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Past News... (2006)

Charity Fundraising Goal Far Exceeded.

12/26/2006 -- Over $10,000 was pledged by Ohio Water Science Center staff towards the 2006 Combined Federal Campaign, exceeding the Center goal of $9000. The mission of the Heart of Ohio CFC is to support and to promote philanthropy through a program that is employee focused, cost efficient, and effective in providing Federal employees the opportunity to improve the quality of life for all. In addition to the CFC, Center staff are involved with many local charities on their own time. Recent holiday activities included support of the Mid Ohio Food Bank, which provides food to over 520 food pantries, soup kitchens, shelters and other charities, and the Franklin County Children Services Holiday Wish program, which provides Christmas presents for abused or neglected children who have been removed from their homes.

Near-Real-Time Estimates Of Recreational Beach Water Quality: Step-By-Step Procedures Detailed In New Report.

procedures for developing models beach picture12/20/2006 -- To better protect public health, beach managers need accurate and timely measures of recreational water quality. Predictive models have emerged as a way to estimate near-real-time water quality at coastal beaches, and systems such as Huntington Beach ’s (Bay Village, Ohio) "nowcasting" can provide those predictions to the beach-going public. A newonline USGS report uses Huntington Beach as an example to describe in a step-by-step fashion how data were collected and how models were developed and evaluated. The procedures detailed in this report can be used to develop and test predictive models at other beaches. Ohio Water Science Center beach-monitoring research work is ongoing; cooperating agencies past and present include the Cuyahoga County Board of Health,  Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District,  Ohio Water Development Authority,  the Ohio Lake Erie Commission, and the Ashtabula Township Park Commission.

2006 Technician Of The Year.

tech of year, Vivian12/07/2006 -- Ohio Water Science Center hydrologic technician, Steve Vivian, received the 2006 Technician of the Year Award from the Water Management Association of Ohio (WMAO). Steve was given the award for his 31 years of outstanding service in water-resources data collection, most notably as a leader in streamgaging and streamflow-measurement technologies. Steve’s knowledge and experience in real-time data acquisition and transmission, and Acoustic Doppler Current Profilers have helped the U.S. Geological Survey stay on the cutting edge. Additionally, Steve has educated students and the public about the importance of streamflow information in the protection of water supplies and in the prevention of loss of life and property through hands-on demonstrations and publication of data and project reports.

GIS Day 2006: Discovering The World Through GIS.

GIS day11/08/2006 -- This international event provides an opportunity for the public to learn more about the real-world applications of geography and geographic information systems (GIS) technology.  GIS Day is celebrated during Geography Awareness Week (Nov. 12-18). The Ohio Water Science Center is participating in GIS Day through events at Miami University. There will be a poster and presentations about Ohio ’s StreamStats and Ohio ’s Aquatic Gap Analysis Program, two of many Ohio Water Science Center studies made possible through the use of GIS. A GIS is a system of computer software, hardware, and data that allows a user to analyze, manipulate, present, and store information tied to a spatial location.

Simulation Of Streamflow And Water Quality To Determine Fecal Coliform And Nitrate Concentrations And Loads In The Mad River Basin, Ohio.

10/19/2006 -- A new USGS Report describes the development and calibration of a model to simulate streamflow and water quality in the Mad River Basin, Ohio. The model was developed in support of a Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) that will be prepared by the Ohio EPA. A TMDL is a calculation of the maximum amount of a pollutant that a stream can receive and still meet state water-quality standards. Load reduction scenarios prescribed by Ohio EPA are simulated by the model, and the resulting loads are presented. The simulations assess whether the source-reduction scenarios will achieve Ohio EPA target water quality concentrations and loads.
  Mad River picture

World Water Monitoring Day – October 15, 2006.

World10/04/2006 -- Citizens around the world are invited to participate in World Water Monitoring Day and test four key indicators of water quality: temperature, pH, dissolved oxygen, and turbidity. Submitted data are put into an online database, with reports available to the public. Since the program began in 2002, more than 80,000 people from 50 countries have taken part in this opportunity to positively affect the health of rivers, lakes, and other water bodies. There are many USGS events in observance of World Water Monitoring Day. The event is coordinated by the Water Environment Federation and International Water Association.

