Unified Interior Regions

Washington

Washington's Puget Sound is a complex ecosystem directly adjacent to a robust metropolitan area that scientists from the USGS Western Fisheries Research Center study. Recent surveys have looked at juvenile surf smelt, a key link in the food web that are consumed by predators such as salmon, orca, and many marine birds. 

Western Fisheries Research Center

Western Fisheries Research Center

Research at the WFRC focuses on the environmental factors responsible for the creation, maintenance, and regulation of fish populations including their interactions in aquatic communities and ecosystems. 

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Washington Water Science Center

Washington Water Science Center

The Water Science Center's mission is to collect, analyze and disseminate the impartial hydrologic data and information needed to wisely manage water resources for the people of the United States and the State of Washington.

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States L2 Landing Page Tabs

Filter Total Items: 262
Date published: May 28, 2019
Status: Active

Fine sediment infiltration in Chinook spawning gravels in the Sauk River Basin, Washington

The Issue: There is concern that inherently high finer-grained (small gravel, sand, and silt) sediment loads in the Sauk River system may adversely affect egg-to-fry survival of ESA-listed Chinook salmon in the Sauk River and lower Skagit River Basin. However, there are no quantitative data for the Sauk River basin to assess if fine sediment deposition and infiltration into...

Date published: May 23, 2019
Status: Active

Cheatgrass and Medusahead

Invasive annual grasses, such as cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum) and medusahead (Taeniatherum caput-medusae), are one of the most significant stressors to rangeland ecosystems in the western U.S. Their expansion and dominance across this area are the most damaging ecosystem agents on this iconic landscape.

Date published: May 8, 2019
Status: Active

Southeast Sound Groundwater Flow Model

The Issue: Groundwater is an important resource for domestic, commercial, and industrial usage in the Puyallup River and Chambers-Clover Creek Watersheds, and groundwater discharge helps maintain late-summer and early-fall streamflow (baseflow) in many area streams. Consequently, as the population grows, and commercial and industrial activity increase, so does the demand for...

Date published: February 26, 2019
Status: Completed

December 2014 Pacific Coast Floods

Learn more about USGS flood activities related to the December 2014 Pacific Coast floods, which included flash floods, heavy snows, high winds, and mudslides throughout Oregon, Washington, and California.

Date published: December 13, 2018
Status: Active

WFRC Ecology Section - Projects Overview

The Ecology Section examines how environmental variability, human activities and infrastructure influence food web interactions and species performance in freshwater and marine ecosystems. We have extensive experience in quantifying aquatic food web processes as they relate to growth, survival and production of key species of interest, especially resident and anadromous salmonids.

Date published: December 4, 2018
Status: Active

Life History of Pacific Northwest Fishes through Age and Growth Structures

The focus of our research is the ecological analysis of Pacific Northwest fishes through age and growth structures such as: scales, fin rays and otoliths (small calcium carbonate deposits beneath the brain used in hearing and balance that grow in proportion to the overall growth of the fish). These structures are utilized as research tools for understanding life histories and habitat...

Date published: November 16, 2018
Status: Active

Eastern Oregon-Washington Oil and Gas Assessments

In 2006, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) completed the following assessments of undiscovered gas resources of the Eastern Oregon and Washington Province 5005.

    Date published: November 16, 2018
    Status: Active

    Western Oregon-Washington Oil and Gas Assessments

    The U.S. Geological Survey completed the following assessments of undiscovered oil and gas resources of the Western Oregon and Washington Province 5004.

      Date published: October 23, 2018
      Status: Active

      Examining controls on the solubility in the ocean of iron from dust and volcanic ash- John Crusius

      Biological productivity in the Gulf of Alaska is limited by availability of the micronutrient iron. Dust derived from Alaskan glacial flour and from Asian deserts, and ash from Alaskan volcanoes, episodically supply iron from the atmosphere. This internship would carry out studies on archived material from a variety of dust and ash samples to examine controls on the supply of this...

