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: 138
Collage of three printouts of DNA sequencing of Pathogens.
September 24, 2016

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...

Color Illustration of Avian Botulism transport through species
September 24, 2016

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,...

Collage of various photos of processing in a Microbiology Laboratory showing equipment
September 24, 2016

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...

Water Quality Monitoring site with Isco Sampler and Virus Sampler on the Clinton River, for GLRI sampling effort.
September 24, 2016

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...

Acoustics boat with ADCP in river with tree branch in foreground, across river is USGS Hydro Tech holding line to boat.
September 24, 2016

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...

Roadmap of Michigan with Groundwater stations marked with triangles
September 24, 2016

The USGS Michigan Water Science Center cooperates with local and state agencies to collect and maintain groundwater data across Michigan. The USGS and local partners actively monitor 90 wells. Of these 90 wells, 22 are continuously monitored with 3 of those continuously...

Parents and children enjoying the beach in Macomb County, Michigan with seagulls.
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...

Boats on Kalamazoo River of various agencies in response to a oil spill.
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...

Complicated groundwater drill rigs mounted on big trucks and their crew.
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...

Multiple Petri dishes with various water samples monitoring showing color differences for antibiotic resistance.
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 (...

Water Quality and a Petri dish with blue organisms.
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...

Illustration of Relational Chart for Microbial Ecology
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...

Filter Total Items: 1,476
Year Published: 2017

Long-term flow-through column experiments and their relevance to natural granitoid weathering rates

Four pairs of fresh and partly-weathered granitoids, obtained from well-characterized watersheds—Merced River, CA, USA; Panola, GA, USA; Loch Vale, CO, USA, and Rio Icacos, Puerto Rico—were reacted in columns under ambient laboratory conditions for 13.8 yrs, the longest running experimental weathering study to date. Low total column mass losses (...

White, Arthur F.; Schulz, Marjorie S.; Lawrence, Corey R.; Vivit, Davison V.; Stonestrom, David A.
Attribution: Water
White, A.F., Schulz, M.S., Lawrence, C.R., Vivit, D.V., Stonestrom, D.A., 2016, Long-Term Flow-Through Column Experiments and Their Relevance to Natural Granitoid Weathering Rates, Geochemica et Cosmochemica Acta, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.gca.2016.11.042

Year Published: 2017

Evaluation of diffuse and preferential flow pathways of infiltratedprecipitation and irrigation using oxygen and hydrogen isotopes

Subsurface-water flow pathways in three different land-use areas (non-irrigated grassland, poplar forest, and irrigated arable land) in the central North China Plain were investigated using oxygen (18O) and hydrogen (2H) isotopes in samples of precipitation, soils, and groundwater. Soil water in the top 10 cm was significantly affected by...

Ma, Bin; Liang, Xing; Liu, Shaohua; Jin, Menggui; Nimmo, John R.; Li, Jingxin
Attribution: Water
Ma, Bin; Liang, Xing; Liu, Shaohua; Jin, Menggui; Nimmo, John R.; Li, Jing Evaluation of diffuse and preferential flow pathways of infiltrated precipitation and irrigation using oxygen and hydrogen isotopes Hydrogeology Journal Issue 3/2017

Year Published: 2017

Challenges with secondary use of multi-source water-quality data in the United States

Combining water-quality data from multiple sources can help counterbalance diminishing resources for stream monitoring in the United States and lead to important regional and national insights that would not otherwise be possible. Individual monitoring organizations understand their own data very well, but issues can arise when their data are...

Sprague, Lori A.; Oelsner, Gretchen P.; Argue, Denise M.
Sprague, L.A., Oelsner, G.P., and Argue, D.M., 2017, Challenges with secondary use of multi-source water-quality data in the United States. Water Research: vol. 110, p 252-261. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.watres.2016.12.024

Year Published: 2017

Arsenite as an electron donor for anoxygenic photosynthesis: Description of three strains of Ectothiorhodospria from Mono Lake, California, and Big Soda Lake, Nevada

Three novel strains of photosynthetic bacteria from the family Ectothiorhodospiraceae were isolated from soda lakes of the Great Basin Desert, USA by employing arsenite (As(III)) as the sole electron donor in the enrichment/isolation process. Strain PHS-1 was previously isolated from a hot spring in Mono Lake, while strain MLW-1 was obtained from...

