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: 80
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...

Collage of a drainage culvert and cows at a feedlot.
September 24, 2016

It is often important to understand the source of fecal indicator bacteria, pathogens, or chemicals that impair the normal use of water. Antibiotic-resistant bacteria and their genes, specific bacterial pathogens (such as E. coli O157:H7 which is primarily associated with cattle), and host-associated bacterial genes (such as human or animal specific Bacteroides genes), can be used to evaluate...

View of Silver Lake and Sand Dunes, Michigan with sunlight reflecting off of lake.
September 24, 2016

Recently, elevated chlorophyll-a concentrations were found related to persistent algal blooms on Silver Lake in Oceana County, MI.  Elevated chlorophyll-a concentrations, high phosphorus concentrations during summer months, as well as a decrease in water clarity indicated potential accelerated eutrophication processes during the last two years, and underscore a need to characterize water...

Monitoring set-up at the watersheds site which includes boards and such to direct water flow to drainage.
September 24, 2016

The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) was established to accelerate ecosystem restoration in the Great Lakes by confronting the most serious threats to the region, such as nonpoint source pollution, toxic sediments, and invasive species. Three Priority Watersheds have been targeted by the Regional Working Group's Phosphorus Reduction Work Group (Fox/Green Bay, Saginaw, and Maumee)...

River with blue reflection, in late summer, leaves just starting to turn from green to gold.
September 24, 2016

In support of the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) Water Chemistry Monitoring Project, the USGS Michigan Water Science Center has been collecting long-term water quality data for Michigan's rivers and streams. Water samples are collected 4 to 12 times a year for selected nutrients, trace metals, sediment, and other water-quality constituents. Intensive sampling (12...

Explore new publications and highlighted collections.

Filter Total Items: 1,333
The genetic basis of anoxygenic photosynthetic arsenite oxidation
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.
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
Salinity influences on aboveground and belowground net primary productivity in tidal wetlands
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 (3) heavily...

Pierfelice, Kathryn N.; Graeme Lockaby, B.; Krauss, Ken W.; Conner, William H.; Noe, Gregory; Ricker, Matthew C.
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
Groundwater quality in the Coastal Lowlands aquifer system, south-central United States
Year Published: 2016

Groundwater quality in the Coastal Lowlands aquifer system, south-central 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.

Barlow, Jeannie R.B.; Belitz, Kenneth
Barlow, Jeannie R.B., and Belitz, Kenneth, 2016, Groundwater quality in the Coastal Lowlands aquifer system, South-Central United States: U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2016-3077, 4 p., http://dx.doi.org/10.3133/fs20163077.
Groundwater quality in the Basin and Range Basin-Fill Aquifers, southwestern United States
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
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.
Groundwater quality in the Northern Atlantic Coastal Plain aquifer system, eastern United States
Year Published: 2016

Groundwater quality in the Northern Atlantic Coastal Plain aquifer system, eastern 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 Northern Atlantic Coastal Plain aquifer system constitutes one of...

Lindsey, Bruce; Belitz, Kenneth
Lindsey, Bruce, and Belitz, Kenneth, 2016, Groundwater quality in the Northern Atlantic Coastal Plain aquifer system, Eastern United States: U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2016-3078, 4 p., http://dx.doi.org/10.3133/fs20163078.
Groundwater quality in the Valley and Ridge and Piedmont and Blue Ridge carbonate-rock aquifers, eastern United States
Year Published: 2016

Groundwater quality in the Valley and Ridge and Piedmont and Blue Ridge carbonate-rock aquifers, eastern 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.

Lindsey, Bruce; Belitz, Kenneth
Lindsey, Bruce, and Belitz, Kenneth, 2016, Groundwater quality in the Valley and Ridge and Piedmont and Blue Ridge carbonate-rock aquifers, Eastern United States: U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2016-3079, 4 p., http://dx.doi.org/10.3133/fs20163079.
Groundwater quality in the Southeastern Coastal Plain aquifer system, southeastern United States
Year Published: 2016

Groundwater quality in the Southeastern Coastal Plain aquifer system, southeastern 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.