      Date published: October 18, 2018
      Status: Completed

      Effects of Nanophyetus salmincola on the Health and Survival of Puget Sound Steelhead

      Low early marine survival rates of Puget Sound steelhead (Oncorhynchus mykiss), the state fish of Washington, have contributed to its dramatic population decline and current listing as a “Threatened Species” under the Endangered Species Act. Determining the cause(s) of this elevated mortality remains a primary objective of the Salish Sea Marine Survival Project, a large US / Canada effort...

      Date published: October 18, 2018
      Status: Active

      Genomic Mechanisms that Underlie Lack of Recovery of Prince William Sound Herring Following the 1990s Collapse

      In the decades following the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill (EVOS), it has become increasingly apparent that oil can be toxic at extremely low concentrations to developing fish embryos including herring, where some toxic phenotypes may be apparent during embryogenesis, but some are delayed until later in life. Therefore, acute and lingering oil may act as an insidious selective force within...

      Contacts: Paul Hershberger, Ph.D., Jacob Gregg, Ashley MacKenzie, William Richards, Andrew Whitehead, John Incardona, Nat Scholtz
      Filter Total Items: 191
      Date published: November 29, 2018

      Downloadable Data for Western Oregon-Washington Oil and Gas Assessments

      Downloadable Data for Western Oregon-Washington Oil and Gas Assessments 

      Date published: November 13, 2018

      Chinook Salmon Use of Eelgrass Habitats Skagit River Delta Washington

      The degree to which eelgrass on river deltas provides critical habitat for estuarine fishes, especially out‐migrating juvenile salmon, is an important scientific and management issue that bears on efforts to conserve and restore both eelgrass and fish.

      Date published: October 12, 2018

      2015 environmental DNA surveys for lampreys in Chehalis River tributaries, Washington

      Columns of data representing Chehalis River tributary, sample reach locations, dates of water sampling, quantitative PCR results, and whether lamprey were sampled by electrofishing in each sample reach.

      Date published: September 24, 2018

      National Water Information System Elwha River at Diversion

      Site Number 12046260 Elwha River at diversion near Port Angeles, WA

      Date published: September 24, 2018

      National Water Information System McDonald Bridge

      Site Number 12045500 Elwha River at McDonald Bridge Near Port Angeles, WA

      Date published: August 28, 2018

      USGS Domestic Continuous (Unconventional) Oil & Gas Assessments, 2000-Present

      Interactively explore assessment summary information for continuous (unconventional) assessments conducted at the USGS from 2000-2018. The assessment results data used to generate this visualization can be downloaded here in Excel Format.  These data represent all assessment results...

      Date published: August 1, 2018

      MODFLOW-NWT model used to simulate groundwater storage changes in the Quincy Basin, Washington

      A three-dimensional, groundwater flow model (MODFLOW-NWT) was developed to
      examine groundwater storage changes in the Quincy Basin, Washington. The
      model was calibrated to conditions from 1920 to 2013. The model was used to
      (1) determine the change in groundwater storage from 1920 to 2013 , and
      (2) simulate the potential effects of increases in pumping.

      Date published: July 12, 2018

      Data collected in 2008-2010 to evaluate juvenile salmon and forage fish use of eelgrass on the Skagit River Delta, Washington State, USA

      Data are abundance and body size (length) of juvenile salmon, forage fish, and other species captured with a lampara net in eelgrass and nearby unvegetated habitat on the Skagit River Delta monthly, April-September, 2008-2010, as well as vegetation status, water depth, temperature, salinity, and clarity for each fish netting event.

      Date published: June 4, 2018

      River-channel topography and sediment grain size on the Elwha River, Washington, 2006 to 2017

      This data release presents topographic and sediment grain size data collected by the USGS in the Elwha River channel between 2006 and 2017. These data have been used to inform interpretations of geomorphic and sediment evolution in the Elwha River before, during, and after dam removal, including the response to several flood events. We measured topography and bed-sediment grain size in five...

      Date published: May 3, 2018

      Land Treatment Exploration Tool

      The Land Treatment Exploration Tool is designed for resource managers to use when planning land treatments. The tool provides useful summaries of environmental characteristics of planned treatment areas and facilitates adaptive management practices by comparing those characteristics to other similar treatments within a specified distance or area of interest. ...

