status: Completed

Henry Hagg Lake is a reservoir located in the foothills of the eastern slope of the Coast Range Mountains of northwestern Oregon. The lake was formed by Scoggins Dam, an earthfill structure that impounds Scoggins Creek, a tributary of the Tualatin River. Hagg Lake was filled and began normal operation in 1975. At a maximum water elevation of 93.2 meters (305.8 feet) above sea level, the lake's...

Keno reach of the Klamath River
Date Published: May 9, 2017
Status: Active

The Klamath River from Link River to Keno Dam experiences poor water-quality conditions on a seasonal basis, creating inhospitable conditions for fish and other aquatic organisms. These problems led the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality to prepare a Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) plan to bring the river into compliance with water-quality standards. This study used a hydrodynamic and...

beaver
Date Published: May 2, 2017
Status: Active

Beavers and their dams are common sights along creeks in the Tualatin River basin. Beaver help create diverse habitats for many other animals, including birds, fish, and amphibians. The USGS and Clean Water Services are studying the affect beaver activity has on the amount and quality of water in local streams, so that agencies in the basin can make strategic management and habitat restoration...

Shenandoah municipal and industrial discharges
Date Published: May 1, 2017
Status: Active

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
Date Published: 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...

Osprey on nest
Date Published: March 31, 2017
Status: Completed

The Columbia River provides important hydroelectric power generation, valuable recreational and tribal fisheries, extensive recreational areas and scenic beauty, and habitat for wildlife and fish. The lower Columbia River below Bonneville is the largest remaining free-flowing reach not impounded by hydroelectric dams, and is critical to the viability of culturally significant fish populations...

Trumpeter swans, Camas National Wildlife Refuge
Date Published: March 9, 2017
Status: Completed

The Camas National Wildlife Refugeprovides essential resting, feeding, and nesting habitat for waterfowl including migratory birds. A variety of other animals, large and small, are found there, too. Since the refuge was established in 1937, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) has been responsible for managing this vital resource.

Traditionally, Camas Creek and groundwater inflow...

Agricultural lands in Arizona, thumbnail
Date Published: 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...

Filter Total Items: 1,532
Year Published: 2017

Plant diversity increases with the strength of negative density dependence at the global scale

Theory predicts that higher biodiversity in the tropics is maintained by specialized interactions among plants and their natural enemies that result in conspecific negative density dependence (CNDD). By using more than 3000 species and nearly 2.4 million trees across 24 forest plots worldwide, we show that global patterns in tree species diversity...

LaManna, Joseph A.; Mangan, Scott A.; Alonso, Alfonso; Bourg, Norman; Brockelman, Warren Y.; Bunyavejchewin, Sarayudh; Chang, Li-Wan; Chiang, Jyh-Min; Chuyong, George B.; Clay, Keith; Condit, Richard; Cordell, Susan; Davies, Stuart J.; Furniss, Tucker J.; Giardina, Christian P.; Gunatilleke, I.A.U. Nimal; Gunatilleke, C.V. Savitri; He, Fangliang; Howe, Robert W.; Hubbell, Stephen P.; Hsieh, Chang-Fu; Inman-Narahari, Faith M.; Janik, David; Johnson, Daniel J.; Kenfack, David; Korte, Lisa; Kral, Kamil; Larson, Andrew J.; Lutz, James A.; McMahon, Sean M.; McShea, William J.; Memiaghe, Herve R.; Nathalang, Anuttara; Novotny, Vojtech; Ong, Perry S.; Orwig, David A.; Ostertag, Rebecca; Parker, Geoffrey G.; Phillips, Richard P.; Sack, Lawren; Sun, I-Fang; Tello, J. Sebastian; Thomas, Duncan W.; Turner, Benjamin L.; Vela Diaz, Dilys M.; Vrska, Tomas; Weiblen, George D.; Wolf, Amy; Yap, Sandra; Myers, Jonathan A.
Attribution: Water
J.A. LaManna et al., 2017, Plant diversity increases with the strength of negative density dependence at the global scale, Science, 356, 6345, 1389-1392.

