Cherie Miller

Cherie Miller is a Technical Specialist in the Office of Water Quality and has been with the U.S. Geological Survey for over 20 years. Her main interests are in stream geochemistry, particularly in trace metal cycling and modeling. 



Cherie's research has focused on continuous and real-time water quality, developing surrogate log-linear regression models to estimate parameters of stream chemistry and to understand stream processes and ecology. Managing and exploring water-quality data has been a special interest and she has developed a national USGS class to enhance our footprint in the realm of water quality; the class is the QW Data Toolbox for NWIS Users.

While at USGS in the early 1990s, Cherie was the project chief of the Chesapeake Bay Fallline Toxics Program and the Surface-Water Specialist for the Potomac NAWQA pilot. From 1996 to 2010, she was the Water-Quality Specialist for the MD-DE-DC Water Science Center. Her studies have included modeling of nutrient and sediment loads, modeling processes in urban streams, new technology for continuous monitoring of water quality in streams, toxics in streams including metals, pesticides, and organic wastewater chemicals from the human-waste stream, and fish ecology in urban streams. Cherie was an Associate Director for the Center and supervises two science teams - the Water-Quality Monitoring and Modeling Team, and the Fate and Bioremediation Team.

Cherie's background is interdisciplinary with a bachelor’s degree in biology from Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida, an M.S. in Environmental Science from the University of Virginia, an M.A. in hydrogeology from Johns Hopkins University, and a Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of Maryland in College Park. At the University of Virginia and under the direction of Dr. Mahlon Kelly, Cherie studied the bioavailability of iron sesquioxide-bound phosphates to phytoplankton in Peacock Hill Lake, Charlottesville, Virginia. At the Johns Hopkins University, in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, Cherie studied thermodynamics and geochemistry under the tutelage of Dr. Hans Eugster and worked on the mobility of copper, lead, and zinc from red bed sandstone formations during diagenesis. At the University ofMaryland, Cherie and Dr. George Helz documented a history of water-column anoxia in the Chesapeake Bay using profiles of molybdenum in sediment cores. Molybdenum is sequestered from the water column in the form of ferrothiomolybdate solids during anoxic events and is deposited to the sediments. The structural forms of the solids that are formed in this process were examined using EXAFS and found to be similar to some cubane Fe-Mo-S structures found in nature, such as in nitrogenases. Also, as part of this research, Cherie worked on the history of sedimentation rates in the Chesapeake Bay collaborating with Dr. Grace Brush at Johns Hopkins on pollen-dating techniques and with Dr. Jeff Halka at the Maryland Geological Survey on coring. Some very interesting work has continued from her dissertation at the University of Maryland with other graduates students of Dr. Helz, including Brit Erikson and Jordan Adelson.

In 1992, Cherie graduated from the University of Maryland at College Park and took a temporary position for two years to teach environmental science, hydrology, and geochemistry at Franklin and Marshall Collegein Lancaster, Pennsylvania. During this time, she began her career as a scientist at the USGS and has continued at USGS to the present.

  • Miller, C.V., Chanat, J.G., and Bell, J.M., 2013 Water quality and loading estimates for nutrients, suspended sediment, and bacteria in the Anacostia River, Maryland, and Rock Creek, Washington, D.C., U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report, in press.
  • Chanat, J.G., Miller, C.V., Bell, J.M., Donovan, M.R., Majedi, B.F., and Brower, D.P., 2012, Summary and Interpretation of discrete and continuous water-quality monitoring data, Mattawoman Creek, Charles County, Maryland, 2000-2010, U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2012-5265, 42 p.
  • Phelan, D.J. and Miller, C.V., 2010, Occurrence and distribution of organic wastewater compounds in Rock Creek Park, Washington, D.C. 2007-08, U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2010-5162, 80 p.
  • Miller, C.V, Gutierrez-Magness, A.L., Majedi, B.L. and Foster, G.D., 2007. Water quality in the upper Anacostia River, Maryland: continuous and discrete monitoring with simulations to estimate concentrations and yields, 2003-05: U.S Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2007-5142, 43 p.
  • Miller, C.V., Weyers, H.S., Blazer, V.S., and Freeman, M.E., 2006, Chemical and ecological health of white sucker (Catostomus commersoni) in Rock Creek Park, Washington, D.C., 2003-04, U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2006-5140, 37 p.
  • Miller, C.V., Foster, G.D., and Majedi, B.F. 2003. Baseflow and stormflow metal fluxes from two small agricultural catchments in the Coastal Plain of the Chesapeake Bay Basin, United States. Applied Geochemistry 18:483-501
  • Miller, C.V. and Klohe, C.A. 2003. Summary of water- and sediment-quality data for Anacostia River well sites sampled in July-August 2002. U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 03-73. Available at
  • Soeder, D.J. and Miller, C.V. 2003. Ground-water contamination from lead shot at Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge, Sussex County, Delaware. U.S. Geological Survey Water-Resources Investigations Report 02-4282
  • Foster G.D., C.V. Miller, T.B. Huff, and E. Roberts. 2003. Pesticide, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon, and polychlorinated biphenyl transport in two Atlantic Coastal Plain tributaries and loadings to Chesapeake Bay. J. Environ. Sci. Health A (in press)
  • Anderson, A.L., Miller, C.V., Olsen, L.D., Doheny, E.J., and Phelan, D.J. 2002. Water quality, sediment quality, and stream-channel classification of Rock Creek, Washington, D.C. U.S. Geological Survey Water-Resources Investigations Report 02-4067
  • Adelson, J.M., G.R. Helz, and C.V. Miller. 2001 “Reconstructing the rise of recent coastal anoxia; molybdenum in Chesapeake Bay sediments.” Geochim Cosmo. Acta 65(2):237-252.
  • Helz, G.R., Adelson, J.M., Miller, C.V., Cornwell, J.C., Hill, J.C., Horan, M., and Walker, R.J., 2000. Osmium isotopes demonstrate distal transport of contaminated sediments in Chesapeake Bay. Environ. Sci. Technol. 34:2528-2534.
  • Miller, C.V., Foster, G.D., and Huff, T.B.. 2000. “Organic compounds and trace elements in the Pocomoke River and Tributaries, Maryland.” U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 99-57. Available at
  • Foster, G.D., Lippa, K.A., and Miller, C.V. 2000. Seasonal concentrations of organic contaminants at the fall line of the Susquehanna River basin and estimated fluxes to northern Chesapeake Bay. Environ. Toxicol. Chem. 19:99-110.
  • Ator, S.W., Blomquist, J.D., Brakebill, J.W., Denis, J.M., M.J. Ferrari, Miller, C.V., and Zappia, H.. 1998. “Water quality in the Potomac River Basin, MD, PA, VA, WVA and DC., 1992-96.” U.S. Geological Survey Circular 1166.
  • Miller, C.V., Denis, J.M., Ator, S.W., and Brakebill, J.W. 1997. “Nutrients in streams during baseflow in selected environmental settings of the Potomac River Basin.” JAWRA. 33(6):1155-1169.
  • Helz, G.R., Miller, C.V., Charnock, J.M., Mosselmans, J.F.W., Garner, C.D., and Vaughan, D.J. 1996. "Mechanism of removal of Mo from the sea and its concentration in black shales; EXAFS evidence. Geochim. Cosmo. Acta. 60(19):3631-3642.