Regions

Midcontinent

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Welcome to the Midcontinent Region! Our region includes 18 Science Centers in 11 States from the Great Lakes to the Dakotas. Our streamgage network is used to monitor and assess water resources across the region. Other research focuses on fisheries and aquatic ecosystems, midcontinental plant/animal species, invasive species, wildlife disease, and energy and mining.

View Locations

Midcontinent Region Map

Midcontinent Region Map

Midwest Region Map

Eastern Energy Resources Science Center

Eastern Energy Resources Science Center

Science Center Link

Eastern Mineral and Environmental Resources Science Center

Eastern Mineral and Environmental Resources Science Center

Science Center Link

News

Image shows a view of Libby Dam and Lake Koocanusa
October 25, 2017

Resource managers, regulators, and stakeholders of Montana and British Columbia’s Lake Koocanusa now have a new approach for understanding the implications of different levels of selenium, and to explore alternative selenium criteria for waters in the Lake.

White Bear Lake thumbnail
September 6, 2017

Both precipitation and groundwater withdrawals, among other factors, influence lake-water levels in the northeast Twin Cities metropolitan area, and the extent of these changes vary among lakes, according to a new U.S. Geological Survey study.

Profile of the North Fork of the Flathead River, Montana.
September 6, 2017

A new U.S. Geological Survey study provides a larger window into the future for understanding how seasonal stream temperatures may change in one of the most ecologically diverse ecosystems in North America – the Crown of the Continent Ecosystem, USA and Canada.

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Multiple Petri dishes with various water samples monitoring showing color differences for antibiotic resistance.
Date Published: April 7, 2019
Status: Active

Antibiotic Resistance

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 (...

Contacts: Carrie Givens
Photos show change in water clarity in agricultural runoff before and after a grassed waterway was installed
Date Published: March 23, 2019
Status: Active

Edge-of-field monitoring: Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI)

Great Lakes Restoration Initiative edge-of-field monitoring focuses on identifying and reducing agricultural sources of excess nutrients which threaten the health of the Great Lakes. The USGS supports these efforts by utilizing edge-of-field monitoring to assess the quantity and quality of agricultural runoff and evaluate conservation practices that aim to reduce sediment and nutrient loss....

Ripples on Lake Richie near Portage Trail at Isle Royale National Park with tree growing strangely over water.
Date Published: March 20, 2019
Status: Archived

Determination of Algal Toxin Concentrations in Surface Waters at National Parks

The U.S. Geological Survey, in partnership with the National Park Service began a project in 2012 exploring  levels of the algal toxins in surface drinking water and recreational waters in 3 National Park Service Parks: Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, Isle Royale National Park, and Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. 

River with blue reflection, in late summer, leaves just starting to turn from green to gold.
Date Published: March 13, 2019
Status: Archived

Water Chemistry Monitoring Project - Rivers and Streams

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. 

Contacts: Cynthia Rachol
Girls getting a glass of water at a well pump at The Tollgate House, Meridian Historical Village, Okemos, MI
Date Published: February 1, 2019
Status: Active

Water Use in Michigan

The USGS compiles water use information by State including estimated amounts, sources, and categories of use every five years since 1950. 

Large River Science in MO River Basin
Date Published: April 14, 2018

Large River Science

Expertise in large river research provides science information to inform decisions on river management and restoration in the Midwest Region. Connectivity is a fundamental concept in river ecology and refers to opportunities for water to flow along and through riverine ecosystems. It is considered one of the primary drivers of river productivity, biological diversity and ecosystem health.

Energy - Bakken
Date Published: March 8, 2018

Mining and Energy

Scientists are examining a number of issues to characterize potential effects of unconventional oil and gas development in the Bakken Shale within the Williston Basin, located in ND, SD and MT. Research is building upon current/ongoing studies to implement new, innovative research including water quality, water availability, ecological effects, proppant sand, and induced seismicity.

