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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
Science to monitor and evaluate biological, chemical, and environmental factors affecting water quality.
Science to discover and describe the location, condition, and behavior of water in the ground.
WaterSMART (Sustain and Manage America’s Resources for Tomorrow) is a program of the Department of the Interior that focuses on improving water conservation and helping water-resource managers make sound decisions about water use....
One of the critical roles that USGS personnel play in their day-to-day activities is to respond in a timely and professional manner to floods that can occur at any time of the year and for a variety of reasons. The Flood Science Capability Team examines the cause and effect...
The Water-Use Open Forum allows those involved in water-use data collection, data management, and regulation to communicate about challenges and solutions to water-use data issues, such as data collection, storage, QA/QC, analysis and data dissemination.
Historically, Idaho has been home to many productive underground and open-pit mining operations. These activities have also produced water quality problems in some areas. One such example is the Blackbird Mine in central Idaho. Following mining operations from the 1940s through the 1960s, Panther Creek and its tributaries were severely damaged by runoff from the...
The Mobile River Basin study is one of several NAWQA studies that began in Federal fiscal year 1997 (October 1996). Study planning and design, and analysis of existing data will be done during the first 2 years, which is consistent with all NAWQA studies. After the 2-year planning period, surface- and ground-water and biological data will be collected intensively for 3 years during a high-...
To make scientifically based water-resource decisions, elected officials, water managers, and the general public need additional information about the Wood River Valley aquifer system. A crucial part of this information is an improved understanding of the extent, thickness, and hydraulic properties of the aquifer—a hydrogeologic framework....
A component of groundwater availability is whether the water quality is suitable for a particular use. Elected officials, water managers, and the general public have raised concerns about whether water quality has been affected in developed and agricultural areas by wastewater disposal, fertilizer application, and animal waste.
Groundwater is the primary source of water supply to Ada County’s growing population. Because of a proposed development near Mayfield, the Idaho Department of Water Resources (IDWR) initiated the East Ada County Hydrologic Project to improve the scientific understanding of the...
The endangered Bruneau hot springsnail (Pyrgulopsis bruneauensis) exists only in a geographically limited habitat of thermal springs and seeps in southwestern Idaho. As a part of its 2002 recovery plan for the springsnail, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) targeted conservation efforts to increase groundwater levels in the Bruneau area to protect the...
Estimating natural monthly streamflows in California and the likelihood of anthropogenic modification
Because natural patterns of streamflow are a fundamental property of the health of streams, there is a critical need to quantify the degree to which human activities have modified natural streamflows. A requirement for assessing streamflow modification in a given stream is a reliable estimate of flows expected in the absence of human influences....Carlisle, Daren M.; Wolock, David M.; Howard, Jeannette K.; Grantham, Theodore E.; Fesenmyer, Kurt; Wieczorek, Michael
Climate variability and extremes, interacting with nitrogen storage, amplify eutrophication risk
Despite 30 years of basin-wide nutrient-reduction efforts, severe hypoxia continues to be observed in the Chesapeake Bay. Here we demonstrate the critical influence of climate variability, interacting with accumulated nitrogen (N) over multidecades, on Susquehanna River dissolved nitrogen (DN) loads, known precursors of the hypoxia in the Bay. We...Lee, Minjin; Shevliakova, Elena; Malyshev, Sergey; Milly, P.C.D.; Jaffe, Peter R.
Agricultural pesticide use estimates for the USGS National Water Quality Network, 1992-2014
The National Water Quality Network (NWQN) for Rivers and Streams includes 113 surface-water river and stream sites monitored by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) National Water Quality Program (NWQP). The NWQN represents the consolidation of four historical national networks: the USGS National Water-Quality Assessment (NAWQA) Project, the USGS...Baker, Nancy T.
An experimental study of the role of subsurface plumbing on geothermal discharge
In order to better understand the diverse discharge styles and eruption intervals observed at geothermal features, we performed three series of laboratory experiments with differing plumbing geometries. A single, straight conduit that connects a hot water bath (flask) to a vent (funnel) can originate geyser-like periodic eruptions, continuous...Namiki, Atsuko; Ueno, Yoshinori; Hurwitz, Shaul; Manga, Michael; Munoz-Saez, Carolina; Murphy, Fred
Climate change and the Delta
Anthropogenic climate change amounts to a rapidly approaching, “new” stressor in the Sacramento–San Joaquin Delta system. In response to California’s extreme natural hydroclimatic variability, complex water-management systems have been developed, even as the Delta’s natural ecosystems have been largely devastated. Climate change is projected to...Dettinger, Michael; Anderson, Jamie; Anderson, Michael L.; Brown, Larry R.; Cayan, Daniel; Maurer, Edwin P.
Comment on “Reconciliation of the Devils Hole climate record with orbital forcing”
Moseley et al. (Reports, 8 January 2016, p. 165) postulate an increase in dissolved thorium isotope 230Th with depth below the water table as the explanation for the differing ages of Termination II. Flow of geothermal water through the Devils Hole caverns precludes this explanation. Deposition of younger secondary calcite into the initial...Winograd, Isaac J.