McCann, Shelley; Boren, Alison; Hernandez-Maldonado, Jaime; Stoneburner, Brendon; Saltikov, Chad W; Stolz, John F.; Oremland, Ronald S.
Attribution: Water

Year Published: 2017

The chemistry and isotopic composition of waters in the low-enthalpy geothermal system of Cimino-Vico Volcanic District, Italy

Geothermal energy exploration is based in part on interpretation of the chemistry, temperature, and discharge rate of thermal springs. Here we present the major element chemistry and the δD, δ18O, 87Sr/86Sr and δ11B isotopic ratio of groundwater from the low-enthalpy geothermal system near the city of Viterbo in the Cimino-Vico volcanic district...

Battistel, Maria; Hurwitz, Shaul; Evans, William; Barbieri, Maurizio
Attribution: Water

Year Published: 2017

Estuary-ocean connectivity: Fast physics, slow biology

Estuaries are connected to both land and ocean so their physical, chemical, and biological dynamics are influenced by climate patterns over watersheds and ocean basins. We explored climate-driven oceanic variability as a source of estuarine variability by comparing monthly time series of temperature and chlorophyll-a inside San Francisco Bay with...

Raimonet, Mélanie; Cloern, James E.
Attribution: Water

Year Published: 2017

Custom map projections for regional groundwater models

For regional groundwater flow models (areas greater than 100,000 km2), improper choice of map projection parameters can result in model error for boundary conditions dependent on area (recharge or evapotranspiration simulated by application of a rate using cell area from model discretization) and length (rivers simulated with head-dependent flux...

Kuniansky, Eve L.
Attribution: Water
Kuniansky, Eve L., 2016, Custom Map Projections for Regional Groundwater Models: Groundwater online early (DOI:10.1111/gwat.12450)

Year Published: 2017

The genetic basis of anoxygenic photosynthetic arsenite oxidation

“Photoarsenotrophy”, the use of arsenite as an electron donor for anoxygenic photosynthesis, is thought to be an ancient form of phototrophy along with the photosynthetic oxidation of Fe(II), H2S, H2, and NO2-. Photoarsenotrophy was recently identified from Paoha Island's (Mono Lake, CA) arsenic-rich hot springs. The genomes of several...

Hernandez-Maldonado, Jamie; Sanchez-Sedillo, Benjamin; Stoneburner, Brendon; Boren, Alison; Miller, Laurence G.; McCann, Shelley; Rosen, Michael R.; Oremland, Ronald S.; Saltikov, Chad W.
Attribution: Water
Hernandez-Maldonado, J., Sanchez-Sedillo, B., Stoneburner, B., Boren, A., Miller, L., McCann, S., Rosen, M., Oremland, R. S., Saltikov, C. W., 2016, The genetic basis of anoxygenic photosynthetic arsenite oxidation: Environmental Microbiology, http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1462-2920.13509

Year Published: 2017

Salinity influences on aboveground and belowground net primary productivity in tidal wetlands

Tidal freshwater wetlands are one of the most vulnerable ecosystems to climate change and rising sea levels. However salinification within these systems is poorly understood, therefore, productivity (litterfall, woody biomass, and fine roots) were investigated on three forested tidal wetlands [(1) freshwater, (2) moderately saline, and (...

Pierfelice, Kathryn N.; Graeme Lockaby, B.; Krauss, Ken W.; Conner, William H.; Noe, Gregory; Ricker, Matthew C.
Attribution: Water
Pierfelice, K.N, B.G. Lockaby, K.W. Krauss, W.H. Conner, G.B. Noe, and M.C. Ricker. 2015. Salinity influences on above- and belowground net primary productivity in tidal wetlands. Journal of Hydraulic Engineering. DOI: 10.1061/(ASCE)HE.1943-5584.0001223

Year Published: 2016

Chapter 1: Hydrologic exchange flows and their ecological consequences in river corridors

The actively flowing waters of streams and rivers remain in close contact with surrounding off-channel and subsurface environments. These hydrologic linkages between relatively fast flowing channel waters, with more slowly flowing waters off-channel and in the subsurface, are collectively referred to as hydrologic exchange flows (HEFs). HEFs...