Attribution: Midcontinent
Flood Scientists - Drayton
Date Published: March 8, 2018

Flood Response

Floods are the leading cause of natural disaster losses, and Midwest Region scientists are ready to respond. Flood inundation maps tied to USGS real-time stream gage data and National Weather Service flood forecast sites enable state and local communities to make timely operational and public safety decisions during floods.

Logging Lake, Glacier National Park.
Date Published: January 4, 2018
Status: Active

Experimental suppression of invasive lake trout: Implications for conservation of imperiled bull trout in Glacier National Park

After 14,000 years of dominance, Glacier National Park’s (GNP) greatest native aquatic predator is at high risk of extirpation (local extinction) in several lakes on the western slopes of the Continental Divide. The decline of threatened bull trout in GNP is directly attributed to the invasion and establishment of nonnative lake trout, which consistently displace bull trout in systems where...

Female grizzly with cubs
Date Published: December 13, 2017
Status: Active

Interagency Grizzly Bear Study Team

The Interagency Grizzly Bear Study Team (IGBST) is an interdisciplinary group of scientists and biologists responsible for long-term monitoring and research efforts on grizzly bears in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE). The team was formed by the Department of the Interior (DOI) in 1973 as a direct result of controversy...

Lake Erie green waters at the Beach with Buoy marking swim area
Date Published: November 15, 2017
Status: Active

Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs)

The USGS collaborates with local, state, federal, tribal, university, and industry partners to conduct the science necessary to understand the causes and effects of toxic HABs and inform water management and public health decisions. USGS is characterizing the life cycle of HABs, their asociated toxins, and the genes responsible for cyanotoxin production. This work is enhancing the ability of...

Contacts: Jon Hortness
Monitoring set-up at the watersheds site which includes boards and such to direct water flow to drainage.
Date Published: November 14, 2017
Status: Active

Nutrient Monitoring Activities

Nutrient pollution is one of America's most widespread, costly and challenging environmental problems. Reduction in nutrient inputs to the Great Lakes is a priority under both the Great lakes Restoration Initiative and the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement. To support these efforts, USGS scientists across the Great Lakes region are monitoring the transport of nutrients at key locations. 

Contacts: Jon Hortness
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Example NWIS graph of real-time stream-flow monitoring
June 22, 2017

Real-time, daily, peak-flow, field measurements, and statistics of current and historical data that describe stream levels, streamflow (discharge), reservoir and lake levels, surface-water quality, and rainfall in Wisconsin. Surface-water data are collected and stored as either discrete field-water-level measurements or as continuous time-series data from automated recorders.

Example NWIS graph of real-time water quality monitoring
June 22, 2017

At selected surface-water and groundwater sites, the USGS maintains instruments that continuously record physical and chemical characteristics of the water including pH, specific conductance, temperature, dissolved oxygen, and percent dissolved-oxygen saturation. Supporting data such as air temperature and barometric pressure are also available at some sites.

Example NWIS graph of real-time groundwater-level monitoring
June 22, 2017

Data from wells, springs, test holes, tunnels, drains, and excavations in South Dakota; well location data includes information such as latitude and longitude, well depth, and aquifer. Groundwater level data are collected and stored as either discrete field-water-level measurements or as continuous time-series data from automated recorders.

Example NWIS graph of real-time water quality monitoring
June 22, 2017

At selected surface-water and groundwater sites, the USGS maintains instruments that continuously record physical and chemical characteristics of the water including pH, specific conductance, temperature, dissolved oxygen, and percent dissolved-oxygen saturation. Supporting data such as air temperature and barometric pressure are also available at some sites.

Example NWIS graph of real-time stream flow monitoring
June 22, 2017

Real-time, daily, peak-flow, field measurements, and statistics of current and historical data that describe stream levels, streamflow (discharge), reservoir and lake levels, surface-water quality, and rainfall in Wisconsin. Surface-water data are collected and stored as either discrete field-water-level measurements or as continuous time-series data from automated recorders.

Example NWIS Graph of real-time groundwater-level monitoring
June 21, 2017

Data from wells, springs, test holes, tunnels, drains, and excavations in North Dakota; well location data includes information such as latitude and longitude, well depth, and aquifer. Groundwater level data are collected and stored as either discrete field-water-level measurements or as continuous time-series data from automated recorders.

