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Human impacts
The effects, intentional or unintentional, beneficial or harmful, direct or indirect, which human activities have upon the environment and living things.
Subtopics:
Abandoned mines and quarries (5 items)
Dredging (1 items)
Ecosystem services (1 items)
Land use change (21 items)
Mining hazards (10 items)
Overfishing (3 items)
Overgrazing (1 items)
Waste treatment and disposal (23 items)
Related topics:


Results 1 - 107 of 107 listed alphabetically [list by similarity]
PDF A new tool to assess groundwater resources in the Mississippi embayment [More info]
Mathematical model of the groundwater system in this area includes 13 types of data and spans multiple aquifers over more than a century. This enables us to assess the quantity of groundwater, where and how it is being used, and how pumping affects it.
PDF A spatial analysis of cultural ecosystem service valuation by regional stakeholders in Florida: a coastal application of the social values for ecosystem services (SolVES) tool [More info]
Research project to close gaps in our knowledge about the attitudes and perceptions, or nonmonetary values, held by coastal residents for ecosystem services, particularly for cultural services.
Abandoned Mine Lands (AML) [More info]
Homepage of the Abandoned Mine Lands (AML) initiative programs supporting actions to remedy contaminations associated with hard rock mining. Includes data from the Upper Animas River and Boulder River, bibliography of reports, and pictures.
Amargosa Desert research site [More info]
Online reports, site description and photographs of the Amargosa Desert research site monitoring low level radioactive waste.
Amphibian declines and deformities [More info]
Amphibian population declines and deformities due to various causes including land use change, viruses, and fungi. Links to USGS press releases, answers to FAQs (HTML and PDF versions) and photos with downloadable files.
An evaluation of the science needs to inform decisions on Outer Continental Shelf energy development in the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas, Alaska [More info]
We need refined regional understanding of climate change, effective oil-spill risk assessment, preparedness, and response, an analysis of cumulative effects (natural and human), better geospatial data for the area, in an integrated approach.
An overview of coastal land loss with emphasis on the southeastern United States [More info]
Comprehensive background information on coastal land loss, discussing the influence of waves and storms, the intrinsic characteristics of the shoreline materials, and the role of human activities.
PDF Analyzing land use change in urban environments [More info]
Describes the USGS Urban Dynamics Research Program that studies landscape changes resulting from the growth of metropolitan regions over time.
Animal feeding operations, effects on hydrologic resources and the environment: proceedings [More info]
Papers from a 1999 symposium on the possible effects on water resources and the environment of large agricultural feeding operations for pigs, chickens, and cattle, with links to other meetings, bibliography, and research studies. (Also as PDF files)
PDF Anticipated effects of development on habitat fragmentation and movement of mammals into and out of the Schoodic District, Acadia National Park, Maine [More info]
Wildlife you see in a national park or other reserved area don't know about the park boundary. Bobcat, martens, mink, and moose need different types of living space and habitat. Development outside the park affects their ability to inhabit the park.
PDF Assessing effects of energy development in Colorado and New Mexico [More info]
Outlines information needed to enable effective local decision making regarding the installation, siting, and effects of energy resource facilities.
Assessing the impact of urban sprawl on soil resources in the United States using nighttime "city lights" satellite images and digital soils maps [More info]
Paper from Land Use History of North America giving results of a study to estimate the extent of developed land in the United States and the impact of development on soil resources.
Assessing the impacts of climate variability and change on the Nation's resources [More info]
Site for a USGS project under the U.S. Global Change Research Program for a national assessment of the impacts of climate variability and change on resources with links to impacts in Alaska, western U.S., public lands, and water resources.
PDF Bats and wind energy-A literature synthesis and annotated bibliography [More info]
A literature synthesis and annotated bibliography focus on North America and on refereed journals. Additional references include a selection of citations on bat ecology, international research on bats and wind energy, and unpublished reports.
PDF Beyond the Golden Gate--oceanography, geology, biology, and environmental issues in the Gulf of the Farallones [More info]
A geologic and oceanographic study of the waters and Continental Shelf of Gulf of the Farallones adjacent to the San Francisco Bay region. The results of the study provide a scientific basis to evaluate and monitor human impact on the marine environment.
