Jennifer Murphy

Jenny is a hydrologist with the USGS, Central Midwest Water Science Center. Much of her work focuses on characterizing and understanding water-quality trends in the Nation's streams and rivers. Jenny also leads a team of scientists working to develop a proxy for harmful algal blooms in rivers.



  • B.A., Geology, Lawrence University, Appleton, Wisconsin, 2006
  • M.S., Earth and Environmental Science, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee, 2011

Professional Experience:

  • 2020-Present, Hydrologist, USGS, Central Midwest Water Science Center, DeKalb, Illinois
  • 2010-2020, Hydrologist, USGS,  Lower Mississippi-Gulf Water Science Center, Nashville, TN
  • Summer 2007, Field Geologist, US Forest Service, Lewis and Clark National Forest, Great Falls, MT
  • 2006-2007, Research Assistant, USGS, Eastern Mineral Resources, Reston, VA

Jenny has played an important role is characterizing water-quality trends with the Weighted Regressions on Time, Season and Discharge (WRTDS) model at >1,000 sites across the country using an extensive multi-agency dataset. Jenny's additional trends work includes looking at nitrate in the Mississippi River Basin, sediment in the lowermost Mississippi and Atchafalaya Rivers, and water quality in streams and rivers in the Delware River Basin. Additionally, Jenny has worked on projects ranging from the evaluation of best management practices in small agricultural drainages, to characterizing and understanding ecological flows, estimating water use at thermoelectric powerplants, and harmonizing multisource data.  Her current interests are in trend studies, causal attribution of these trends, and exploring the influence of streamflow on water quality.


  • Co-lead of multisource surface water-quality trends task as part of the IWAAs Delaware River Basin Regional Pilot
  • NAWQA Surface Water Status and Trends team (Causal Analysis team lead)
  • Evaluating agricultural best management practices in northwestern MS
  • Ecological flows in the Cumberland and Tennessee River Basins
  • Water-quality trends in the Mississippi River Basin
  • Water use at thermoelectric powerplants
  • Water quality in the lowermost Mississippi and Atchafalya Rivers