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: 133
Image: Testing Coal-Tar Sealcoats for Toxic PAH Emissions
July 28, 2017

Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) are a group of over 100 different chemicals that are formed during the incomplete burning of coal, oil and gas, garbage, or other organic substances and are classified as a human carcinogen. The goal of the Milwaukee River AOC PAH project is to assess sources in the Milwaukee Estuary, also known as the Kinnickinnic River Great Lakes Legacy Act (KKGLLA)...

Image of a new benchmark.
June 24, 2017

The southern Chesapeake Bay region is experiencing land subsidence along with rising sea levels, both of which can contribute to coastal flooding. The rates at which these two processes are occurring are not exactly known. Mapping of land elevation change requires ground-truth survey data at multiple locations that are accurate and precise. With the exception of a few CORS sites that have...

Cypress Swamp Egret - Louisiana
June 24, 2017

Links to Sources of Water Information

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) investigates the occurrence, quantity, quality, distribution, and movement of surface and underground waters and disseminates the data to the public, State and local governments, public and private utilities, and other Federal agencies involved with managing water resources

The map to the left allows you to...

Shreveport Area—Caddo and Bossier Parishes
June 23, 2017

Flooding is a concern for everyone in Louisiana. Floods demand immediate and decisive action by governmental entities, businesses, and individual citizens, all of whom have to make critical decisions that directly impact the extent, duration, and mitigation of losses resulting from flooding. How high will the water get? How long will the flood last? What areas will be affected? What roads will...

Hardened Gages—Built to Survive
June 23, 2017

1 June 2010

Hurricane season starts today, and the USGS Lower Mississippi Gulf Water Science Center is committed to collecting and providing the most up-to-date information before, during, and after the storms that are sure to come our way. When a hurricane or tropical storm is approaching, accurate and timely storm data are crucial in making good decisions regarding personal safety and...

Hurricane Irene, satellite view, NASA
June 23, 2017

USGS Information and Links

Hurricane Hazards—A National Threat (fact sheet)

USGS Natural Hazards - Hurricanes

Hurricane Forecast Information

National Hurricane Center—(NWS)

Current Tropical Forecast Information

GOES-8 Atlantic Infrared Imagery

GOES-8 Atlantic Visible Imagery

Earth Scan Laboratory—(LSU)

GOES-8...

WERC marsh during a storm
June 23, 2017

USGS Louisiana Coastal Sites

Hurricane season starts today, and the USGS Lower Mississippi Gulf Water Science Center is committed to collecting and providing the most up-to-date information before, during, and after the storms that are sure to come our way. When a hurricane or tropical storm is approaching, accurate and timely storm data is crucial in making good decisions regarding...

Hurricane Joaquin seen from space
June 23, 2017

River and Coastal Forecasts

The USGS is not a forecasting agency, but the National Weather Service (NWS) is, and they make extensive use of the data we collect in their effort to provide you with the most accurate and up-to-date forecasts of many Louisiana rivers and streams, and weather along the coast. The links below will provide you with direct access to the NWS forecasts for...

Acoustic Doppler current profiler (ADCP) is connected to an onboard computer to measure streamflow.
June 1, 2017

In the mid-1990s, a new technology emerged in the field of inland streamflow monitoring. The South Atlantic Water Science Center is making great use of the acoustic Doppler current profiler (ADCP). It was originally developed for oceanographic work, but was adapted for inland streamflow measurements. This instrument is transforming the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) streamgaging...

Collecting Water Samples fro the Couer d'Alene BEMP
May 26, 2017

STATUS: Active

We partner with the EPA to conduct long-term water-quality and streamflow monitoring and streamflow measurements in the Coeur d’Alene River Basin, which has been widely impacted by historic mining activities. We collect water-quality samples 2-4 times per year at 20 sites throughout the basin. Our scientists analyze these samples for metals...

Lookout Point Dam
May 18, 2017

Hills Creek, Lookout Point, and Dexter Dams are located on the Middle Fork Willamette River upstream of Eugene in western Oregon, and are important resources managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) for flood control, hydroelectric power, recreation, navigation, and irrigation. On the South Santiam River east of Albany in western Oregon, Green Peter and Foster Dams provide functions...

Downloadable spatial data files for exploration and analysis.