Bibliography of fire effects and related literature applicable to the ecosystems and species of Wisconsin [More info]
The bibliography provides citations pertinent to the effects of fire and its prescribed use on the ecosystems and species of Wisconsin and the upper Midwest. Three separate subject indexes are provided: general, species, and geographic location.
Biodiversity and land-use history of the Palouse bioregion: pre-European to present [More info]
Study of the processes by which the conversion occurred of the Palouse bioregion from perennial native grass, shrub, and forest vegetation to agriculture and the interactions between human cultures and environment.
Biogeochemical and geohydrologic processes in a landfill-impacted alluvial aquifer, Norman, Oklahoma [More info]
Discussion and links to research for the multi-disciplinary investigation on the Norman Landfill located on alluvium associated with the Canadian River in central Oklahoma.
Biological resource status and trends: Human activities [More info]
Information concerning status and trends of biological resources, focusing on the impact of human activities
Biological resource status and trends: Impacts of agricultural practices [More info]
Information concerning status and trends of biological resources, focusing on the impacts of agricultural practices
Biological resource status and trends: Impacts of human recreation [More info]
Information concerning status and trends of biological resources, focusing on impacts of human recreation
Biological resource status and trends: Land use change [More info]
Information concerning status and trends of biological resources, focusing on land use change
Biological resource status and trends: Light and noise pollution [More info]
Information concerning status and trends of biological resources, focusing on light and noise pollution
Biological resource status and trends: Resource use and extraction [More info]
Information concerning status and trends of biological resources, focusing on resource use and extraction
Biological soil crusts [More info]
Explains biological soil crusts, organism-produced soil formations commonly found in semiarid and arid environments, with special reference to their biological composition, physical characteristics, and ecological significance.
PDF Biological soil crusts: webs of life in the desert [More info]
Fact sheet on the need to protect biological soil crusts in the desert. These crusts are most of the soil surface in deserts not covered by green plants and are inhabited by cyanobacterium (blue-green algae) and other organisms useful to the ecosystem.
Biosolids, Animal Manure, and Earthworms: Is There a Connection? [More info]
Research findings and examples of application to real problems--how household contaminants accumulate in and effect the environment
Boston Harbor Studies: the fate of sediments and contaminants in Massachusetts Bay [More info]
Boston Harbor/Massachusetts Bay Studies research project conducted as part of Boston Harbor cleanup to predict the fate of contaminants and sediments introduced to Massachusetts' coastal waters from sources that include Boston sewage outfall.
Climate and land use change [More info]
Research that helps the Nation understand these global changes and their impacts on society, resource availability, and economic development.
PDF Coal-tar-based pavement sealcoat, polycyclic aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs), and environmental health [More info]
Pavement sealant contains chemicals that are known carcinogens, which get into nearby homes, lakes, and the air. Sealants based on coal tar release more dangerous chemicals than those based on asphalt.
Coastal change hazards digital library [More info]
Online catalog of reports and data on coastal change hazards, indexed by author, agency, project, location, feature type, and topic
PDF Development of computational fluid dynamics--habitat suitability (CFD-HSI) models to identify potential passage--Challenge zones for migratory fishes in the Penobscot River [More info]
Proposed removal of dams will change the characteristics of stream flow and will affect fish that swim upstream to spawn. A mathematical model of the river flow tells us where the likely problems will be located and how the flow will change.
Dissolved solids in basin-fill aquifers and streams in the southwestern United States [More info]
PDF Drilling a deep geologic test well at Hilton Head Island, South Carolina [More info]
With the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control, USGS is drilling a deep geologic test well to learn about the regional Floridan aquifer, which provides groundwater to the Hilton Head area.
PDF Effects of brush management on the hydrologic budget and water quality in and adjacent to Honey Creek State Natural Area, Comal County, Texas, 2001--10 [More info]
Comparison of water in two adjacent watersheds before and after implementing a brush management strategy in one of the watersheds helps us see what water resource characteristics are sensitive to brush management and how.
