National Research Program
NRP scientists study contaminants, water quality, and groundwater and surface water in order to better understand the Nation's water supply.
Water and Climate
NRP scientists study the link between climate change and the hydrologic cycle.
Water, Energy, and Food
NRP scientists study hydrologic processes as they relate to energy extraction and agricultural practices.
Water and Ecosystems
NRP scientsts use various hydrologic models to understand biogeochemical changes in ecosystems.
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The USGS National Research Program (NRP), part of the USGS Water Mission Area, conducts research to develop and disseminate science-based information and tools needed for a fundamental understanding of the processes that affect the availability, movement, and quality of the Nation’s water resources.Learn more about NRP
Aquatic Systems Branch scientists analyze rings of riparian trees relating tree growth and establishment to historical flow. We then use the tree rings to reconstruct the flow in past centuries. Flow reconstructions discover the frequency and magnitude of past droughts and floods—information that is essential for management of rivers and water supplies. We also use downscaled climate...
Objectives: We aim to understand and predict the effects of climate warming and permafrost thaw on : (1) lakes and wetlands, (2) groundwater, (3) soil water, and (4) rivers; We develop and apply new modeling tools and approaches to simulate the interplay between permafrost and hydrology.
Methylmercury dynamics in Upper Sacramento Valley rice fields with low background soil mercury levels
Few studies have considered how methylmercury (MeHg, a toxic form of Hg produced in anaerobic soils) production in rice (Oryza sativa L.) fields can affect water quality, and little is known about MeHg dynamics in rice fields. Surface water MeHg and total Hg (THg) imports, exports, and storage were studied in two commercial rice fields in the...Tanner, K. Christy; Windham-Myers, Lisamarie; Marvin-DiPasquale, Mark C.; Fleck, Jacob; Tate, Kenneth W.; Linquist, Bruce A.
Status of selenium in south San Francisco Bay—A basis for modeling potential guidelines to meet National tissue criteria for fish and a proposed wildlife criterion for birds
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed Aquatic Life and AquaticDependent Wildlife Criteria for Selenium (Se) in California’s San Francisco Bay and Delta (Bay-Delta) in June 2016. Here we apply the same modeling methodology—Ecosystem-Scale Selenium Modeling— to an assessment of conditions and documentation of food webs of south San...Luoma, Samuel N.; Presser, Theresa S.
Mercury on a landscape scale—Balancing regional export with wildlife health
The Cosumnes River watershed requires a 57–64 percent reduction in loads to meet the new Delta methylmercury (MeHg) total maximum daily load allocation, established by the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board. Because there are no large point sources of MeHg in the watershed, the focus of MeHg load reductions will fall upon non-...Marvin-DiPasquale, Mark C.; Windham-Myers, Lisamarie; Fleck, Jacob A.; Ackerman, Joshua T.; Eagles-Smith, Collin A.; McQuillen, Harry
Acetylenotrophy: A hidden but ubiquitous microbial metabolism?
Acetylene (IUPAC name: ethyne) is a colorless, gaseous hydrocarbon, composed of two triple bonded carbon atoms attached to hydrogens (C2H2). When microbiologists and biogeochemists think of acetylene, they immediately think of its use as an inhibitory compound of certain microbial processes and a tracer for nitrogen fixation. However, what is less...Akob, Denise M.; Sutton, John M.; Fierst, Janna L.; Haase, Karl B.; Baesman, Shaun; Luther, George; Miller, Laurence G.; Oremland, Ronald S.
Sampling strategies to improve passive optical remote sensing of river bathymetry
Passive optical remote sensing of river bathymetry involves establishing a relation between depth and reflectance that can be applied throughout an image to produce a depth map. Building upon the Optimal Band Ratio Analysis (OBRA) framework, we introduce sampling strategies for constructing calibration data sets that lead to strong relationships...Legleiter, Carl; Overstreet, Brandon; Kinzel, Paul J.
DDT and related compounds in pore water of shallow sediments on the Palos Verdes Shelf, California, USA
For nearly two and a half decades following World War II, production wastes from the world's largest manufacturer of technical DDT (1-chloro-4-[2,2,2-trichloro-1-(4-chlorophenyl)ethyl]benzene) were discharged into sewers of Los Angeles County. Following treatment, the wastes were released via a submarine outfall system to nearshore coastal waters...Eganhouse, Robert; DiFilippo, Erica L.; Pontolillo, James; Orem, William H.; Hackley, Paul C.; Edwards, Brian
Reductive dechlorination rates of 4,4′-DDE (1-chloro-4-[2,2-dichloro-1-(4-chlorophenyl)ethenyl]benzene) in sediments of the Palos Verdes Shelf, CA
Wastes from the world's largest manufacturer of DDT (1-chloro-4-[2,2,2-trichloro-1-(4-chlorophenyl)ethyl]benzene) were released into the Los Angeles County municipal sewer system from 1947 to 1971. Following primary treatment, the effluent was discharged through a submarine outfall system whereupon a portion of the DDT and associated degradation...Eganhouse, Robert; Sherwood, Christopher R.; Pontolillo, James; Edwards, Brian; Dickhudt, Patrick J.
Minimum energy requirements for desalination of brackish groundwater in the United States with comparison to international datasets
This paper uses chemical and physical data from a large 2017 U.S. Geological Surveygroundwater dataset with wells in the U.S. and three smaller international groundwater datasets with wells primarily in Australia and Spain to carry out a comprehensive investigation of brackish groundwater composition in relation to minimum ...Ahdab, Yvana D.; Thiel, Gregory P.; Böhlke, John Karl; Stanton, Jennifer S.; Lienhard, John H.