      Date published: April 3, 2018

      Surface-Water for Washington

      Real-time, daily, peak-flow, field measurements, and statistics of current and historical data that describe stream levels, streamflow (discharge), reservoir and lake levels, surface-water quality, and rainfall in Washington. Surface-water data are collected and stored as either discrete field-water-level measurements or as continuous time-series data from automated recorders.

      Filter Total Items: 829
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      Year Published: 2018

      Effects of transmitter type, tagging method, body size, and temperature on behavior, physiology, and swimming performance of juvenile Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha)

      The objective of this study was to assess the impact of different tagging methods and transmitter types on juvenile salmonid behavior, mortality, physiology, and swimming performance over a range of water temperatures and fish sizes.In Chapter 1, two laboratory experiments were conducted to assess maximum burst-swimming speeds, the probability of...

      Perry, Russell W.; Liedtke, Theresa L.
      Perry, R.W., and Liedtke, T.L., eds., 2018, Effects of transmitter type, tagging method, body size, and temperature on behavior, physiology, and swimming performance of juvenile Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha): U.S. Geological Survey Open Report 2018–1186, 74 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/ofr20181186.

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      Year Published: 2018

      Post‐release predation mortality of age‐0 hatchery‐reared Chinook salmon from non‐native smallmouth bass in the Snake River

      Release of age‐0 hatchery‐reared fall Chinook salmon, Oncorhynchus tshawytscha(Walbaum), in the Snake River resulted in up to 30‐fold increases in salmon consumption by non‐native smallmouth bass, Micropterus dolomieu Lacepѐde. In an upper river reach, smallmouth bass fed intensively during a release in May, but Chinook salmon...

      Erhardt, John M.; Tiffan, Kenneth F.

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      Year Published: 2018

      Geomorphic evolution of a gravel‐bed river under sediment‐starved vs. sediment‐rich conditions: River response to the world's largest dam removal

      Understanding river response to sediment pulses is a fundamental problem in geomorphic process studies, with myriad implications for river management. However, because large sediment pulses are rare and usually unanticipated, they are seldom studied at field scale. We examine fluvial response to a massive (~20 Mt) sediment pulse released by...

      East, Amy E.; Logan, Joshua B.; Mastin, Mark C.; Ritchie, Andrew C.; Bountry, Jennifer A.; Magirl, Christopher S.; Sankey, Joel B.

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      Year Published: 2018

      Upstream migration and spawning success of Chinook salmon in a highly developed, seasonally warm river system

      This review summarizes what is known about the influence of water temperature and velocity on the migration and spawning success of an inland population of Chinook salmon Oncorhynchus tshawytscha. Models are then developed and used to illustrate how migration and spawning success might change if temperatures and velocities increase under a...

      Connor, William P.; Tiffan, Kenneth F.; Chandler, James A.; Rondorf, Dennis W.; Arnsberg, Billy D.; Anderson, Kelvin C.

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      Year Published: 2018

      Wetland stratigraphic evidence for variable megathrust earthquake rupture modes at the Cascadia subduction zone

      Although widespread agreement that the Cascadia subduction zone produces great earthquakes of magnitude 8 to 9 was reached decades ago, debate continues about the rupture lengths, magnitudes, and frequency of megathrust earthquakes recorded by wetland stratigraphy fringing Cascadia’s estuaries. Correlation of such coastal earthquake evidence along...

      Nelson, Alan R.; Witter, Robert C.; Englehart, Simon; Hawkers, Andrea; Horton, Benjamin P.
      Wetland stratigraphic evidence for variable megathrust earthquake rupture modes at the Cascadia subduction zone, in Piscitelli, A., Milella, M., and Mastronuzzi, G., eds, Abstract volume for IGCP Project 639 - Sea-level change from minutes to millenia, Crossing southern Italy, a traveling meeting from Taranto to Siracusa, Italy 17-21 Sept 2018, p. 85-87.

