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Our water-resources roots date back to the late 1800's, with the initiation of streamflow gaging on the Delaware and Susquehanna Rivers and evaluation of groundwater resources in various parts of the Commonwealth. Today Pennsylvania Water Science Center's cadre of nearly 100 scientists, technicians and support staff throughout the state collect scientific data to inform the public.

Pennsylvania Water Science Center

Pennsylvania Water Science Center

215 Limekiln Road
New Cumberland, PA 17070

Phone: (717) 730-6900
Fax: (717) 730-6997

Pennsylvania Water

News

Two osprey nestlings in the Delaware Estuary
July 10, 2018

Lower levels of environmental contaminants—including pesticides, flame retardants and other pollutants—were recently found in osprey eggs in the Delaware Estuary compared to those tested from the 1970s through the early 2000s. 

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

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Photograph of road cut showing fractured sedimentary rocks
Date Published: November 20, 2018
Status: Active

Contaminants in groundwater near North Penn Area Superfund sites

USGS has investigated groundwater flow and contaminant transport in the vicinity of Superfund sites in Montgomery County, southeastern Pennsylvania, in cooperation with EPA. Additional cooperative support for these investigations has been provided by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, Montgomery County, and local government agencies.

Contacts: Lisa A Senior
Well installation using a Geoprobe drilling rig
Date Published: November 20, 2018
Status: Active

Contaminants in groundwater near former Navy bases in southeastern Pennsylvania

USGS has investigated groundwater flow and contaminant transport in the vicinity of former Navy bases in Bucks and Montgomery Counties, southeastern Pennsylvania, in cooperation with the U.S. Navy. Additional cooperative support for these investigations has been provided by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, Bucks and Montgomery Counties, and local government agencies....

Contacts: Lisa A Senior
Image of the Blue Ridge taken from the top of Stone Mountain
Date Published: September 27, 2018
Status: Active

Piedmont and Blue Ridge Project

The Piedmont and Blue Ridge Project is a geologic mapping project supported by the USGS National Cooperative Geologic Mapping Program. The Piedmont Blue Ridge Project aims to understand the geologic framework and tectonic evolution of terranes and basins in the Appalachian Piedmont and Blue Ridge, and their significance for water, mineral and energy resources, natural hazards, and engineering/...

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...

Pennsylvania
Date Published: March 8, 2018
Status: Completed

GIS Data

PA GIS Data and Resources

USGS scientists Lisa Ashmore and Lee Bodkin collect water-quality samples on Lake Houston in response to Harvey.
Date Published: March 8, 2018
Status: Active

Water-Quality Monitoring

Water-Quality Monitoring 

Groundwater Recorder on a well in New Jersey
Date Published: March 8, 2018
Status: Active

Groundwater Monitoring

Groundwater Monitoring and Tools for Pennsylvania

Groundwater/surface water monitoring network at the Smith River above Mud Springs Creek
Date Published: March 8, 2018
Status: Active

Surface Water Monitoring

Surface Water Data and Monitoring tools for Pennsylvania

Delaware River
Date Published: February 28, 2018
Status: Active

Tidal Freshwater Ecosystems

This habitat system is characterized as tidally influenced freshwater systems, which provide critical habitat for many migratory (diadromous) fish species.  Characteristic species that inhabit this zone include mussels, sturgeon, shad, herring, alewife, American eel, striped bass, and perch.

Freshwater Mussels
Date Published: February 28, 2018
Status: Active

Freshwater Mussel Physiology

Freshwater mussels are considered ecosystems engineers benefiting the streams and rivers they inhabit through filtration, biodeposition, and nutrient cycling, thereby influencing water quality.  However, many of these species are rapidly declining due to shifting environmental conditions and habitat loss.  Researchers at Leetown Science Center are evaluating how different species of mussels...

Field Sampling Sites within the Delaware River Basin
Date Published: January 25, 2018
Status: Active

Quantifying Floodplain Ecological Processes and Ecosystem Services in the Delaware River Watershed

Floodplain and wetland areas provide critical ecosystem services to local and downstream communities by retaining sediments, nutrients, and floodwaters. The loss of floodplain functionality due to land use conversion and degradation reduces the provisioning of these services. Assessing, quantifying, and valuing floodplain ecosystem services provide a framework to estimate how floodplain...

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. 

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APIs
/data-tools/coastal-and-marine-geology-program-internet-map-server-and-gis-data

Coastal and Marine Geology Program Internet Map Server and GIS Data

Map of Submerged Lands
April 4, 2018

The USGS Coastal and Marine Geology Program (CMGP) Internet Map Server is an interactive mapping service which allows the user to explore and download GIS data sets published by CMGP.

Water
/data-tools/national-water-information-system-web-interface-nwisweb-0

National Water Information System web interface (NWISweb)

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.

Web Application
/data-tools/national-water-information-system-nwis-mapper

National Water Information System (NWIS) Mapper

NWIS Mapper screenshot
August 30, 2017

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.