A preliminary study of variation of Trapa in Japan
SummaryFrequent occurrence of intermediate forms and poor knowledge on the variability of characters have caused some difficulties in the taxonomy of Trapa in Japan. Thus I made a preliminary analysis on the variation of nuts collected from 21 populations in Southwestern Japan. Attention was paid to some morphometrical characters of the nut and...Rybicki, Nancy B.; Lai, Vincent; Kadono, Yasuro
Influence of climate on alpine stream chemistry and water sources
The resilience of alpine/subalpine watersheds may be viewed as the resistance of streamflow or stream chemistry to change under varying climatic conditions, which is governed by the relative size (volume) and transit time of surface and subsurface water sources. Here, we use end‐member mixing analysis in Andrews Creek, an alpine stream in Rocky...Foks, Sydney; Stets, Edward; Singha, Kamini; Clow, David W.
Unprecedented biological shifts in the global oceanBeaugrand, G.; Conversi, A.; Atkinson, A.; Cloern, James E.; Chiba, S.; Fonda-Umani, S.; Kirby, R.R.; Greene, C.H.; Mantua, N.; Goberville, E.; Otto, S.A.; Reid, P.C.; Stemmann, L.; Sugisaki, H.; Edwards, M.
A biodynamic understanding of dietborne and waterborne Ag uptake from Ag NPs in the sediment-dwelling oligochaete, Tubifex tubifex
Metal nanoparticles (Me-NPs) are increasingly used in various products, such as inks and cosmetics, enhancing the likelihood of their release into aquatic environments. An understanding of the mechanisms controlling their bioaccumulation and ecotoxicity in aquatic biota will help support environmental risk...Tangaa, Stine Rosendal; Winther-Nielsen, Margrethe; Selck, Henriette; Croteau, Marie-Noele
The USGS has been a leader in the development of hydrologic and geochemical simulation models since the 1960's. USGS models are widely used to predict responses of hydrologic systems to changing stresses, such as increases in precipitation or ground-water pumping rates, as well as to predict the fate and movement of solutes and contaminants in water.
The HYDROTHERM computer program simulates multi-phase ground-water flow and associated thermal energy transport in three dimensions. It can handle high fluid pressures, up to 1 x 10^9 Pa (104 atm), and high temperatures, up to 1,200 °C.
The USGS Groundwater Age Mixtures and Contaminant Trends Tool (GAMACTT) can be used to explore the effects of basic aquifer properties and well configurations on groundwater age mixtures in groundwater discharge and on contaminant trends from varying nonpoint-source contaminant input scenarios.
Exploration and Graphics for RivEr Trends (EGRET) is an R-package for the analysis of long-term changes in water quality and streamflow, including the water-quality method Weighted Regressions on Time, Discharge, and Season (WRTDS).
The Precipitation-Runoff Modeling System (PRMS) is a deterministic, distributed-parameter, physical process based modeling system developed to evaluate the response of various combinations of climate and land use on streamflow and general watershed hydrology.
The U.S. Geological Survey’s (USGS) Multi-Dimensional Surface-Water Modeling System (MD_SWMS) is a pre- and post-processing application for computational models of surface-water hydraulics.
Ground-water and Surface-water FLOW (GSFLOW) is used to simulate coupled ground-water and surface-water resources.
JJ Thordsen (USGS) and a wireline operator retrieving downhole vacuum sampler from a characterization well near a CO2 injection well at Citronelle oil field, Alabama.
Presents descriptions of the USGS Precipitation Runoff Modeling System (PRMS) Surface-Runoff modules, which compute Hortonian surface runoff, soil infiltration, and impervious surface and surface depression storage and flows.
Presents descriptions of the USGS Precipitation Runoff Modeling System (PRMS) Summary modules.
Presents descriptions of the USGS Precipitation Runoff Modeling System (PRMS) Soilzone module.
Presents descriptions of the USGS Precipitation Runoff Modeling System (PRMS) streamflow routing modules.
Presents descriptions of the USGS Precipitation Runoff Modeling System (PRMS) cascading-flow computation option, which allows for reinfiltration across the land surface, shallow subsurface, and saturated zone
USGS conducts water quality sampling to describe changes in water quality along the deep channel of the San Francisco Bay-Delta system. Sampling includes continuious sampling and discrete sampling. Here a water discrete water sample is collected using a Niskin sampler at sunset in north San Francisco Bay.
While freshwater ecosystems cover only a small amount of the land surface in Alaska, they transport and emit a significant amount of carbon, according to new U.S. Geological Survey research. An invited feature article for Ecological Applications provides the first-ever major aquatic carbon flux assessment for the entire state. Carbon flux refers to the rate of carbon transfer between pools.
The new table includes both standard and conventional atomic weights values to clarify that many atomic weights have natural variation and to provide single values for chemical education use
Changing Times, Changing Stories: Climate Change Perspectives Vary Notably Among Generations in Subarctic Alaska
New research from the U.S. Geological Survey and partners illustrates how climate change is perceived among different generations of indigenous residents in subarctic Alaska. While all subjects agreed climate change is occurring, the older participants observed more overall changes than the younger demographic.
Mercury contamination is widespread, at various levels across western North America in air, soil, sediment, plants, fish and wildlife.
TECHNICAL ANNOUNCEMENT: Monitoring, verification and accounting are key parts to demonstrating the feasibility or success of integrated carbon capture and storage technologies.
To gain insights into the risks associated with uranium mining and processing, U.S. Geological Survey scientists are investigating how uranium moves into and up food chains.
The thawing of the planet’s permafrost is replumbing arctic environments, creating several hydrologic consequences and possibly some opportunities according to a new study published in Vadose Zone.