This is an image taken in 2015 of Sperry Glacier in Glacier National Park.
May 15, 2017

Area of the Named Glaciers of Glacier National Park (GNP) and Flathead National Forest (FNF) including Little Ice Age extent, and years 1966, 1998, 2005 and 2015

These data represent a time series of the 37 named glaciers of Glacier National Park, MT, USA and two named glaciers in the Flathead National Forest.

Pytoplankton Data Map showing Cheney Reservoir near Cheney Kansas
July 6, 2016

This U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Data Release provides phytoplankton data collected from Cheney Reservoir, Kansas, during June 2001 through November 2015.

USGS
June 15, 2016

Maps of flood and high flow conditions within Kansas

USGS
June 15, 2016

WaterWatch displays maps, graphs, and tables describing real-time, recent, and past streamflow conditions for the United States, including flood and droughts. Real-time information generally is updated on an hourly basis.

USGS
June 15, 2016

WaterQualityWatch provides access to real time water-quality data collected in surface waters in Kansas, including streamflow, water temperature, specific conductance, pH, dissolved oxygen, turbidity, and nitrate.

USGS
June 15, 2016

Real-time, daily, peak-flow, field measurements, and statistics of current and historical data that describe stream levels, streamflow (discharge), reservoir and lake levels, surface-water quality, and rainfall in Kansas. Surface-water data are collected and stored as either discrete field-water-level measurements or as continuous time-series data from automated recorders.

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Photo of stormwater runoff flowing into a storm drain
February 2, 2018

The USGS is working with partners to address nutrient pollution in the Mississippi Watershed. To learn more about this issue, and how the USGS is addressing nuterient monitoring and modeling, check out the StoryMap. 

Map of Kansas with a mark at Wamego and De Soto
August 1, 2016

Study area for the Kansas River Algal project.

Indian Creek Map
June 15, 2016

The purpose of the study is to assess the effects of wastewater discharge and treatment facility upgrades on the environmental and biological conditions of Indian Creek, downstream from the Middle Basin wastewater treatment facility (WWTF).

Screenshot of the Science in the Great Lakes (SiGL) Mapper
April 11, 2016

The Science in the Great Lakes (SiGL) Mapper is a data-discovery tool that provides searchable access to detailed, project-specific information about what, where, when, and how GL data were collected and connects users with data repositories, publications, and contact information so they can easily access the project’s results.

IGBST Boundary Map
March 21, 2016

This map shows the overlapping boundaries of significant ecological and land management areas in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem used by the IGBST to show grizzly bear distribution and occupancy. Click on each boundary for more information.

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Year Published: 2019

Operationalizing small unoccupied aircraft systems for rapid flood inundation mapping and event response

Small Unoccupied Aircraft Systems (sUAS) offer the capability to collect rapid and accurate aerial survey data during flood response. The rapid collection of aerial flood data can potentially enable scientists to produce detailed geospatial products and related datasets in time for decisional support. A workflow for sUAS event response before,...

Engel, Frank L.; Hernandez, Rogelio

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Year Published: 2019

The use of continuous water-quality time-series data to compute nutrient loadings for selected Iowa streams, 2008–17

In support of nutrient reduction efforts, nitrate (as nitrate plus nitrite) and phosphorus loads and yields were computed for selected streams in Iowa based on continuously monitored sensor data for 2008–17 and 2014–17, respectively. Sample data were used to assess nitrate sensor bias and to create phosphorus-turbidity surrogate models. Where...

Garrett, Jessica D.
Garrett, J.D., 2019, The use of continuous water-quality time-series data to compute nutrient loadings for selected Iowa streams, 2008–17: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2019–5054, 31 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/sir20195054.

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Year Published: 2019

Flood-inundation maps for the Iowa River at the Meskwaki Settlement in Iowa, 2019

Digital flood-inundation maps for a 9.3-mile reach of the Iowa River along the Meskwaki Settlement, Iowa, were created by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) in cooperation with the Sac and Fox Tribe of the Mississippi in Iowa. The flood-inundation maps, which can be accessed through the USGS Flood Inundation Mapping Science website at https://water...