Predicting Recreational Water Quality At Lake Erie Beaches.

Predicting Recreational Water09/26/2006 -- Data collected from five Lake Erie beaches were used to develop predictive models for recreational water quality. The best model for each beach was based on a unique combination of environmental and water-quality variables including turbidity, rainfall, wave height, water temperature, day of the year, wind direction, and lake level. Predictions based on the model for Huntington Beach, Bay Village, Ohio were available to the public during the 2006 recreational season through an Internet–based "nowcasting" system. The methods used in this study are described in a new USGS report and can be applied at similar coastal beaches.

Ground-Water Divides In Great Lakes Basin Described In Report.

A compilation of regional ground-water09/12/2006 -- A compilation of regional ground-water  divides for the principal aquifers in the Great Lakes Basin (United States) is presented in a recently published USGS report by R.A. Sheets and L.A. Simonson. The divides mark the boundary between ground-water flow that discharges to the Great Lakes or their tributaries and ground-water flow that discharges to other major surface-water bodies, such as the Mississippi River. A composite ground-water divide for the region is estimated to generally follow the surface-water divide, except in areas where anthropogenic or natural factors might affect its position.  Another paper by W.F. Coon and R.A. Sheets, Estimate of Ground Water in Storage in the Great Lakes Basin, United States, 2006, was recently published as well.

Lake County, Ohio, Flood Exceeded 500-Year Level.

Lake County, Ohio, Flood Exceeded 500-Year Level.08/07/2006 -- According to preliminary field studies and analyses by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), the peak streamflow of the Grand River near Painesville, Lake County, on July 28 exceeded the 500-year flood statistic. A 500-year flood—the maximum for which the USGS computes statistics—is the peak streamflow that has only a 1 in 500 chance of being equalled or exceeded in any given year. (More...) (35KB pdf)

Real-Time Data For Rocky River Now Available On Web.

Real-Time Data For Rocky River Now Available On Web.01/17/2006 -- The USGS and Cleveland Metroparks, along with several nonprofit sport fishing groups and the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District are partnering to upgrade the Rocky River stream gage near Berea, Ohio. The upgraded gage transmits real-time temperature, stage (depth) and discharge (flow) data; data are available by way of the Internet (click for data). These data are collected from automated equipment and represent the most current stream conditions.

Results Of Ohio River Study Released.

View of dye plume looking downstream from injection site.07/05/2006 -- A new USGS online report presents data from a study of water velocity, river bathymetry, and mixing in a reach of the Ohio River upstream from Cincinnati. The study, done in cooperation with the Greater Cincinnati Water Works, the Northern Kentucky Water District, and the American Water Works Association Research Foundation, involved injection and downstream tracking of fluorescent red rhodamine WT dye. (Click on image at right to see an enlarged view.) Results are being used in developing computer models to describe stream characteristics in detail, including the pathways of water and water-soluble substances through that reach of the river.

Pilot Study At Huntington Beach, Ohio, Nowcasting Beach Safety Advisories.

Pilot Study At Huntington Beach, Ohio, Nowcasting Beach Safety06/12/2006 -- Before you head to Huntington Beach, check the Nowcast on This summer, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and the Cuyahoga County Board of Health are testing a system to quickly estimate bacteria levels and provide beach advisories to swimmers headed to Huntington Beach in Bay Village, Ohio. By 9:30 each morning the Nowcast will be posted for the day, enabling swimmers to access advisory information before they leave for the beach. "The Nowcast system is similar to a weather forecast except current conditions instead of future conditions are estimated," said Donna Francy, USGS research hydrologist for the study. "Current bacteria levels are estimated using a computer model especially calibrated for Huntington Beach, which takes into account current weather and environmental conditions." (More...) (108KB pdf)

Stream Ecology, Ground Water, And Microbiology Research Presented At National Water Monitoring Conference.

