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Washington, D.C., the capital of the United States is located in the mid-Atlantic region of the U.S. East Coast and had an estimated population of 672,228 as of July 2015. The Potomac River forms the District's border with Virginia and has two major tributaries: the Anacostia River and Rock Creek.The District has 7,464 acres of parkland, occupying about 19% of the city's total area.

Maryland - Washington D.C. - Delaware Science Center

Maryland - Washington D.C. - Delaware Science Center

Washington DC Water

News

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.

Chesapeake Bay coast at St. Michaels, Maryland
June 14, 2017

 Low- and no-oxygen area threatens crabs, oysters, fish

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.

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Photo of Bird Bands in a Variety of Sizes and Types
Date Published: May 1, 2018
Status: Active

Bird Banding Laboratory

The Bird Banding Laboratory (BBL) is an integrated scientific program established in 1920 supporting the collection, archiving, management and dissemination of information from banded and marked birds in North America.  This information is used to monitor the status and trends of resident and migratory bird populations. Because birds are good indicators of the health of the environment, the...

Northeast Amphibian Research and Monitoring Initiative
Date Published: February 2, 2018
Status: Active

Amphibian monitoring in the National Capital Region

The National Capital Region Network has identified amphibians as a priority taxonomic group for its Inventory and Monitoring program. Amphibian monitoring was initiated in 2005, and is currently concentrated in Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historic Park (CHOH) and Rock Creek Park (ROCR), with stream sampling also occurring in Prince William Forest Park (PRWI).

Oblique aerial photograph near Rodanthe, NC, looking south along the coast on August 30, 2011, three days after landfall of Hurr
Date Published: January 18, 2018
Status: Active

National Assessment of Storm-Induced Coastal Change Hazards

The overall objective is to improve real-time and scenario-based predictions of coastal change to support management of coastal infrastructure, resources, and safety. Research is part of the  National Assessment of Coastal Change Hazards project.

coastal vulnerability of sea-level rise map
Date Published: January 18, 2018
Status: Active

National Assessment of Coastal Vulnerability to Sea Level Rise

This research seeks to objectively determine the relative risks due to future sea-level rise for the U.S. Atlantic, Pacific, and Gulf of Mexico coasts. Research is part of National Assessment of Coastal Change Hazards project. 

Oblique aerial photograph looking to the southwest along the southern end of Cedar Island, Virginia
Date Published: January 18, 2018
Status: Active

Long-Term Coastal Change

Goals of this project include developing and improving coastal-change assessments and supporting long-term planning and decision making to ensure sustainable coastal economies, infrastructure, and ecosystems. Research is part of the National Assessment of Coastal Change Hazards...

Cliff erosion is a common storm-induced hazard along the West Coast.
Date Published: January 17, 2018
Status: Active

National Assessment of Coastal Change Hazards

Research to identify areas that are most vulnerable to coastal change hazards including beach and dune erosion, long-term shoreline change, and sea-level rise.

Near Gage 01589000
Date Published: September 22, 2017
Status: Active

Long-Term Response Monitoring of Suspended-Sediment Transport Characteristics on the Patapsco River near Ellicott City, Maryland, in Response to the Removal of Simkins Dam, 2010-present

For over 100 years, the Patapsco River has been impacted by the presence of several dams that were designed and built at the beginning of the 20th century. The objective of the project is to monitor suspended-sediment transport resulting from the removal of Simkins Dam on the lower Patapsco River in November 2010. The role of USGS in the project includes operation and maintenance of 3 stream...

MD-DE-DC Groundwater Wells
Date Published: September 22, 2017
Status: Active

Delaware Agricultural Shallow Groundwater Monitoring Network

Studies in the Delmarva Peninsula have demonstrated that groundwater in shallow unconfined aquifers near agricultural lands is susceptible to contamination from chemicals applied at the land surface.

Observed concentrations of nitrate in shallow groundwater commonly exceed the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Maximum Contaminant Level of 10 mg/L on the peninsula. Groundwater...

Ten Mile Creek
Date Published: September 19, 2017

Enhanced hydrologic and geomorphic monitoring in Ten Mile Creek, Montgomery County, Maryland

Ten Mile Creek is a small, predominantly agricultural and forested watershed located to the west of Clarksburg, Maryland, in an area that has experienced land-use change and urban development over the past decade. Additional development extending into the Ten Mile Creek watershed is planned over the next several years.

This planned development in the Ten Mile Creek watershed presents an...

GPS record point for SET at Acadia National Park, ME
Date Published: September 14, 2017
Status: Completed

Bioremediation in Wetland Areas, Standard Chlorine of Delaware Inc. Superfund Site, Delaware City, Delaware

Major releases of chlorinated benzenes and benzene are known to have occurred at the Standard Chlorine of Delaware Inc. Superfund Site from 1966-2002, resulting in contamination of the groundwater underlying the site and the wetlands surrounding Red Lion Creek.

Although installation of a groundwater interception and treatment system has been completed around the main facility, wetland...

