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New England Water Science Center - Massachusetts Office

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What We Do

The staff of Massachusetts Office:

  • Operates local and statewide networks to collect high-quality water data that define natural and human-induced hydrologic conditions and maintain real-time and historical data bases.
  • Analyze hydrologic processes through research projects that increase understanding of important water-resource issues and to promote informed decision making.
  • Disseminate unbiased hydrologic information through peer-reviewed interpretive and data publications.

Data collection and interpretive studies are done to support state-wide water-resource infrastructure and management needs and are part of the USGS science strategy to address the water-resource priorities of the nation and global trends in:

  • Ecosystem status and change
  • Climate variability and change
  • Energy and mineral management
  • National hazard risk and assessment
  • Environmental risk to human health
  • Water use and availability

Water Data Collection

Water data collection, processing, analysis, dissemination, and archiving are major parts of the Massachusetts Office program. Streamflow data, for example, are used for flood and water-supply forecasts, planning and design, river regulation, streamflow statistics, and research investigations. Much of the data are available on a near-real-time basis by satellite telemetry. Types of real-time data currently collected include:

  • Streamflow data for 109 gaging stations
  • Ground-water level data at 15 wells
  • Water-quality data for 10 sites
  • Weather data at 9 sites

USGS data are stored and maintained in long-term, quality-assured data bases. The data bases contain data for Massachusetts and the rest of the nation. A majority of the data are readily accessible to the public through NWIS web. The data include:

  • Streamflow, reservoir, and lake data
  • Ground-water data
  • Continuous and discrete water-quality data
  • Water-use data
  • Geographic Information System (GIS) data


Hydrologic research projects done by the MA Office staff are done with the purpose to describe and understand the Earth; minimize loss of life and property from natural hazards; manage water, biological, energy, and mineral resources; and enhance and protect our quality of life.help cooperating agencies solve water problems. Research projects with the data collection activities of the MA Office make it an be an indispensible resource:

  • to Massachusetts water managers on watershed andwater-supply assessment tools and information
  • on flood-hazard and drought assessment of Massachusetts riverine and coastal resources, both in real-time and post-flood analysis
  • on vulnerability analysis for water-borne contaminants in Massachusetts's ground- and surface-water systems
  • to Massachusetts hazardous-waste program managers on waste-site characterization, analysis tools, and information, and the authority on cutting-edge, hazardous-waste-site remediation research

MA Office project work address many water issues:

  • Water-quantity and -quality assessments
  • Toxic substances in natural waters and biota
  • Rural and urban nonpoint pollution
  • Saltwater intrusion
  • Surface-water / groundwater interactions
  • Sediment transport and chemistry
  • Effects of climate change
  • Wetland functions and hydrology
  • Aquifer and streamflow characterizations
  • Frequency and magnitude of droughts and floods


The Massachusetts Office provides water-information publications on many topics and in many formats. From this Web page, you can locate, view, download, or order scientific and technical articles and reports as well as general interest publications such as booklets, fact sheets, pamphlets, and posters resulting from the research performed by our scientists and partners.

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URL: http://ma.water.usgs.gov/about/what_we_do.html
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Page Last Modified: Wednesday, 28-Nov-2018 13:32:40 EST