Cigrand, Charles V.
Cigrand, C.V., 2019, Flood-inundation maps for the Iowa River at the Meskwaki Settlement in Iowa, 2019: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2019–5050, 12 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/sir20195050.

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Year Published: 2019

Climate, streamflow, and lake-level trends in the Great Lakes Basin of the United States and Canada, water years 1960–2015

Water levels in the Great Lakes fluctuate substantially because of complex interactions among inputs (precipitation and streamflow), outputs (evaporation and outflow), and other factors. This report by the U.S. Geological Survey in cooperation with the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative was completed to describe trends in climate, streamflow, lake...

Norton, Parker A.; Driscoll, Daniel G.; Carter, Janet M.
Norton, P.A., Driscoll, D.G., and Carter, J.M., 2019, Climate, streamflow, and lake-level trends in the Great Lakes Basin of the United States and Canada, water years 1960–2015: Scientific Investigations Report 2019–5003, 47 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/sir20195003.

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Year Published: 2019

Comparing clustered sampling designs for spatially explicit estimation of population density

Spatially explicit capture–recapture methods do not assume that animals have equal access to sampling devices (e.g., detectors), which allows for gaps in the sampling extent and nonuniform (e.g., clustered) sampling designs. However, the performance (i.e., relative root mean squared error [RRMSE], confidence interval coverage, relative bias and...

Clark, Joseph D.

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Year Published: 2019

Forecasting for dry and wet avalanches during mixed rain and snow storm events

Professionals in coastal and some inland mountain ranges regularly face mixed rain-snow events. Professionals in inland ranges frequently deal with persistent slab avalanches failing on old faceted layers buried deep within the snowpack. What happens when you combine these snowpack and weather events? Widespread avalanching involving faceted...

Savage, Scott; Peitzsch, Erich; Trautman, Simon; VandenBos, Benjamin

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Year Published: 2019

Trophic plasticity and the invasion of a renowned piscivore: A diet synthesis of northern pike (Esox lucius) from the native and introduced ranges in Alaska, U.S.A.

The invasion of non-native fishes is a leading cause of extinction and imperilment of native freshwater fishes. Evidence suggests that introduced species with generalist diets have the potential for greatest impacts through competition and predation even though populations are often comprised of specialist individuals. The northern pike (Esox...

Cathcart, C. Nathan; Dunker, Kristine J.; Quinn, Thomas P.; Sepulveda, Adam J.; von Hippel, Frank A.; Wizik, Andrew; Young, Daniel B.; Westley, Peter A.H.

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Year Published: 2019

Impacts of nonnative Brown Trout on Yellowstone Cutthroat Trout in a tributary stream

Nonnative trout are a considerable threat to native salmonids, yet our understanding of the mechanisms behind interspecific interactions remains limited. We evaluated the impacts of nonnative Brown Trout Salmo salar on a population of Yellowstone Cutthroat Trout Oncorhynchus clarkii bouvieri in Montana. We contrasted diets,...

Al-Chokhachy, Robert K.; Sepulveda, Adam J.

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Year Published: 2019

Probability of streamflow permanence model (PROSPER): A spatially continuous model of annual streamflow permanence throughout the Pacific Northwest

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) has developed the PRObability of Streamflow PERmanence (PROSPER) model, a GIS raster-based empirical model that provides streamflow permanence probabilities (probabilistic predictions) of a stream channel having year-round flow for any unregulated and minimally-impaired stream channel in the Pacific Northwest...

Jaeger, Kristin; Sando, Thomas R.; McShane, Ryan R.; Dunham, Jason B.; Hockman-Wert, David; Kaiser, Kendra E; Hafen, Konrad (Contractor); Risley, John; Blasch, Kyle

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Year Published: 2019

Extreme value-based methods for modeling elk yearly movements

Species range shifts and the spread of diseases are both likely to be driven by extreme movements, but are difficult to statistically model due to their rarity. We propose a statistical approach for characterizing movement kernels that incorporate landscape covariates as well as the potential for heavy-tailed distributions. We used a spliced...

