USGS Ohio Water Science Center
Past News... (2008)
Retired, Gone Fishing.
12/23/2008 -- With over 60 years combined experience working for the USGS, the Ohio Water Science Center bids farewell to two dedicated hydrologic technicians: Steve Frum of the New Philadelphia field office and Bernie Sroka of the Columbus office are retiring at the beginning of the year. Steve has extensive experience in the operation of streamgages, real-time instrumentation, and water-quality monitors. He has worked on numerous projects in eastern Ohio including coal hydrology and the National Water Quality Assessment (NAWQA) Program. Steve has coauthored more than 30 Annual Data Reports. Bernie manages Ohio’s Crest-Stage Gage Network and is the field coordinator for a project to define low-flow characteristics for Ohio streams. Bernie spent 13 years working on multiple aspects of a statewide road salt contamination study. Bernie was named the “Northeast Data Person of 2008” by the Committee for Hydrologic Instrumentation and Data, Eastern Region (CHIDER).
Ohio Water Science Center Gets Bronze.
12/23/2008 -- Considered a “Pledge to Excellence,” the USGS Ohio Water Science Center received the Bronze-level award from the Ohio Partnership for Excellence (OPE). The OPE program is responsible for making quality a statewide priority and disseminating best business practices across Ohio by administering the Baldrige assessment process. The Baldrige assessment process is the benchmark for improving organizational performance and achieving predictable, reliable, and repeatable results.
Cutting-Edge Science Telling Us What’s In The Water.
12/02/2008 -- The occurrence and distribution of organic wastewater compounds in Tinkers Creek and two other tributaries to the Cuyahoga River in northeast Ohio is documented in a new report by the U.S. Geological Survey in cooperation with the Ohio Water Development Authority and other Federal, State, and local agencies and was recently presented at the Water Management Association of Ohio (WMAO) annual fall conference. Innovative passive sampling devices were deployed in the streams for 28 days, and samples were then analyzed by methods recently developed in USGS laboratories. A total of 12 antibiotic, 20 pharmaceutical, 41 wastewater, and 22 hydrophobic compounds were detected at one or more sites in water, and 8 pharmaceutical and 37 wastewater compounds were detected in streambed sediments. Little is known about any health effects on aquatic organisms exposed to low levels of these chemicals or mixtures of these chemicals in streams (news release).
Geography Matters! 10th Annual GIS Day 2008.
11/18/2008 -- About 80% of all data has a spatial component. Celebrated during Geography Awareness Week (Nov. 16-22), GIS Day provides an opportunity to learn more about geography and geographic information systems (GIS) technology. A GIS combines computer software, hardware, and data to allow a user to analyze, manipulate, present, and store information tied to a spatial location. GIS is a major component of many of the projects in the Ohio Water Science Center such as documenting a flood on the Cuyahoga River near Independence and helping develop the City of Findlay flood warning system. In fact, some projects, like Ohio’s StreamStats and Ohio’s Aquatic Gap Project, would not be possible without GIS. Among other USGS applications of GIS is the National Water-Quality Assessment (NAWQA) program’s NAWQA Mapper, which allows the user to view maps and data of water quality from sites across Ohio and the Nation.
Sedimentation, Morphology, and Floods in Wheeling Creek Watershed.
11/10/2008 -- Stream sedimentation and flooding have long been issues of debate and concern in the extensively surface-mined Wheeling Creek Basin of eastern Ohio. Fears that mine sediments might aggravate flooding of Wheeling Creek led to dredging and informal levee construction in the 1980s. Recent concerns prompted the USGS Ohio Water Science Center, in cooperation with the Ohio Emergency Management Agency to conduct a new multifaceted study. This 2006 study compared streambed characteristics from the late 1980’s with current conditions along selected reaches of Wheeling Creek. Additionally, step-backwater models were developed to estimate flood elevations to assess current conditions and a variety of dredging and sediment-accumulation scenarios. Full details and results of the study are given in a recently released USGS report.
Celebrate Earth Science Week – October 12-18, 2008.
10/01/2008 -- “No Child Left Inside” is the theme for this year’s Earth Science Week. The USGS is a proud partner of this annual international event sponsored by the American Geological Institute. Earth Science Week promotes responsible stewardship of the Earth and encourages children and adults alike to explore the earth sciences. Staff from the USGS Ohio Water Science Center are participating in the event through Darby Creek Day, Sunday, October 5, at Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park. There are many other Earth Science Week events in Ohio and throughout the country. We’ll see you outside!
How Dry Is It?
09/05/2008 -- Exactly how dry (or wet) has it been lately? To help answer that question, duration hydrographs have been added as a new option under the drought watch pick list on the USGS WaterWatch Web page for Ohio. You can input a stream name or gaging station number and also select a 7-, 14-, or 28-day averaging period. An example for a streamflow gaging station (the Scioto River at Prospect, Ohio) is shown here. The plot shows a trace of the running 7-day average streamflow (the black line beginning on January 1 of the previous calendar year) as well as colored bands that represent historical percentile ranges of streamflow for each calendar day.(more).
Is It Safe to Swim at the Beach?
06/12/2008 -- Concern about water quality at recreational beaches along the Great Lakes is the focus of a new collaborative project aimed at improving information for beach managers faced with deciding whether to close beaches or issue advisories to protect public health. USGS scientists will focus on real-time assessments of water quality--such as the Nowcast system used at two Ohio Lake Erie beaches--by enhancing and expanding models that help beach managers decide if beach advisories or closures are necessary. They will continue to evaluate rapid analytical methods for bacterial indicators, such as E. coli, and identify processes that influence the occurrence and abundance of pathogens and bacterial indicators at beaches. This project is funded through the President's Ocean Action Plan and draws on the expertise of the USGS and other federal, state and local agencies. (more).