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      Year Published: 2018

      State transportation agencies partner to deploy and enhance ShakeCast

      The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) is organizing and leading a three-year Transportation Pooled Fund (TPF) project, Connecting the Dots: Implementing ShakeCast Across Multiple State Departments of Transportation for Rapid Post-Earthquake Response. Ten state Departments of Transportation (DOT)—CA, ID, MO, MS, OK, OR, SC, TX, UT...

      Turner, L.; Wald, David J.; Lin, Kuo-wan; Chiou, Brian; Slosky, Daniel

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      Year Published: 2018

      A snapshot of women of the U.S. Geological Survey in STEM and related careers

      IntroductionThe term “STEM” has been used to group together the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics and to describe education and professions related to these fields. The professional fields connected to STEM education are thought of as engineering, medicine, and computer technology. Yet these professional fields are merely...

      Aragon-Long, Susan C.; Burkett, Virginia R.; Weyers, Holly S.; Haig, Susan M.; Davenport, Marjorie S.; Warner, Kelly L.
      Aragon-Long, S.C., Burkett, V.R., Weyers, H.S., Haig, S.M., Davenport, M.S., and Warner, K.L., 2018, A snapshot of women of the U.S. Geological Survey in STEM and related careers: U.S. Geological Survey Circular 1443, 100 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/cir1443.

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      Year Published: 2018

      A bioenergetics evaluation of temperature‐dependent selection for the spawning phenology by Snake River fall Chinook salmon

      High water temperatures can increase the energetic cost for salmon to migrate and spawn, which can be important for Snake River fall‐run Chinook salmon because they migrate great distances (>500 km) at a time when river temperatures (18–24°C) can be above their optimum temperatures (16.5°C). Average river temperatures and random...

      Plumb, John M.
      Plumb, J.M. 2018. A bioenergetics evaluation of temperature-dependent selection for the spawning phenology by Snake River fall Chinook salmon. Ecol. Evol. 2018 1-13 (Early View).

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      Year Published: 2018

      Holocene fault reactivation in the eastern Cascades, Washington

      Significant uncertainty remains concerning how and where crustal shortening occurs throughout the eastern Cascade Range in Washington State. Using light detection and ranging (lidar) imagery, we identified an ∼5‐km‐long">∼5‐km‐long lineament in Swakane canyon near Wenatchee, roughly coincident with a...

      Carlson, Benjamin L.; Schermer, Elizabeth R.; Amos, Colin B.; Stephenson, William J.; Sherrod, Brian; Mahan, Shannon A.
      Carlson, B.M., Schermer, E.R., Amos, C.B., Stephenson, W.J., Sherrod, B.L., and Mahan, S.A., 2018 Holocene fault reactivation in the eastern Cascades, Washington, Bulletin Seismological Society of America, https://doi.org/10.1785/0120170228

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      Year Published: 2018

      Integrated diet analyses reveal contrasting trophic niches for wild and hatchery juvenile Chinook Salmon in a large river delta

      Hatchery programs have been used as a conservation tool to bolster declining populations of Chinook Salmon Oncorhynchus tshawytscha along much of the North American Pacific coast. In many watersheds, hatchery stocks are released concurrently with the wild population, thus raising the potential for density‐dependent effects. Competition...

      Davis, Melanie J.; Woo, Isa; Ellings, Christopher S.; Hodgson, Sayre; Beauchamp, David A.; Nakai, Glynnis; De La Cruz, Susan E.W.

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      Year Published: 2018

      Crustal inheritance and a top-down control on arc magmatism at Mount St Helens

      In a subduction zone, the volcanic arc marks the location where magma, generated via flux melting in the mantle wedge, migrates through the crust and erupts. While the location of deep magma broadly defines the arc position, here we argue that crustal structures, identified in geophysical data from the Washington Cascades magmatic arc, are equally...

