|Many rivers require cableways to measure high flows. Recently our streamgagers learned how to inspect the cableway and ensure that it is safe (Yellowstone River at Billings, Montana, March 9, 2018).
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ABOUT THE WYOMING-MONTANA WATER SCIENCE CENTER
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Water Resources of Wyoming and Montana
|Welcome to the USGS Wyoming-Montana Water Science Center. These pages are your source for water-resource information collected and interpreted by the U.S. Geological Survey in Wyoming and Montana. Here you'll find information on Wyoming's and Montana's rivers and streams. You'll also find information about ground water, water quality, and many other topics. The USGS operates the most extensive satellite network of stream-gaging stations in the states, many of which form the backbone of flood-warning systems.
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News and Highlights
|Ever heard of a microbiome? It is a critical community of microorganisms (such as bacteria, fungi, and viruses) living around us. Microbiomes occur all over the world: in the ocean, in water, in wildlife, and in with energy development. The USGS has begun research to help understand microbiome behavior and enable protection and restoration of healthy microbiome function.
The U.S. Geological Survey, working with the Montana Department of Environmental Quality and the British Columbia Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change Strategy, has developed a conceptual modeling framework that can be used to provide structured and scientifically based input to the Lake Koocanusa Monitoring and Research Working Group as they consider potential site-specific selenium criteria for Lake Koocanusa, a transboundary reservoir located in Montana and British Columbia. This report describes that modeling framework, provides an example of how it can be applied, and outlines possible next steps for implementing the framework.
More information about the model can be found here.
Many approaches have been developed for measuring or estimating actual evapotranspiration, including remote sensing methods. This report describes two energy balance models used for estimating actual evapotranspiration that are currently applied successfully in the United States.
A partnership between the Salish Kootenai College and the U.S. Geological Survey has allowed students in the college's new hydrology program to learn hydrology and geographic information systems analyses from practicing experts. This collaboration with the Tribal college is helping train the next generation of Tribal scientists.
A monitoring well was installed in the Wasatch aquifer in the Green River Basin, Sublette County, Wyoming in August 2015. Core collected during drilling activities was described to a depth of 170 feet. The data release contains a detailed description of the lithology and physical characteristics of the core sections, as well as numerous photographs.
Changes in groundwater discharge to streams caused by irrigation practices can influence stream temperature. Observations and data from two currently flood-irrigated reaches in the 640-square-kilometer upper Smith River watershed, an important agricultural and recreational fishing area in west-central Montana, were used to simulate how different irrigation scenarios might affect stream temperature.
Estimates of nitrogen and phosphorus inputs to the Fish Creek Watershed, Teton County, Wyoming, were quantified and geospatially analyzed in USGS report published in December 2016. Data used for the analyses are now available.
Potential production of undiscovered oil and gas resources in the Three Forks and Bakken Formations will require water and proppant to develop the resource. A new assessment describing the resource requirements is described and discussed for different petroleum systems.
A relatively new technique was used to predict historical and future streamflows under different climate scenarios at 1,707 fish sampling sites across central and eastern Montana. Historical streamflow was predicted at sites near USGS streamgages to determine the accuracy of the model. Comparison between predicted flow in the past and the historical streamflow data recorded at those USGS streamgages had acceptable agreement, indicating confidence in predicting future streamflow scenarios. Fisheries biologists are using the streamflow predictions and fish sample information to understand how climate change might affect fish in small central and eastern Montana streams.
Many coal beds contain microbial communities that can convert coal to natural gas (coalbed methane). Native microorganisms were obtained from Powder River Basin (PRB) coal seams with a diffusive microbial sampler placed downhole and were used as enrichments nutrients to investigate microbially-enhanced coalbed methane production (MECoM). Details of the amount of methane produced with different nutrients are described. Of note, the use of algae to stimulate methane production has the potential to lead to technologies that utilize coupled biological systems (photosynthesis and methane production) to sustainably enhance CBM production and generate algal biofuels, while also sequestering carbon dioxide (CO2).
Resources for writing data management plans, formatting data, and creating metadata, as well as for data and metadata review, uploading data and metadata to ScienceBase, and sharing metadata through the U.S. Geological Survey Science Data Catalog have been compiled and described in order to guide users needing to comply with current (2016) data publishing policy. Of particular note is the section detailing how ScienceBase, an integrated data sharing platform managed by the U.S. Geological Survey, can be used. Also described is how open source data and R programming can be used to generate interactive maps.
Water, bed sediment, and biota were sampled in selected streams from Butte to near Missoula, Montana, as part of a monitoring program in the upper Clark Fork Basin of western Montana. The sampling program was led by the U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, to characterize aquatic resources in the Clark Fork Basin, with emphasis on trace elements associated with historic mining and smelting activities. Sampling sites were located on the Clark Fork and selected tributaries. Water samples were collected periodically at 20 sites from October 2014 through September 2015. Bed-sediment and biota samples were collected once at 13 sites during August 2015. Statistical summaries of water-quality, bed-sediment, and biological data for sites in the upper Clark Fork Basin are provided for the period of record since 1985.
Nitrogen and phosphorus are essential nutrients for plant and animal growth, but the overabundance of bioavailable nitrogen and phosphorus in water can cause adverse health and ecological effects. Recent studies of the Fish Creek watershed in west-central Wyoming have indicated a greater biovolume of aquatic plants than is typically observed in streams of similar size in Wyoming, and data indicate it is likely because of increased nitrogen and phosphorus inputs into the watershed. The U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with the Teton Conservation District, recently identified and quantified the sources and inputs of nitrogen and phosphorus to the Fish Creek watershed. The east-southeastern part of the watershed has the greatest input of nitrogen and phosphorus, which corresponds with the human activities that add additional nutrients to the watershed. The largest inputs for a 10-acre cell generally are associated with sewage treatment plant injection sites, livestock waste, and distributed land use where septic systems and fertilized lawns are located.