Science for a Changing World

Protecting Water

USGS scientists actively monitor the Nation’s rivers, streams, and groundwater to provide critical information on water quantity and quality. This is essential for issues such as drought mitigation and ensuring that clean drinking water is available for generations to come.

Filter Total Items: 9
Date published: February 1, 2017

The Vital Nature of Streamgaging

Gary Moore spent the last three days of 2015 stacking hefty bags of sand in front of a fellow church member’s brick home. With only 1,000 feet between the house and the swelling Mississippi and Meramec Rivers, Moore and other volunteers worked quickly, in frigid temperatures, to assemble a 10-foot high, 1,000-foot-long sandbag wall to ward off floodwaters.

Date published: January 31, 2017

Tracking the Bad Guys: Toxic Algal Blooms

Every few days, a fleet of satellites orbiting 700 kilometers above the Earth scans the continental United States to help keep Americans safe. But these eyes in the sky aren’t seeking terrorists or enemy combatants: they scrutinize lakes to locate problems of the microbial variety, namely cyanobacteria.

Date published: January 18, 2017

Protecting California’s Bay-Delta with Innovative Science

California's Bay-Delta is facing ongoing drought and declining fish populations. The water in the Delta arrives primarily from the Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers, supplying water for more than 22 million people. This water source supports California’s trillion-dollar economy—the sixth largest in the world—and its $27 billion agricultural industry.

Date published: January 12, 2017

Information Flows Freely, Even in a Drought

The Colorado River system provides about 35 million Americans with a portion of their water supply. It irrigates 5½ million acres of land in the West and provides water to tribes, parks, and wildlife. The system serves parts of seven States and Mexico—but reservoir levels have crept lower over the past several years, sparking questions about how much water remains and who will have access.

Date published: December 15, 2016

The Challenge of Tracking Nutrient Pollution 2,300 Miles

Nitrogen and phosphorus are essential nutrients—yet too much of a good thing is not always a good thing. Scientists are investigating nutrient pollution down the Mississippi River.

Date published: December 12, 2016

Turning the Tide on the Chesapeake Bay

Richard Batiuk got to know the Chesapeake Bay in the early 1970s. During visits with his friends and family, they would swim and boat, and fish would practically jump aboard. He was young but knew he wanted to live and work on the bay.

Date published: November 22, 2016

The Fire Island Wilderness Breach: Help or Hindrance?

When Hurricane Sandy struck the south shore of Long Island, New York, on October 29, 2012, it caused substantial erosion of the beach and dunes. Storm waves cut through Fire Island National Seashore’s wilderness area, forming a breach. The resulting channel allowed water to flow between the Atlantic Ocean and Great South Bay. 

Date published: November 1, 2016

Chickasaw and Choctaw Tribes Cope with Multiyear Drought

The water supply in the Red River Basin has been stressed in recent years due to drought, and its effects are compounded by increasing demands for consumptive use by metropolitan areas in Oklahoma and Texas.

Date published: October 25, 2016

Helping Desert Communities Find Hidden Water

Desert communities throughout the Southwest are putting water availability at the top of their municipal agendas.