Filter Total Items: 25
NAWQA-map
September 19, 1996

The goals of the NAWQA program are being achieved through ongoing or planned investigations of 59 of the Nation's most important river and aquifer systems, which are referred to as study units. These study units were selected to represent the diverse geography, water resources, and land and water uses of the Nation. The Mobile River Basin is one such study unit, designed to supplement water.

Filter Total Items: 1,472
Year Published: 2017

Steady state fractionation of heavy noble gas isotopes in a deep unsaturated zone

To explore steady state fractionation processes in the unsaturated zone (UZ), we measured argon, krypton, and xenon isotope ratios throughout a ∼110 m deep UZ at the United States Geological Survey (USGS) Amargosa Desert Research Site (ADRS) in Nevada, USA. Prior work has suggested that gravitational settling should create a nearly linear increase...

Seltzer, Alan M.; Severinghaus, Jeffrey P.; Andraski, Brian; Stonestrom, David A.
Attribution: Water
Seltzer, A.M., Severinghaus, J.P., Andraski, B.J., and Stonestrom, D.A., 2017, Steady-state fractionation of heavy noble gas isotopes in a deep unsaturated zone: Water Resources Research, v. 53, p. 2716-2732, doi:10.1002/2016WR019655.

Year Published: 2017

Bacteria versus selenium: A view from the inside out

Bacteria and selenium (Se) are closely interlinked as the element serves both essential nutrient requirements and energy generation functions. However, Se can also behave as a powerful toxicant for bacterial homeostasis. Conversely, bacteria play a tremendous role in the cycling of Se between different environmental compartments, and bacterial...

Staicu, Lucian; Oremland, Ronald S.; Tobe, Ryuta; Mihara, Hisaaki
Attribution: Water
Staicu, L. C.; Oremland, R. S.; Tobe, R.; Mihara, H. Chapter 6: Bacteria Versus Selenium: A View from the Inside Out. In Selenium in plants; Plant Ecophysiology; Springer International Publishing, 2017; Vol. 11, pp 79–108. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-56249-0_6

Year Published: 2017

Methane fluxes from tropical coastal lagoons surrounded bymangroves, Yucatán, Mexico

Methane concentrations in the water column and emissions to the atmosphere were determined for three tropical coastal lagoons surrounded by mangrove forests on the Yucatán Peninsula, Mexico. Surface water dissolved methane was sampled at different seasons over a period of 2 years in areas representing a wide range of salinities and...

Chuang, Pei-Chuan; Young, Megan B.; Dale, Andrew W.; Miller, Laurence G.; Herrera-Silveira, Jorge A; Paytan, Adina
Attribution: Water
Chuang, P.-C., Young, M.B., Dale, A.W., Miller, L.G., Herrera-Silveira, J.A., Paytan, A., 2017, Methane fluxes from tropical coastal lagoons surrounded bymangroves, Yucatán, Mexico: J. Geophys. Res. Biogeosci., 122, 1156-1174, http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/2017JG003761

Year Published: 2017

Evaluating the impact of irrigation on surface water – groundwater interaction and stream temperature in an agricultural watershed

Changes in groundwater discharge to streams caused by irrigation practices can influence stream temperature. Observations along two currently flood-irrigated reaches in the 640-square-kilometer upper Smith River watershed, an important agricultural and recreational fishing area in west-central Montana, showed a downstream temperature decrease...

Essaid, Hedeff I.; Caldwell, Rodney R.
Attribution: Water
Essaid, H. I., and Caldwell, R. R., 2017, Evaluating the impact of irrigated agriculture on surface water – groundwater interaction and stream temperature in an agricultural watershed: Science of the Total Environment, v. 599-600, pp. 581-596.

Year Published: 2017

U.S. Geological Survey Karst Interest Group Proceedings, San Antonio, Texas, May 16–18, 2017

Introduction and AcknowledgmentsKarst aquifer systems are present throughout parts of the United States and some of its territories, and have developed in carbonate rocks (primarily limestone and dolomite) and evaporites (gypsum, anhydrite, and halite) that span an interval of time encompassing more than 550 million years. The depositional...

Kuniansky, Eve L.; Spangler, Lawrence E.
Attribution: Water
Kuniansky, E.L., and Spangler, L.E., eds., 2017, U.S. Geological Survey Karst Interest Group Proceedings, San Antonio, Texas, May 16–18, 2017: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2017–5023, 245 p., http://doi.org/10.3133/sir20175023.