Harvey, Judson
Attribution: Water
J.W. Harvey, Hydrologic Exchange Flows and Their Ecological Consequences in River Corridors, In: J.B. Jones and E. Stanley, 2016, Stream Ecosystems in a Changing Environment, Elsevier, p. 1-83.

Year Published: 2016

Use of multiple age tracers to estimate groundwater residence times and long-term recharge rates in arid southern Oman

Multiple age tracers were measured to estimate groundwater residence times in the regional aquifer system underlying southwestern Oman. This area, known as the Najd, is one of the most arid areas in the world and is planned to be the main agricultural center of the Sultanate of Oman in the near future. The three isotopic age tracers 4He, 14C and...

Müller, Th.; Osenbrück, K.; Strauch, G.; Pavetich, S.; Al-Mashaikhi, K.-S.; Herb, C.; Merchel, S.; Rugel, G.; Aeschbach, W.; Sanford, Ward E.
Attribution: Water
Applied Geochemistry Volume 74, November 2016, Pages 67–83 Applied Geochemistry Volume 74, November 2016, Pages 67–83 Cover image Use of multiple age tracers to estimate groundwater residence times and long-term recharge rates in arid southern Oman Th. Müllera, , K. Osenbrückb, G. Straucha, S. Pavetichc, 1, K.-S. Al-Mashaikhid, C. Herbe, S. Merchelc, G. Rugelc, W. Aeschbache, W. Sanfordf Th. Müllera, , K. Osenbrückb, G. Straucha, S. Pavetichc, 1, K.-S. Al-Mashaikhid, C. Herbe, S. Merchelc, G. Rugelc, W. Aeschbache, W. Sanfordf

Year Published: 2016

Groundwater quality in the Basin and Range Basin-Fill Aquifers, southwestern United States

Groundwater provides nearly 50 percent of the Nation’s drinking water. To help protect this vital resource, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) National Water-Quality Assessment (NAWQA) Project assesses groundwater quality in aquifers that are important sources of drinking water. The Basin and Range basin-fill aquifers constitute one of the...

Musgrove, MaryLynn; Belitz, Kenneth
Attribution: Water
Musgrove, MaryLynn, and Belitz, Kenneth, 2016, Groundwater Quality in the Basin and Range basin-fill aquifers, Southwestern United States: U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2016-3080, 4 p., http://dx.doi.org/10.3133/fs20163080.