Contacts: Michelle Lorah
Sea Level Rise in Delmarva Peninsula
Date Published: September 8, 2017
Status: Active

Coastal Monitoring Tide Gage Sites in Maryland, Delaware, and Washington, D.C.

Vital coastal storm-tide information needed to help guide storm response efforts following major storms affecting Maryland will be more accessible than ever due to a new monitoring network the U.S. Geological Survey is currently building. 

A team from the USGS MD-DE-DC Water Science Center is surveying 63 locations in the state, determining their elevations and installing receiving...

Loch Raven Dam, Baltimore County, MD
Date Published: September 6, 2017
Status: Completed

Water Use

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) estimates water use by state, source of water, and category of use every 5 years. The withdrawals for Maryland, Delaware, and the District of Columbia are available in the tables below.

In 2010, 1,472 million gallons per day (Mgal/d) of freshwater were withdrawn from surface water and groundwater sources in Maryland, 300 Mgal/d in Delaware, and 0.10...

Contacts: Wendy McPherson
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Science Datasets
/data-tools/organochlorine-chemicals-northern-cardinal-eggs-suburban-washington-dc-usa

Organochlorine chemicals in northern cardinal eggs from suburban Washington, DC USA

Male Northern Red Cardinal
May 24, 2018

Analysis of organochlorine pesticides and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in northern cardinal eggs from six neighborhoods near Washington, DC.

Web Application
/data-tools/oblique-aerial-photography-viewer

Oblique Aerial Photography Viewer

Oblique Aerial Photography Viewer
January 19, 2018

Obique photos offer a unique perspective of the coast. Features such as beach erosion or accretion, dune erosion and overwash can all be clearly characterized in this imagery. It also documents coastal infrastructure, as well as the damage that infrastructure may incur as the result of an impacting hurricane. 

Water
/data-tools/national-water-information-system-nwis

National Water Information System (NWIS)

Application screenshot thumbnail
September 1, 2017

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

Real-time Data
/data-tools/national-water-information-system-nwis-mapper-0

National Water Information System (NWIS) Mapper

NWIS-Mapper thumbnail image
August 30, 2017

The National Water Information System (NWIS) Mapper provides access to water-resources data at over 1.5 million sites across the U.S., including current and historical data. Users can search by site type, data type, site number, or place.

Water
/data-tools/hurricane-and-flood-response-map-viewer

Hurricane and Flood Response Map Viewer

The USGS Flood Event Viewer (FEV) is the public data discovery component of the Short-Term Network (STN) database. Data viewable
October 7, 2016

The USGS Flood Event Viewer (FEV) is the public data discovery component of the Short-Term Network (STN) database. Data viewable and downloadable from this page are from the STN database. This application integrates with the USGS National Water Information System (NWIS) database  for display of time-series water data.

Real-time Data
/data-tools/nwis-data-mapper

NWIS Data Mapper

NWIS Mapper Web Site Graphics
April 28, 2016

NWIS Maps all sites with links to all available water data for individual sites. These pages provide access to water-resources data collected at approximately 1.5 million sites in all 50 States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. 

GIS Data
/data-tools/structures-data

Structures Data

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.

GIS Data
/data-tools/boundaries

Boundaries Data

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.

GIS Data
/data-tools/hydrography-data

Hydrography Data

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.

GIS Data
/data-tools/united-states-interagency-elevation-inventory-usiei

The United States Interagency Elevation Inventory (USIEI)

3D Lidar Point Cloud Image of San Francisco Bay and Golden Gate Bridge
April 19, 2016

The USIEI is a comprehensive, nationwide listing of known high-accuracy topographic and bathymetric data for the United States and its territories. The project is a collaborative effort of the USGS and NOAA with contributions from other federal agencies. The inventory supports the 3D Elevation Program and the Integrated Ocean and Coastal Mapping effort. This resource is updated in Spring and Fall.

GIS Data
/data-tools/elevation-data

Elevation Data

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

The 3DEP products and services available through The National Map consist of lidar point clouds (LPC), 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.

GIS Data
/data-tools/orthoimagery

Orthoimagery Data

Orthoimagery of Augusta Ga
April 12, 2016

Orthoimagery data typically are high resolution aerial images that combine the visual attributes of an aerial photograph with the spatial accuracy and reliability of a planimetric map. The National Map offers public domain, 1-meter orthoimagery for the conterminous United States with many urban areas and other locations at 2-foot or finer resolution.

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Figure showing the main page of the SPARROW Decision Support Tool
August 24, 2016

2002 Total Phosphorus Model for the Chesapeake Bay Watershed

Figure showing the main page of the SPARROW Decision Support Tool
August 24, 2016

2002 Total Nitrogen Model for the Chesapeake Bay Watershed

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.

Map shows color-coded seafloor character offshore of Monterey, California
March 7, 2016

This portal is a “go to” source for maps related to ocean and coastal mapping. Information is organized by geography or region, by theme, and by the year data was published.

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Year Published: 2015

U.S. Geological Survey Chesapeake science strategy, 2015-2025—Informing ecosystem management of America’s largest estuary

Executive Summary The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) has the critical role of providing scientific information to improve the understanding and management of the Chesapeake Bay ecosystem. The USGS works with Federal, State, and academic science partners to provide research and monitoring, and communicate results of these activities to enhance...