Year Published: 2017

Stable isotope analyses of oxygen (18O:17O:16O) and chlorine (37Cl:35Cl) in perchlorate: reference materials, calibrations, methods, and interferences

RationalePerchlorate (ClO4−) is a common trace constituent of water, soils, and plants; it has both natural and synthetic sources and is subject to biodegradation. The stable isotope ratios of Cl and O provide three independent quantities for ClO4− source attribution and natural attenuation studies: δ37Cl, δ18O, and δ17O (or Δ17O or 17Δ) values....

Böhlke, John Karl; Mroczkowski, Stanley J.; Sturchio, Neil C.; Heraty, Linnea J.; Richman, Kent W.; Sullivan, Donald B.; Griffith, Kris N.; Gu, Baohua; Hatzinger, Paul B.
Attribution: Water
Böhlke, J.K., Mroczkowski, S.J., Sturchio, N.C., Heraty, L.J., Richman, K.W., Sullivan, D.B., Griffith, K.N., Gu, B., and Hatzinger, P.B., 2017, Stable isotope analyses of oxygen (18O:17O:16O) and chlorine (37Cl:35Cl) in perchlorate: Reference materials, calibrations, methods, and interferences. Rapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry, v. 31, p. 85-110, doi: 10.1002/rcm.7751

Year Published: 2017

A practical method for the determination of total selenium in environmental samples using isotope dilution-hydride generation-inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry

A safe, practical, and accurate method for the determination of selenium (Se) in range of environmental samples was developed. Small sample masses, 5–20 mg, were amended with 82Se enriched isotope for the isotope dilution (ID), preceding a multi-step wet digestion with nitric acid (HNO3) and hydrogen peroxide (H2O2). Samples were incubated in an...

Kleckner, Amy E.; Kakouros, Evangelos; Stewart, A. Robin
Attribution: Water
Kleckner, A. E., E. Kakouros, and A. R. Stewart. 2017. A practical method for the determination of total selenium in environmental samples using Isotope Dilution-Hydride Generation-Inductively Coupled Plasma-Mass Spectrometry. Limnol. Oceanogr. Methods 15: 363-371. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/lom3.10164

Year Published: 2017

Density-driven free-convection model for isotopically fractionated geogenic nitrate in sabkha brine

Subsurface brines with high nitrate (NO3−) concentration are common in desert environments as atmospheric nitrogen is concentrated by the evaporation of precipitation and little nitrogen uptake. However, in addition to having an elevated mean concentration of ∼525 mg/L (as N), NO3− in the coastal sabkhas of Abu Dhabi is enriched in 15N (mean δ15N...

Wood, Warren W.; Böhlke, John Karl
Attribution: Water
Wood, W.W., and Böhlke, J.K., 2017, Density-driven free-convection model for isotopically fractionated geogenic nitrate in sabkha brine. Groundwater, v. 55(2), p. 199-207, doi: 10.1111/gwat.12463

Year Published: 2017

Planting richness affects the recovery of vegetation and soil processes in constructed wetlands following disturbance

The resilience of constructed wetland ecosystems to severe disturbance, such as a mass herbivory eat-out or soil disturbance, remains poorly understood. In this study, we use a controlled mesocosm experiment to examine how original planting diversity affects the ability of constructed freshwater wetlands to recover structurally and functionally...

Means, Mary M.; Ahn, Changwoo; Noe, Gregory
Attribution: Water
Means, M.M., C. Ahn, and G.B. Noe. 2017. Planting richness affects the recovery of vegetation and soil processes in created wetlands following disturbance. Science of the Total Environment 579: 1366-1378.

Year Published: 2017

Stable isotopic composition of perchlorate and nitrate accumulated in plants: Hydroponic experiments and field data

Natural perchlorate (ClO4−) in soil and groundwater exhibits a wide range in stable isotopic compositions (δ37Cl, δ18O, and Δ17O), indicating that ClO4− may be formed through more than one pathway and/or undergoes post-depositional isotopic alteration. Plants are known to accumulate ClO4−, but little is known about their ability to alter its...

