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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 - Delaware - Washington D.C. Water Science Center

Maryland -  Delaware - Washington D.C.  Water Science Center

5522 Research Park Drive
Catonsville, MD 21228

Phone: 443-498-5500
Fax: 442-498-5510

MD-DE-DC Water

News

Date published: March 5, 2019

New U.S. Geological Survey Report Assesses Risk of Once-Per-Century Geomagnetic Superstorm to the Northeastern United States

A new report and map published by the U.S. Geological Survey provides critical insight to electric power grid operators across the northeastern United States in the event of a once-per-century magnetic superstorm.  

Date published: August 21, 2017

Stitching Together the New Digital Geologic Quilt of the United States

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.

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USGS
Date Published: June 26, 2019
Status: Active

Information by Region - Washington D.C.

  

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...

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...

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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).

Coastal Change Hazards Portal
Date Published: January 23, 2018
Status: Active

Scenario-Based Assessments for Coastal Change Hazard Forecasts

A decade of USGS research on storm-driven coastal change hazards has provided the data and modeling capabilities needed to identify areas of our coastline that are likely to experience extreme and potentially hazardous erosion during an extreme storm.

Contacts: Kara Doran
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

This project focuses on understanding the magnitude and variability of extreme storm impacts on sandy beaches. The overall objective is to improve real-time and scenario-based predictions of coastal change to support management of coastal infrastructure, resources, and safety. 

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

National Assessment of Coastal Vulnerability to Sea Level Rise

The original national coastal vulnerability index (CVI) assessment was motivated by expected accelerated sea-level rise (SLR) and the uncertainty in the response of the coastline to SLR. This research was conducted between 1999 and 2001, and is currently being updated using new data sources and methodology. This original study was part of the ...

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 task include developing and improving coastal-change assessments and supporting long-term planning and decision making to ensure sustainable coastal economies, infrastructure, and ecosystems.

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.

Photo of the pyramid top of the Washington Monument from the U.S Park Police Helicopter.
Date Published: January 2, 2018
Status: Completed

Washington DC Stone and Brick Buildings Vulnerable to Distant Quakes

Release Date: JANUARY 2, 2018

A new study shows that DC geologic conditions strongly affect earthquake shaking.

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...

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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.

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.

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. 

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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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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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Publication Thumbnail
Year Published: 2017

Amplification of earthquake ground motions in Washington, DC, and implications for hazard assessments in central and eastern North America

The extent of damage in Washington, DC, from the 2011 Mw 5.8 Mineral, VA, earthquake was surprising for an epicenter 130 km away; U.S. Geological Survey “Did-You-Feel-It” reports suggest that Atlantic Coastal Plain and other unconsolidated sediments amplified ground motions in the city. We measure this amplification relative to...

Pratt, Thomas L.; Horton, J. Wright; Munoz, Jessica; Hough, Susan E.; Chapman, Martin C.; Olgun, C. Guney
Pratt, T. L., Horton, J. W., Jr., Muñoz, J., Hough, S. E., Chapman, M. C., & Olgun, C. G. (2017). Amplification of earthquake ground motions in Washington, DC, and implications for hazard assessments in central and eastern North America. Geophysical Research Letters, 44, 12,150–12,160. https://doi.org/10.1002/2017GL075517

Publication Thumbnail
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 B.; 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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April 5, 2019

National Liaison Committee Meeting for the NWQP — Part 1

In these videos, speakers discuss upcoming changes to the USGS National Water Quality Program (NAWQA Project) and three new priority areas for the USGS Water Mission Area. Gary Rowe discusses plans for transitioning from current NAWQA Project activities to the new priority areas. Chad Wagner discusses plans for the Next Generation Water Observing System (NGWOS), which will

...
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.

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

March 22, 2007

PubTalk 3/2007 — Impact!

Piecing together the story of a giant meteorite crater beneath the Atlantic coast

By David S. Powars, Geologist, and R.D. Catchings, Geophysicist

  • Buried under Chesapeake Bay is a very well preserved impact structure 56 miles across and more than 2 miles deep
  • Following clues from drill holes and seismic imagery, careful
...
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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dark space with golden solar flare
March 5, 2019

A new report and map published by the U.S. Geological Survey provides critical insight to electric power grid operators across the northeastern United States in the event of a once-per-century magnetic superstorm.  

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. 

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