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The U.S. Geological Survey's (USGS) mission is to provide reliable scientific information about the Nation's natural resources. An integral part of that mission is to provide consistent, long-term water-resources data. To do so, the Central Midwest WSC operates a widespread surface and ground-water data collection network as well as research on a wide range of scientific issues.

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News

Image: Big Sioux River at Akron, Iowa, 2010
May 10, 2019

Reporters: Do you want to accompany a USGS field crew as they inspect high-water marks? Please contact Marisa Lubeck or Paul Rydlund. 

Photo of a young girl drinking water, which likely originated from groundwater sources. 
December 7, 2017

A regional assessment of untreated groundwater in the Cambrian-Ordovician aquifer system, which includes parts of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Iowa, Illinois, Missouri and Indiana, is now available from the U.S. Geological Survey.

Exterior of a municipal water pumping station
December 6, 2017

Oxygen levels, dissolved minerals among factors responsible for high concentrations of radium in untreated water from aquifer that underlies six states

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Midwest farm landscape
Date Published: June 12, 2019
Status: Completed

Basin Characterization Model - Simulating Effects of Iowa Soil Management on Water Availability

As a result of climate change, heavy rainfall, as well as extended dry periods, are becoming more common in the Midwestern United States. These trends are only expected to continue. So, increasing the capacity of soil to store water has become more critical. Storing water increases availability in dry conditions. And the absorption of additional water in wet conditions reduces potential...

Application to explore US Oil and Gas Assessments
Date Published: April 19, 2019
Status: Active

United States Assessments of Undiscovered Oil and Gas Resources

USGS Energy Resources Program provides periodic assessments of the oil and natural gas endowment of the United States and the World (click here for information about World Oil and Gas Assessments).  This website provides access to new, prioritized, assessment results and supporting data for the United States, as part...

Iowa Alluvial Aquifers
Date Published: March 18, 2019
Status: Active

Iowa Alluvial Aquifer

This study is part of ongoing research in Iowa to investigate the availability (quantity and quality) of water in alluvial aquifers that are used for agricultural, domestic, municipal, and industrial supplies. Previous research included modeling and delineation of ground water flow in the Mississippi River, Des Moines River, iowa, and Cedar River alluvial aquifers. The water quality of these...

September 2016 Northern Plains Flood
Date Published: February 26, 2019
Status: Completed

September 2016 Northern Plains Floods

Learn more about USGS flood activities related to the September 2016 Northern Plains Floods when more than 12 inches of rain fell in northeast Iowa, southeast Minnesota, and southwest Wisconsin during a 24-hour period on September 22 and 23, 2016.

June 2014 floods in South Dakota, Minnesota, and Iowa
Date Published: February 25, 2019
Status: Completed

June 2014 floods in South Dakota, Minnesota, and Iowa

Learn more about USGS flood activities related to the June 2014 Floods in South Dakota, Minnesota, and Iowa.

May-June 2013 Midwest floods
Date Published: February 25, 2019
Status: Completed

May-June 2013 Midwest Floods

Learn more about USGS flood activities related to the May-June 2013 Midwest Floods.

April-May 2013 Midwest floods
Date Published: February 25, 2019
Status: Completed

April-May 2013 Midwest Floods

Learn more about USGS flood activities related to the April-May 2013 Midwest Floods caused by heavy rainfall and late snow-melt in six states.

June 2011 Mississippi River flood
Date Published: February 25, 2019
Status: Completed

Summer 2011 Missouri River Basin flood

Learn more about USGS flood activities related to the 2011 Missouri River Basin Flood resulting from higher-than-average snowmelt runoff combined with heavy spring rains.

Province 5056 Forest City Basin Oil and Gas Assessment
Date Published: December 7, 2018
Status: Archived

Forest City Basin Oil and Gas Assessments

The U.S. Geological Survey completed the following assessments of undiscovered oil and gas potential of the Forest City Basin Province (5056):

 

Province 5052 Iowa Shelf Basin - National Oil and Gas Assessment
Date Published: December 7, 2018
Status: Active

Iowa Shelf Oil and Gas Assessments

The U.S. Geological Survey completed the following assessments of undiscovered oil and gas potential of the Iowa Shelf Province (5052):

 

Canoe coring platform in Potomac River
Date Published: November 28, 2018
Status: Active

Natural Drought and Flood Histories from Lacustrine Archives

Previous work performed as part of the USGS Holocene Synthesis project illuminated complex centennial-scale patterns of drought and wetter-than-average conditions across the North American continent interior during the past two millennia, where paleorecord data coverage is sparse.  In order to explain the patterns of naturally-occurring drought, floods, and storms for the past, identified by...

