DEFINITION OF TERMS

Terms related to streamflow, water-quality, and other hydrologic data, as used in this report, are defined below. See also table for converting English units to International System (SI) Units on the inside of the back cover.

Acid neutralizing capacity (ANC) is the equivalent sum of all bases or base-producing materials, solutes plus particulates, in an aqueous system that can be titrated with acid to an equivalence point. This term designates titration of an "unfiltered" sample (formerly reported as alkalinity).

Alkalinity is the capacity of solutes in an aqueous system to neutralize acid. This term designates titration of a "filtered" sample.

Annual runoff is the total quantity of water in runoff for a drainage area for the year. Data reports may use any of the following units of measurement in presenting annual runoff data:

Acre-foot (AC-FT, acre-ft) is the quantity of water required to cover 1 acre to a depth of 1 foot and is equal to 43,560 cubic feet, 325,851 gallons, or 1,233 cubic meters

Cubic foot per second per square mile [CFSM, (ft3/s)/mi2] is the average number of cubic feet of water flowing per second from each square mile of area drained, assuming the runoff is distributed uniformly in time and area.

Inch (IN., in.) as used in this report, refers to the depth to which the drainage area would be covered with water if all of the runoff for a given time period were uniformly distributed on it.

Bacteria are microscopic unicellular organisms, typically spherical, rodlike, or spiral and threadlike in shape, often clumped into colonies. Some bacteria cause disease, while others perform an essential role in nature in the recycling of materials; for example, by decomposing organic matter into a form available for reuse by plants.

Fecal coliform bacteria are bacteria that are present in the intestine or feces of warm-blooded animals. They are often used as indicators of the sanitary quality of the water. In the laboratory, they are defined as all organisms that produce blue colonies within 24 hours when incubated at 44.5 °C plus or minus 0.2°C on M-FC medium (nutrient medium for bacterial growth). Their concentrations are expressed as number of colonies per 100 mL of sample.

Fecal streptococcal bacteria are bacteria found in the intestine of warm-blooded animals. Their presence in water is considered to verify fecal pollution. They are characterized as gram-positive, cocci bacteria that are capable of growth in brain-heart infusion broth. In the laboratory, they are defined as all the organisms that produce red or pink colonies within 48 hours at 35°C plus or minus 1.0 °C on KF-streptococcus medium (nutrient medium for bacterial growth). Their concentrations are expressed as number of colonies per 100 mL of sample.

Non-ideal colony count (K) is a remark code used in reporting bacteria densities when plate counts fall outside of an ideal range. The lower limit of 20 colonies is set as the number below which statistically valid results become increasingly questionable. The upper limit, which differs according to type of bacteria, represents numbers above which interference from colony crowding, deposition of extraneous material, and other factors appear to result in increasingly questionable results.

Base flow is flow in a channel sustained by ground-water discharge in the absence of direct runoff.

Bed material is the sediment mixture of which a streambed, lake, pond, reservoir, or estuary bottom is composed.

Biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) is a measure of the quantity of dissolved oxygen, in milligrams per liter, necessary for the decomposition of organic matter by microorganisms, such as bacteria.

Bottom material: See "Bed material."

Cells/volume refers to the number of plankton cells or natural units counted using a microscope and grid or counting cell. Results are generally reported as cells or units per milliliter.

Chemical oxygen demand (COD) is a measure of the chemically oxidizable material in the water and furnishes an approximation of the amount of organic and reducing material present. The determined value may correlate with BOD or with carbonaceous organic pollution from sewage or industrial wastes.

Chlorophyll refers to the green pigments of plants. Chlorophyll a and b are the two most common green pigments in plants.

Color unit is produced by 1 milligram per liter of platinum in the form of the chloroplatinate ion. Color is expressed in units of the platinum- cobalt scale.

Confined aquifer is a term used to describe an aquifer containing water between two relatively impermeable boundaries. The water level in a well tapping a confined aquifer stands above the top of the confined aquifer and can be higher or lower than the water table that may be present in the material above it. In some cases the water level can rise above the ground surface, yielding a flowing well.

Contents is the volume of water in a reservoir or lake. Unless otherwise indicated, volume is computed on the basis of a level pool and does not include bank storage.