Phillips, Scott; Blomquist, Joel D.; Phillips, Scott; Blomquist, Joel D.; Bennett, Mark; Berlin, Alicia; Blazer, Vicki; Claggett, Peter; Faulkner, Stephen; Hyer, Kenneth; Ladino, Cassandra; Moyer, Douglas; Muir, Rachel; Noe, Gregory; Phillips, Patrick J.
Phillips, Scott, and Blomquist, Joel, eds., 2015, U.S. Geological Survey Chesapeake science strategy, 2015–2025—Informing ecosystem management of America’s largest estuary: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2015–1162, 43 p., http://dx.doi.org/10.3133/ofr20151162.

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Satellite image showing the Delaware Bay and Chesapeake Bay region
January 25, 2017

Satellite Image of the Delaware Bay and Chesapeake Bay Region

This Indian Space Research Organization LISS-3 image of the Delaware Bay and Chesapeake Bay region, acquired on January 25, 2017, shows the landscape along the densely populated U.S. East coast. Ecosystems and sea-level rise are among the regional landscape changes that satellite imagery helps to monitor. 

Image: Washington Monument in DC
March 14, 2016

Washington Monument in DC

Washington Monument in DC, with the cherry blossoms in bloom.

two ARMI field tech display discarded mylar balloons
October 29, 2015

Discarded mylar balloons on display

Anna Ormiston and Jesi Hessong, student contractors with the USGS Amphibian Research and Monitoring Initiative, or ARMI, display several discarded mylar balloon collected by field teams working in and around the Capital Region National Parks in the summer of 2015. They collected a total of 71 balloons.

Image: Old Post Office Pavailion in Washington, DC
July 10, 2014

Old Post Office Pavailion in Washington, DC

In this view from the Washington Monument, the Old Post Office Pavillion can be seen in the center of the image, surrounded by the red-roofed Federal office-buildings of the Federal Triangle.

Image: District of Columbia War Memorial
July 10, 2014

District of Columbia War Memorial

The District of Columbia War Memorial commemorates the residents of DC that served in the First World War. It's made of marble and concrete and sits in the National Mall.

Brain corals, mangrove prop roots and squirrelfish
December 31, 2009

Corals and mangroves share clear waters

Sediment can smother corals, but Hurricane Hole has no sediment-bearing freshwater streams. Its clear waters are habitat for an entire community of marine life, including Montastrea corals and squirrelfish. Photo: Caroline Rogers, USGS, 2009

USGS laboratory in Washington DC where water samples 1883-87 from Yellowstone National Park were analyzed.
August 1, 1901

USGS water quality laboratory in Washington DC, 1901

USGS laboratory in Washington DC where water samples 1883-87 from Yellowstone National Park were analyzed. Photograph, USGS Historical Photography Library.

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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.

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.

USGS: Science for a changing world
September 6, 2016

Threats to groundwater availability and sustainability in the Northern Atlantic Coastal Plain are dependent to a large degree by the type of aquifers used for water supply, according to a new regional assessment by the U.S. Geological Survey.

Stream Gage in Maryland
July 13, 2016

Vital coastal storm-tide information needed to help guide storm response efforts following major storms affecting Maryland will be more accessible than ever due to a new monitoring network the U.S. Geological Survey is currently building.

For more information, see http://md.water.usgs.gov/usgs-news.html

 

Image: Methane Seeps along Offshore Virginia
June 16, 2016

Recent scientific work has confirmed the source, composition and origin of methane seeps on the Atlantic Ocean seafloor, discovered in 2012, where scientists never expected them to be.

As US models predicted Hurricane Joaquin washed out a road at Kitty Hawk, NC in 2015.
June 1, 2016

New USGS models help predict storm effects on beaches

As the 2016 hurricane season opens, weather forecasters, emergency managers and coastal residents have access to tools developed by the U.S. Geological Survey that predict, more precisely than ever, where beach erosion and beachfront flooding will take place during hurricanes and other storms.

 

Map of the 48 contiguous states showing Microcystin concentrations
May 31, 2016

First-of-its-kind survey shows that algal toxins are found nationwide

collage of scientists conducting science related to each mission are
March 14, 2016

Much of the coast from Maine to Virginia is more likely to change than to simply drown in response to rising seas during the next 70 years or so, according to a new study led by the U.S. Geological Survey.

Visualize Your Water EPA logo
January 13, 2016

Today, the U.S. Geological Survey and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announce Visualize Your Water, a citizen science challenge for high school students who live in the Great Lakes basin and Chesapeake Bay watershed. 

USGS
December 1, 2015

A newly published, three-volume “Remote Sensing Handbook” is a comprehensive coverage of all remote sensing topics written by over 300 leading global experts.

USGS
May 11, 2015

Working directly with resource managers to produce science and tools to address effects of climate change on the nation’s biological resources should remain the core focus of the Interior Department’s Climate Science Centers, according to a federal advisory committee report released today.