On a cold, rainy morning in late January, a group of scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey's California Water Science Center gather on a foggy levee road just east of the City of Woodland. Shivering as the wind howls around them, the crew pulls on thick yellow raincoats, rubber waders, and life vests. They're preparing to collect water-quality and sediment samples from the murky, brown water below – an area known as the Cache Creek Settling Basin. The scientists will test the samples for a range of water-quality constituents, but their focus is set on something specific to this site: mercury.
May marks the annual observance of American Wetlands Month, a month dedicated to celebrating one of nature’s most productive ecosystems. Here in California, the U.S. Geological Survey – in cooperation with many other local, state, and federal agencies – studies wetlands, looking to better understand how wetlands work, and the importance of wetlands to both humans, and the plants and animals that rely on healthy wetlands to survive.
San Joaquin Valley: the final frontier. These are the voyages of the U.S. Geological Survey. Its weeklong mission: to explore strange new locations, to seek out abandoned scientific technologies, to boldly go where no scientist has gone before (at least in a few decades).
The National Groundwater Association has declared this week, March 5-11, as National Groundwater Awareness Week.
It’s been a wet and snowy winter so far throughout much of California. For many Californians, that means keeping dry inside, avoiding dangerous roads, and listening closely for the rare clap of thunder. For field crews at the U.S. Geological Survey California Water Science Center (CAWSC), however, wet weather means piling on safety gear and chasing storms to make real-time high-flow and flood measurements at swollen rivers, creeks, and waterways throughout the state.