      Bedrosian, Paul A.; Peacock, Jared R.; Bowles-Martinez, Esteban; Schultz, Adam; Hill, Graham

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      Year Published: 2018

      Juvenile Chinook salmon and forage fish use of eelgrass habitats in a diked and channelized Puget Sound River Delta

      Eelgrass Zostera marina can form extensive meadows on Puget Sound river deltas. The extent to which these meadows provide critical rearing habitat for local estuarine fishes, especially out‐migrating juvenile salmon, is not well understood. Further, delta eelgrass has been impacted by diking and river channelization with unknown...

      Rubin, Stephen P.; Hayes, Michael C.; Grossman, Eric E.
      Rubin, S.P., M.C. Hayes, and E.E. Grossman. 2018. Juvenile Chinook salmon and forage fish use of eelgrass habitats in a diked and channelized Puget Sound River Delta. Marine Coastal Fisheries: Dynamics, Management, and Ecosystem Science 10:435-451.

      Filter Total Items: 875
      September 25, 2018

      First mission: USGS UAS monitors gas emissions at Mount St. Helens —AD

      On September 25, 2018, a team of three scientists based at the USGS–Cascades Volcano Observatory conducted the first-ever USGS-led Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) campaign at Mount St. Helens. The UAS survey was conducted with the permission and coordination of the U.S. Forest Service Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument.

      The team used a multi-rotor UAS (“

      View looks down on a river from behind a metal fence, and the image is time-stamped to show it's a web camera from the USGS.
      September 24, 2018

      Diversion web cam on the Elwha River

      Web cam mounted near USGS gaging station site number 12046260, looking upstream from the water supply diversion structure on the lower Elwha River near Port Angeles in Washington.

      Flushing stomach contents from a live resident Chinook salmon
      September 6, 2018

      Flushing stomach contents from a live resident Chinook salmon

      Flushing stomach contents from a live resident Chinook salmon for an investigation of cannibalism and predation impacts.

      Gills from Lost Rver suckers with a heavy infestation of Ichthyobodo sp. (arrows)
      August 22, 2018

      Gills from Lost River Suckers - Heavy Infestation of Ichthyobodo sp.

      Gills from Lost River suckers with a heavy infestation of Ichthyobodo sp. (arrows).  Slide is stained with hematoxylin and eosin.

      Herring (top) and juvenile Chinook salmon (bottom)
      August 14, 2018

      Herring (top) and juvenile Chinook salmon (bottom)

      Herring (top) and juvenile Chinook salmon (bottom) flushed from the stomach of a resident Chinook salmon in Puget Sound.

      Map highlighting sampling locations of 339 Northern Spotted Owls used in Miller, et al, 2018
      August 2, 2018

      Figure 1 from Miller, et al, 2018

      Map highlighting sampling locations of 339 Northern Spotted Owls used in Miller, et al, 2018

      Girls look at water in bottles
      August 1, 2018

      GeoGirls_Sediment2

      GeoGirls analyze volcanic sediment at the Coldwater Lake outlet.

      Girls stand in pond
      August 1, 2018

      GeoGirls_Core

      GeoGirls take core samples at a pond near the Hummocks Trail to study groundwater transport.

      overhead view of girls sitting around a table wring on data sheets, samples in plastic tubs cover the table.
      July 31, 2018

      GeoGirls Examing Tephra Deposits

      The GeoGirls examined tephra (ash and pumice) deposits from Mount St. Helens’ eruptive past and learned how to create a stratigraphic column.

      A woman is kneeling on a slightly foggy beach, she is wearing field gear and is examining some of her equipment.
      July 26, 2018

      Elwha River delta mapping

      Diana McCandless of the Washington State Department of Ecology pauses for a moment, on the beach around the point and to the east of the mouth of Elwha River. McCandless is part of a team of scientists from WA State and the USGS who are periodically mapping the delta and beach areas near the mouth of the Elwha River. The scientists are monitoring how sediment is being

      ...
      People are wearing wet suits and waders and are holding hand-held computers and backpacks with equipment in them, smiling.
      July 25, 2018

      Synchronized mapping

      USGS and Washington State Department of Ecology scientists are geared up and ready to start a topographic survey at the mouth of the Elwha River, using handheld computers and backpack-mounted GPS equipment. From left to right are Owen Warrick (USGS Volunteer), Jon Warrick (USGS), Andy Ritchie (USGS), Heather Weiner (WA State Dept. of Ecology), Diana McCandless (WA State

      ...
      Photo of scientist at loading gel
      July 12, 2018

      Nested polymerase chain reaction (nPCR) for the detection of Rs

      Nested polymerase chain reaction (nPCR) for the detection of Renibacterium salmoninarum. Agarose gel electrophoresis is used for size separation and visualization of amplified DNA sequences.

