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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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Ancient methods of preventing desertification and recovering from drought

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Planning for Change: New Tools to Support Bird Habitat in the Central Valley

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Kristin Byrd is the Recipient of the 2022 IALE-NA Distinguished Service Award

Publications

Multiple agricultural cropland products of South Asia developed using Landsat-8 30 m and MODIS 250 m data using machine learning on the Google Earth Engine (GEE) cloud and spectral matching techniques (SMTs) in support of food and water security

Cropland products are of great importance in water and food security assessments, especially in South Asia, which is home to nearly 2 billion people and 230 million hectares of net cropland area. In South Asia, croplands account for about 90% of all human water use. Cropland extent, cropping intensity, crop watering methods, and crop types are important factors that have a bearing on the quantity,

Analysis of surface water trends for the conterminous United States using MODIS satellite data, 2003–2019

Satellite imagery is commonly used to map surface water extents over time, but many approaches yield discontinuous records resulting from cloud obstruction or image archive gaps. We applied the Dynamic Surface Water Extent (DSWE) model to downscaled (250-m) daily Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) data in Google Earth Engine to generate monthly surface water maps for the conterm

Can coastal habitats rise to the challenge? Resilience of estuarine habitats, carbon accumulation, and economic value to sea-level rise in a Puget Sound estuary

Sea-level rise (SLR) and obstructions to sediment delivery pose challenges to the persistence of estuarine habitats and the ecosystem services they provide. Restoration actions and sediment management strategies may help mitigate such challenges by encouraging the vertical accretion of sediment in and horizontal migration of tidal forests and marshes. We used a process-based soil accretion model (

Science

Characterizing high-resolution soil burn severity, erosion risk, and recovery using Uncrewed Aerial Systems (UAS)

The western United States is experiencing severe wildfires whose observed impacts, including post-wildfire floods and debris flows, appear to be increasing over time.
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Characterizing high-resolution soil burn severity, erosion risk, and recovery using Uncrewed Aerial Systems (UAS)

The western United States is experiencing severe wildfires whose observed impacts, including post-wildfire floods and debris flows, appear to be increasing over time.
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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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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.
Learn More

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