National Water Quality Program

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The National Water Quality Program provides an understanding of water-quality conditions; whether conditions are getting better or worse over time; and how natural features and human activities affect those conditions.

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Pesticides in U.S. Streams and Rivers

Pesticides in U.S. Streams and Rivers

During the 20 years from 1992 to 2011, pesticides were found at concentrations that exceeded aquatic-life benchmarks in many rivers and streams that drain agricultural, urban, and mixed-land use watersheds.

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News

Date published: December 7, 2017

The Quality of the Nation’s Groundwater: Progress on a National Survey

This story was updated on December 7, 2017.
The U.S. Geological Survey is near the midpoint of a complex undertaking to survey the quality of the nation’s largest drinking-water resource.

Date published: December 7, 2017

Groundwater Quality in the East: The Piedmont and Blue Ridge Crystalline-Rock Aquifers

A regional assessment of untreated groundwater in the Piedmont and Blue Ridge crystalline-rock aquifers, which includes parts of 11 states across the contiguous United States, is now available from the U.S. Geological Survey.

Date published: December 7, 2017

Groundwater Quality in the Midwest: The Cambrian-Ordovician Aquifer System

A regional assessment of untreated groundwater in the Cambrian-Ordovician aquifer system, which includes parts of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Iowa, Illinois, Missouri and Indiana, is now available from the U.S. Geological Survey.

Filter Total Items: 10
Date published: February 15, 2018
Status: Active

Great Salt Lake Basins National Water Quality Assessment

The Great Salt Lake Basins (GRSL) National Water Quality Assessment (NAWQA) was one of 51 study units across the country. Started in 1998, the long-term goals of this program were to describe the status and trends in the quality of a large, representative part of the Nation's surface- and ground-water resources, and to provide a sound, scientific understanding of the primary factors affecting...

Date published: January 23, 2018
Status: Active

SPARROW Model Assessments of Nutrients and Suspended Sediment in the Pacific Northwest and California

SPARROW can be used to relate water-quality data to landscape characteristics, such as natural properties and human activities

Contacts: Daniel R Wise
Date published: April 25, 2017
Status: Active

National Water-Quality Program Monitoring Networks, Arizona, 2013-2023

The Arizona Water Science Center collects water-quality data from stream and aquifer sites in networks that are part of the National Water-Quality Program (NWQP) and the National Stream Quality Accounting Network (NASQAN).

Date published: April 12, 2017
Status: Active

NAWQA Regional Stream Quality Assessment

How is stream ecology affected by chemical and physical stressors in small streams? The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) is addressing this question through studies of relations between stressors and stream ecology across large regions of the United States.

Regional Stream Quality Assessments  ||  ...

Date published: March 10, 2017
Status: Active

Transport and Fate of Nutrients

Eutrophication, or excess nutrients in streams, is typically one of the top reasons that a stream is listed as impaired on the 303(d) list as part of the Clean Water Act. How nutrients, primarily nitrogen and phosphorus, are transported to streams and groundwater greatly affects the best management plan to keep them on fields and out of streams and groundwater. Likewise, environmental managers...

Date published: January 1, 2017
Status: Completed

Effects of Nutrient Enrichment on Stream Ecosystems (Upper Snake River Basin NAWQA)

Nutrient enrichment can affect the ecological health of a stream. For example, excessive aquatic plant growth caused by increased nutrients can reduce dissolved oxygen necessary for other aquatic life. Topics of particular interest in this study area include:

seasonal patterns among nutrients, flows, algae and plants in streams

rooted aquatic plant vs. algae growth

stream...

Date published: November 4, 2016

White, Great, and Little Miami River (WHMI) NAWQA Groundwater Status And Trends

The White, Great, and Little Miami River (WHMI) Basins  in Indiana and Ohio comprise one of more than 50 study units that are part of the USGS National Water Quality Assessment (NAWQA) Program. The long-term goals of the NAWQA program are to describe the water-quality status and trends in a large representative part of the Nation's surface-water and groundwater resources and to provide a sound...

Date published: November 4, 2016

Microbiological Monitoring Of Groundwater Used As A Source Of Drinking Water (NAWQA Cycle 3)

The National Water Quality Assessment Program (NAWQA) has been sampling public supply wells and domestic wells across the U.S. since 2013 for a broad suite of microbiological indicators including total coliform s , E. coli, enterococci, F-specific coliphage , somatic coliphage, and aerobic endospores. USGS scientists in Ohio and Massachusetts are collaborating on the analysis of...

Date published: September 21, 2016

Michigan Historical NAWQA Programs

The USGS implemented the National Water-Quality Assessment (NAWQA) Program in 1991 to develop long-term consistent and comparable information on streams, rivers, groundwater, and aquatic systems in support of national, regional, State, and local information needs and decisions related to water-quality management and policy.