Continuous-record station is a site that meets either of the following conditions:

  1. Stage or streamflow are recorded at some interval on a continuous basis. The recording interval is usually 15 minutes, but may be less or more frequent.
  2. Water-quality, sediment, or other hydrologic measure-ments are recorded at least daily.

Control designates a feature in the channel downstream from a gaging station that physically influences the water-surface elevation and thereby determines the stage-discharge relation at the station. This feature may be a constriction of the channel, a bedrock outcrop, a gravel bar, an artificial structure, or a uniform cross section over a long reach of the channel.

Control structure as used in this report is a structure on a stream or canal that is used to regulate the flow or stage of the stream or to prevent the intrusion of saltwater.

Crest-stage gage is a device for obtaining the elevation of the flood crest of a stream.

Cubic foot per second (CFS, ft3/s) is the rate of discharge representing a volume of 1 cubic foot passing a given point in 1 second. It is equivalent to approximately 7.48 gallons per second, 448.8 gallons per minute, or 0.02832 cubic meters per second.

Cubic foot per second-day (CFS-DAY, Cfs-day, [(ft3/s)/d]) is the volume of water represented by a flow of 1 cubic foot per second for 24 hours. It is equivalent to 86,400 cubic feet, 1.9835 acre-feet, 646,317 gallons, or 2,447 cubic meters.

Daily record is a summary of streamflow, sediment, or water-quality values computed from data collected with sufficient frequency to obtain reliable estimates of daily mean values.

Daily record station is a site for which daily records of streamflow, sediment, or water-quality values are computed.

Datum, as used in this report, is an elevation above mean sea level to which all gage height readings are referenced.

Discharge, or flow, is the volume of water (or more broadly, volume of fluid including solid- and dissolved-phase material), that passes a given point in a given period of time.

Annual 7-day minimum is the lowest mean discharge for 7 consecutive days in a year. Note that most low-flow frequency analyses of annual 7-day minimum flows use a climatic year (April 1-March 31). The date shown in the summary statistics table is the initial date of the 7-day period. (This value should not be confused with the 7-day 10-year low-flow statistic.)

Instantaneous discharge is the discharge at a particular instant of time.

Mean discharge (MEAN) is the arithmetic mean of individual daily mean discharges during a specific period.

Dissolved refers to that material in a representative water sample that passes through a 0.45-micrometer membrane filter. This is a convenient operational definition used by Federal agencies that collect water data. Determinations of "dissolved" constituents are made on subsamples of the filtrate.

Dissolved oxygen (DO) content of water in equilibrium with air is a function of atmospheric pressure, temperature, and dissolved-solids concentration of the water. The ability of water to retain oxygen decreases with increasing temperature or dissolved solids, with small temperature changes having the more significant offset. Photosynthesis and respiration may cause diurnal variations in dissolved-oxygen concentration in water from some streams.

Dissolved-solids concentration of water is determined either analytically by the "residue-on-evaporation" method, or mathematically by totaling the concentrations of individual constituents reported in a comprehensive chemical analysis. During that analytical determination of dissolved solids, the bicarbonate (generally a major dissolved component of water) is converted to carbonate. Therefore, in the mathematical calculation of dissolved-solids concentration, the bicarbonate value, in milligrams per liter, is multiplied by 0.4926 to reflect the change. Alternatively, alkalinity concentration (as mg/L CaCO3) can be converted to carbonate concentration by multiplying by 0.60.

Drainage area of a site on a stream is that area, measured in a horizontal plane, that has a common outlet at the site for its surface runoff. Figures of drainage area given herein include all closed basins, or noncontributing areas, within the area unless otherwise specified.

Drainage basin is a part of the Earth's surface that is occupied by a drainage system with a common outlet for its surface runoff (see " Drainage area").

Flow (see "Discharge").

Flow-duration percentiles are values on a scale of 100 that indicate the percentage of time for which a flow is not exceeded. For example, the 90th percentile of river flow is greater than or equal to 90 percent of all recorded flow rates.

Gage datum is the elevation of the zero point of the reference gage from which gage height is determined as compared to sea level (see " Datum"). This elevation is established by a system of levels from known benchmarks, by approximation from topographic maps, or by geographical positioning system.