Year Published: 2017

Response of deep groundwater to land use change in desert basins of the Trans-Pecos region, Texas, USA: Effects on infiltration, recharge, and nitrogen fluxes

Quantifying the effects of anthropogenic processes on groundwater in arid regions can be complicated by thick unsaturated zones with long transit times. Human activities can alter water and nutrient fluxes, but their impact on groundwater is not always clear. This study of basins in the Trans-Pecos region of Texas links anthropogenic land use and...

Robertson, Wendy Marie; Böhlke, John Karl; Sharp, John M.
Attribution: Water
Robertson, W.M., Böhlke, J.K., and Sharp, J.M.Jr., 2017, Response of deep groundwater to land use change in desert basins of the Trans-Pecos region, Texas, USA: Effects on infiltration, recharge, and nitrogen fluxes. Hydrological Processes, v. 31, p. 2349-2364. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/hyp.11178.

Year Published: 2017

Tracking the fate of nitrate through pulse-flow wetlands: A mesocosm scale 15N enrichment tracer study

Quantitative information about the fate of applied nitrate (NO3-N) in pulse-flow constructed wetlands is essential for designing wetland treatment systems and assessing their nitrogen removal services for agricultural and stormwater applications. Although many studies have documented NO3-N losses in wetlands, controlled experiments indicating the...

Messer, Tiffany L.; Burchell, Michael R.; Böhlke, John Karl; Tobias, Craig R.
Attribution: Water
Messer, T.L., Burchell, M.R., Böhlke, J.K., and Tobias, C.R., 2017, Tracking the fate of nitrate through pulse-flow wetlands: A mesocosm scale 15N enrichment tracer study. Ecological Engineering, v. 106, p. 597-608. DOI: 10.1016/j.ecoleng.2017.06.016

Year Published: 2017

On the probability distribution of daily streamflow in the United States

Daily streamflows are often represented by flow duration curves (FDCs), which illustrate the frequency with which flows are equaled or exceeded. FDCs have had broad applications across both operational and research hydrology for decades; however, modeling FDCs has proven elusive. Daily streamflow is a complex time series with flow values ranging...

Blum, Annalise G.; Archfield, Stacey A.; Vogel, Richard M.
Attribution: Water

Year Published: 2017

A hybrid machine learning model to predict and visualize nitrate concentration throughout the Central Valley aquifer, California, USA

Intense demand for water in the Central Valley of California and related increases in groundwater nitrate concentration threaten the sustainability of the groundwater resource. To assess contamination risk in the region, we developed a hybrid, non-linear, machine learning model within a statistical learning framework to predict nitrate...

Ransom, Katherine M.; Nolan, Bernard T.; Traum, Jonathan A.; Faunt, Claudia; Bell, Andrew M.; Gronberg, Jo Ann M.; Wheeler, David C.; Zamora, Celia; Jurgens, Bryant; Schwarz, Gregory E.; Belitz, Kenneth; Eberts, Sandra; Kourakos, George; Harter, Thomas
Attribution: Water

Year Published: 2017

Groundwater resources of the Devils Postpile National Monument—Current conditions and future vulnerabilities

This study presents an extensive database on groundwater conditions in and around Devils Postpile National Monument. The database contains chemical analyses of springs and the monument water-supply well, including major-ion chemistry, trace element chemistry, and the first information on a list of organic compounds known as emerging contaminants....

Evans, William C.; Bergfeld, Deborah
Attribution: Water
Evans, W.C., and Bergfeld, D., 2017, Groundwater resources of the Devils Postpile National Monument—Current conditions and future vulnerabilities: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2017–5048, 31 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/sir20175048.

Year Published: 2017

Archaeal diversity and CO2 fixers in carbonate-/siliciclastic-rock groundwater ecosystems

Groundwater environments provide habitats for diverse microbial communities, and although Archaea usually represent a minor fraction of communities, they are involved in key biogeochemical cycles. We analysed the archaeal diversity within a mixed carbonate-rock/siliciclastic-rock aquifer system, vertically from surface soils to subsurface...