Flood 08
Date Published: October 4, 2018
Status: Active

Flood Information at Selected Bridge and Culvert Sites

The USGS systematically collects all types of water data to better manage the water resources in each state.

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NWIS Mapper screenshot
March 5, 2019

The NWIS mapper provides access to over 1.5 million sites contained in the USGS National Water Information System (NWIS), including sites where current and historical surface-water, groundwater, springs, and atmospheric data has been collected. Users can search by site type, data type, site number, or place.

Image of data download web page
December 6, 2018

GIS Data for Forest City Basin Oil and Gas Assessments

Image of data download web page
December 6, 2018

GIS Data for Iowa Shelf Oil and Gas Assessments 

Water Data Reports for Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina
October 5, 2018

Beginning with Water Year 2006 and ending with Water Year 2013, annual water data reports were made available as individual electronic Site Data Sheets for the entire Nation for retrieval, download, and localized printing on demand. As of 2014, NWISWeb now provides an on-demand, print-ready Water-Year Summary as an annual water-data product.

Interactive map and chart highlighting USGS Domestic Continuous (Unconventional) Oil & Gas Assessments, 2000-Present
August 28, 2018

Interactively explore assessment summary information for continuous (unconventional) assessments conducted at the USGS from 2000-2018. The assessment results data used to generate this visualization can be downloaded here in Excel Format.  These data represent all assessment results for Continuous Assessments only from 2000-2018.

USGS
January 1, 2018

Nitrapyrin is a nitrification inhibitor that is co-applied with N-fertilizer in agroecosystems. Over the course of one year (March 2016 to June 2017), 192 water samples from seven streams across Iowa and Illinois were analyzed for nitrapyrin, its degradate 6-chloropicolinic acid (6-CPA), and three widely used herbicides acetochlor, atrazine, and metolachlor. Additional environmental samples were

USGS
January 1, 2018

Airborne electromagnetic (AEM) and magnetic survey data were collected by CGG Canada Services Ltd. in collaboration with the US Geological Survey (USGS) for the City of Cedar Rapids in a 53-square-kilometer area of the Cedar River Basin to the west of Cedar Rapids, Iowa. The survey was flown between May 4 and May 5, 2017 along 347 line kilometers. Electromagnetic data were acquired using RESOLVE

Application screenshot thumbnail
September 1, 2017

The National Water Information System (NWIS) web application provides access to real-time and historical surface-water, groundwater, water-quality, and water-use data collected at approximately 1.5 million sites across all 50 states.

USGS
January 1, 2017

Four dichloroacetamide herbicide safeners (AD-67, benoxacor, dichlormid, and furilazole) and two co-applied herbicides (acetochlor and metolachlor) were measured in water samples from 7 streams across Iowa and Illinois. Iowa water samples were collected from March 2016 to June 2017, and Illinois water samples were collected from September 2016 to June 2017. The compounds studied are applied to co

Structure datasets for the nation from The National Map
April 20, 2016

USGS data portray selected structures data, including the location and characteristics of manmade facilities. Characteristics consist of a structure's physical form (footprint), function, name, location, and detailed information about the structure. The types of structures collected are largely determined by the needs of the disaster planning and response and homeland security organizations.

Boundaries datasets for the nation from The National Map.
April 19, 2016

Boundaries data or governmental units represent major civil areas including states, counties, Federal, and Native American lands, and incorporated places such as cities and towns.

Illustration related to the the river corridor
April 19, 2016

The National Hydrography Dataset (NHD) and Watershed Boundary Dataset (WBD) are used to portray surface water on The National Map.

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Application to explore US Oil and Gas Assessments
March 19, 2019

This map shows the provinces assessed by the USGS for undiscovered oil and gas resources. 

Digital Elevation Model in the Atchafalaya Basin, LA
April 19, 2016

The 3DEP products and services available through The National Map consist of standard digital elevation models (DEMs) at various horizontal resolutions, elevation source and associated datasets, an elevation point query service and bulk point query service. All 3DEP products are available, free of charge and without use restrictions.