Estrada, Nubia Luz; Böhlke, John Karl; Sturchio, Neil C.; Gu, Baohua; Harvey, Greg; Burkey, Kent O.; Grantz, David A.; McGrath, Margaret T.; Anderson, Todd A.; Rao, Balaji; Sevanthi, Ritesh; Hatzinger, Paul B.; Jackson, W. Andrew
Attribution: Water
Estrada, N.L., Böhlke, J.K., Sturchio, N.C., Gu, B., Harvey, G., Burkey, K.O., Grantz, D.A., MacGrath, M.T., Anderson, T.A., Rao, B., Sevanthi, R., Hatzinger, P.B., and Jackson, W.A., 2017, Stable isotopic composition of perchlorate and nitrate accumulated in plants: Hydroponic experiments and field data. Science of the Total Environment, v. 595, p. 556–566, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2017.03.223.

Year Published: 2017

Final data report for factors controlling DDE dechlorination rates on the Palos Verdes Shelf: A field and laboratory investigation

This data report provides a compilation of information developed over the last 6+ years by a multi-disciplinary, multi-institutional research team. The overall goal of this work has been to identify the biological, chemical, and physical factors that control rates of reductive dechlorination of DDE and DDMU in sediments of the Palos Verdes Shelf (...

Eganhouse, Robert P.; Pontolillo, James; Orem, William H.; Webster, Daniel M.; Hackley, Paul C.; Edwards, Brian D.; Rosenberger, Kurt; Dickhudt, Patrick; Sherwood, Christopher R.; Reinhard, Martin; Qin, Sujie; Dougherty, Jennifer; Hopkins, Gary; Marshall, Ian; Spormann, Alfred
Attribution: Water
Eganhouse, R., Pontolillo, J., DiFilippo, E., Orem, W., Webster, D., Hackley, P., Edwards, B., Rosenberger, K., Swarzenski, P., Dickhudt, P., Sherwood, C., Reinhard, M., Qin, S., Dougherty, J., Hopkins, G., Marshall, I. and Spormann, A., Final Data Report for Factors Controlling DDE Dechlorination Rates on the Palos Verdes Shelf: A Field and Laboratory Investigation, submitted to J. Huang, Remedial Project Manager, Region 9, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, July 18, 2016, 1076p

Year Published: 2017

Final synthesis report for factors controlling DDE dechlorination rates on the palos verdes shelf: A field and laboratory investigation

This project was organized into separate field and laboratory studies aimed at answering “18 questions” in the original Scope of Work (cf., section 2 of this report, Background, for explanation). Because of some early results, certain questions became irrelevant and were, therefore, not pursued. In other cases, there simply was not enough time to...

Eganhouse, Robert P.; Orem, William H.; Reinhard, Martin
Attribution: Water
Eganhouse, R., Orem, W. and Reinhard, M., Final Synthesis Report for Factors Controlling DDE Dechlorination Rates on the Palos Verdes Shelf: A Field and Laboratory Investigation, submitted to J. Huang, Remedial Project Manager, Region 9, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, December 19, 2016, 31p.