05/30/2006 -- Scientists from the USGS Ohio Water Science Center presented three papers, a poster, and taught a course at the 2006 National Monitoring Conference “Monitoring networks: connecting for clean water.” Julie Berkman presented a paper on the effects of multi-scale environmental characteristics on agricultural stream biota in the Midwestern USA and coauthored a poster on the relations of hydrologic and physical characteristics to aquatic assemblages in low-gradient streams in agricultural settings. Sandra Eberts talked about the application of ground water dating techniques for evaluating the susceptibility of aquifers and public-supply wells to contamination and led a short course on ground water vulnerability. Rebecca Bushon presented research on the IMS/ATP rapid method for the determination of E. coli concentrations in recreational waters. Over 850 attendees from the U.S. and abroad participated in the conference.

The conference showcased the USGS National Water-Quality Assessment Program (NAWQA). For the past 15 years, USGS scientists with the NAWQA program have been collecting and analyzing data about water chemistry, hydrology, stream habitat, aquatic life, and land use from major river basins and aquifers across the Nation. Two of these study units are partly in Ohio : the Great and Little Miami River Basins and the Lake Erie-Lake St. Clair Drainages.

USGS Report Describes Occurrence Of Volatile Organic Compounds In Ground Water.

USGS Report Describes Occurrence of volatile organic compounds in ground water05/10/2006 -- The occurrence of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in ground water and drinking-water supply wells sampled during 1985-2002 is described in a new USGS report and summarized in an accompanying fact sheet. VOCs are produced in large volumes and are associated with a myriad of products, such as plastics, adhesives, paints, gasoline, fumigants, refrigerants, and dry-cleaning fluids. The analysis is based on about 3,500 water samples from aquifer systems across the Nation, including two study units partly in Ohio : the Lake Erie-Lake St. Clair Drainages and the Great and Little Miami River Basins. To date, this is the most comprehensive national-scale analysis of VOC occurrence and distribution in the Nation’s ground water. (More ...)

Report On Post-Hurricane Water Quality In Lake Pontchartrain, Louisiana Nets Award.

05/10/2006 -- Report on post-hurricane water quality in LakeThe USGS Ohio Water Science Center won a Special Achievement Award, one of the David A. Aronson Awards, with a report titled, “Bacteriological Water Quality in the Lake Pontchartrain Basin, Louisiana, Following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, September 2005.” The Aronson Award is presented annually by the USGS Northeastern Region for the reports that best demonstrate timeliness, scientific content, organization, and clarity of expression. This report was released only six weeks after Hurricane Rita and demonstrated how quickly the USGS can respond to a disaster, collect data, and publish the results. The Ohio Water Science Center effectively used online publication to ensure rapid availability of the information. The report includes an interactive map for easy access to graphs displaying the bacteria data.

Eastern Ohio Flooding Issues Presented.

flood_damage_199004/20/2006 -- USGS Scientist Scott Jackson presented water management and flooding issues to the Eastern Ohio Leadership Council, at Belmont Technical College in St. Clairsville, Ohio.  Jackson described the long and damaging flooding-history of Belmont County, including the 1990 Shadyside flood, as well as practical applications of scientific data to land management and water issues to emergency response personnel, governing officials, and property owners.shadyshide_map

Click to see larger map>>


Computer Application To Integrate Watershed And Transportation Planning Exhibited At National Conference.

watershed_transportation_dss_tool04/04/2006 -- A geographic information system (GIS)- based application to integrate watershed management with transportation planning in northeast Ohio was featured at the USGS exhibit booth of the 2006 GIS for Transportation Symposium (GIS-T) in Columbus, OH. USGS Ohio Water Science Center biologist Stephanie Kula demonstrated the application, called a decision support system, which was developed by the USGS in partnership with the Cuyahoga River Community Planning Organization, Ohio Lake Erie Commission, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the Ohio Department of Transportation. About 500 people from local, state, and Federal government, academia, and private industry participated in the GIS-T national meeting, which included workshops, presentations, and a map competition.

The primary goal of the decision support system is to provide environmental information in a map and tabular form about a project area and affected watersheds so that users can make informed decisions early in the planning process. Although transportation planning is commonly based on political boundaries, stressors to the natural environment can better be evaluated using a watershed-based analysis. More information about this decision support system can be found on the Web site of the Midwest Natural Resources Group.

