The U.S. Geological Survey National Research Program in the Hydrologic Sciences

U.S. Geological Survey Circular 1195

EDITED BY Mary Jo Baedecker and Linda C. Friedman


The full report is available in pdf.  Links to the pdf.



The National Research Program

Research Fills Many Needs

Research Disciplines and Topics


Selected NRP Research Activities


Sustained Progress in Estuarine Studies—San Francisco Bay

Use of Environmental Tracers to Track Nitrogen Contamination

Sidebar: Use of Chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) Concentrations to Date Ground Water

Ground-Water Movement in Fractured Rock

Sidebar: Computer Simulation

Modeling and Experimental Flooding in the Grand Canyon

Devils Hole—A Paleoclimate Treasure Chest

Sidebar: Climate Variability and Climate Change

Microbial Activity and Transport in Ground Water

Lake Ecosystem Studies

Sidebar: Natural Organic Material

Selenium: Rocks, Ducks, Microbes, and Membranes


Scientific Leadership


Selected References


The National Research Program (NRP) encompasses a broad spectrum of scientific investigations and focuses on long-term studies that integrate hydrological, geological, chemical, climatological, and biological information related to water resources and environmental problems. Using shared facilities, personnel, and equipment, the Program provides an infrastructure within which the USGS can develop new information, theories, and techniques to understand, anticipate, and solve water-resource problems facing the Nation. The NRP's staff of about 260 permanent and 120 non-permanent individuals is located principally at USGS centers in Reston, Virginia; Denver, Colorado; and Menlo Park, California.

Researchers in the National Research Program focus both on (1) the study and application of hydrologic principles to particular geographic settings or water-resources problems, and (2) on fundamental research addressing hydrologic processes and principles that are related to broad geographic areas or problems. The combination of approaches is essential to the development of scientific understanding and the application of results to problems related to the use and preservation of the Nation’s water resources, both of which help the USGS and the U.S. Department of the Interior perform their public missions.

Results of hydrologic research by scientists in this program have provided much of the scientific basis that has enabled the USGS to tackle and resolve complex hydrologic problems. The new information, theories, techniques, and tools developed within the program are used not only by USGS scientists and managers, but also by the members of the hydrologic community outside the USGS, both nationally and internationally, and by the public. The NRP makes a deliberate effort to anticipate research needs that will be pertinent to hydrologic science issues of the future. Thus, the emphasis of NRP research activities changes through time, reflecting the emergence of needed new areas of inquiry and the demand for new tools and techniques with which to address water-resources issues and problems. The direct linkage of the program with other programs of the USGS, such as the Water, Energy, Biogeochemical Budgets Program (WEBB), Toxic Substances Hydrology Program, National Water Quality Assessment (NAWQA) Program, Place-Based Studies Program, Volcano Hazards Program, and other Bureau initiatives, ensures that the research remains relevant to current water-resources needs.

This publication is intended to convey general information about the NRP and highlight a few research activities to demonstrate the scope of research problems undertaken in addressing important scientific questions.



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Assistant Chief Hydrologist for Research
U.S. Geological Survey
Water Resources Division
12201 Sunrise Valley Drive, M.S. 436
Reston, VA 20192

Free on application to the
U.S. Geological Survey
Information Services
Box 25286 Federal Center
Denver, CO 80225-0286
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U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey
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Last modified: Wednesday, November 23 2016, 12:17:34 PM
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