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Year Published: 2018

Transport of nitrogen and phosphorus in the Cedar River Basin, Iowa and Minnesota, 2000–15

Nitrate concentrations in the Cedar River in Iowa and Minnesota have increased from an average of less than 1.0 milligram per liter in the early 1900s to more than 5.0 milligrams per liter in the 2000s and have resulted in periodic water-quality impairment of the river. Spatial differences and temporal changes in nitrogen and phosphorus transport...

Kalkhoff, Stephen J.
Kalkhoff, S.J., 2018, Transport of nitrogen and phosphorus in the Cedar River Basin, Iowa and Minnesota, 2000–15: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2018–5090, 44 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/sir20185090.

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Year Published: 2016

St. Louis area earthquake hazards mapping project; seismic and liquefaction hazard maps

We present probabilistic and deterministic seismic and liquefaction hazard maps for the densely populated St. Louis metropolitan area that account for the expected effects of surficial geology on earthquake ground shaking. Hazard calculations were based on a map grid of 0.005°, or about every 500 m, and are thus higher in resolution than any...

Cramer, Chris H.; Bauer, Robert A.; Chung, Jae-won; Rogers, David; Pierce, Larry; Voigt, Vicki; Mitchell, Brad; Gaunt, David; Williams, Robert; Hoffman, David; Hempen, Gregory L.; Steckel, Phyllis; Boyd, Oliver S.; Watkins, Connor M.; Tucker, Kathleen; McCallister, Natasha
Cramer C.H., Bauer R.A., Chung J.-W., Rogers J.D., Pierce L., Voigt V., Mitchell B., Gaunt D., Williams R.A., Hoffman D., Hempen G.L., Steckel P.J., Boyd O.S., Watkins C.M., Tucker K., McCallister N.S. St. Louis area earthquake hazards mapping project; seismic and liquefaction hazard maps Seismological Research Letters, January, 2017, Vol. 88, Issue 1, pp. 206-223

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Year Published: 2016

Historical files from Federal Government mineral exploration-assistance programs, 1950 to 1974

The Defense Minerals Administration (DMA), Defense Minerals Exploration Administration (DMEA), and Office of Minerals Exploration (OME) mineral exploration programs were active over the period 1950–1974. Under these programs, the Federal Government contributed financial assistance in the exploration for certain strategic and critical minerals. The...

Frank, David G.
Frank, D.G., 2016, Historical files from Federal Government mineral exploration-assistance programs, 1950 to 1974: U.S. Geological Survey Data Series 1004, http://dx.doi.org/10.3133/ds1004.

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Year Published: 2015

A random-walk algorithm for modeling lithospheric density and the role of body forces in the evolution of the Midcontinent Rift

This paper develops a Monte Carlo algorithm for extracting three-dimensional lithospheric density models from geophysical data. Empirical scaling relationships between velocity and density create a 3D starting density model, which is then iteratively refined until it reproduces observed gravity and topography. This approach permits deviations from...

Levandowski, William Brower; Boyd, Oliver S.; Briggs, Richard W.; Gold, Ryan D.
Levandowski, W., Boyd, O., Briggs, R. and Gold, R. (2015), A random-walk algorithm for modeling lithospheric density and the role of body forces in the evolution of the Midcontinent Rift. Geochem. Geophys. Geosyst.. Accepted Author Manuscript. doi:10.1002/2015GC005961

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Year Published: 2012

Selected water-quality data from the Cedar River and Cedar Rapids well fields, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, 2006-10

The Cedar River alluvial aquifer is the primary source of municipal water in the Cedar Rapids, Iowa area. Municipal wells are completed in the alluvial aquifer approximately 40 to 80 feet below land surface. The City of Cedar Rapids and the U.S. Geological Survey have been conducting a cooperative study of the groundwater-flow system and water...

Littin, Gregory R.
Selected water-quality data from the Cedar River and Cedar Rapids well fields, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, 2006-10; 2012; DS; 657; Littin, Gregory R.

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Year Published: 2011

Using observed postconstruction peak discharges to evaluate a hydrologic and hydraulic design model, Boneyard Creek, Champaign and Urbana, Illinois

Boneyard Creek—which drains an urbanized watershed in the cities of Champaign and Urbana, Illinois, including part of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) campus—has historically been prone to flooding. Using the Stormwater Management Model (SWMM), a hydrologic and hydraulic model of Boneyard Creek was developed for...

