Hydrology, Education, Software, R, National Water Census Data Portal.


The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) is the primary U.S. Government agency for water data collection and dissemination. In this role, the USGS has recently created and deployed a National Water Census Data Portal (NWC-DP) which provides access to streamflow, evapotransporation, precipitation, aquatic biology and other data at the national level. Recognizing the value of these data sets for hydrologic science education, this paper presents an effort to bridge the gap between pencil–and-paper-based hydrology curriculum and the USGS NWC-DP resource. Specifically, we have developed an R package, National Water Census Education (NWCEd), and five associated laboratory exercises that integrate R- and web-services-based access to the NWC-DP data sets. Using custom functions built into the NWCEd, students are able to access unprecedented amounts of hydrologic data from the NWC-DP, which can be applied to current hydrology curriculum and analyzed using NWCEd and a number of other open-source R tools.