Genome sequence of the photoarsenotrophic bacterium Ectothiorhodospira sp. strain BSL-9, isolated from a hypersaline alkaline arsenic-rich extreme environment
The full genome sequence of Ectothiorhodospira sp. strain BSL-9 is reported here. This purple sulfur bacterium encodes an arxA-type arsenite oxidase within the arxB2AB1CD gene island and is capable of carrying out “photoarsenotrophy” anoxygenic photosynthetic arsenite oxidation. Its genome is composed of 3.5 Mb and has approximately 63% G+C...Hernandez-Maldonado, Jaime; Stoneburner, Brendon; Boren, Alison; Miller, Laurence; Rosen, Michael R.; Oremland, Ronald S.; Saltikov, Chad W
High nitrate concentrations in some Midwest United States streams in 2013 after the 2012 drought
Nitrogen sources in the Mississippi River basin have been linked to degradation of stream ecology and to Gulf of Mexico hypoxia. In 2013, the USGS and the USEPA characterized water quality stressors and ecological conditions in 100 wadeable streams across the midwestern United States. Wet conditions in 2013 followed a severe drought in 2012, a...VanMetre, Peter; Frey, Jeffrey W.; Musgrove, Marylynn; Nakagaki, Naomi; Qi, Sharon L.; Mahler, Barbara J.; Wieczorek, Michael; Button, Daniel T.
Isotope-abundance variations and atomic weights of selected elements: 2016 (IUPAC Technical Report)
There are 63 chemical elements that have two or more isotopes that are used to determine their standard atomic weights. The isotopic abundances and atomic weights of these elements can vary in normal materials due to physical and chemical fractionation processes (not due to radioactive decay). These variations are well known for 12 elements (...Coplen, Tyler B.; Shrestha, Yesha
New organic reference materials for hydrogen, carbon, and nitrogen stable isotope-ratio measurements: caffeines, n-alkanes, fatty acid methyl esters, glycines, L-valines, polyethylenes, and oils
An international project developed, quality-tested, and determined isotope−δ values of 19 new organic reference materials (RMs) for hydrogen, carbon, and nitrogen stable isotope-ratio measurements, in addition to analyzing pre-existing RMs NBS 22 (oil), IAEA-CH-7 (polyethylene foil), and IAEA-600 (caffeine). These new RMs enable users to normalize...Schimmelmann, Arndt; Qi, Haiping; Coplen, Tyler B.; Brand, Willi A.; Fong, Jon; Meier-Augenstein, Wolfram; Kemp, Helen F.; Toman, Blaza; Ackermann, Annika; Assonov, Sergey; Aerts-Bijma, Anita; Brejcha, Ramona; Chikaraishi, Yoshito; Darwish, Tamim; Elsner, Martin; Gehre, Matthias; Geilmann, Heike; Gröning, Manfred; Hélie, Jean-François; Herrero-Martín, Sara; Meijer, Harro A.J.; Sauer, Peter E.; Sessions, Alex L.; Werner, Roland A.
Perspectives on bay-delta science and policy
The State of Bay–Delta Science 2008 highlighted seven emerging perspectives on science and management of the Delta. These perspectives had important effects on policy and legislation concerning management of the Delta ecosystem and water exports. From the collection of papers that make up the State of Bay–Delta Science 2016, we derive another...Healey, Michael; Dettinger, Michael; Norgaard, Richard
Revisiting human-environment interactions in Chaco Canyon and the American Southwest
Chaco Canyon was the center of a regionally integrated system. Despite a century of research, questions remain about its rise and fall, and the role of human-environment interactions. The answers may lie in current events and new tools and perspectives.Betancourt, Julio L.; Guiterman, Christopher H.
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.
A new study offers the most sophisticated analyses to date on how Los Angeles-area groundwater supplies are replenished. The analyses provide water managers with a clearer understanding of the sources and amount of available groundwater in the region – information that is important for planning and management of the vital resource.
Online sites will provide the first real-time, user-friendly Inner Harbor water information
An assessment of the flooding that occurred in the Meramec River Basin from December 2015–January 2016 is available in a new report from the U.S. Geological Survey. The report includes peak stages and streamflows, historical comparisons and flood-frequency statistics from the record flood.
Reporters: Want more information? Please contact Jeanne Robbins, email@example.com, 919-571-4017
Bifenthrin combats pests, but may harm aquatic ecosystems
Large precipitation events that occur about every 10 years are a critical source of recharge for replenishing groundwater resources, according to a new study by the U.S. Geological Survey and the Bureau of Reclamation.
Reporters: Do you want to accompany a USGS field crew as they measure flooding or retrieve storm-tide sensors?
- In North Carolina, contact Jeanne Robbins, firstname.lastname@example.org, 919-571-4017
- In South Carolina, contact John Shelton, email@example.com, 803-767-5542
- In Georgia contact Brian McCallum, firstname.lastname@example.org, 678- 924-6672
- In Florida contact Richard Kane, email@example.com, 813-918-1275
The U.S. Geological Survey is using many forms of technology to track and document Hurricane Matthew’s effects on the eastern seaboard. Here is an in-depth look at one of those tools, the storm-tide sensor.
To learn about storm sensors and see their location, explore the USGS Coastal Change Hazard Portal, or see satellite imagery before and after the storm, visit the USGS Hurricane Matthew page.
As the east coast prepares for Hurricane Matthew's arrival, the U.S. Geological Survey uses advanced models to forecast the coastal impacts Matthew could bring.
As coastal development along the Gulf Coast continues to expand, tidal saline wetlands could have difficulty adjusting to rising sea levels.
Some regional trends; no widespread national pattern