Wijeyakulasuriya, Dhanushi A.; Hanks, Ephraim M.; Shaby, Benjamin A.; Cross, Paul C.

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Year Published: 2019

Keeping the crown of the continent connected: An interagency US2 connectivity workshop report

At over 2.5 million acres, Glacier National Park and the Bob Marshall Wilderness complex form one of the largest protected areas in the continental United States. Straddling the Continental Divide, these two areas form a vital linkage between vast areas of public land to the south towards Yellowstone, and contiguous protected areas north of the US...

Waller, John S.; Graves, Tabitha
Waller, J and TA Graves. 2018. Keeping the Crown of the Continent Connected: An interagency US2 connectivity workshop report. Unpublished report. National Park Service, Glacier National Park. 30 pp. https://irma.nps.gov/DataStore/Reference/Profile/2259314

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Year Published: 2019

Changing station coverage impacts temperature trends in the Upper Colorado River Basin

Over the Upper Colorado River Basin (UCRB), temperatures in widely used gridded data products do not warm as much as mean temperatures from a stable set of U.S. Historical Climatology Network (USHCN) stations, located at generally lower elevations, in most months of the year. This is contrary to expectations of elevation-dependent warming, which...

McAfee, Stephanie A.; McCabe, Gregory; Gray, Stephen; Pederson, Gregory T.

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Shiny Apps
February 15, 2017

This data exploration tool is intented for use by researchers, resource managers, and the public to better understand the status of the fish community in Lake Erie.

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USGS Louisville KY Main Office
December 31, 2019

USGS Louisville KY Main Office

A frontal view of the USGS Water Science Center in Louisville, Kentucky.

Attribution: Midcontinent
December 31, 2017

Groundwater use from the Ozark Plateaus aquifer system, 1900 to 2010

Groundwater use from the Ozark Plateaus aquifer system, 1900 to 2010” is a short video showing modeled groundwater withdrawal rates from the Ozark Plateaus aquifer system (Ozark system) in the central United States. The Ozark Plateaus Groundwater Availability Study aims to quantify current groundwater resources in the Ozark system, evaluate how these resources have changed

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December 31, 2017

MODIS Observes Snowpack in the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range

The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) sensor is located onboard NASA’s Terra and Aqua satellites. MODIS data are crucial tools for studying changes that have occurred on the surface of the Earth, including during times of drought. This video highlights Terra MODIS data over the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range and the changes in the amount of snowpack in

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Sea Lamprey Larvae in Hand
December 31, 2017

Sea Lamprey Larvae in Hand

This image shows a sea lamprey in its larvae phase.

Slower sea lamprey growth rates during the larval phase of development may increase the odds of sea lampreys becoming male, according to a USGS study. Sea lampreys are an invasive, parasitic species of fish damaging the Great Lakes.

Monarch on Joe Pyeweed plant
December 31, 2017

Monarch on Joe Pyeweed plant

Monarch butterfly on a Joe Pyeweed plant.

Sea Lamprey Larvae on White Background
December 31, 2017

Sea Lamprey Larvae on White Background

This image shows a sea lamprey in its larvae phase.

Slower sea lamprey growth rates during the larval phase of development may increase the odds of sea lampreys becoming male, according to a USGS study. Sea lampreys are an invasive, parasitic species of fish damaging the Great Lakes.

Monarch on hairy puccoon
December 31, 2017

Monarch on hairy puccoon

A monarch butterfly on a hairy puccoon plant.