Lazar, Cassandre Sara; Stoll, Wenke; Lehmann, Robert; Herrmann, Martina; Schwab, Valérie F.; Akob, Denise M.; Nawaz, Ali; Wubet, Tesfaye; Buscot, François; Totsche, Kai-Uwe; Küsel, Kirsten
Attribution: Water
Lazar, C. S.; Stoll, W.; Lehmann, R.; Herrmann, M.; Schwab, V. F.; Akob, D. M.; Nawaz, A.; Wubet, T.; Buscot, F.; Totsche, K.-U.; Küsel, K., Archaeal diversity and CO2 fixers in carbonate-/siliciclastic-rock groundwater ecosystems. Archaea 2017, 2017, 1-13, https://doi.org/10.1155/2017/2136287

Year Published: 2017

Application of an unstructured 3D finite volume numerical model to flows and salinity dynamics in the San Francisco Bay-Delta

A linked modeling approach has been undertaken to understand the impacts of climate and infrastructure on aquatic ecology and water quality in the San Francisco Bay-Delta region. The Delft3D Flexible Mesh modeling suite is used in this effort for its 3D hydrodynamics, salinity, temperature and sediment dynamics, phytoplankton and water-quality...

Martyr-Koller, R.C.; Kernkamp, H.W.J.; Van Dam, Anne A.; Mick van der Wegen; Lucas, Lisa; Knowles, N.; Jaffe, B.; Fregoso, T.A.
Attribution: Water
Martyr-Koller, R.C., Kernkamp, H.W.J., van Dam, A., van der Wegen, M., Lucas, L.V., Knowles, N., Jaffe, B., Fregoso, T.A., 2017, Application of an unstructured 3D finite volume numerical model to flows and salinity dynamics in the San Francisco Bay-Delta: Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, 192, 86-107, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ecss.2017.04.024

Year Published: 2017

Analyzing cloud base at local and regional scales to understand tropical montane cloud forest vulnerability to climate change

The degree to which cloud immersion provides water in addition to rainfall, suppresses transpiration, and sustains tropical montane cloud forests (TMCFs) during rainless periods is not well understood. Climate and land use changes represent a threat to these forests if cloud base altitude rises as a result of regional warming or deforestation. To...

Van Beusekom, Ashley E.; González, Grizelle; Scholl, Martha A.
Attribution: Water
Van Beusekom, A. E., González, G., and Scholl, M. A.:, 2017, Analyzing cloud base at local and regional scales to understand tropical montane cloud forest vulnerability to climate change, Atmos. Chem. Phys., 17, 7245-7259, https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-17-7245-2017.

Year Published: 2017

Complex mixtures of Pesticides in Midwest U.S. streams indicated by POCIS time-integrating samplers

The Midwest United States is an intensely agricultural region where pesticides in streams pose risks to aquatic biota, but temporal variability in pesticide concentrations makes characterization of their exposure to organisms challenging. To compensate for the effects of temporal variability, we deployed polar organic chemical integrative samplers...

Van Metre, Peter C.; Alvarez, David; Mahler, Barbara J.; Nowell, Lisa H.; Sandstrom, Mark W.; Moran, Patrick W.
Attribution: Water
Environ Pollut. 2017 Jan;220(Pt A):431-440. doi: 10.1016/j.envpol.2016.09.085. Epub 2016 Sep 30.

Year Published: 2017

Reexamining ultrafiltration and solute transport in groundwater

Geologic ultrafiltration—slowing of solutes with respect to flowing groundwater—poses a conundrum: it is consistently observed experimentally in clay-rich lithologies, but has been difficult to identify in subsurface data. Resolving this could be important for clarifying clay and shale transport properties at large scales as well as interpreting...

Neuzil, Christopher E.; Person, Mark
Attribution: Water
Neuzil, C. E. and M. Person (2017), Reexamining ultrafiltration and solute transport in groundwater, Water Resour. Res., 53, 4922-4941, doi:10.1002/2017WR020492.

Year Published: 2017

Steady state fractionation of heavy noble gas isotopes in a deep unsaturated zone

To explore steady state fractionation processes in the unsaturated zone (UZ), we measured argon, krypton, and xenon isotope ratios throughout a ∼110 m deep UZ at the United States Geological Survey (USGS) Amargosa Desert Research Site (ADRS) in Nevada, USA. Prior work has suggested that gravitational settling should create a nearly linear increase...

