National Research Program (NRP)

You are here: NRP Home

Welcome to the National Research Program

On this page: Recent Publications | Topical Research Teams | Featured Science

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. Our science supports a wide range of policies and activities, including:

Science Topics:

  • Transport Phenomena in Fractured Rock

    Transport Phenomena in Fractured Rock: Allen Shapiro studies the complex environment of fractured rock aquifers in order to characterize water supplies and understand the fate and transport of groundwater contaminants. Areas that benefit from his research include groundwater remediation, as well as the design of roads, tunnels, dams, and other engineered structures.

  • Hydroecology of Flowing Waters

    Hydroecology of Flowing Waters: Jud Harvey is shown sampling the Six-Mile Brook streambed for mercury contamination in Adirondack State Park, New York.

  • Environmental Tracers of Surface-Water/Ground-Water Exchanges

    Environmental Tracers of Surface-Water/Ground-Water Exchanges: James Constantz is the leading authority on the use of heat as a tracer to understand and quantify surface-water exchanges with groundwater, as well as a leading authority regarding the influence of temperature on hydrologic processes, including infiltration, evaporation and drainage.

  • Ecohydrology of Arid Lands

    Ecohydrology of Arid Lands: Julio Betancourt studies how climate variability affects terrestrial ecosystems. Here Julio is sampling and analyzing fossil rodent middens preserved in caves and rock shelters along remote cliffsides to reconstruct vegetation dynamics over the past 50,000 years in arid North and South America.

  • Wetland Ecosystem Ecology and Biogeochemistry

    Wetland Ecosystem Ecology and Biogeochemistry: Greg Noe's research seeks to understand the fundamental controls on how wetlands influence water quality by quantifying the interactive influences of hydrology, geomorphology, climate, and biology on nitrogen and phosphorus biogeochemistry in fluvial ecosystems.

Recent NRP Publications

Nilsen, E.B., Rosenbauer, R.J., Fuller, C.C.,  Jaffe, B.J., 2015. Sedimentary organic biomarkers suggest detrimental effects of PAHs on estuarine microbial biomass during the 20th century in San Francisco Bay, CA, USA.  Chemosphere v. 119, p. 961-970 (doi: 10.1016/j.chemosphere.2014.08.053)

Lucas, L.V. 2015. "Time scales." In: Encyclopedia of Estuaries, M.J. Kennish (Ed.). Springer, 760 pp. ISBN 978-94-017-8801-4

Campbell, K. M., Gallegos, T. J., Landa, E. R. (2015) Biogeochemical aspects of uranium mining, milling, and remediation. Applied Geochemistry 57: 206-235.

Nelson, J.M., McDonald, R.R., Kinzel, P.J., and Legleiter, C.J., in press, Using computational models to improve remotely sensed estimates of river bathymetry, J. Sediment Research.

Nelson, J.M., McDonald, R.R., Shimizu, Y., Kimura, I., Nabi, M., and Asahi, K., in press, Modeling flow, sediment transport, and morphodynamics in rivers, Chapter 18, p 1-39, in Tools in Geomorphology, 2nd Ed., eds. M. Kondolph and H. Piegay, Wiley and Sons, Chichester, 575 pp.

Burns, E.R., Williams, C.F., Ingebritsen, S.E., Voss, C.I., Spane, F.A., and DeAngelo, J., 2015, Understanding heat and groundwater flow through continental flood basalt provinces: Insights gained from alternative models of permeability/depth relationships for the Columbia Plateau, USA: Geofluids, v. 15, p. 120-138,doi:10.1111/gfl.12095.

Johnson, W.P., Swanson, N., Black, B., Rudd, A., Carling, G., Fernandez, D.P., Luft, J., Van Leeuwen, J., and Marvin-DiPasquale, M., 2015, Total- and methyl-mercury concentrations and methylation rates across the freshwater to hypersaline continuum of the Great Salt Lake, Utah, USA: Science of The Total Environment, v. 511, p. 489-500.

Hupp, C.R., Schenk, E.R., Kroes, D.E., Willard, D.A., Townsend, P.A., and Peet, R.K. 2015. Patterns of floodplain sediment deposition along the regulated lower Roanoke River, North, Carolina: Annual, decadal, centennial scales. Geomorphology v. 228, pp. 666-680.

McCabe, G.J., Hay, L.E., Bock, Markstrom, S.L., and Atkinson, R.D., 2015, Inter-annual and spatial variability of Hamon potential evapotranspiration model coefficients: Journal of Hydrology, v. 521, p. 389–394.