December 31, 2017

Getting Started with MODIS Version 6 Therm. Anom. & Fire Data Part 1

This video focuses on the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) Terra and Aqua Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) Version 6 Thermal Anomalies and Fire data distributed by NASA’s Land Processes Distributed Active Archive Center (LP DAAC).  Information about the MODIS Version 6 Thermal Anomalies and Fire data products, changes between the

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December 31, 2017

Getting Started with MODIS Version 6 Therm. Anom. and Fire Data Part 2

This video focuses on the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) Terra and Aqua Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) Version 6 Thermal Anomalies and Fire data distributed by NASA’s Land Processes Distributed Active Archive Center (LP DAAC).  Information about the MODIS Version 6 Thermal Anomalies and Fire data products, the thematic fire

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Phragmites, an invasive grass
December 31, 2017

Phragmites, an invasive grass

Introduced Phragmites australis, also called the common reed, is an invasive grass in the Great Lakes.

December 31, 2017

Getting Started with MODIS Version 6 Therm. Anom. & Fire Data Part 3

This video focuses on the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) Terra and Aqua Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) Version 6 Thermal Anomalies and Fire data distributed by NASA’s Land Processes Distributed Active Archive Center (LP DAAC). Information about MODIS Thermal Anomalies and Fire quality information, including how to decode

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Chelonid herpesvirus 5 replication
December 31, 2017

Chelonid herpesvirus 5 replication

This microscopic image shows a sun-shaped area within turtle skin cells where chelonid herpesvirus 5 replicates. The virus capsids, or protein shells, are arrayed like a corona around the circle. ChHV5 is associated with fibropapillomatosisa tumor disease affecting endangered green turtles. (Credit: Thierry Work,

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Image shows a view of Libby Dam and Lake Koocanusa
October 25, 2017

Resource managers, regulators, and stakeholders of Montana and British Columbia’s Lake Koocanusa now have a new approach for understanding the implications of different levels of selenium, and to explore alternative selenium criteria for waters in the Lake.

White Bear Lake thumbnail
September 6, 2017

Both precipitation and groundwater withdrawals, among other factors, influence lake-water levels in the northeast Twin Cities metropolitan area, and the extent of these changes vary among lakes, according to a new U.S. Geological Survey study.

Profile of the North Fork of the Flathead River, Montana.
September 6, 2017

A new U.S. Geological Survey study provides a larger window into the future for understanding how seasonal stream temperatures may change in one of the most ecologically diverse ecosystems in North America – the Crown of the Continent Ecosystem, USA and Canada.

UMESC Building
September 5, 2017

The public is invited to attend a free, family-friendly open house at a local U.S. Geological Survey center for ecology research on Saturday, September 9.  

NPWRC Building
August 30, 2017

The public is invited to attend a free, family-friendly open house at a local U.S. Geological Survey center for ecology research on Saturday, September 16.  

Lake Michigan at Sunset
August 16, 2017

Invasive mussels and less nutrients from tributaries have altered the Lake Michigan ecosystem making it more conducive to the stocking of lake trout and steelhead than Chinook salmon, according to a recent U.S. Geological Survey and Michigan State University study.

Agricultural Stream in Indiana in foreground with barn and silos in background
August 9, 2017

One hundred small streams in the Midwest were tested for pesticides during the 2013 growing season and found to contain, on average, 52 pesticides per stream

Hibernating little brown bat with white muzzle and spots on wings typical of white-nose syndrome. (Photo by Greg Turner, Pennsyl
August 1, 2017

The cold-loving fungus (Pseudogymnoascus destructans, or Pd) that causes white-nose syndrome, a disease that has killed millions of North American bats during hibernation, could also spread in summer months. Bats and humans visiting contaminated caves and mines can inadvertently contribute to the spread of the fungus, according to a recently published study by the U.S. Geological Survey.

USGS
July 14, 2017

U.S. Geological Survey field crews are measuring heavy flooding in the Columbus and Newark Ohio areas, as well as the northwest part of the state.

illustration
July 6, 2017

The USGS has up-to-date details on the July 6, 2017 event.

A mother grizzly bear and her cub in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.
July 5, 2017

From the journals of Lewis & Clark, April 13, 1805 (in the vicinity of Pouch Point Recreation Area - 16 miles south of New Town, North Dakota):

Close up of Monarch
June 29, 2017

Adding milkweeds and other native flowering plants into midwestern agricultural lands is key to restoring monarch butterflies, with milkweed sowers from all sectors of society being critically needed for success. 

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