Seltzer, Alan M.; Severinghaus, Jeffrey P.; Andraski, Brian; Stonestrom, David A.
Attribution: Water
Seltzer, A.M., Severinghaus, J.P., Andraski, B.J., and Stonestrom, D.A., 2017, Steady-state fractionation of heavy noble gas isotopes in a deep unsaturated zone: Water Resources Research, v. 53, p. 2716-2732, doi:10.1002/2016WR019655.

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
Image shows a USGS scientist in a PFD servicing a water quality monitor on a lake
August 31, 2017
USGS scientist Lisa Ashmore services a water-quality monitor on Lake Houston. These instruments stayed afloat and collected data throughout the storm.
USGS scientist Lisa Ashmore services a water-quality monitor on Lake Houston. These instruments stayed afloat throughout Harvey.
August 31, 2017
USGS scientist Lisa Ashmore services a water-quality monitor on Lake Houston. These instruments stayed afloat and collected data throughout Harvey.
Image shows USGS scientists in PFDs taking water quality samples from Lake Houston
August 31, 2017
A USGS field crew takes water-quality samples on Lake Houston following Harvey.
A USGS scientist wearing a PFD measures flooding on the Guadalupe River
August 30, 2017
USGS scientist Alec MacDonald takes flood measurements on the Guadalupe River in Victoria, Texas.
Image shows flooding around a streamgage at Addicks Reservoir
August 29, 2017
USGS field crew measure reservoir water-level data at Addicks Reservoir, which are critical for helping the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers make informed reservoir operation decisions.
Image shows a USGS scientist in a PFD servicing a streamgage
August 29, 2017
USGS scientist Tom Pistillo services the streamgage at Addicks Reservoir to ensure that accurate reservoir water-level data are being measured, which are critical for helping the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Harris County Flood Control District make informed reservoir operation decisions.
Image shows flooding at a streamgage site on Addicks Reservoir
August 29, 2017
USGS field crew measure reservoir water-level data at Addicks Reservoir, which are critical for helping the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers make informed reservoir operation decisions.
Image shows a USGS scientist in a PFD servicing a streamgage
August 29, 2017
USGS scientist Tom Pistillo wades through the waters of Barker Reservoir to ensure accurate reservoir water-level data are being measured, which are critical for helping the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Harris County Flood Control District make informed reservoir operation decisions.
Image shows USGS scientists planning Hurricane Harvey response efforts
August 28, 2017
Planning meeting at the USGS Gulf Coast Office.
Image shows a police car in a flooded roadway in Texas
August 27, 2017
USGS field crews made multiple record high flood measurements on Aug. 27, including downstream of Addicks and Barker dam. Flood measurements near Addicks and Barker dam are critical for making public safety decisions, as 1.2 million people live downstream. USGS hydrologic technicians Eric Boeding and Robert Ellis measured the height and speed of floodwaters at the USGS streamgage site at Buffalo...
USGS scientist Jeff East is monitoring streamflow and flooding from Hurricane Harvey.
August 26, 2017
In addition to staff that conduct field measurements of flooding conditions, others monitor information indoors. Here, USGS scientist Jeff East is monitoring streamflow and flooding from Hurricane Harvey.
Image shows two USGS scientists looking at a computer screen in a truck
August 26, 2017
USGS scientists Vidal Mendoza and Brian Petri take flood measurements at Fifteenmile Creek near Weser, Texas on August 26. The crew used a power measurement technique, since acoustic measurements will not work due to a large amount of sediment and vegetation in the floodwaters. Photo by Mark Schroeder, USGS.
Filter Total Items: 350
Walker Lake on a Spring day
April 24, 2017

USGS model simulations suggest that Walker Lake will rise by as much as 15 to 18 feet this year, the most in a single year in recorded history.

Hydrologic Regions of Alaska
April 14, 2017

While freshwater ecosystems cover only a small amount of the land surface in Alaska, they transport and emit a significant amount of carbon, according to new U.S. Geological Survey research. An invited feature article for Ecological Applications provides the first-ever major aquatic carbon flux assessment for the entire state. Carbon flux refers to the rate of carbon transfer between pools.

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.