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Western Geographic Science Center

Our Western Geographic Science Center (WGSC) priority is to continue the important work of the Department of the Interior and the USGS, while also maintaining the health and safety of our employees and the community.  Based on guidance from the White House, the CDC, and state and local authorities, we are shifting our operations to a virtual mode and have minimal staf

News

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Media Advisory: A Jaguar’s Field of Dreams – Live Online Public Lecture

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New Geo-Narrative explores California’s exposure to volcanic hazards

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Anne Wein Wins Prestigious 2019 Bay Area Metro Award

Publications

Use case development for earth monitoring, analysis, and prediction (EarthMAP)—A road map for future integrated predictive science at the U.S. Geological Survey

Executive SummaryThe U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) 21st-century science strategy 2020–30 promotes a bureau-wide strategy to develop and deliver an integrated, predictive science capability that works at the scales and timelines needed to inform societally relevant resource management and protection and public safety and environmental health decisions (U.S. Geological Survey, 2021). This is the ove

Climate and land change impacts on future managed wetland habitat: A case study from California’s Central Valley

ConceptCalifornia’s Central Valley provides critical habitat for migratory waterbirds, yet only 10% of naturally occurring wetlands remain. Competition for limited water supplies and climate change will impact the long-term viability of these intensively managed habitats.ObjectivesForecast the distribution, abundance, and connectivity of surface water and managed wetland habitats, using 5 spatiall

Representing plant diversity in land models: An evolutionary approach to make ‘Functional Types’ more functional

Plants are critical mediators of terrestrial mass and energy fluxes, and their structural and functional traits have profound impacts on local and global climate, biogeochemistry, biodiversity, and hydrology. Yet Earth System Models (ESMs), our most powerful tools for predicting the effects of humans on the coupled biosphere-atmosphere system, simplify the incredible diversity of land plants into

Science

Recreational Birdwatching and Habitat

Thousands of visitors flock to the Billy Frank Jr. Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge every year to look for birds both rare and common. Birdwatching activities contribute to economic activity for the Nisqually area and play a role in the broader outdoor-loving culture of the Pacific Northwest.
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Recreational Birdwatching and Habitat

Thousands of visitors flock to the Billy Frank Jr. Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge every year to look for birds both rare and common. Birdwatching activities contribute to economic activity for the Nisqually area and play a role in the broader outdoor-loving culture of the Pacific Northwest.
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Fisheries and Fish Habitat

The estuarine habitat of the Delta is critical to the production of salmon, which supports recreational, commercial, and subsistence fishing. The combination of shaded pools, shallow reaches, and a rich prey population provide excellent feeding grounds for juvenile fish. Fishing also holds great importance in the cultural practices of the Nisqually Tribe.
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Fisheries and Fish Habitat

The estuarine habitat of the Delta is critical to the production of salmon, which supports recreational, commercial, and subsistence fishing. The combination of shaded pools, shallow reaches, and a rich prey population provide excellent feeding grounds for juvenile fish. Fishing also holds great importance in the cultural practices of the Nisqually Tribe.
Learn More

Marsh Elevation Change and Carbon Sequestration

Tidal marsh vegetation grows in a narrow elevation zone between sea level and the upland behind it. These plant communities have evolved to accumulate sediment over time and maintain their relative elevation with gradual rates of change in sea level. It is uncertain which marsh vegetation communities will be able to accumulate sediment at a rate that keeps pace with accelerated sea level rise.
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Marsh Elevation Change and Carbon Sequestration

Tidal marsh vegetation grows in a narrow elevation zone between sea level and the upland behind it. These plant communities have evolved to accumulate sediment over time and maintain their relative elevation with gradual rates of change in sea level. It is uncertain which marsh vegetation communities will be able to accumulate sediment at a rate that keeps pace with accelerated sea level rise.
Learn More