Jeffrey Fischer


Jeff Fischer is the Associate Director for the U.S. Geological Survey, New Jersey Water Science Center.  He has worked for the U.S. Geological Survey for over 35 years and has many years of experience studying water use and water quality issues in river basins and aquifers, and stream ecosystem health.  His early work characterized the geology of the Bering Sea, and studies in Nevada quantified rates of infiltration in arid environments.  After moving to New Jersey he conducted research on biodegradation rates of organic compounds in the subsurface, and the transport and fate of contaminants in streams, aquifers, and water-treatment systems.  He received his B.S. in geology from the University of Delaware and his M.S. in hydrology from the University of Nevada – Reno.  


Jeffrey M. Fischer

Narrative of Professional Experience:

SUPERVISORY HYDROLOGIST, New Jersey Water Science Center  –  1997 to present

I am Associate Director for the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) New Jersey Water Science Center, and have been a supervisor in the office since 1997.  Most recently I was the scientific lead for the USGS National Water Census focus area study in the Delaware River Basin (  This four-State multi-disciplinary study improved our understanding of water use in the basin and the conflicts between human and ecological needs, and helped identify future water use issues.   Areas of study included improved water use and supply information, and development of a stream-flow model to assess how population growth, changing land-use, and the effects of climate variability will change water needs in the future.  The study also developed a scientific approach for defining relations between streamflow processes and the responses of aquatic organisms in tributary streams.


I have also supervised and directed USGS National Water Quality Studies (NAWQA) in the Delaware River Basin (DELR) and Long Island – New Jersey (LINJ).  These multi-state multi-disciplinary studies describe the occurrence of contaminants in streams, aquifers, sediment, and fish; relate water quality conditions to urban and agricultural landscape development; and describe impacts of urbanization and forest fragmentation on ecological communities.  On a regional level I have been working with other scientists to describe how water quality in the many aquifers of the North Atlantic Coastal Plain changes in responses to extensive water supply withdrawals, and intensive urban and agricultural development at the land surface.  Nationally I have conducted studies on the interactions between geology, geochemistry, and the surface application of chemicals and their impact on the transport of natural and anthropogenic contaminants to public supply wells. 


PROJECT MANAGER, New Jersey Water Science Center –  1987 to 1997

As a research scientist I coordinated two research projects in New Jersey that facilitated the needs of research scientists across the Nation.  These studies looked at biotransformation of organic contaminants in the subsurface, and associated changes in geochemistry.  The first project was a USGS Toxic Program study of the fate of gasoline hydrocarbons in the subsurface in the NJ Coastal Plain.  I interpreted surface and borehole geophysical data to identify geologic and geochemical constraints on the distribution of hydrocarbons, and developed methods to quantify rates of biodegradation and removal during vapor extraction.  The second project involved the use of air sparging to induce cometabolic biodegradation of TCE in the subsurface at a contamination site in glacial outwash deposits.  Despite complex geology at the site I developed methods to quantify biodegradation and applied techniques to separate physical removal from cometabolic degradation during air sparging. 


PROJECT CHIEF, Nevada Water Science Center –  1982 to 1987

In Nevada I conducted research on water infiltration and ran a Low-Level Radioactive Waste Program study of water movement through the unsaturated zone in extremely arid environments.  I developed techniques for measuring hydraulic gradients and hydraulic conductivities in a 100 meter thick unsaturated zone with large variations in geologic conditions.  I used analytical and modeling techniques to calculate water and vapor fluxes. I also conducted a study of artificial recharge through unsaturated alluvium near Carson City while completing graduate school.


Technician  –  1979 to 1982

I started my USGS career working in Marine Geology in Menlo Park, CA.   This work involved collecting and interpreting seismic profiles and sediment data in the Bering Sea off the coast of Alaska.  In 1982 I returned to college to earn my Master’s degree at the University of Nevada, Reno.  During and after graduate school I worked at the USGS Water Resources office in Carson City, NV.