Barlow, Jeannie; Lindsey, Bruce; Belitz, Kenneth
Barlow, Jeannie R.B., and Belitz, Kenneth, 2016, Groundwater quality in the Southeastern Coastal Plain aquifer system, Southeastern United States: U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2016-3076, 4 p., http://dx.doi.org/10.3133/fs20163076.
Implementation and evaluation of a monthly water balance model over the US on an 800 m grid
Year Published: 2016

Implementation and evaluation of a monthly water balance model over the US on an 800 m grid

We simulate the 1950–2010 water balance for the conterminous U.S. (CONUS) with a monthly water balance model (MWBM) using the 800 m Parameter-elevation Regression on Independent Slopes Model (PRISM) data set as model input. We employed observed snow and streamflow data sets to guide modification of the snow and potential evapotranspiration...

Hostetler, Steven W.; Alder, Jay R.
Hostetler, S.W, Alder, J.R., 2016, Implementation and evaluation of a monthly water balance model over the US on an 800 m grid, Water Resources Research, http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/2016WR018665
Final Laurentide ice-sheet deglaciation and Holocene climate-sea level change
Year Published: 2016

Final Laurentide ice-sheet deglaciation and Holocene climate-sea level change

Despite elevated summer insolation forcing during the early Holocene, global ice sheets retained nearly half of their volume from the Last Glacial Maximum, as indicated by deglacial records of global mean sea level (GMSL). Partitioning the GMSL rise among potential sources requires accurate dating of ice-sheet extent to estimate ice-sheet volume...

Ullman, David J.; Carlson, Anders E.; Hostetler, Steven W.; Clark, Peter U.; Cuzzone, Joshua; Milne, Glenn A.; Winsor, Kelsey; Caffee, Marc A.
Ullman, D.J., Carlson, A.E., Hostetler, S.W., Clark, P.U., Cuzzone, J., Milne, G.A., Winsor, K., Caffee, M., 2016, Final Laurentide ice-sheet deglaciation and Holocene climate-sea level change, Quaternary Science Reviews, 152, pp. 49-59, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.quascirev.2016.09.014
Data on annual total nitrogen loads and watershed characteristics used to develop a method to estimate the total nitrogen loads in small streams
Year Published: 2016

Data on annual total nitrogen loads and watershed characteristics used to develop a method to estimate the total nitrogen loads in small streams

This USGS Data Release represents the data used to develop multiple linear regression models for estimating the loads of total nitrogen in small streams. Recursive partitioning and random forest regression were used to assess 85 geospatial, environmental, and watershed variables across 636 small (less than 585 square kilometers) watersheds to...

Kronholm, Scott C.; Capel, Paul D.; Terziotti, Silvia
Crustal permeability
Year Published: 2016

Crustal permeability

Permeability is the primary control on fluid flow in the Earth’s crust and is key to a surprisingly wide range of geological processes, because it controls the advection of heat and solutes and the generation of anomalous pore pressures. The practical importance of permeability – and the potential for large, dynamic changes in permeability – is...

Gleeson, T., and Ingebritsen, S.E., eds., 2016, Crustal Permeability: Chichester, AGU/Wiley Blackwell, 451 p.
Combined exposure of diesel exhaust particles and respirable Soufrière Hills volcanic ash causes a (pro-)inflammatory response in an in vitro multicellular epithelial tissue barrier model
Year Published: 2016

Combined exposure of diesel exhaust particles and respirable Soufrière Hills volcanic ash causes a (pro-)inflammatory response in an in vitro multicellular epithelial tissue barrier model

BackgroundThere are justifiable health concerns regarding the potential adverse effects associated with human exposure to volcanic ash (VA) particles, especially when considering communities living in urban areas already exposed to heightened air pollution.