Over, Thomas M.; Soong, David T.; Holmes, Robert R.
Using observed postconstruction peak discharges to evaluate a hydrologic and hydraulic design model, Boneyard Creek, Champaign and Urbana, Illinois; 2011; SIR; 2011-5176; Over, Thomas M.; Soong, David T.; Holmes, Robert R. Jr.

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Year Published: 2011

Assessing the role of conspecific attraction in habitat restoration for Henslow's sparrows in Iowa

The presence of conspecific individuals may provide important cues about habitat quality for territorial songbirds. We tested the ability of a conspecific song playback system to attract Henslow’s sparrows to previously unoccupied restored habitat. We successfully attracted Heslow’s sparrows to 3 of 7 treatment plots using conspecific...

Vogel, Jennifer A.; Koford, Rolf R.; Otis, David L.

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Year Published: 2011

Nest success of northern bobwhite on managed and unmanaged landscapes in southeast Iowa

Range-wide declines in northern bobwhite populations (Colinus virginianus) have been attributed to concomitant loss of breeding habitat. Bobwhite management efforts to restore this habitat resource can be informed by empirical studies of associations between breeding success and multi-scale habitat attributes. We compared bobwhite nest success in...

Potter, Lisa M.; Otis, David L.; Bogenschutz, Todd R.
Nest success of northern bobwhite on managed and unmanaged landscapes in southeast Iowa; 2011; Article; Journal; Journal of Wildlife Management; Potter, L. M.; Otis, D. L.; Bogenschutz, T. R.

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Year Published: 2010

Calibrating recruitment estimates for mourning doves from harvest age ratios

We examined results from the first national-scale effort to estimate mourning dove (Zenaida macroura) age ratios and developed a simple, efficient, and generalizable methodology for calibrating estimates. Our method predicted age classes of unknown-age wings based on backward projection of molt distributions from fall harvest collections to...

Miller, David A.; Otis, David L.

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Year Published: 2010

Selected Water-Quality Data from the Cedar River and Cedar Rapids Well Fields, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, 1999-2005

The Cedar River alluvial aquifer is the primary source of municipal water in the Cedar Rapids, Iowa area. Municipal wells are completed in the alluvial aquifer at approximately 40 to 80 feet deep. The City of Cedar Rapids and the U.S. Geological Survey have been conducting a cooperative study of the groundwater-flow system and water quality near...

Littin, Gregory R.; Schnoebelen, Douglas J.
Selected Water-Quality Data from the Cedar River and Cedar Rapids Well Fields, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, 1999-2005; 2010; DS; 494; Littin, Gregory R.; Schnoebelen, Douglas J.

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Year Published: 2009

Effects of commercial harvest on shovelnose sturgeon populations in the Upper Mississippi River

Shovelnose sturgeon Scaphirhynchus platorynchus have become an increasingly important commercial species in the upper Mississippi River (UMR) because of the collapse of foreign sturgeon (family Acipenseridae) populations and bans on imported caviar. In response to concerns about the sustainability of the commercial shovelnose sturgeon fishery in...

Koch, Jeff D.; Quist, Michael C.; Pierce, Clay L.; Hansen, Kirk A.; Steuck, Michael J.

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Year Published: 2009

Individual variation in baseline and stress-induced corticosterone and prolactin levels predicts parental effort by nesting mourning doves

Endocrine systems have an important mechanistic role in structuring life-history trade-offs. During breeding, individual variation in prolactin (PRL) and corticosterone (CORT) levels affects behavioral and physiological processes that drive trade-offs between reproduction and self-maintenance. We examined patterns in baseline (BL) and stress...

Miller, David A.; Vleck, Carol M.; Otis, David L.

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April 16, 2019

Variable Warming Upper Midwest Lakes and Implications for Sport Fish

Climate change is predicted to alter sport fish communities in Midwestern lakes, but managers currently have limited information on individual lakes that can be used to set local expectations or intervene with mitigation strategies. Northeast and North Central CASC supported researchers, with strong participation from the Midwest Glacial Lakes Partnership, have combined

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USGS crews respond to flooding on the Big Sioux River
March 17, 2019

USGS crews respond to flooding on the Big Sioux River

USGS technician Chris Broz helps take water measurements on the Big Sioux River during record flooding in March, 2019.