      Filter Total Items: 386
      animated satellite images showing sediment outflow over time from Elwha River
      September 28, 2018

      Starting in 2011, the National Park Service removed two obsolete dams, the world’s largest dam-removal project to date. Over the next five years, water carrying newly freed rocks, sand, silt, and old tree trunks reshaped more than 13 miles of river and built a larger delta into the Pacific Ocean.

      Coho salmon
      September 14, 2018

      USGS researchers are assessing habitat condition, watershed processes, and coho salmon populations in the context of land management and restoration activities.

      View from the top deck of a ship on water, looking down on the bow with three people standing, with a bridge in the background.
      September 7, 2018

      From July 31 to August 23, a joint USGS-NOAA cruise mapped seafloor depths, texture, and gas seeps in the Cascadia subduction zone offshore of Washington, Oregon, and northern California.

      animated satellite images showing sediment outflow over time from Elwha River
      September 5, 2018

      Starting in 2011, the National Park Service removed two obsolete dams from the Elwha River in Olympic National Park, Washington. It was the world’s largest dam-removal project. Over the next five years, water carrying newly freed rocks, sand, silt and old tree trunks reshaped more than 13 miles of river and built a larger delta into the Pacific Ocean.

      Lava dome within the Mount St Helens' crater, 1980-86 (right) and t...
      September 3, 2018

      The atypical location of Mount St. Helens may be due to geologic structures that control where deep magmas can rise through the crust, as suggested by new findings published today in Nature Geoscience.

      bat with left wing spread open
      August 24, 2018

      Due to a recent detection in Washington state of white-nose syndrome, a deadly bat fungal disease, the National Park Service is interested in the status and distribution of bats within the North Coast and Cascades Network of parks.

      Issue6.6June2018NLThumb
      August 6, 2018

      Evaluating Innovative Fish Passage Alternatives to Support Upstream Sockeye Salmon Passage

      Chinook Salmon
      August 2, 2018

      An important issue in biodiversity valuation is gaining a better understanding of how biodiversity conservation affects economic activities and human welfare.

      Map highlighting sampling locations of 339 Northern Spotted Owls used in Miller, et al, 2018
      August 2, 2018

      Federal researchers used landscape genetics to evaluate the role that forest connectivity plays in determining genetic connectivity for the federally-threatened northern spotted owl.

      8 young women with giant red ballon. snow-covered mountain in background.
      July 26, 2018

      Twenty-five middle-school girls from Washington and Oregon are participating in the fourth annual “GeoGirls” outdoor volcano science program at Mount St. Helens, jointly organized by the U.S. Geological Survey and the Mount St. Helens Institute.

      An animated GIF of an owl on a tree with a bobbing head going around in a circle.
      July 9, 2018

      In a study led by the USGS, researchers developed a framework to infer inbreeding rates of Northern Spotted Owls when incomplete parentage information exists.

      Issue6.5May2018NLThumb
      July 2, 2018

      WFRC Science Takes to the Skies with Unmanned Aerial Systems

      Filter Total Items: 175

      Western Fisheries Research Center

      Western Fisheries Research Center

      Research at the WFRC focuses on the environmental factors responsible for the creation, maintenance, and regulation of fish populations including their interactions in aquatic communities and ecosystems. 

      Go to Center

      Washington Water Science Center

      Washington Water Science Center

      The Water Science Center's mission is to collect, analyze and disseminate the impartial hydrologic data and information needed to wisely manage water resources for the people of the United States and the State of Washington.

      Go to Center