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: 153
Collage of three printouts of DNA sequencing of Pathogens.
Date Published: 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
Date Published: 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
Date Published: 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.
Date Published: 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.
Date Published: 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
Date Published: 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.
Date Published: 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.
Date Published: 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.
Date Published: 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.
Date Published: 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.
Date Published: 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
Date Published: 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...

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Year Published: 2017

Prediction and visualization of redox conditions in the groundwater of Central Valley, California

Regional-scale, three-dimensional continuous probability models, were constructed for aspects of redox conditions in the groundwater system of the Central Valley, California. These models yield grids depicting the probability that groundwater in a particular location will have dissolved oxygen (DO) concentrations less than selected threshold...

Rosecrans, Celia Z.; Nolan, Bernard T.; Gronberg, JoAnn M.
Attribution: Water
Rosecrans, C.Z., Nolan, B.T., Gronberg J.M., 2017. Prediction and Visualization of Redox Conditions in the Groundwater of Central Valley, California. Journal of Hydrology, v. 546 (March), p. 341-356. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jhydrol.2017.01.014

Year Published: 2017

Volcanic ash supports a diverse bacterial community in a marine mesocosm

Shallow-water coral reef ecosystems, particularly those already impaired by anthropogenic pressures, may be highly sensitive to disturbances from natural catastrophic events, such as volcanic eruptions. Explosive volcanic eruptions expel large quantities of silicate ash particles into the atmosphere, which can disperse across millions of square...

Verena Witt; Paul M Ayris; Damby, David; Corrado Cimarelli; Ulrich Kueppers; Donald B Dingwell; Gert Wörheide
Attribution: Water
Witt V, Ayris PM, Damby DE, et al. Volcanic ash supports a diverse bacterial community in a marine mesocosm. Geobiology 2017;00:1-11. http://doi.org/10.1111/gbi.12231

Year Published: 2017

Divergent surface and total soil moisture projections under global warming

Land aridity has been projected to increase with global warming. Such projections are mostly based on off-line aridity and drought metrics applied to climate model outputs but also are supported by climate-model projections of decreased surface soil moisture. Here we comprehensively analyze soil moisture projections from the Coupled Model...

Berg, Alexis; Sheffield, Justin; Milly, Paul C.D.
Attribution: Water
Alexis Berg, Justin Sheffield, P. C. D. Milly, 2017, Divergent surface and total soil moisture projections under global warming. Geophys. Res. Lett., 44(1), 236-244.DOI: 10.1002/2016GL071921

Year Published: 2017

Defining snow drought and why it matters

On 12 February, water resource managers at the Oroville Dam issued an evacuation warning that forced some 180,000 Californians to relocate to higher ground. The story of how conditions got to this point involves several factors, but two clearly stand out: the need to prevent water shortages during a record drought, followed by one of the wettest...

Harpold, Adrian; Dettinger, Michael; Rajagopal, Seshadri
Attribution: Water
Harpold, A. A., M. Dettinger, and S. Rajagopal (2017), Defining snow drought and why it matters, Eos, 98, http://dx.doi.org/10.1029/2017EO068775

Year Published: 2017

Shifts in microbial community structure and function in surface waters impacted by unconventional oil and gas wastewater revealed by metagenomics

Unconventional oil and gas (UOG) production produces large quantities of wastewater with complex geochemistry and largely uncharacterized impacts on surface waters. In this study, we assessed shifts in microbial community structure and function in sediments and waters upstream and downstream from a UOG wastewater disposal facility. To do this,...

Fahrenfeld, N.L.; Reyes, Hannah Delos; Eramo, Alessia; Akob, Denise M.; Mumford, Adam; Cozzarelli, Isabelle M.
Attribution: Water
Fahrenfeld, N.L., H. Delos Reyes, A. Eramo, D. M. Akob, A. Mumford, and I.M. Cozzarelli. 2017. Shifts in microbial community structure and function in surface waters impacted by unconventional oil and gas wastewaters revealed by metagenomics, Science of the Total Environment, 580: 1205–1213, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2016.12.079.

Year Published: 2017

Environmental signatures and effects of an oil and gas wastewater spill in the Williston Basin, North Dakota

Wastewaters from oil and gas development pose largely unknown risks to environmental resources. In January 2015, 11.4 M L (million liters) of wastewater (300 g/L TDS) from oil production in the Williston Basin was reported to have leaked from a pipeline, spilling into Blacktail Creek, North Dakota. Geochemical and biological samples...

Cozzarelli, Isabelle M.; Skalak, Katherine; Kent, D.B.; Engle, Mark A.; Benthem, Adam J.; Mumford, Adam; Haase, Karl B.; Farag, Aïda M.; Harper, David; Nagel, S. C.; Iwanowicz, Luke R.; Orem, William H.; Akob, Denise M.; Jaeschke, Jeanne B.; Galloway, Joel M.; Kohler, Matthias; Stoliker, Deborah L.; Jolly, Glenn D.

Year Published: 2017

Lithological influences on contemporary and long-term regolith weathering at the Luquillo Critical Zone Observatory

Lithologic differences give rise to the differential weatherability of the Earth’s surface and globally variable silicate weathering fluxes, which provide an important negative feedback on climate over geologic timescales. To isolate the influence of lithology on weathering rates and mechanisms, we compare two nearby catchments in the Luquillo...

Buss, Heather L.; Lara, Maria Chapela; Moore, Oliver; Kurtz, Andrew C.; Schulz, Marjorie S.; White, Arthur F.
Attribution: Water

Year Published: 2017

Preferential flow, diffuse flow, and perching in an interbedded fractured-rock unsaturated zone

Layers of strong geologic contrast within the unsaturated zone can control recharge and contaminant transport to underlying aquifers. Slow diffuse flow in certain geologic layers, and rapid preferential flow in others, complicates the prediction of vertical and lateral fluxes. A simple model is presented, designed to use limited geological site...