Additional USGS activities at the GIS-T conference included a presentation by Charley Hickman of the USGS- Geospatial Information Office about the National Geospatial Program Office as related to transportation framework partnerships. Stephanie Kula and Helmut Lestinsky (USGS- Geospatial Information Office) served as judges for the cartographic, analytical, and transportation map competitions.

Stream Gages Threatened Or Recently Discontinued.

03/15/2006 -- Stream gages in Ohio and throughout the Nation are being threatened with complete discontinuation or conversion from stage (depth) and discharge (flow) to stage only. Ohio has a long history of stream gaging. (More ...)

USGS Scientists Coordinate And Judge Science Olympiad Tournament.

Science Olympiad Tournament, 200603/15/2006 -- Hydrologists Rodney Sheets (event coordinator), Sandy Eberts, and Sandy Coen (judges) presided over the Grandview Heights Regional Science Olympiad tournament--Awesome Aquifer competition on Saturday, March 4, 2006. About 30 central-Ohio 7th and 8th grade students took two written exams that were primarily based on USGS circulars and reports and ground-water hydrology concepts. The students also made their own desktop aquifers and explained fundamental concepts of ground-water hydrology using their aquifers. A team from Pickerington Lakeview Junior High won the competition with a score of 46/51; the host school, Grandview Heights Middle School came in second with a score of 45.5/51. The Grandview Heights Regional tournament was one of eight regional tourneys in Ohio preceding the State Science Olympiad Tournament, to be held at The Ohio State University April 29, 2006 (schedule). 

A Tribute To Dr. Luna B. Leopold - Retired USGS Chief Hydrologist.

Dr. Luna B. Leopold03/10/2006 -- Luna B. Leopold, former USGS Chief Hydrologist and a pioneer in geomorphology, died February 23, at the age of 90. (More ...)



USGS Report Describes Occurrence Of Pesticides In Streams And Ground Water.

USGS pesticides report, 200603/08/2006 -- The occurrence of pesticides in streams and ground water during 1992-2001 is described in a new USGS report and summarized in an accompanying fact sheet. The analysis is based on 51 major river basins and aquifer systems across the Nation, including two partly in Ohio: the Lake Erie-Lake St. Clair Drainages and the Great and Little Miami River Basins and to date is the most comprehensive national-scale analysis of pesticide occurrence and concentrations in streams and ground water. (More ...)

National Ground Water Awareness Week – March 13-17, 2006.

03/08/2006 -- Ground water is the water that seeps into the ground and fills the pores and cracks in the rocks below the surface. In Ohio, about 900 million gallons of ground water per day (Mgal/d) was pumped in 2000. This was 35 percent of all water withdrawn (excluding that for thermoelectric power production). Ground water was the source of 34 percent of all Ohio public-supply water (about 500 Mgal/d), 98 percent of domestic, non-public-supply water (about 130 Mgal/d), and 40 percent of water withdrawn for livestock, aquaculture, and irrigation combined (about 23 Mgal/d). National Ground Water Awareness Week is sponsored by the National Ground Water (NGWA). The Ohio Water Science Center is currently involved in several ground-water studies, including the ground-water component of the Tuscarawas River Basin study. Also, a ground water observation well was recently installed by the USGS and NGWA at NGWA headquarters in Westerville. More information on ground water can be found at the USGS Ground Water Information Page and the Groundwater Foundation.

Research On Predicting Water Quality At Lake Erie Beaches Presented At Two Meetings.

02/22/2006 -- USGS scientists, along with local and state agencies in Ohio, are working to develop fast and accurate predictive models for beach water quality, as measured bylake_erie_beach_map concentrations of E. coli. The Lake Erie beaches include Lakeview (Lorain), Huntington Reservation (Bay Village), Edgewater Park (Cleveland), Villa Angela (Cleveland), and Lakeshore Park (Ashtabula). For Huntington Reservation, where investigations are furthest along, predictive models have been found to be more accurate than the current method for assessing water quality (using the previous day’s E. coli concentration), based on data from 2000–2005. 