Effects of land use on water quality in Michigan [More info]
Links to projects that provide information on the relation of land use to water quality, sources of pollutants, or trends in water quality.
PDF Effects of urban stormwater-management strategies on stream-water quantity and quality [More info]
Changes in the way communities address potential problems with stormwater runoff may affect surface waters. This study combines geographic with hydrologic analyses to better understand the effects of the management strategies.
PDF Effects of wastewater on forested wetlands [More info]
Study of the effects of the practice of cycling municipal nutrient-enriched wastewater from holding ponds through forested wetlands. Studies were in the Cypiere Perdue Swamp, Louisiana, and the Drummond Bog, Wisconsin.
PDF Emissions from Coal Fires and Their Impact on the Environment [More info]
Reviews how coal fires occur, how they can be detected by airborne and remote surveys, and, most importantly, the impact coal-fire emissions may have on the environment and human health, especially mercury, carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, and methane.
Environmental Affairs Program [More info]
The USGS reviews and prepares technical comments on environmental impact statements and establishes policies to implement the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). Site has links to environmental laws and regulations including NEPA.
PDF Environmental effects of historical mining in the Animas River watershed, southwestern Colorado [More info]
History and summary maps showing metal concentrations downstream of the mining area.
Environmental processes that affect mineral deposits in the Eastern United States [More info]
Studies in Eastern United States on massive sulfide deposits in Maine, Vermont, Great Smoky Mountains, and Virginia to assess potential environmental impacts.
Erosion in the Rio Puerco: geography and processes [More info]
Paper on the accelerated erosion of the Rio Puerco, a tributary of the Rio Grande in New Mexico, which has deepened and widened its channel, or arroyo, since the settlement of the region.
PDF Evaluation of fecal contamination by human and ruminant sources in upper Fountain Creek, Colorado, 2007-2008, by using multiple lines of evidence: [More info]
Microbial source tracking analysis of water sampled supports the argument that birds are the primary source of fecal contamination during the warm season.
PDF Examination of brine contamination risk to aquatic resources from petroleum development in the Williston Basin [More info]
Wetlands and oil wells shouldn't mix, but in some areas they do. This explains what problems may arise and how we study the effects of highly salty water produced by oil wells when it leaks into nearby wetlands and streams.
Fish passage through dams in large temperate floodplain rivers: an annotated bibliography [More info]
Report describes an electronic database of annotated citations relevant to fish passage through dams. Document may be searched using the search form or downloaded as an Endnote, Microsoft Word, or WordPerfect
Fluvial geomorphology studies in Kansas [More info]
Report of completed studies that have investigated the response of river and stream channels in Kansas to a variety of human-caused and natural disturbances.
PDF Forecast Mekong [More info]
USGS works with the Department of State to share data and support local research efforts and elevate knowledge about this river and delta in maintaining food security and livelihoods in the region.
Fragile environments: San Francisco Bay wetlands [More info]
Overview with links to studies on the effects of human activity on the San Francisco estuary with loss of historic fresh and saltwater tidal marshes reducing habitats, introducing contaminants in waste, and creating dredging problems.
Framework for Assessing the Sustainability of Monitored Natural Attenuation [More info]
Research findings and examples of application to real problems--When can natural processes to reduce, or even destroy, contaminants at toxic waste sites be relied on?
Front Range Infrastructure Resources Project [More info]
Home page for the Front Range Infrastructure Resources Project, a demonstration study of the northern Colorado Front Range urban corridor and the entire Rocky Mountain Front Range urban corridor with links to projects, datasets, and publications.
Geologic framework and process of the Lake Pontchartrain Basin [More info]
Field methods, topics of investigation, shoreline changes, publications, and satellite imagery related to geologic and hydrologic processes affecting Lake Pontchartrain and adjacent lakes which form a large estuary in the Gulf Coast region.
Geologic studies of mercury [More info]
Collection of six short papers related to the mercury geochemical society, the study of mercury in coal, concentrations in sediment, soil, water, and fish collected near mercury and gold mines, and volanic emissions of mercury.