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.

GIS Data
/data-tools/national-map-small-scale-collection

The National Map Small-Scale Collection

Small Scale Collection USA
April 12, 2016

The National Map offers a collection of small-scale datasets, most of which are at 1:1,000,000. The National Map publishes two data collections at one million-scale: one for Global Map users and one for National Map users. In terms of vector geometry, the lines, points, and areas in these data collections are identical. The difference is in the attributes assigned to these features.

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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.

USGS Storm-Tide Mapper and Data Services
March 8, 2016

The USGS Storm Tide Mapper is a tool for viewing, analyzing, and accessing storm tide data collected during and after hurricanes and Nor’easters. The USGS Storm Tide Mapper will continue to provide a unified and consistent source of real-time and archived storm-tide data.

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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.

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.

Year Published: 2014

Drilling and geophysical logs of the tophole at an oil-and-gas well site, Central Venango County, Pennsylvania

In a study conducted by the U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Bureau of Topographic and Geologic Survey, drilling and geophysical logs were used to characterize the geohydrologic framework and the freshwater and saline-water zones penetrated by the tophole at an oil-and-...

Williams, John H.; Bird, Philip H.; Conger, Randall W.; Anderson, J. Alton
Williams, J.H., and others, 2014, Drilling and geophysical logs of the tophole at an oil-and-gas well site, Central Venango County, Pennsylvania: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2014–1194, 8 p., http://doi.dx.org/10.3133/ofr20141194.

Year Published: 2010

Estimated Withdrawals and Other Elements of Water Use in the Great Lakes Basin of the United States in 2005

Estimates of water withdrawals in the United States part of the Great Lakes Basin and 107 of its watersheds designated by the 8-digit hydrologic unit code (HUCs) indicate that about 30.3 billion gallons per day (Bgal/d) were withdrawn for practically all categories of use in 2005. Virtually all water withdrawn was freshwater. Surface-water...

Mills, Patrick C.; Sharpe, Jennifer B.
Estimated Withdrawals and Other Elements of Water Use in the Great Lakes Basin of the United States in 2005; 2010; SIR; 2010-5031; Mills, Patrick C.; Sharpe, Jennifer B.

Year Published: 2001

Areal distribution and concentrations of contaminants of concern in surficial streambed and lakebed sediments, Lake Erie-Lake Saint Clair Drainages, 1990-97

Concerns about elevated concentrations of contaminants such as polychlorinated biphenyls and mercury in aquatic bed sediments throughout the Great Lakes Basin have resulted in a need for better understanding of the scope and severity of the problem. Various organochlorine pesticides, polychlorinated biphenyls, trace metals, and polycyclic aromatic...

Rheaume, S.J.; Button, D.T.; Myers, Donna N.; Hubbell, D.L.
Areal distribution and concentrations of contaminants of concern in surficial streambed and lakebed sediments, Lake Erie-Lake Saint Clair Drainages, 1990-97; 2001; WRI; 2000-4200; Rheaume, S. J.; Button, D. T.; Myers, D. N.; Hubbell, D. L.

Year Published: 2000

Water quality in the Lake Erie-Lake Saint Clair Drainages; Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, New York, and Pennsylvania, 1996-98

This report summarizes major findings about water quality in the Lake Erie-Lake Saint Clair Drainages that emerged from an assessment conducted between 1996 and 1998 by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) National Water-Quality Assessment (NAWQA) Program. Water quality is discussed in terms of local and regional issues and compared to conditions...

Myers, Donna N.; Thomas, Mary Ann; Frey, Jeffrey W.; Rheaume, Stephen J.; Button, Daniel T.
Water quality in the Lake Erie-Lake Saint Clair Drainages; Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, New York, and Pennsylvania, 1996-98; 2000; CIR; 1203; Myers, Donna N.; Thomas, Mary Ann; Frey, Jeffrey W.; Rheaume, Stephen J.; Button, Daniel T.

Year Published: 1990

National water summary 1987: Hydrologic events and water supply and use

Water use in the United States, as measured by freshwater withdrawals in 1985, averaged 338,000 Mgal/d (million gallons per day), which is enough water to cover the 48 conterminous States to a depth of about 2.4 inches. Only 92,300 Mgal/d, or 27.3 percent of the water withdrawn, was consumptive use and thus lost to immediate further use; the...

Carr, Jerry E.; Chase, Edith B.; Paulson, Richard W.; Moody, David W.
Attribution: Water, Central Midwest Water Science Center, Dakota Water Science Center, , , Kansas Water Science Center, Minnesota Water Science Center, Pennsylvania Water Science Center, Texas Water Science Center, Utah Water Science Center, Wisconsin Water Science Center, Water Resources, Water Availability and Use Science Program, Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, U.S. Virgin Islands, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming, United States of America
National water summary 1987: hydrologic events and water supply and use; 1990; WSP; 2350; Carr, Jerry E.; Chase, Edith B.; Paulson, Richard W.; Moody, David W.