Gage height (G.H.) is the water-surface elevation referenced to the gage datum. Gage height is often used interchangeably with the more general term "stage," although gage height is more appropriate when used with a reading on a gage.

Gaging station is a site on a stream, canal, lake, or reservoir where systematic observations of stage, discharge, or other hydrologic data are obtained. When used in connection with a discharge record, the term is applied only to those gaging stations where a continuous record of discharge is computed.

Hardness of water is a physical-chemical characteristic that is commonly recognized by the increased quantity of soap required to produce lather. It is attributable to the presence of alkaline earths (principally calcium and magnesium) and is expressed as the equivalent concentration of calcium carbonate (CaCO3).

Hydrologic unit is a geographic area representing part or all of a surface drainage basin or distinct hydrologic feature as defined by the former Office of Water Data Coordination and delineated on the State Hydrologic Unit Maps by the U.S. Geological Survey. Each hydrologic unit is identified by an 8-digit number.

Land-surface datum (lsd) is a datum plane that is approximately at land surface at each ground-water observation well.

Micrograms per gram (UG/G, μg/g) is a unit expressing the concentration of a chemical constituent as the mass (micrograms) of the element per unit mass (gram) of material analyzed.

Micrograms per liter (UG/L, μg/L) is a unit expressing the concentration of chemical constituents in water as mass (micrograms) of constituent per unit volume (liter) of water. One thousand micrograms per liter is equivalent to 1 milligram per liter.

Microsiemens per centimeter (US/CM, μS/cm) is a unit expressing the amount of electrical conductivity of a solution as measured between opposite faces of a centimeter cube of solution at a specified temperature. Siemens is the International System of Units nomenclature. It is synonymous with mhos and is the reciprocal of resistance in ohms.

Milligrams per liter (MG/L, mg/L) is a unit for expressing the concentration of chemical constituents in water as the mass (milligrams) of constituent per unit volume (liter) of water. Concentration of suspended sediment also is expressed in mg/L and is based on the mass of dry sediment per liter of water-sediment mixture.

Miscellaneous site, or miscellaneous station, is a site where streamflow, sediment, and/or water-quality data are collected once, or more often on a random or discontinuous basis.

National Geodetic Vertical Datum of 1929 NGVD of 1929) is a geodetic datum derived from a general adjustment of the first order level nets of the United States and Canada. It was formerly called "Sea Level Datum of 1929" or "mean sea level" in this series of reports. Although the datum was derived from the average sea level over a period of many years at 26 tide stations along the Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico, and Pacific Coasts, it does not necessarily represent local mean sea level at any particular place. See NOAA web site: http://www.ngs.noaa.gov/faq.shtml#WhatVD29VD88

Nephelometric turbidity unit (NTU) is the measurement for reporting turbidity that is based on use of a standard suspension of Formazin. Turbidity measured in NTU uses nephelometric methods that depend on passing specific light of a specific wavelength through the sample.

Normal as related to meteorological data published by the National Weather Service are computed as the average value of a meteorological element over a time period. Effective January 1, 1993, the average period is 1961 to 1990.

Organic carbon (OC) is a measure of organic matter present in aqueous solution, suspension, or bottom sediments. May be reported as dissolved organic carbon (DOC), suspended organic carbon (SOC), or total organic carbon (TOC).

Parameter Code is a 5-digit number used in the U.S. Geological Survey computerized data system, National Water Information System (NWIS), to uniquely identify a specific constituent or property.

Partial-record station is a site where discrete measurements of one or more hydrologic parameters are obtained over a period of time without continuous data being recorded or computed. A common example is a crest-stage gage partial-record station at which only peak stages and flows are recorded.

Particle size is the diameter, in millimeters (mm), of a particle determined by sieve or sedimentation methods. The sedimentation method utilizes the principle of Stokes Law to calculate sediment particle sizes. Sedimentation methods (pipet, bottom-withdrawal tube, visual-accumulation tube, Sedigraph) determine fall diameter of particles in either distilled water (chemically dispersed) or in native water (the river water at the time and point of sampling).

