Comprehensive Study finds Widespread Mercury Contamination Across Western North America

Wetland habitats, such as the Great Salt Lake wetlands, provide critical feeding areas for many fish and wildlife species.

An international team of scientists led by the U.S. Geological Survey, recently documented widespread mercury contamination in air, soil, sediment, plants, fish, and wildlife at various levels across western North America. They evaluated potential risk from mercury to human, fish, and wildlife health, and examined resource management activities that influence this risk. Wetland habitats, such …

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Water-Level Changes in Northeast Twin Cities Lakes Vary with Landscape Setting

The physical setting of lakes, which includes underlying geology, elevation and surrounding land use, is the most significant driver of lake-level changes in the Twin Cities, according to a U.S. Geological Survey study published today.  Scientists with the USGS analyzed 96 lakes in the northeast metropolitan area of Minneapolis and Saint Paul, Minnesota, to determine …

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In Orlando, USGS Science on the Health of the Environment is on Display

The health of the environment is a research priority for the U.S. Geological Survey, and some of the recent highlights of that research will be on display at the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry’s 2016 North American conference this Fall. For reporters interested in attending these presentations at the conference, or for following up …

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Groundwater Pumping, Precipitation Can Affect Lake Levels in Twin Cities

White Bear Lake thumbnail

Both precipitation and groundwater withdrawals, among other factors, influence lake-water levels in the northeast Twin Cities metropolitan area, and the extent of these changes vary among lakes, according to a new U.S. Geological Survey study. Low water levels in White Bear Lake, Minnesota.(Credit: Perry Jones, USGS. Public domain.) Scientists with the USGS and partners studied …

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Not All Arsenic Tests are Created Equal

In 2014-2016, the USGS and partners sampled study wells in northeast, northwest and central Minnesota—areas that commonly have elevated arsenic concentrations in well water—and examined the effects of various water-sampling methods for each of the wells. The researchers found that arsenic levels were most reliable when they were filtered, collected from household plumbing instead of …

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Design of Private Wells Can Lead to Safer Drinking Water in Minnesota

Well characteristics

The study highlights a new and important finding: Controllable well construction choices, not just location and depth, influence arsenic concentrations in drinking water. “Chronic exposure to high levels of naturally occurring arsenic through drinking water can cause certain cancers, skin abnormalities and other adverse human health effects,” said Melinda Erickson, a USGS research hydrologist and …

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USGS Responds to Spring Flooding

What the USGS is Doing Crews are in the field to keep the USGS’s streamgage network of about 11,300 instruments working properly, perform on-site measurements of flooded rivers, and measure high-water marks as flood waters recede. In the coming days and weeks, USGS crews will continue to monitor streamgages, make flood measurements in the field to determine how much …

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USGS Unveils Mobile Flood Tool for the Nation

USGS National Water Dashboard Example - Zeta Rate of Change

The new USGS National Water Dashboard, or NWD, provides critical information to decision-makers, emergency managers and the public during flood events, informing decisions that can help protect lives and property. “The National Water Dashboard is a much-needed advancement that will help keep communities across the country safe during extreme weather conditions,” said Tim Petty, Ph.D., …

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