Contacts: Lori Fuller
Date published: September 21, 2016

NAWQA Surface Water National Fixed Network Site Status and Trends

As part of the USGS National Water Quality Assessment (NAWQA) program the USGS MIWSC operates a stream gage and routinely collects water quality samples at the Clinton River at Sterling Heights, MI. station. Water is analyzed for sediment, nutrients, major ions, and a suite of 271 different pesticides. Information obtained...

Contacts: Lori Fuller
Filter Total Items: 15
Date published: March 24, 2017

Groundwater Age Mixtures and Contaminant Trends Tool

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.

Date published: March 24, 2017

USGS Sediment Data Portal

Identify, access, and interpret USGS discrete and (or) daily suspended sediment data suspended-sediment and related data. The U.S. Geological Survey National Water Information System (NWIS) is the original source for all suspended-sediment data provided in the portal.

Date published: March 24, 2017

Water Quality Data Portal

The Water Quality Portal (WQP) is a cooperative service sponsored by the United States Geological Survey (USGS), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the National Water Quality Monitoring Council (NWQMC). It serves data collected by over 400 state, federal, tribal, and local agencies.

Date published: March 24, 2017

WaterQualityWatch

WaterQualityWatch provides access to USGS real time water-quality data collected in surface waters throughout the United States. Measurements include water temperature, specific conductance, pH, dissolved oxygen, turbidity, and nitrate. 

Date published: March 24, 2017

National Atmospheric Deposition Program Animated Maps

View annual deposition maps of H+, sulfate, nitrate, ammonium, and total inorganice nitrogen across the Nation beginning in 1985.

Date published: March 24, 2017

BioData – Aquatic Bioassessment Data

Discover over 17,000 fish, macroinvertebrate, and algal samples and physical habitat data collected at over 2,000 sites by the USGS since 1991.

Date published: February 10, 2017

Predict Pesticide Levels in Streams and Rivers--Where is water quality at Risk?​

Use the mapping tool to predict concentrations for 108 pesticides in streams and rivers across the Nation and identify which streams are most likely to exceed water-quality guidelines for human health or aquatic life.​

Date published: January 17, 2017

Tracking the Source and Quantity of Nutrients to the Nation's Estuaries and Great Lakes

Access maps of watershed nutrient contributions to the Nation's Estuaries and Great Lakes

Date published: January 17, 2017

Estimated Annual Agricultural Pesticide Use

View the geographic distribution of estimated use of numerous pesticides on agricultural land in the conterminous United States. A graph accompanies each map, which shows annual national use by major crop for the mapped pesticide for each year during the period. 

Date published: January 17, 2017

​Tracking Water Quality of the Nation's Rivers and Streams

An online graphical data tool provides annual summaries of nutrient and sediment concentrations and loads and streamflow information for 106 sites monitored as part of the USGS National Water-Quality Network for Streams and Rivers.

Date published: April 6, 2016

Great Lakes SPARROW Mapper, 2002

This mapper displays SPARROW nutrient load and yield data specifically for U.S. tributaries to the Great Lakes. The results are based on the SPARROW models developed for the Great Lakes, Ohio, Upper Mississippi, Red River Basins (MRB3). Modeling results can be exported as an Excel spreadsheet or a geospatial dataset.

Date published: April 5, 2016

Mississippi/Atchafalaya River Basin (MARB) SPARROW Mapper, 2002

The mapper displays SPARROW nutrient load and yield data and the importance of various nutrient sources for the MARB, given nutrient inputs similar to 2002. Rankings can be shown by major watershed, state, HUC8, tributary, and catchment. Nutrient data can be explored using maps and interactive graphs and tables. Modeling results can be exported as an Excel spreadsheet or a geospatial dataset...

Filter Total Items: 1
Date published: January 25, 2018

SPARROW modeling: Estimating contaminant transport

 

What’s New: A new version of the SPARROW code is being developed in the R programming language. The advantage of R is that it is non-proprietary and does not require a license or software cost. The R – SPARROW code is now being completed and should be available early in CY18. Stay Tuned.

Filter Total Items: 47
July 31, 2017

USGS Continuous Nutrient Monitoring in the Mississippi River Basin

USGS “supergages” are very complex. Continuous concentrations of nutrients and streamflow are measured at supergages and the information is available to the public in real-time. A network of supergages are very important in the Mississippi River Basin for assessing the changes in the amount of nutrients that are transported to the hypoxic zone in the Gulf of Mexico. By monitoring and analyzing...

Research Buoy
June 25, 2017

NWQL Slider

Research Buoy slider images

NWQL Analytical Services Lab
June 25, 2017

NWQL Slider

NWQL Analytical Services Lab slider image

Water Quality Sample
June 25, 2017

NWQL Slider

Water Quality Sample

Scuba Divers
June 25, 2017

NWQL Slider

Scuba Divers slider image

Satellite showing 3 different solar energy locations
March 26, 2017

Landsat Views Massive Solar Energy Farms

Solar energy is booming worldwide, and these Landsat 8 images show three large solar energy farms.