Gulf of the Farallones disposal issues: disposal and waste disposal [More info]
Study of the effects on the Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary resulting from the disposal of San Francisco dredged material and barrels of low-level radioactive waste with links to publications and atlas with digital images.
Household Chemicals and Drugs Found in Biosolids from Wastewater Treatment Plants [More info]
Research findings and examples of application to real problems--biosolids have high concentrations of household contaminants compared to treated liquid wastewater effluent.
Human Health Database [More info]
Central site providing links to USGS databases and homepages providing significant data and information on research related to human health.
PDF Integrated geologic, geochemical, and geophysical studies of Big Bend National Park, Texas [More info]
Coordinated studies of the effect of historical mining for mercury, origin and composition of metals in groundwaters and surface waters, history of volcanic and intrusive activity, and the complex geological history of this area.
International Program at the Earth Resources Observation Systems (EROS) Data Center - environmental monitoring and information systems [More info]
Overview of the environmental monitoring component of the international program at the EROS Data Center using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) technology, with links to data, partners, publications, and workshops.
Kentucky District - program highlights [More info]
Brief descriptions of research programs in water resources in Kentucky with a few links to program websites. Programs include data collection projects, acid mine drainage, hydrodynamics, geology, waste site cleanup and hydrogeology.
Land Subsidence in the United States [More info]
Describes and provides examples of impacts of human-induced land subsidence resulting from the extraction of subsurface water, including aquifer-system compaction, drainage of organic soils, dissolution and collapse of susceptible rocks.
Land Subsidence in the United States [More info]
Describes and provides several detiled examples of impacts of human-induced land subsidence resulting from the extraction of subsurface water, including aquifer-system compaction, drainage of organic soils, dissolution and collapse of susceptible rocks.
Land use history of North America (LUHNA) [More info]
Report prepared with NASA on the importance of a historical context for understanding ongoing changes in land cover and land use in North America and the effect on the environment. Site contains primarily contents of a book edited by T.D. Sisk.
PDF Landscape consequences of natural gas extraction in Allegheny and Susquehanna Counties, Pennsylvania, 2004--2010 [More info]
Quantifies the landscape changes and consequences of natural gas extraction by digitizing indications of disturbance on NAIP aerial photographs and using these with the NLCD to show land use-land cover change.
PDF Landscape consequences of natural gas extraction in Bradford and Washington Counties, Pennsylvania, 2004-2010 [More info]
Quantifies the landscape changes and consequences of natural gas extraction by digitizing indications of disturbance on NAIP aerial photographs and using these with the NLCD to show land use-land cover change.
PDF Lead Poisoning in Wild Birds [More info]
Even though lead usage has declined due to environmental awareness and regulation, several human sources of lead continue to affect birds. Hunting ammunition and fishing gear are ingested by the birds, with toxic effects.
PDF Mapping, monitoring, and modeling Western Gateway Community landscape dynamics [More info]
Geospatial analysis of factors affecting communities that are adjacent to Federal lands, especially those lands subject to varying public interest and visitation.
Measuring human-induced land subsidence from space [More info]
Examples of the use of Satellite Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar to measure and map changes on the Earth's surface as an aid to understanding how ground-water pumping, hydrocarbon production, or other human activities cause land subsidence.
Measuring land subsidence from space [More info]
Describes the use of satellite-borne Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (InSAR) to precisely measure, monitor, and assess small changes in land surface elevation resulting from human-induced or naturally occuring land subsidence.
More than broken jars and roof tiles: the environmental legacy of a Roman mineral industry at Plasenzuela, Extremadura, Spain [More info]
Adaptation of a poster presented at Metals in Antiquity Symposium, Harvard, September 10-13, 1997.
Multibeam data and socio-economic issues in west-central San Francisco Bay [More info]
Webpage based on USGS Open File Report 98-139 links to information on the San Francisco Bay estuary to study dredge disposal effects, fish habitats, sediment transport, rock pinnacles and navigation, and consequences of a large oil spill.
National Water-Quality Assessment (NAWQA) Program [More info]
Primary homepage for the National Water Quality Assessment (NAWQA) Program studying water quality in river, aquifer and coastal water basins throughout the nation. Links to reports, data, models, maps and national synthesis studies.
