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Illinois Water Science Center

USGS Office


Water Science Center


USGS Water Science Centers are located in each state.

There is a USGS Water Science Center office in each State. Washington Oregon California Idaho Nevada Montana Wyoming Utah Colorado Arizona New Mexico North Dakota South Dakota Nebraska Kansas Oklahoma Texas Minnesota Iowa Missouri Arkansas Louisiana Wisconsin Illinois Mississippi Michigan Indiana Ohio Kentucky Tennessee Alabama Pennsylvania West Virginia Georgia Florida Caribbean Alaska Hawaii New York Vermont New Hampshire Maine Massachusetts South Carolina North Carolina Rhode Island Virginia Connecticut New Jersey Maryland-Delaware-D.C.

About the Illinois Water Science Center

The Illinois Water Science Center (WSC) is one of 48 Water Science Centers in the Water Resources Discipline of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). The Water Science Center's mission is to collect, analyze and disseminate the impartial hydrologic data and information needed to wisely manage water resources for the people of the United States and the State of Illinois.

The USGS Illinois Water Science Center has three offices - the main Science Center Office in Urbana and two satellite offices in De Kalb and Mt. Vernon.

Contact information for the main Illinois WSC office:

Illinois Water Science Center
405 N Goodwin
Urbana, IL  61801
(217) 328-USGS (8747)

Maps and directions to the Illinois Water Science Center offices

Studies conducted by the USGS Illinois Water Science Center encompass the following hydrologic disciplines and related scientific fields:

  • Surface-water hydrology and hydraulics
  • Ground-water hydrology
  • Water and sediment chemistry
  • Geology
  • Geochemistry
  • Biology
  • Ecology
  • Limnology
  • Geomorphology
  • Cartography and Geographic Information Systems
  • Sedimentology

The USGS Illinois Water Science Center collects data, conducts interpretive water-resources appraisals and research, and disseminates information in a timely manner. Studies encompass the four following areas: Hydrologic Data Collection, Hydrologic-Data Bases, Hydrologic Studies, and Hydrologic-Analytical Techniques.

Hydrologic Data Collection

The collection of hydrologic data is an important service provided by the USGS Illinois Water Science Center in cooperation with Federal, State, and local agencies. The Illinois Water Science Center operates and maintains a network of more than 150 streamflow-gaging stations throughout the State. Data from more than 100 of these stations are made available to the public by satellite and telephone telemetry.

The USGS Illinois Water Science Center collects many different types of data including:

  • Stream discharge
  • Water velocity in streams and lakes
  • Water quality of streams, lakes, and aquifers
  • Ground-water levels
  • Precipitation quantity
  • Sediment concentration, size, and rates of deposition
  • Biological and morphological data of streams and lakes

Water-quality sampling and analysis are conducted for a variety of constituents:

  • Major inorganics
  • Trace elements
  • Dissolved gases
  • Pesticides
  • Organic solvents and petrochemicals
  • Biological indicators
  • Nutrients
  • Isotopes
  • Physical characteristics
Checking a gaging station Collecting groundwater sample

Hydrologic-Data Bases

Water-related data are maintained in the National Water Information System (NWIS) and are available to the public. This data base includes:

  • Surface-water data
  • Ground-water data
  • Water-quality data
  • Water-use data
  • Geographic data
Plotting hydrograph Making a digital map

Hydrologic Studies

Helping to solve water-related problems is the primary objective of hydrologic studies conducted by the USGS Illinois Water Science Center. Water issues that are addressed in these studies include:

  • Water quality and supply
  • Environmental contamination
  • Effects of toxic substances in water, sediment, and biota
  • Aquifer characterization
  • Sediment transport and chemistry
  • Causes and effects of flooding
  • Water use
  • Rainfall-runoff relations
  • Ground-water/surface-water interaction
  • Evaluation of scour at bridges
  • Effects of agriculture and other land uses on water quality
  • Water-quality assessment of lakes and reservoirs
Performing a dye study Collecting organic matter

Hydrologic-Analytical Techniques

The studies done by the USGS Illinois Water Science Center utilize traditional methods and state-of-the-art techniques of data analysis. These methods and techniques are designed to meet the objectives of each study:

  • Watershed modeling
  • Flood-frequency analysis
  • Sediment-transport analysis
  • Ground-water flow and solute-transport modeling
  • Acoustic velocity measurement systems
  • Geographic Information Systems (GIS)
  • Borehole drilling and core sampling
  • Surface and borehole geophysics
  • Analysis of aquatic organisms
  • Immunoassay
Drilling a well Drilling a well with a big rig

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Page Last Modified: Thursday, 19-Jun-2014 10:20:14 CDT