Mt. Lyell and view of Vogelsang Pass, Yosemite National Park, 1913
August 25, 2016

Mt. Lyell and view of Vogelsang Pass, Yosemite National Park, 1913

Mt. Lyell and view of Vogelsang Pass, Yosemite National Park, 1913

USGS historical photogrpah by Richard B. Dole, 1913.

Photo of USGS scientists prepare water-quality instruments before going out on the Great Salt Lake.
August 9, 2016

USGS scientists prepare water-quality instruments

USGS scientists prepare water-quality instruments before going out on the Great Salt Lake. USGS scientists are conducting a study to gain a better understanding of nutrient levels, which could help determine how to best manage algal bloom outbreaks.

 

Photo of USGS scientists conducting a study on the Great Salt Lake.
August 9, 2016

USGS scientists conducting a study on the Great Salt Lake

USGS scientists conducting a study on the Great Salt Lake to gain a better understanding of nutrient levels, which could help determine how to best manage algal bloom outbreaks.

Photo of USGS scientists conducting a study on the Great Salt Lake.
August 9, 2016

USGS scientists conducting a study on the Great Salt Lake

USGS scientists conducting a study on the Great Salt Lake to gain a better understanding of nutrient levels, which could help determine how to best manage algal bloom outbreaks.

Photo of USGS scientists measuring nutrient levels in Goggin Drain, Utah.
August 8, 2016

Utah Nutrient Study

USGS scientists Bryan Downing, Mike Freeman and Katy O'Donnell measure nutrient levels in Goggin Drain, Utah. USGS scientists are conducting an experimental study on two Utah water bodies to gain a better understanding of nutrient levels, which could help determine how to best manage algal bloom outbreaks.

Filter Total Items: 49
Date published: December 7, 2017

Groundwater Quality in the East: The Piedmont and Blue Ridge Crystalline-Rock Aquifers

A regional assessment of untreated groundwater in the Piedmont and Blue Ridge crystalline-rock aquifers, which includes parts of 11 states across the contiguous United States, is now available from the U.S. Geological Survey.

Date published: December 7, 2017

The Quality of the Nation’s Groundwater: Progress on a National Survey

This story was updated on December 7, 2017.
The U.S. Geological Survey is near the midpoint of a complex undertaking to survey the quality of the nation’s largest drinking-water resource.

Date published: December 7, 2017

Groundwater Quality in the Midwest: The Cambrian-Ordovician Aquifer System

A regional assessment of untreated groundwater in the Cambrian-Ordovician aquifer system, which includes parts of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Iowa, Illinois, Missouri and Indiana, is now available from the U.S. Geological Survey.

Date published: December 7, 2017

Groundwater Quality in the North: The Glacial Aquifer System

A regional assessment of untreated groundwater in the Glacial aquifer system, which includes parts of 25 states across the northern contiguous United States, is now available from the U.S. Geological Survey.

Date published: December 7, 2017

Groundwater Quality in the Southwest: The Rio Grande Aquifer System

A regional assessment of untreated groundwater in the Rio Grande aquifer system, which includes parts of Colorado, New Mexico and Texas, is now available from the U.S. Geological Survey.

Date published: December 6, 2017

Scientists Home in on Causes of High Radium Levels in Key Midwestern Aquifer

Oxygen levels, dissolved minerals among factors responsible for high concentrations of radium in untreated water from aquifer that underlies six states

Date published: August 9, 2017

Pesticides Prevalent in Midwestern Streams

One hundred small streams in the Midwest were tested for pesticides during the 2013 growing season and found to contain, on average, 52 pesticides per stream

Date published: June 20, 2017

NOAA, USGS and partners predict third largest Gulf of Mexico summer ‘dead zone’ ever

Larger-than-average low and no oxygen area may affect the region’s shrimp fisheries

Date published: May 31, 2017

Unconventional Oil and Gas Production Not Currently Affecting Drinking Water Quality

Decades or longer may be needed to fully assess the effects of unconventional oil and gas production on the quality of groundwater used for drinking water in Arkansas, Louisiana, and Texas

Date published: April 4, 2017

First-of-its-kind Interactive Map Brings Together 40 Years of Water-Quality Data

USGS provides a long-term look at changes in the quality of our nation’s rivers and streams

Date published: January 19, 2017

Groundwater Quality in the West: Examining Basin and Range Basin-Fill Aquifers

A regional assessment of untreated groundwater in the Basin and Range basin-fill aquifers, which include parts of Nevada, California, Arizona, Utah and adjacent states, is now available from the U.S. Geological Survey.