Natural and human drivers of biodiversity in the Greater Yellowstone ecosystem [More info]
This study reconstructs past interactions among ecosystem factors, native species, and human land use in the Greater Yellowstone ecosystem to provide a context for future management to sustain both ecological and human communities.
PDF Net Ecosystem Production (NEP) of the Great Plains, United States [More info]
Geographic analysis of the changes in storage and release of carbon in this large area as land use patterns, especially agriculture, have changed.
PDF Nitrate concentrations and potential sources in the Barton Springs segment of the Edwards aquifer and its contributing zone, Central Texas [More info]
The area contributing recharge to this aquifer is undergoing rapid growth, generating more wastewater. We found that nitrate, a major component of wastewater and a nutrient that can degrade water quality, has increased in the creeks in this area.
Oculina Bank - geology of a deep-water coral reef habitat off Florida [More info]
Brief report on sidescan sonar data, sediment sampling, and submersible and video photography studies of destruction of deep-water coral pinnacles where fish spawn off east-central Florida in the Oculina Bank in order to restore and protect the habitat.
PDF Organic compounds assessed in Neuse River water used for public supply near Smithfield, North Carolina, 2002-2005 [More info]
Reports concentration of organic compounds here, to serve as a baseline against which future measurements can be compared and to provide a general assessment of the quality of local water treatment efforts.
Parking-lot sealcoat: A major source of PAHs in urban and suburban environments [More info]
Explanation of chemical contaminants released into aquatic environments by popular sealcoating compounds used in parking lots, with frequently-asked questions, links, and contact information.
Pathways of metal transfer from mineralized sources to bioreceptors [More info]
A synthesis of the Mineral Resources Program's past and future research directions in the western U.S. on metal contamination due to mineral deposits and mining and the environmental effects on living organisms. Chapters 1, 4, and 6 as PDF files.
Patuxent Wildlife Research Center: Populations [More info]
Descriptions of projects and resources on wildlife population ecology at the Patuxent Wildlife Research Center with links to research activities, long-term programs, and resources and references.
Patuxent's effects of ecological processes and human impacts on biological resources--invasive species [More info]
List and brief abstracts on research projects on invasive species, the ecology of introduced species, and developing management strategies at Patuxent Wildlife Research Center.
Pautuxent Wildlife Research Center - Wetlands and other communities [More info]
List and brief abstracts on projects at Patuxent Wildlife Research Center researching wetland ecology and ecosystem management in Eastern United States.
Pollution and waste disposal [More info]
Lists priority survey areas and objectives of these programs.
Potential environmental impacts of quarrying stones in karst - a literature review [More info]
This report is the result of an extensive literature search to determine the state-of-the-knowledge regarding environmental impacts from quarrying carbonate rocks in karst formations to better use of karst resources in sustainable ways.
Recoverability and vulnerability of desert ecosystems [More info]
Research results (publications, photographs, maps) on ecological processes within the Mojave Desert Ecosystem to provide land managers with scientific understanding and tools needed to conserve and restore threatened desert landscapes.
PDF Science-Based Strategies for Sustaining Coral Ecosystems [More info]
Explains the environmental factors that affect coral reef habitats and ecosystems, focusing on those that pose urgent problems.
Sense of place: a place-based approach to science for land management [More info]
Examples of on-site, place-focused research programs using USGS scientists in land management projects.
Source Water-Quality Assessment [More info]
Characterize the quality of selected rivers and aquifers used as a source of supply to community water systems in the United States to determine the occurrence of about 280 primary unregulated anthropogenic organic compounds.
PDF Status and Trends of Resources Below Glen Canyon Dam Update - 2009 [More info]
Summary of changes to water quality, sediment, aquatic food, native fish, riparian vegetation, and archeological, cultural, and recreational sites since the previous assessment.
Status and trends of the Nation's biological resources [More info]
This report is major publication on national biological resources that compiles and presents status and trends information for use by resource managers and the public. Presents detail information on ecosystems, plants, and animals.