Particle-size classification used in this report agrees with the recommendation made by the American Geophysical Union Subcommittee on Sediment Terminology. The classification is as follows:

-------------------------------------------------------------
Classification  Size (mm)              Method of analysis
-------------------------------------------------------------
Clay              0.00024  -    0.004  Sedimentation
Silt               .004    -     .062  Sedimentation
Sand               .062    -    2.0    Sedimentation or sieve
Gravel            2.0      -   64.0    Sieve
-------------------------------------------------------------

The particle-size distributions given in this report are not necessarily representative of all particles in transport in the stream. Most of the organic matter is removed, and the sample is subjected to mechanical and chemical dispersion before analysis in distilled water. Chemical dispersion is not used for native water analysis.

Percent composition or percent of total is a unit for expressing the ratio of a particular part of a sample or population to the total sample or population, in terms of types, numbers, weight, or volume.

Pesticides are chemical compounds used to control undesirable organisms. Major categories of pesticides include insecticides, miticides, fungicides, herbicides, and rodenticides.

pH of water is the negative logarithm of the hydrogen-ion activity. Solutions with pH less than 7 are termed "acidic," and solutions with a pH greater than 7 are termed "basic." Solutions with a pH of 7 are neutral. The presence and concentration of many dissolved chemical constituents found in water are, in part, influenced by the hydrogen-ion activity of water. Biological processes including growth, distribution of organisms, and toxicity of the water to organisms are also influenced, in part, by the hydrogen-ion activity of water.

Picocurie (PC, pCi) is one trillionth (1 x 10-12) of the amount of radioactivity represented by a curie (Ci). A curie is the amount of radioactivity that yields 3.7 x 1010 radioactive disintegrations per second. A picocurie yields 2.22 dpm (disintegrations per minute).

Recurrence interval, also referred to as return period, is the average time, usually expressed in years, between occurrences of hydrologic events of a specified type (such as exceedances of a specified high flow or non-exceedance of a specified low flow). The terms "return period" and "recurrence interval" do not imply regular cyclic occurrence. The actual times between occurrences vary randomly, with most of the times being less than the average and a few being substantially greater than the average. For example, the 100-year flood is the flow rate that is exceeded by the annual maximum peak flow at intervals whose average length is 100 years (that is, once in 100 years, on average); almost two-thirds of all exceedances of the 100-year flood occur less than 100 years after the previous exceedance, half occur less than 70 years after the previous exceedance, and about one-eighth occur more than 200 years after the previous exceedance. Similarly, the 7-day 10-year low flow (7Q10) is the flow rate below which the annual minimum 7-day-mean flow dips at intervals whose average length is 10 years (that is, once in 10 years, on average); almost two-thirds of the non-exceedances of the 7Q10 occur less than 10 years after the previous non-exceedance, half occur less than 7 years after, and about one- eighth occur more than 20 years after the previous non-exceedance. The recurrence interval for annual events is the reciprocal of the annual probability of occurrence. Thus, the 100-year flood has a 1-percent chance of being exceeded by the maximum peak flow in any year, and there is a 10-percent chance in any year that the annual minimum 7-day-mean flow will be less than the 7Q10.

Runoff in inches (IN., in.) is the depth, in inches, to which the drainage area would be covered if all the runoff for a given time period were uniformly distributed on it.

Sea level refers to the National Geodetic Vertical Datum of 1929 (NGVD of 1929)--a geodetic datum derived from a general adjustment of the first-order level nets of the United States and Canada, formerly called Sea Level Datum of 1929.

See: http://www.co-ops.nos.noaa.gov/

glossary/gloss_n.html#NGVD

Sediment is solid material that is transported by, suspended in, or deposited from water. It originates mostly from disintegrated rocks; it also includes chemical and biochemical precipitates and decomposed organic material, such as humus. The quantity, characteristics, and cause of the occurrence of sediment in streams are influenced by environmental factors. Some major factors are degree of slope, length of slope, soil characteristics, land usage, and quantity and intensity of precipitation.

Bed load is the sediment that is transported in a stream by rolling, sliding, or skipping along or very close to the bed. In this report, bed load is considered to consist of particles in transit from the bed to an elevation equal to the top of the bed-load sampler nozzle (usually within 0.25 ft of the streambed).

Bed-load discharge (tons per day) is the quantity of sediment moving as bed load, reported as dry weight, that passes a cross section in a given time.

Suspended sediment is the sediment that is maintained in suspension by the upward components of turbulent currents or that exists in suspension as a colloid.