Tomašek, Ines; Horwell, Claire J.; Damby, David; Barošová, Hana; Geers, Christoph; Petri-Fink, Alke; Rothen-Rutishauser, Barbara; Clift, Martin J. D.
Tomašek, I., Horwell, C.J., Damby, D.E., Barošová, H., Geers, C., Petri-Fink, A., Rothen-Rutishauser, B., Clift, M.J.D., 2016, Combined exposure of diesel exhaust particles and respirable Soufrière Hills volcanic ash causes a (pro-)inflammatory response in an in vitro multicellular epithelial tissue barrier model: Particle and Fibre Toxicology, 13:67, http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12989-016-0178-9

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: 632
2016 (approx.)
This video provides an overview of the USGS Fractured Rock Geophysical Toolbox Method Selection Tool. The Fractured Rock Geophysical Toolbox Method Selection Tool (FRGT-MST) is an Excel-based tool for identification of geophysical methods most likely to be appropriate for project goals and site conditions. We envision the FRGT-MST: 1) equipping remediation professionals with a tool to understand...
Photo of USGS research boat conducting science on the Great Salt Lake.
2016 (approx.)
USGS scientist Robert Baskin takes a boat out on the Great Salt Lake to conduct research. 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 on January 18, 2017. Baskin is best known for his innovative research on Great Salt Lake, collaborating with the...
Before and after pictures - Hurricane Rita and Holly Beach, Louisiana, USA
December 14, 2016
Hurricanes can cause severe beach erosion —​​​​​​​—​​​​​​​—​​​​​​​—​​​​​​​—​​​​​​​—​​​​​​​—​​​​​​​—​​​​​​​—​​​​​​​—​​​​​​​—​​​​​​​—​​​​​​​—​​​​​​​—​​​​​​​—​​​​​​​—​​​​​​​—​​​​​​​—​​​​​​​—​​​​​​​—​​​​​​​—​​​​​​​— The Storm-Induced Coastal Change Hazards component of the of the National Assessment of Coastal Change Hazards project focuses on understanding the magnitude and variability of extreme...
December 1, 2016
Presents descriptions of the USGS Precipitation Runoff Modeling System (PRMS) Surface-Runoff modules, which compute Hortonian surface runoff, soil infiltration, and impervious surface and surface depression storage and flows.
December 1, 2016
The new Great Salt Lake breach was opened on Dec. 1 by the Union Pacific Railroad Company. This created a new opening between the north and the south arm of the lake, allowing water to flow between the two sides. This time-lapse video shows the breach opening, which took about two hours. Before the new breach was opened, the north arm of the Great Salt Lake was at an historic low. Water had...
The Chimney Tops 2 fire in Great Smoky Mountains National Park
November 2016 (approx.)
The fire that became known as Chimney Tops 2 started near a Great Smoky Mountains National Park landmark known as The Chimneys on or about Nov. 23, 2016.
Weighing soils into crucibles for the determination of percent dry and loss-on-ignition
November 30, 2016
Don Bonville, Physical Scientist Technician, weighs soils into crucibles for the determination of percent dry and loss-on-ignition. These soil samples are part of the Hydrologic Benchmark Network Program.
Smoky Mountain fires on the night of Nov. 28, 2016
November 28, 2016
In an extreme drought and amid high winds, many fires burned together in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the town of Gatlinburg and nearby communities to form the deadly fire that became known as Chimney Tops 2. This photo was taken on the night of Nov. 28, 2016, as the fire was spreading rapidly.
USGS streamgage
November 1, 2016
USGS streamgage 13210810, Fifteen Mile Creek near Middleton, Idaho, is one of 10 streamgages the USGS has installed on Treasure Valley drains in cooperation with the Idaho Department of Water Resources. Data from these streamgages will be incorporated into a groundwater-flow model of the Treasure Valley aquifer system.
October 2016 (approx.)
In this video we will outline the process of accounting for under ice flow angles in the SonTek RSSL software. Note: Use of trade names is for descriptive purposes only, and does not imply endorsement by the USGS. For additional videos in this series, visit the following link: https://www2.usgs.gov/humancapital/ecd/hydrotube/hydrotube-ADCP.html
October 2016 (approx.)
In this video, we will review the process of setting up a connection between an ADCP and the SonTek RSSL software. Note: Use of trade names is for descriptive purposes only, and does not imply endorsement by the USGS. For additional videos in this series, visit the following link: https://www2.usgs.gov/humancapital/ecd/hydrotube/hydrotube-ADCP.html
Filter Total Items: 292
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.

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.

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.