Studies of polluted sediment offshore Los Angeles [More info]
Overview of studies of marine sediment on the continental shelf south of Los Angeles contaminated with DDT and PCBs from past sewage effluent discharges with links to research on Santa Monica Bay, Los Angeles Shelf and Palos Verdes Peninsula.
The Baltimore-Washington Regional Collaboratory Land-Use History Research Program [More info]
A description of research activities of the Baltimore-Washington Regional Collaboratory urban growth in the Chesapeake region.
The U.S. Geological Survey and the Chesapeake Bay - the role of science in environmental restoration [More info]
Summary of a circular on USGS environmental research and Chesapeake Bay with links to full document. Includes discussion of the problems of the estuary, restoration efforts, water quality, and effects on ecosystem.
PDF The effects of Glen Canyon Dam operations on early life stages of rainbow trout in the Colorado River [More info]
Complex interactions among hydrologic events initiated by people and the behaviors and characteristics of animal species (both native and introduced) lead to important scientific and management problems.
The role of climate in estuarine variability [More info]
Article from American Scientist on study of the San Francisco Bay estuary as a component of the global climate system showing that natural fluctuations might be mistaken for anthropogenic trends affecting waterflow and salinity.
PDF Three Experimental High-Flow Releases from Glen Canyon Dam, Arizona-Effects on the Downstream Colorado River Ecosystem [More info]
Scientific issues we should consider when conduction high flow experiments to ameliorate the negative effects of dams on native river species and fluvial processes.
Topics in coastal and marine sciences: Coastal erosion [More info]
Topics in Coastal and Marine Sciences provides background science materials, definitions, and links to give a common context for users from a variety of backgrounds. Coastal erosion was chosen as the first topic.
PDF Toxicity and bioavailability of metals in the Missouri River adjacent to a lead refinery [More info]
Report (PDF format) on an evaluation of the potential environmental impacts of contaminated ground water from a metals refinery adjacent to the Missouri River in Omaha, Nebraska testing water and sediments for contaminants and toxicity.
Tree rings record of 100 years of hydrologic change within a wetland [More info]
Use of tree ring dating to study distinct episodes of hydrologic change in the Tully Valley wetland, New York recording history of solution-brine injection mining for salt.
USGS / Department of Energy cooperative studies in Nevada [More info]
Describes cooperation of the USGS office in Las Vegas, Nevada, with the Department of Energy to address environmental and scientific issues at the Nevada Test Site and vicinity with links to project information.
USGS Global Change Science [More info]
Broad overview of USGS research and monitoring designed to understand current changes in the context of prehistoric and recent earth processes, distinguishing between natural and human-influenced changes, and recognizing ecological and physical responses
USGS mine drainage activities [More info]
Listing of USGS research and monitoring projects on mine drainage, in order to promote cooperation and collaboration among scientists working on problems related to mining and the environment.
PDF Understanding Contaminants Associated with Mineral Deposits [More info]
Outlines processes that control the release of metals and acidic waters from inactive mines and mineralized areas, the transport of metals and acidic waters to streams, and the fate and effect of metals and acidity on downstream ecosystems.
Waste disposal and contaminant migration in the arid Southwest: Amargosa Desert Research Site, Nevada [More info]
Links to studies at the Amargosa Desert Research Site by the USGS Toxic Substances Hydrology Program studying the subsurface migration and fate of contaminants in arid environments. Links to news, remediation, photos, bibliography and techniques.
PDF Water Resources and Natural Gas Production from the Marcellus Shale [More info]
The Marcellus shale is a black shale unit in the eastern US. It has economic use as a source of natural gas. Environmental concerns arising from the process of exploiting this resource include water supply and wastewater disposal.
Water resource investigations in Montana [More info]
Information on objectives, approach, status, and publications of various research projects investigating water resources in Montana including studies on wetlands, bridge scour, reconstructed wetlands, abandoned mine lands, and others.
Water science for schools: land subsidence [More info]
Site for elementary school studies on land subsidence with links to land subsidence in California, wells, ground water quality, sinkholes, glossary, and a random link.
Water science for schools: water quality [More info]
Educational site for elementary school students on water quality with links to related topics including pesticides in ground water, kid's view, urbanization and water and others.
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