Suspended-sediment concentration is the velocity-weighted concentration of suspended sediment in the sampled zone (from the water surface to a point approximately 0.3 ft above the bed) expressed as milligrams of dry sediment per liter of water-sediment mixture (mg/L). The entire sample is used for the analysis.

Mean concentration of suspended sediment is the time-weighted concentration of suspended sediment passing a stream section during a 24-hour day.

Suspended-sediment discharge (tons/day) is the quantity of sediment moving in suspension, reported as dry weight, that passes a cross section in a given time. It is calculated in units of tons per day as follows: concentration (mg/L) x discharge (ft3/s) x 0.0027.

Suspended-sediment load is a term that refers to material in suspension. The term needs to be qualified, such as "annual suspended-sediment load" or "sand-size suspended-sediment load," and so on. It is not synonymous with either suspended-sediment discharge or concentration.

Total sediment discharge (tons/day) is the sum of the suspended-sediment discharge and the bed-load discharge. It is the total quantity of sediment, reported as dry weight, that passes a cross section in a given time.

Total sediment load or total load is a term that refers to the total sediment (bed load plus suspended-sediment load) that is in transport. The term needs to be qualified, such as "annual suspended-sediment load" or "sand-size suspended-sediment load," and so on. It is not synonymous with total sediment discharge.

Seven-day 10-year low flow (7Q10, 7Q10) is the minimum flow averaged over 7 consecutive days that is expected to occur on average, once in any 10-year period. The 7Q10 has a 10-percent chance of occurring in any given year.

Sodium adsorption ratio (SAR) is the expression of relative activity of sodium ions in exchange reactions within soil and is an index of sodium or alkali hazard to the soil. Waters range in respect to sodium hazard from those which can be used for irrigation on almost all soils to those which are generally unsatisfactory for irrigation.

Solute is any substance that is dissolved in water.

Specific conductance is a measure of the ability of a water to conduct an electrical current. It is expressed in microsiemens per centimeter at 25 °C. Specific conductance is related to the type and concentration of ions in solution and can be used for approximating the dissolved-solids content of the water. Commonly, the concentration of dissolved solids (in milligrams per liter) is from 55 to 75 percent of the specific conductance (in microsiemens). This relation is not constant from stream to stream, and it may vary in the same source with changes in the composition of the water.

Stage: See "Gage height."

Stage-discharge relation is the relation between the water-surface elevation, termed stage (gage height), and the volume of water flowing in a channel per unit time.

Streamflow is the discharge that occurs in a natural channel. Although the term "discharge" can be applied to the flow of a canal, the word "streamflow" uniquely describes the discharge in a surface stream course. The term "streamflow" is more general than " runoff" as streamflow may be applied to discharge whether or not it is affected by diversion or regulation.

Surface area of a lake or impoundment is that area encompassed by the boundary of the lake or impoundment as shown on USGS topographic maps, or on other available maps or photographs. The computed surface areas reflect the water levels of the lakes or impoundments at the times when the information for the maps or photographs was obtained.

Suspended (as used in tables of chemical analyses) refers to the amount (concentration) of undissolved material in a water-sediment mixture. It is associated with the material retained on a 0.45-micrometer filter.

Suspended, recoverable is the amount of a given constituent that is in solution after the part of a representative suspended-sediment sample that is retained on a 0.45-micrometer membrane filter has been digested by a method (usually using a dilute acid solution) that results in dissolution of only readily soluble substances. Complete dissolution of all the particulate matter is not achieved by the digestion treatment and thus the determination represents something less than the "total" amount (that is, less than 95 percent) of the constituent present in the sample. To achieve comparability of analytical data, equivalent digestion procedures are required of all laboratories performing such analyses because different digestion procedures are likely to produce different analytical results.

Determinations of "suspended, recoverable" constituents are made either by analyzing portions of the material collected on the filter or, more commonly, by difference, based on determinations of (1) dissolved and (2) total recoverable concentrations of the constituent.

Suspended, total is the total amount of a given constituent in the part of a representative suspended-sediment sample that is retained on a 0.45-micrometer membrane filter. This term is used only when the analytical procedure assures measurement of at least 95 percent of the constituent determined. Knowledge of the expected form of the constituent in the sample, as well as the analytical methodology used, is required to determine when the results should be reported as "suspended, total."