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: 787
Image shows a USGS scientist in a PFD taking a high-water measurement
September 11, 2017
USGS scientist Steve Hannes marks high water marks along the Colorado River after flooding from Hurricane Harvey in Wharton County, Texas.
Image shows a USGS scientist in a PFD taking a high-water mark
September 11, 2017
USGS scientist Steve Hannes marks high water marks along the Colorado River after flooding from Harvey in Matagorda County, Texas.
A small boat with scientific equipment loaded onboard resting near shore of a lake.
September 10, 2017
The Maine Office boat, "Miss Q", is parked next to the boat launch on Verona Island, ready to begin data collection on the Penobscot River. The crew was preparing to collect ADCP data (depth and velocity) as well as conductivity, temperature and depth profiles at various locations. In the background is the Penobscot Narrows Bridge and Fort Knox.
Hurricane Irma satellite image
September 5, 2017
Satellite Image of Hurricane Irma on September 5, 2017. Photo by NASA/NOAA GOES Project
Preparing to measure Irma's storm surge in Puerto Rico
September 4, 2017
Along the northeast coast of Puerto Rico, USGS hydrologic technician Francisco Almanzar surveys reference elevation points to ensure the accuracy of water level data. Almanzar and other USGS employees installed nine storm surge sensors along the coast on Labor Day, Monday, Sept. 4, 2017 as Hurricane Irma approached.
USGS scientists Lisa Ashmore and Lee Bodkin collect water-quality samples on Lake Houston in response to Harvey.
August 31, 2017
USGS scientists Lisa Ashmore and Lee Bodkin collect water-quality samples on Lake Houston in response to the high flow conditions that resulted from Harvey.
Image shows a USGS scientist in a PFD servicing a streamgage
August 31, 2017
USGS scientist Jimmy Hopkins repairs a streamgage downstream of Addicks reservoir at Buffalo Bayou after flooding from Hurricane Harvey. This gauge is normally accessed on land from a platform on the side of a bridge.
Image shows USGS scientists planning their water quality work on a whiteboard
August 31, 2017
A peek into a USGS planning meeting to coordinate water-quality sampling efforts in response to Harvey. This sampling effort is part of the federal government’s broad efforts to ensure public health and to support the state, tribal, and local response to the storm
August 31, 2017
Hurricane Harvey made landfall on August 25th. Over the next few days, record rain totals had devastated the area. At the USGS EROS Center, we study land change, operate the Landsat satellites, and maintain the longest, continuously acquired collection of images of the Earth's land surface. USGS EROS Center ( https://eros.usgs.gov/ )
Image shows a USGS scientist in a PFD servicing a water quality monitor on a lake
August 31, 2017
USGS scientist Lisa Ashmore services a water-quality monitor on Lake Houston. These instruments stayed afloat and collected data throughout the storm.
USGS scientist Lisa Ashmore services a water-quality monitor on Lake Houston. These instruments stayed afloat throughout Harvey.
August 31, 2017
USGS scientist Lisa Ashmore services a water-quality monitor on Lake Houston. These instruments stayed afloat and collected data throughout Harvey.
Image shows USGS scientists in PFDs taking water quality samples from Lake Houston
August 31, 2017
A USGS field crew takes water-quality samples on Lake Houston following Harvey.
Filter Total Items: 341
Image of a red dye study conducted in the Brandon Road Lock on the Des Plaines River near Joliet, Illinois, in 2015.
June 6, 2017

U.S. Geological Survey scientists will inject a harmless, bright red fluorescent dye into the auxiliary lock at Locks and Dam 14 on the Mississippi River near Pleasant Valley, Iowa, Tuesday, June 13, 2017, weather permitting. If needed, a backup date is scheduled for June 27, 2017.  

Image: Vegetation Drought
June 5, 2017

The U. S. Geological Survey is poised to bring a dynamic array of science and tools to help decision-makers manage and offset effects of increased drought across the United States, according to a drought plan report released today.

Hurricane Irene, satellite view, NASA
June 1, 2017

Scientists work in the field before, during and after landfall to improve forecasting and recovery.

 

 

Two men collecting groundwater samples at a public well in the middle of a grassy field in Texas
May 31, 2017

Decades or longer may be needed to fully assess the effects of unconventional oil and gas production on the quality of groundwater used for drinking water in Arkansas, Louisiana, and Texas

Image of first page of Western Lake Erie Water Monitoring Summary
May 28, 2017

The U.S. Geological Survey in cooperation with Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, and the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative is measuring streamflow and collecting nutrient and sediment samples at stream gages in the Western Lake Erie Basin in Northwest Ohio.  

Housing structure for USGS Stream gage with Clear Fork Mohican River in the background
May 11, 2017

The United States Geological Survey (USGS) operates a network of real-time streamgages that continually record stage and streamflow every 15 to 60 minutes. 

A map of Pennsylvania indicating radon concentrations of water samples collected during a multi-year groundwater radon study. Ma
May 11, 2017

A new U.S. Geological Survey study has discovered high levels of radon in wells across certain areas of Pennsylvania.

Measuring Streamflow
May 11, 2017

Gary Moore spent the last three days of 2015 stacking hefty bags of sand in front of a fellow church member’s brick home. With only 1,000 feet between the house and the swelling Mississippi and Meramec Rivers, Moore and other volunteers worked quickly, in frigid temperatures, to assemble a 10-foot high, 1,000-foot-long sandbag wall to ward off floodwaters.

Image: Old Faithful Erupting
May 10, 2017

Despite two centuries of scientific study, basic questions persist about geysers—why do they exist? What determines their behavior?

USGS logo
May 3, 2017

A report published today by the U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with the Connecticut Department of Public Health, reveals that water from some private wells across the state has registered high levels of Arsenic and Uranium.