Farrar, C., DeAngelo, J., Clor, L., Murphy, F., Williams, C., Grubb, F., and Hurwitz, S., 2010, Temperature data from wells in Long Valley Caldera, California (ver. 2.0, January 2015): U.S. Geological Survey Data Series 523 [get publication]

Cozzarelli, I. M., Schreiber, M. E., Erickson, M. L. and Ziegler, B. A. (2015), Arsenic Cycling in Hydrocarbon Plumes: Secondary Effects of Natural Attenuation. Groundwater. doi: 10.1111/gwat.12316

Fan, Y., Richard, S., Bristol, S., Ingebritsen, S.E., Moosdorf, N., Packman, A., Gleeson, T., Zaslavsky, I., Peckham, S., Murdoch, L., Feinen, M., Cardiff, M., Tarboton, D., Jones, N., Hooper, R., Arrigo, J., Gochis, D., Olson, J., and Wolock, D., 2015, DigitalCrust – A 4D data system of material properties for transforming research on crustal fluid flow:  Geofluids, v. 15, p. 372-379, doi:10.1111/gfl.12114.

Ingebritsen, S.E., and Gleeson, T., 2015, Introduction to the special issue on crustal permeability: Geofluids, v. 15, p. 1-10,doi:10.1111/gfl.12118.

Batson, J., Noe, G.B., Hupp, C.R., Krauss, K.W., Rybicki, N.B. and Schenk. E.R. 2015. Soil greenhouse gas emissions and carbon budgeting in a short-hydroperiod floodplain wetland. JGR Biogeosciences. V. 120, p. 77–95. DOI: 10.1002/2014JG002817

Konikow, L. F. (2015), Long-Term Groundwater Depletion in the United States. Groundwater, 53: 2–9. doi: 10.1111/gwat.12306

[View All NRP Publications]

Topical Research Teams

The National Research Program's topical research teams consist of small groups of scientists that cross the boundaries of historic USGS sub-disciplines, Branches, and Mission Areas. They often include scientists from outside agencies as well. These teams are formed to address potentially important issues for which there currently is limited activity in the Water Mission Area. Outcomes from the topical teams could identify new research directions and result in the formation of new collaborations and partnerships.




Featured Science and Activities

James Cloern and Robert Striegl Announced as ASLO Sustaining Fellows

NRP Scientists James Cloern and Robert Striegl were welcomed this week into the inaugural class of the Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography (ASLO) Fellows. The ASLO Fellows program was initiated "to honor individuals who have given tirelessly of their time and talents to support ASLO’s mission to advance the sciences of limnology and oceanography." Read the announcement

U.S. Rivers Show Few Signs of Improvement from Historic Nitrate Increases

Graph showing upward trend in nitrate concentrations in the Maumee River between 1945 and 1980.

During 1945 to 1980, nitrate levels in large U.S. rivers increased up to fivefold in intensively managed agricultural areas of the Midwest, according to a new U.S. Geological Survey study. In recent decades, nitrate changes have been smaller and levels have remained high in most of the rivers studied. Read the full press release or access the publication

Ancient Permafrost Quickly Transforms to Carbon Dioxide upon Thaw

General view of a 35-meter-high riverbank  along the Itkillik River in northern Alaska. Copyright-free photo courtesy Mikhail Kanevskiy; University of Alaska Fairbanks, Institute of Northern Engineering.

Researchers from the U.S. Geological Survey and key academic partners have quantified how rapidly ancient permafrost decomposes upon thawing and how much carbon dioxide is produced in the process. Huge stores of organic carbon in permafrost soils are currently isolated from the modern day carbon cycle. However, if thawed, this massive carbon reservoir could decompose and be emitted as the greenhouse gases carbon dioxide and methane. Read the full press release or access the publication

Storms after Wildfire Lead to Impaired Water Quality

USGS NRP Scientist Sheila Murphy

USGS scientists led by research hydrologist Sheila Murphy collected extensive streamflow and water-quality data for three years after the Fourmile Canyon Fire, Colo., and correlated the results with data from a high-density rain gage network. They found that hydrologic and water-quality responses downstream of a burned area were primarily driven by small, brief convective storms that had relatively high, but not unusual, rainfall intensity. Read the full press release or the Climate Progress interview

John Nimmo Receives Soil Science Society of America Fellow Award

USGS NRP Scientist John Nimmo

John Nimmo has received the Soil Science Society of America (SSSA) Fellow Award, the highest recognition bestowed by the SSSA. Dr. Nimmo’s publications have made major advances in the measurement, estimation, and understanding of soil hydraulic processes and properties. He also pioneered the use of centrifugal force for accurate hydraulic-property measurements at low water contents.

Dallas Hudson: Heeding Nature's Call with One-Lake Study

USGS NRP Scientist Dallas Hudson

Dallas Hudson has studied northern pike in Minnesota to determine how quickly they grow and how they respond to angling pressure. Read the full article

Leonard Konikow Elected as a Member of the National Academy of Engineering

USGS NRP Scientist Leonard Konikow

Leonard Konikow has been elected as a member of the National Academy of Engineering. Academy membership, one of the highest professional distinctions accorded to an engineer, honors those who have made outstanding contributions to engineering research, practice, or education. Read the full press release

Kim Wickland to Serve as Associate Editor for Limnology and Oceanography

USGS NRP Scientist Kimberly Wickland

Kim Wickland has been selected to serve as an Associate Editor for the journal Limnology and Oceanography, the flagship journal of the Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography (ASLO). You can access the journal here.