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Pennsylvania Baseline Streamflow Estimator Screen Capture
September 26, 2012

Estimation of Baseline Daily Mean Streamflows for Ungaged Locations on Pennsylvania Streams, Water Years 1960–2008

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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.

This photo shows one of 8 storm sensors deployed in Pennsylvania to monitor the potential effects Hurricane Florence could have
September 14, 2018

Strom sensor deployed in Pennsylvania for Hurricane Florence

This photo shows one of 8 storm sensors deployed in Pennsylvania to monitor the potential effects Hurricane Florence could have on already high rivers across the state. Photo by Matthew Gyves, USGS. 

June 1, 2018

PAMF Participation Cycle

This video describes the annual participation cycle for those enrolled in the Phragmites Adaptive Management Framework (PAMF). PAMF encompasses three annual steps including enrolling, monitoring and managing. As participants employ management actions and submit monitoring reports they will receive management guidance generated by the PAMF model, which provides the most

...
June 1, 2018

PAMF Participation Cycle (Audio-Described)

This video describes the annual participation cycle for those enrolled in the Phragmites Adaptive Management Framework (PAMF). PAMF encompasses three annual steps including enrolling, monitoring and managing. As participants employ management actions and submit monitoring reports they will receive management guidance generated by the PAMF model, which provides the most

...
June 15, 2016

The Phragmites Adaptive Management Framework (PAMF)

This is an introductory video to an adaptive management approach for the invasive plant Phragmites australis in the Great Lakes basin. An adaptive management framework is an iterative process of robust decision making aimed at reducing uncertainty over time, for a variety of stakeholders with differing backgrounds and interests, via system monitoring.

Farms, forests and rolling hills in Lycoming County, PA
December 31, 2015

Farms, forests and rolling hills in Lycoming County, Pennsylvania

A typical rural scene in Lycoming County, Pennsylvania, with farms, forests and rolling hills.

USGS' Brian Selck samples a private well in Lycoming County, PA
December 31, 2014

Sampling a private well in Lycoming County, Pennsylvania

Brian Selck, a USGS National Association of Geoscience Teachers intern, collects a water level measurement from a domestic well at a site north of Jersey Shore in Lycoming County, Pennsylvania, June 2014.

Earth As Art of the Susquehanna River
April 24, 2014

River and Ridge

The Susquehanna River appears as a dark line coursing through this scene in southeastern Pennsylvania. The cities of York, Lancaster, and Reading lie among agricultural lands. The State capital, Harrisburg, is positioned against the orange folds in the upper left of the image, along the edge of the Appalachian Mountain Ridge and Valley Province.

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Two osprey nestlings in the Delaware Estuary
July 10, 2018

Lower levels of environmental contaminants—including pesticides, flame retardants and other pollutants—were recently found in osprey eggs in the Delaware Estuary compared to those tested from the 1970s through the early 2000s. 

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.

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

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

Farms, forests and rolling hills in Lycoming County, PA
March 6, 2017

Tests of 75 private drinking water wells in Lycoming County, in north-central Pennsylvania, found water from most of the sampled wells contained concentrations of radon that exceeded a proposed, nonbinding health standard for drinking water. Smaller percentages of the wells contained concentrations of arsenic or methane that exceed existing drinking water standards.

River with blue reflection, in late summer, leaves just starting to turn from green to gold.
March 2, 2017

Human and bovine, or cattle, viruses were detected in a small percentage of some Great Lakes Basin streams, with human viruses more prevalent in urban streams and bovine viruses more common in streams in agricultural areas, according to a recent U.S. Geological Survey-led study.

A USGS Hydrologic Technician installs a new streamgage
February 28, 2017

Philadelphia communities along the Schuylkill River and Darby Creek now have new tools to help inform residents of impending flooding. The U.S. Geological Survey recently installed three new streamgages in Manayunk, Eastwick, and downtown near 30th St., which will monitor water levels, and provide vital data used by emergency managers and flood forecasters to help protect lives and property. 

Photo of a young girl drinking water, which likely originated from groundwater sources. 
January 19, 2017

A regional assessment of untreated groundwater in the combined Valley and Ridge and Piedmont and Blue Ridge aquifers in the eastern United States is now available from the U.S. Geological Survey.

USGS NARL Wellsboro Home Page
November 18, 2016

The local home page, "Wellsboro Home Page", did a nice write-up on NARL in Wellsboro, PA on November 18, 2016,  The famous "fish hatchery" is more than meets the eye!

http://www.wellsborohomepage.com/wild-hometown-science/

Photo of a USGS scientist measuring of flow of water around the barge in Illinois.
June 14, 2016

When a moving barge encounters small fish in the Illinois Waterway there is a possibility that the fish will become trapped in the gap between barges, according to a new study by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the U.S. Geological Survey.

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

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

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