New England Water Science Center

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Selected U.S. Geological Survey Activities in New England in 2017

The New England Water Science Center is headquartered in Pembroke, New Hampshire, with offices in East Hartford, Connecticut; Augusta, Maine; Northborough, Massachusetts; and Montpelier, Vermont. The areas of expertise covered by the Water Science Center’s staff of 130 include aquatic biology, chemistry, geographic information systems, geology, sciences and hydrologic engineering, and water use.

The New England Water Science Center conducts water-resources investigations for more than 100 cooperators who provide financial and technical support; among these cooperators are the following:

  • Departments of Transportation in Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Vermont
  • Departments of Environmental Protection, Conservation, and Services in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont
  • Universities of Maine, Massachusetts, and Vermont
  • U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
  • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
  • Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
  • National Park Service (NPS)
  • National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
  • International Joint Commission
  • More than 40 municipalities
  • International aid agencies
  • International government agencies
  • The New England Water Science Center was established in 2012 with the merger of the four former Water Science Centers in New England (Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts-Rhode Island, and New Hampshire-Vermont). This merger has led to a single organizational structure for water activities of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) in the six New England States, while maintaining current USGS operations and offices.

    The merger was designed to create and enhance science and data collection techniques in the region by fostering greater integration of our scientists to address the needs of the USGS and our many cooperators and collaborators. The merger also allowed the USGS to minimize duplication of effort and have a common voice for our regional and Federal partners.

    Current Water-Resources Activities of the USGS Throughout New England

    • Streamflow monitoring at more than 440 locations throughout New England for many water-resources management purposes, including flood forecasting, water-quality protection, and drought tracking
    • Groundwater monitoring at nearly 300 wells throughout New England for water-resources management and drought tracking
    • Producing updated flood hazard area maps for FEMA in response to recent major flooding events and the need to update old flood-hazard maps
    • Creating more than 200 monitoring sites along the New England coastline to monitor major storm surges from tropical storms and Nor’easters
    • Determining how changes in New England and the Nation’s waters reflect changes from climate and other watershed features
    • Providing technical support to the EPA’s Waste Division on contaminated waste site remediation
    • National and regional assessments of groundwater and surface-water quality for the USGS National Water-Quality Program


    Figure 1. Streamflow gages of the U.S. Geological Survey
    in New England in March 2015.

    Selected Activities in New England by State


    • Using new robust statistical analysis techniques for the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection to evaluate and provide information on long-term trends in water quality from watersheds in the State and the status of the efforts to reduce nitrogen levels to Long Island Sound.
    • Determining new peak streamflow statistics through a cooperative study with the Connecticut Department of Transportation and using these results for an updated Streamstats application for Connecticut. The result is that estimates of high flows can be created anywhere in the State.
    • Developing a streamflow sustainable-yield tool that is based on new statistical analysis techniques and a new water-use database, in cooperation with the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.


    • Analyzing for the Maine Department of Transportation, streamflow data across the State so that streamflow can be predicted for any stream location. This information is critical for designing road size and other infrastructure.
    • Participating in a large international effort to better understand how climate changes and direct human influences, such as land-use change, affect the magnitude of extreme high flooding flows over time.
    • Determining the best way to manage flows in the Great Meadow wetlands at Acadia National Park, in cooperation with the National Park Service. These wetlands are one of the most important historical and cultural landscapes in the National Park.


    • Developing a streamflow sustainable-yield tool for the State that is based on new statistical analysis techniques and a new water-use database. This study is in cooperation with the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection.
    • Using state-of-the-art, automated water sample collection methods to quantify the total concentration of nutrients and metals that are transported daily in the Blackstone River at the State line between Massachusetts and Rhode Island, and in
    tributaries of the Cambridge Reservoir in Cambridge. This information will help protect the quality of water supplies for the City.
    • Working with the EPA and the Cape Cod Commission to evaluate nitrogen levels in groundwater as a result of nutrient reduction measures on Cape Cod.

    New Hampshire

    • Assessing how possible climate change will affect river flows throughout the State, in cooperation with the New Hampshire Departments of Health and Human Services and Environmental Services.
    • Developing data and tools to predict when certain beaches may be closed due to excessive bacteria, in cooperation with the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services.
    • Determining areas along roadways where possible iron staining will occur, in cooperation with the New Hampshire Department of Transportation.

    Rhode Island

    • Working with the Providence Water Supply Board to characterize the flows and quality of streams draining into the Scituate Reservoir, the primary source of drinking water for more than 60 percent of the population of Rhode Island.
    • Using new robust statistical analysis techniques to evaluate long-term trends in water quality from watersheds in Rhode Island and to estimate the delivery of nitrogen into Narragansett Bay.


    • Identifying for the Lake Champlain Basin Program, long-term changes in phosphorus loads entering Lake Champlain and tributaries.
    • Conducting research on the effect of ski area development on the hydrology and water quality of mountain streams, in cooperation with the Vermont Department of Parks, Forestry, and Recreation; and the University of Vermont.
    • Developing new flood predictions for the Lake Champlain and Richelieu River in Canada, in cooperation with the International Joint Commission and Canadian government agencies.

    Contact Information

    New England Water Science Center and New Hampshire-Vermont office

    Keith Robinson, Director
    Telephone: (603) 226–7807 (office)
    (603) 986–2327 (cell phone)

    Maine office

    Robert Lent
    Telephone: (207) 622–6602

    Massachusetts-Rhode Island office

    Matt Ely
    Telephone: (508) 490–5040

    Connecticut office

    Jon Morrison
    Telephone: (860) 291–6761

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Page Last Modified: Wednesday, 25-Oct-2017 16:03:36 EDT