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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
Piscicides have been used in Rocky Mountain stream and lakes to restore native fish populations. In the last two decades concerns over piscicide effects to non-target organisms, primarily aquatic invertebrates, has increased. Although piscicides have been used for more than 70 years the impact to invertebrate assemblages has not been well studied and is largely unknown. Given the importance a...
Water quality and aquatic life standards that are set by Federal and state regulatory agencies are used to evaluate the quality of our nation’s water and the health of aquatic ecosystems. These standards currently are based on hardness of the water and are determined for single metals, not for mixtures of metals that are typically found in natural systems. Metal mixtures can potentially be...
The Water Availability and Use Science Program (WAUSP) fulfills the Water Resources Mission Area's objectives to provide comprehensive water availability and use science to the Nation
The USGS National Research Program (NRP), part of the USGS Water Mission Area, conducts research to develop and disseminate science-based information and tools needed for a fundamental understanding of the processes that affect the availability, movement, and quality of the Nation’s water resources. Our science supports a wide range of policies and activities.
Science to observe, analyze, and understand the movement and condition of surface water.
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.
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.
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
Hydrochemical determination of source water contributions to Lake Lungo and Lake Ripasottile (central Italy)
Lake Lungo and Lake Ripasottile are two shallow (4-5 m) lakes located in the Rieti Basin, central Italy, that have been described previously as surface outcroppings of the groundwater table. In this work, the two lakes as well as springs and rivers that represent their potential source waters are characterized physio-chemically and isotopically,...Archer, Claire; Noble, Paula; Kreamer, David; Piscopo, Vincenzo; Petitta, Marco; Rosen, Michael R.; Poulson, Simon R.; Piovesan, Gianluca; Mensing, Scott
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
First application shows majority of methane in study stream emitted to the atmosphere.
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.