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: 801
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...
2017 (approx.)
The Arizona Water Science Center demonstrates new methods in Reach-Scale Monitoring to improve accuracy and measurability of high flow events. By installing pressure transducers and using LiDAR to measure topography data, hydrologists are able to simulate flows with two dimensional models which will help better calibrate stream gages. These advances have potential to aid in gathering important...
2017 (approx.)
Meet Bob. Bob is a beaver. Beavers and their dams are common sights along creeks in Oregon. Beaver activity can create diverse habitats and homes for many animals, including birds, fishes, and dragonflies. The USGS are studying beaver dams and ponds in Portland, Oregon, to understand how they affect the amount and quality of water in urban streams. Insights from the study will highlight the...
Rio Chama near La Puente, NM
May 23, 2017
This photo was taken during a routine site visit to measure streamflow on the Rio Chama in New Mexico.
Cooperators gather to learn about Otowi Streamgage in New Mexico
May 23, 2017
Many eyes watch the amount of water running past the important Otowi streamflow gage. On May 23rd, Tyson Hatch from the New Mexico Water Science Center (NMWSC) presented an overview of the streamgaging activities of the Otowi Gage to participants of the Rio Chama Basin and San Juan-Chama Project Tour. The Otowi gage measures streamflow in the Rio Grande River. The streamgage record at Otowi is a...
Cedar Rapids Geophysical Survey
May 5, 2017
A helicopter towing a large, cylindrical sensor will make low-level flights over parts of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, as part of a groundwater survey in May 2017. The flights will collect and record underground geologic measurements to help the U.S. Geological Survey better determine groundwater resources in the Cedar River Aquifer. The helicopter, operated by CGG Canada Services under contract to the...
Cedar Rapids Geophysical Survey - Helicopter and Sensor 2
May 3, 2017
A helicopter towing a large, cylindrical sensor will make low-level flights over parts of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, as part of a groundwater survey in May 2017. The flights will collect and record underground geologic measurements to help the U.S. Geological Survey better determine groundwater resources in the Cedar River Aquifer. The helicopter, operated by CGG Canada Services under contract to the...
Cedar Rapids Geophysical Survey - Helicopter and Sensor
May 3, 2017
A helicopter towing a large, cylindrical sensor will make low-level flights over parts of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, as part of a groundwater survey in May 2017. The flights will collect and record underground geologic measurements to help the U.S. Geological Survey better determine groundwater resources in the Cedar River Aquifer. The helicopter, operated by CGG Canada Services under contract to the...
Cedar Rapids Geophysical Survey - Team with Sensor
May 1, 2017
A helicopter towing a large, cylindrical sensor will make low-level flights over parts of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, as part of a groundwater survey in May 2017. The flights will collect and record underground geologic measurements to help the U.S. Geological Survey better determine groundwater resources in the Cedar River Aquifer. The helicopter, operated by CGG Canada Services under contract to the...
Hydro techs use q boat to make streamflow measurement
2017 (approx.)
Scientists from the USGS Albuquerque Field Office use an ADCP mounted on a remotely-controlled Q boat to measure the streamflow of the Rio Grande near Bosque Farms. Use of the Q boat allows our hydro techs to safely and quickly respond to flood events that may threaten the public. The Q boat also saves time and manpower as compared to traditional measurement methods.
USGS hydrologic technician measures floodwaters along Flat Creek near Jenkins, Missouri.
April 30, 2017
USGS hydrologic technician measures floodwaters along Flat Creek near Jenkins, Missouri using an Acoustic Doppler Current Profiling instrument.
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Photo of Pigeon Canyon just before it merges with Snake Gulch in northern Arizona. 
January 24, 2017

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.

Photo of a young girl drinking water, which likely originated from groundwater sources. 
January 19, 2017

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.

Photo of a young girl drinking water, which likely originated from groundwater sources. 
January 19, 2017

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.

Photo of a young girl drinking water, which likely originated from groundwater sources. 
January 19, 2017

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.

Photo of a young girl drinking water, which likely originated from groundwater sources. 
January 19, 2017

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.

Photo of a young girl drinking water, which likely originated from groundwater sources. 
January 19, 2017

A regional assessment of untreated groundwater in the Southeastern Coastal Plain aquifer system is now available from the U.S. Geological Survey.

Photo of a young girl drinking water, which likely originated from groundwater sources. 
January 19, 2017

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.

USGS Extensometer Drilling
January 18, 2017

Deep drilling in eastern Virginia will evaluate past effects of groundwater pumping, land subsidence, and relative sea-level rise. Future injection of water is expected to add pressure, expand the aquifer, and raise the land surface.

Photo of USGS scientist Robert Baskin deploying a side scan sonar in the Salton Sea, California. 
January 18, 2017

U.S. Geological Survey scientist Dr. Robert Baskin is being awarded with a 2016 Governor’s Medal for Science and Technology. Gov. Gary R. Herbert will present awards to 11 individuals and one company at the 30th anniversary awards dinner tonight.

Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler
January 12, 2017

You are invited to join USGS scientists and field technician crews as they collect discharge measurements in rainfall-affected areas.

USGS logo
January 12, 2017

Helpful new information for anyone designing structures over or near water, managing water distribution, or interested in the flow of local streams.