USGS technician stands next to a boat on a flooded and debris-filled landscape
March 17, 2019

Spring 2019 Flooding - Big Sioux River, Akron, IA

After record flooding on the Big Sioux River, USGS crews mobilized to take important water measurements.

A USGS technician deploys a water measurement tool from a bridge to measure floodwaters
March 16, 2019

Spring 2019 Flooding - Big Sioux River, Hawarden, IA

After record flooding on the Big Sioux River, USGS crews mobilized to take important water measurements.

March 16, 2019

Spring 2019 Flooding - Big Sioux River

After record flooding on the Big Sioux River, USGS crews mobilized to take important water measurements.

Image from an application that navigates users through USGS National Oil and Gas Assessment Provinces
November 14, 2018

National Oil and Gas Assessment Provinces

This is a graphic from the USGS National Oil and Gas Assessment Explorer application, which allows user to drill into 70 oil and gas assessment provinces throughout the United States.

Assessing bridge scour countermeasures
August 17, 2018

Assessing bridge scour countermeasures

USGS hydrologist Taylor Dudunake assesses the rip-rap countermeasure along the pier of the Iowa State Route 76 bridge over the Upper Iowa River near Dorchester, Iowa. The assessment was part of a nationwide study of bridge scour countermeasures the USGS conducted on behalf of the Federal Highway Administration. 

Cyanobacterial accumulation at Binder Lake, Iowa, dominated by the blue green algae Microcystis sp. with a dead fish
April 17, 2018

Cyanobacterial accumulation at Binder Lake, Iowa

Cyanobacterial accumulation at Binder Lake, Iowa, dominated by the blue green algae Microcystis sp. with a dead fish

Cedar Rapids
December 31, 2017

Pilot and Crew Discussing Flight Plan for collecting AEM Data

Helicopter pilot and crew discussing flight plan and data collection before lifting off.

Cedar Rapids
December 31, 2017

Helicopter Lifting Off to Start a Data Collection Run for EM Data

Helicopter lifting off to start a data collection run.

Cedar Rapids
December 31, 2017

Greg Delzer Talking with the Local Press Regarding the AEM Flight Plan

USGS Scientist, Greg Delzer, talking with the local press regarding the AEM flight plan and details on what USGS and others will be collecting and analyzing.

Cedar Rapids
December 31, 2017

RESOLVE bird used to collect airborne electromagnetic data

USGS team of scientists were on site before the survey to help answer questions and go over last minute flight and data collection details. (Photo includes individuals from USGS: Iowa/Illinois Water Science Center, Dakota Water Science Center, Denver Crustal Geophysics Group, Office of Communication, and Branch of Geophysics)

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Image: Big Sioux River at Akron, Iowa, 2010
May 10, 2019

Reporters: Do you want to accompany a USGS field crew as they inspect high-water marks? Please contact Marisa Lubeck or Paul Rydlund. 

Photo of a young girl drinking water, which likely originated from groundwater sources. 
December 7, 2017

A regional assessment of untreated groundwater in the Cambrian-Ordovician aquifer system, which includes parts of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Iowa, Illinois, Missouri and Indiana, is now available from the U.S. Geological Survey.

Exterior of a municipal water pumping station
December 6, 2017

Oxygen levels, dissolved minerals among factors responsible for high concentrations of radium in untreated water from aquifer that underlies six states

Image shows a geologic map of the Lower 48
August 21, 2017

A carbonatite here, a glacial moraine there, a zig-zagging fault or two, even a behemoth of a batholith. The geology of the 50 States is an enormous patchwork of varied forms, beautiful in their variance but challenging to present as a single map.

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.  

Low-flying helicopter survey
April 27, 2017

Starting on May 2 and lasting for about two days, a helicopter towing a large, cylindrical sensor will make low-level flights over parts of Cedar Rapids as part of a groundwater survey.

USGS: Science for a changing world
September 26, 2016

Reporters: Do you want to accompany a USGS field crew as they measure flooding? Please contact Jason McVay at 319-430-6962.

Iowa
September 23, 2016

Reporters: Do you want to accompany a USGS field crew as they measure flooding? Please contact Jason McVay at 319-430-6962.

Iowa
August 24, 2016

Reporters: Do you want to accompany a USGS field crew as they measure flooding? Please contact Jason McVay at 319-430-6962.

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