How Much Water is Consumed?
05/22/2008 -- Ever wonder how much water is withdrawn for everyday uses such as food, ethanol, household chemicals, or paper products and is not returned? Or what type of uses are most likely to cause these losses? Information about consumptive water use (see images for examples) in the Great Lakes Basin can be found in a newly released fact sheet and report. Ohio Water Science Center hydrologists Kim Shaffer and Donna Runkle compiled and analyzed consumptive water use numbers from more than 100 sources to help determine the amount of water consumed in seven water-use categories. The fact sheet and report are among a series of products by the U.S. Geological Survey's National Assessment of Water Availability and Use Program for the Great Lakes Basin, a program designed to gain a clearer understanding of water-use, land-use, and climatic trends in our Nation’s water resources. (more).
Recreational Water Illness Prevention Week, May 19-25, 2008.
05/15/2008 -- Sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Recreational Water Illness Prevention Week highlights the importance of healthy swimming behaviors to prevent illness. The USGS Ohio Water Science Center is involved with several beach monitoring research projects to strengthen the science of beach water-quality monitoring. The “nowcasting ” systems on Lake Erie at the bathing beaches of Edgewater (Cleveland, Ohio) and Huntington (Bay Village, Ohio) provide near-real-time estimates of water quality to the beach-going public.
National Drinking Water Week – May 4-10, 2008.
05/05/2008 -- Celebrate drinking water, our most precious natural resource. The event is sponsored by the American Water Works Association and provides people with the opportunity to recognize the importance of safe and reliable drinking water. Do you know where your water comes from and how you can help protect it? More information about drinking water and this event can be found at the U.S. EPA Ground Water and Drinking Water and American Water Works Association web pages. Only Tap Water Delivers!
Our Foyer Gets a Facelift.
04/17/2008 -- Visitors to the USGS Ohio Water Science Center are now greeted by a beautiful wall mural. Local artist Virginia Ball painted the stream scene, which highlights the surface water, ground water, and ecology of Ohio.
Ohio Water Science Center Hosts Microbiology Workshop.
04/11/2008 -- USGS Ohio WSC scientists Rebecca Bushon, Amie Brady, Chris Kephart, and Don Stoeckel hosted and presented a series of talks and provided hands-on analytical experience to 20 students from nine states. Workshop attendees representing Federal, State, and local agencies, universities, and a consulting group, learned about microbial sample collection, analytical methods and techniques, recreational water regulations, rapid-detection methods, and microbial source tracking. More information about the projects, services, and methods of the USGS Ohio Water Microbiology Laboratory is available. The Environmental Pathogens Information Network (EPI-Net) with Purdue University sponsored the workshop.
National Flood Safety Awareness Week, March 17-21, 2008.
03/17/2008 -- Water is Ohio’s greatest natural hazard. Flooding is a threat in Ohio and throughout the Nation. National Flood Safety Awareness Week, sponsored by the National Weather Service, highlights some of the causes of floods, hazards of floods, and things people can do to save lives and property. A map of current flood and high-flow conditions is available from the USGS Water Watch. USGS Science in Ohio (503 Kb .pdf) and the Nation (2.35 MB .pdf) helps reduce flood related death and damage.
Pharmaceuticals And Other Emerging Contaminants In Water.
03/14/2008 -- Chemical compounds such as prescription and nonprescription pharmaceuticals, hormones, detergents, disinfectants, fragrances, plasticizers, insecticides, and fire retardants are widely used in homes as well as in industrial and agricultural settings. Not surprisingly, some of these compounds or their degradation products make their way into wastewater or runoff. (more ...)
National Ground Water Awareness Week – March 9-15, 2008.
03/06/2008 -- Ground water is the water that seeps into the ground and fills the spaces and cracks in the rocks below the surface. It is not typically an underground river or lake. Ohio is one of the top 10 states in the Nation for public- and self-supplied domestic water withdrawals. Ground water was the source of 34 percent of all Ohio public-supply water (about 500 Mgal/d) and 98 percent of self-supplied domestic water (about 130 Mgal/d) in 2000. Ground water in Ohio is also withdrawn for livestock, aquaculture, and irrigation. The USGS Ohio Water Science Center is involved with several ground-water studies. National Ground Water Awareness Week is sponsored by the National Groundwater Awareness Organization (NGWA). More information on ground water can be found at the USGS Ground Water Information Page and the Groundwater Foundation.
Thinking About Water.
02/26/2008 -- “Water” is the theme of this year’s Girl Scouts World Thinking Day 2008. Staff from the USGS Ohio Water Science Center presented USGS water science to several hundred Girl Scouts in Worthington, Ohio, for Girl Scouts World Thinking Day 2008. Don Stoeckel and Marge Tibbetts tested water from various sources for fecal contamination to show that water quality cannot be determined by how clean the water looks. More information about the Girl Scouts World Thinking Day 2008 is available here.
A Flood Warning System for Findlay, Ohio.
02/13/2008 -- With the recent flooding, the residents of Findlay, Ohio, are having flashbacks to the August 2007 floods in northwestern Ohio. The USGS and the City of Findlay have devised an innovative way to alert residents and emergency personnel when floodwaters from the Blanchard River are expected to reach critical levels. The USGS recently installed four new streamflow and rain gages, which will enhance the National Weather Service's ability to accurately forecast flood peaks in the Findlay area and provide additional early-warning capabilities. A News release and article in the Water Management Association of Ohio’s (WMAO) Winter 2008 issue of “The Ohio Water Table” further describe the effort. Photos by Mary Terry, courtesy of City of Findlay Engineer’s Office.
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