Nimmo, John R.; Creasey, Kaitlyn M; Perkins, Kimberlie; Mirus, Benjamin B.
Attribution: Water

Year Published: 2017

Complete genome sequence of the acetylene-fermenting Pelobacter sp. strain SFB93

Acetylene fermentation is a rare metabolism that was previously reported as being unique to Pelobacter acetylenicus. Here, we report the genome sequence of Pelobacter sp. strain SFB93, an acetylene-fermenting bacterium isolated from sediments collected in San Francisco Bay, CA.

Sutton, John M.; Baesman, Shaun; Fierst, Janna L.; Poret-Peterson, Amisha T.; Oremland, Ronald S.; Dunlap, Darren S.; Akob, Denise M.
Attribution: Water

Year Published: 2017

Complete genome sequences of two acetylene-fermenting Pelobacter acetylenicus strains

Acetylene fermentation is a rare metabolism that was serendipitously discovered during C2H2-block assays of N2O reductase. Here, we report the genome sequences of two type strains of acetylene-fermenting Pelobacter acetylenicus, the freshwater bacterium DSM 3246 and the estuarine bacterium DSM 3247.

Sutton, John M.; Baesman, Shaun; Fierst, Janna L.; Poret-Peterson, Amisha T.; Oremland, Ronald S.; Dunlap, Darren S.; Akob, Denise M.
Attribution: Water

Year Published: 2017

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.
Attribution: Water
Webb, R.M.T., and Parkhurst, D.L., 2017, Water, Energy, and Biogeochemical Model (WEBMOD), user’s manual, version 1: U.S. Geological Survey Techniques and Methods, book 6, chap. B35, 171 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/tm6B35.

Year Published: 2017

Ca isotopic geochemistry of an Antarctic aquatic system

The McMurdo Dry Valleys, Antarctica, are a polar desert ecosystem. The hydrologic system of the dry valleys is linked to climate with ephemeral streams that flow from glacial melt during the austral summer. Past climate variations have strongly influenced the closed-basin, chemically stratified lakes on the valley floor. Results of previous work...

Lyons, W. Berry; Bullen, Thomas D.; Welch, Kathleen A.
Attribution: Water
Lyons, W. B., T. D. Bullen, and K. A. Welch (2017), Ca isotopic geochemistry of an Antarctic aquatic system, Geophys. Res. Lett., 44, 882–891, doi:10.1002/ 2016GL071169.

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
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 Christopher Rowden verifies the accuracy of streamgage information at the Jacks Fork River.
April 30, 2017
USGS hydrologic technician Christopher Rowden verifies the accuracy of streamgage information at the Jacks Fork River at Eminence, Missouri.
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.
April 12, 2017
Kathy Conn, a U.S. Geological Survey Water Quality Specialist, demonstrates a new USGS field method using a continuous flow centrifuge to collect suspended sediment from large volumes of water in the Duwamish River near Seattle Washington.
2017 (approx.)
The USGS Texas Water Science Center has developed a new mobile application called “Water On-the-Go” that gives people easy access to current conditions in streams across Texas. The information reflects what is happening in streams near you at that very moment. Go to -- https://txpub.usgs.gov/water-onthego -- to see where waters are rising and how current conditions are changing around you. #...
Hydro techs record initial sensor reading prior to sensor cleaning and recalibration.
2017 (approx.)
Several New Mexico Water Science Center staff attended Continuous Water Quality Training, taught by Mike Nyman of the Texas Water Science Center and Lauren Sherson of the New Mexico Water Science Center. The course covered rationale for collecting continuous water quality data; field techniques for in-situ and continuous water quality data collection; and standard USGS waterquality data...
Hydro techs check water quality sensor calibration prior to redeployment
2017 (approx.)
Hydro tech Kate Allison demonstrates how to check a water quality sensor for calibration before being deployed at the Cochiti Dam in New Mexico.
2017 (approx.)
The USGS Texas Water Science Center has developed a new mobile application called “Water On-the-Go” that gives people easy access to current conditions in streams across Texas. The information reflects what is happening in streams near you at that very moment. Go to -- https://txpub.usgs.gov/water-onthego -- to see where waters are rising and how current conditions are changing around you. #...
Hydro techs inspecting water quality sensors at Cochiti Dam
2017 (approx.)
Hydrologic technicians Joe Beman and Hal Nelson remove a deployed sensor for cleaning and recalibration, as needed. This sensor is left in place to continuously log water quality parameters.
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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
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.

USGS: Science for a changing world
January 10, 2017

The U.S. Geological Survey’s California Water Science Center is hosting a media event Wednesday, Jan. 11 at a USGS streamgage location about 7 miles north of Santa Cruz, California. A hydrologist will be available for interviews as field crews collect streamflow data.

 

View of rapids on the ​Ocoee River in Tennessee with green trees in the background
January 9, 2017

Challenges remain in combining data from multiple organizations

Image: USGS Logo
January 8, 2017

The U.S. Geological Survey’s California Water Science Center is hosting a media event Monday, Jan. 9 at a USGS streamgage location below Friant Dam, a streamflow site with significance to the San Juan River Restoration Project.

A USGS hydrologist collects a water sample
December 21, 2016

Population Growth and Changing Land Uses Prompted Assessment

Photo of scientists conducting water chemistry tests for the San Pedro River aquifer. 
December 20, 2016

For the first time, information about the San Pedro River Aquifer is now available from both the U.S. and Mexico in a new, collaborative report issued from the International Boundary and Water Commission, the Mexican National Water Commission, the U.S. Geological Survey and the Universities of Arizona and Sonora.