Determinations of "suspended, total" constituents are made either by analyzing portions of the material collected on the filter or, more commonly, by difference, based on determinations of (1) dissolved and (2) total concentrations of the constituent.

Thermograph is an instrument that continuously records variations of temperature on a chart. The more general term "temperature recorder " is used in the table headings and refers to any instrument that records temperature whether on a chart, a tape, or any other medium.

Time-weighted average is computed by multiplying the number of days in the sampling period by the concentrations of individual constituents for the corresponding period and dividing the sum of the products by the total number of days. A time-weighted average represents the composition of water that would be contained in a vessel or reservoir that had received equal quantities of water from the stream each day for the year.

Tons per acre-foot is the dry mass of dissolved solids in 1 acre-foot of water. It is computed by multiplying the concentration of the constituent, in milligrams per liter, by 0.00136.

Tons per day (T/DAY, tons/d) is the rate representing a mass of 1 ton of a constituent in streamflow passing a cross section in 1 day. It is equivalent to 2,000 pounds per day, or 0.9072 metric tons per day.

Total is the total amount of a given constituent in a representative suspended-sediment sample, regardless of the constituent's physical or chemical form. This term is used only when the analytical procedure assures measurement of at least 95 percent of the constituent present in both the dissolved and suspended phases of the sample. A knowledge of the expected form of the constituent in the sample, as well as the analytical methodology used, is required to judge when the results should be reported as "total." (Note that the word "total" does double duty here, indicating both that the sample consists of a suspended-sediment mixture and that the analytical method determined all of the constituent in the sample.)

Total discharge is the quantity of a given constituent, measured as dry mass or volume, that passes a stream cross section per unit of time. When referring to constituents other than water, this term needs to be qualified, such as "total sediment discharge," "total chloride discharge," and so on.

Total in bottom material is the total amount of a given constituent in a representative sample of bottom material. This term is used only when the analytical procedure assures measurement of at least 95 percent of the constituent determined. A knowledge of the expected form of the constituent in the sample, as well as the analytical methodology used, is required to judge when the results should be reported as "total in bottom material."

Total load refers to all of a constituent in transport. When referring to sediment, it includes suspended load plus bed load.

Total recoverable is the amount of a given constituent that is in solution after a representative suspended-sediment sample has been digested by a method (usually using a dilute acid solution) that results in dissolution of only readily soluble substances. Complete dissolution of all particulate matter is not achieved by the digestion treatment, and thus the determination represents something less than the "total" amount (that is, less than 95 percent) of the constituent present in the dissolved and suspended phases of the sample. To achieve comparability of analytical data, equivalent digestion procedures are required of all laboratories performing such analyses because different digestion procedures are likely to produce different analytical results.

Turbidity is a measurement of the collective optical properties of a water sample that cause light to be scattered and absorbed rather than transmitted in straight lines; the higher the intensity of scattered light, the higher the turbidity. Turbidity is expressed in nephelometric turbidity units (NTU) or Formazin turbidity units (FTU) depending on the method and equipment used.

Water level is the water-surface elevation or stage of the free surface of a body of water above or below any datum (see "Gage height"), or the surface of water standing in a well, usually indicative of the position of the water table or other potentiometric surface.

Water table is the surface of a ground-water body at which the water is at atmospheric pressure.

Water year in U.S. Geological Survey reports dealing with surface-water supply is the 12-month period October 1 through September 30. The water year is designated by the calendar year in which it ends and which includes 9 of the 12 months. Thus, the year ending September 30, 2000, is called the "2000 water year."

WDR is used as an abbreviation for "Water-Data Report" in the REVISED RECORDS paragraph to refer to State annual hydrologic-data reports. (WRD was used as an abbreviation for "Water-Resources Data" in reports published prior to 1976.)

Weighted average is used in this report to indicate discharge-weighted average. It is computed by multiplying the discharge for a sampling period by the concentrations of individual constituents for the corresponding period and dividing the sum of the products by the sum of the discharges. A discharge-weighted average approximates the composition of water that would be found in a reservoir containing all the water passing a given location during the water year after thorough mixing in the reservoir.

WSP is used as an abbreviation for "Water-Supply Paper" in reference to previously published reports

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