A poster describing this research was recently presented by USGS scientist Donna Francy at the “Public Health Risks: Coastal Observations for Decision Making” workshop in St. Petersburg, Florida ( This meeting, sponsored by the Joint Office for Science Support of the National Center for Atmospheric Research, was attended by about 75 scientists, managers, and public officials representing Federal, state, and local agencies, universities, and nongovernmental organizations throughout the United States, including Ohio. 

This research is being done in cooperation with the Cuyahoga County Board of Health, Ohio Lake Erie Office, Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District, and the Ohio Water Development Authority. Because of the cooperative nature of the project, the poster was also recently presented by Jim Morris, Director of the USGS Ohio Water Science Center, at the Second National Stakeholder Roundtable for the Cooperative Water Program, held in Austin, Texas. This meeting was attended by more than 100 people from 20 states.

A Life Saved By Heroic Act Honorees.

USGS employees save drowning victim.02/14/2006 -- On February 13, 2006, Rob Darner, Andrew Ebner, Greg Hren, and Dennis Kumfer received the U.S. Department of the Interior Exemplary Heroic Act Award for saving a drowning swimmer in Lake Erie near Cleveland, Ohio. The USGS team was installing a buoy outfitted with a variety of hydrologic-data collecting instruments about 500 feet offshore of Edgewater Beach when they heard a swimmer calling for help. One team member threw a flotation device to a team member in the water who relayed it to the swimmer. Together the other team members moved the swimmer to shallow water. Thanks to the quick and coordinated actions of the USGS team on August 2, 2005, the swimmer's life was saved. 

(photo caption: (left to right), Jim Morris, Director of the USGS Ohio Water Science Center, is pictured with the Heroic Act Honorees, Rob Darner, Dennis Kumfer, Greg Hren and Andrew Ebner).

Maumee Bay Report Describes Search For Bacterial-Contamination Sources.

Maumee Bay report describes search for bacterial-contamination sources.01/13/2006 -- Multiple means of determining the spatial distribution of Escherichia coli (E. coli) bacteria and identifying factors that can affect E. coli concentrations were used to investigate a popular bathing beach in northwest Ohio—Maumee Bay State Park (MBSP). Results of the study show that a ditch that discharges 75 meters east of the bathing beach is a principal source of E. coli and that turbidity and rainfall were positively correlated with E. coli concentrations at MBSP. Full details are given in a recently released USGS report. More...

USGS Begins Water-Resource Study In The Tuscarawas River Basin Of Eastern Ohio.

01/13/2006 -- The USGS has begun the first phase of a three-phase hydrogeologic study of water resources in the Tuscarawas River Basin. The research was prompted by increases in population and dependence on ground water in the basin, which drains part of 13 counties in eastern Ohio and is an important source of drinking water for the 600,000 people living in the area. An important part of the study will be to evaluate the influence of land use on the quantity and quality of water in different hydrologic settings. More...

USGS Ohio Water Science Center Bids Farewell To Eight Employees.

USGS employees leaving, 200601/13/2006 -- Very recently, the USGS offered retirement buyouts and an early-out authority.  As a result, eight Ohio Water Science Center employees left in January 2006 to enrich their lives with other endeavors.  Farewell ceremonies for all eight were held on January 3, in the Grand Pavilion at the Marriott North in Columbus.  The departing employees are (back row) Janet Welday, Steve Hatch, Monico Torres, Joyce McClure, Laura Torres, (front row) Sandy Beck, Jeff deRoche, and Harold Shindel.

Bankfull Characteristics Of Ohio Streams Described In New Report.

Bankfull Project01/13/2006 --Under natural conditions, spatially varying landscape factors such as topography, climate, geologic setting, vegetative cover, and position within the drainage network affect the energy balance of streams and consequently lead to spatial variation in their geomorphic forms. Many of these same factors also affect peak streamflow characteristics, so a strong relation between peak streamflows and stream channel dimensions is common. A USGS study explored the relations between geomorphic, drainage-basin, and flood characteristics of streams in Ohio; study results should be an aid in the design of hydraulic structures, such as culverts and bridges, where stability of the stream and structure is an important element of the design criteria. Full details are given in a recently released USGS report. More...

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