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The USGS Science and Decisions Center (SDC) is an interdisciplinary organization advancing the use of science in natural resource decision making. The Center focuses on research and applications in three science areas: decision science (adaptive management and structured decision making), ecosystem services, and resilience/sustainability.

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News

Date published: July 12, 2018

The Right Tool for the Right Job

Land managers, regulators and other participants in market-based conservation wanting to assess the ecological benefits provided by restored, enhanced and preserved land now have a one-stop shop for the quantification tools used to measure these benefits, courtesy of the USGS and the USDA.

Date published: May 24, 2018

Better Together: How Ecosystem Services and Adaptive Decision-Making Can Improve Land Management

An ecosystem services approach combined with adaptive decision-making can aid land and resource managers in administering their regions for the benefit of communities and stakeholders, according to a recent report by the U.S. Geological Survey and Resources for the Future

Date published: October 25, 2017

USGS Releases Selenium Modeling Framework for Montana and British Columbia’s Lake Koocanusa

Resource managers, regulators, and stakeholders of Montana and British Columbia’s Lake Koocanusa now have a new approach for understanding the implications of different levels of selenium, and to explore alternative selenium criteria for waters in the Lake.

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Date published: June 21, 2018
Status: Active

About the Science and Decisions Center

Today's natural resource managers must make effective decisions with broad–scale societal impacts. 

Date published: February 29, 2016

Adaptive Management

Adaptive management is "learning by doing" and adapting based on what is learned, in an objective, science-based management strategy that explicitly recognizes and delineates uncertainty.

Date published: February 29, 2016

Ecosystem Services

Ecosystem services are attributes and outputs of ecosystems that are valued by human users. Ecosystem services are produced by ecosystem processes such as nutrient cycling, climate regulation, and maintenance of biodiversity. Ecosystems also provide marketable goods like seafood and timber.

Date published: February 29, 2016

Resilience

Resilience is the ability of a system or a community to absorb shocks and still maintain the same basic structure and functions. Management for ecological resilience seeks flexible system behaviors that can deliver ecosystem goods and services on a sustained basis.

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Year Published: 2018

Multi-Resource Analysis—Methodology and Synthesis

This document introduces the Multi-Resource Analysis (MRA), a set of products that are being designed to integrate information on multiple natural resources in a region, combine that information with models of resource interrelationships and scenarios of change, and provide meaningful insights on the implications of those...

Jenni, Karen E.; Pindilli, Emily; Bernknopf, Richard; Nieman, Timothy L.; Shapiro, Carl
Jenni, K.E., Pindilli, E., Bernknopf, R., Nieman, T.L., and Shapiro, C., 2018, Multi-Resource Analysis—Methodology and synthesis: U.S. Geological Survey Circular 1442, 81 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/cir1442.

Year Published: 2018

Flushing of the deep Pacific Ocean and the deglacial rise of atmospheric CO2 concentrations

During the last deglaciation (19,000–9,000 years ago), atmospheric CO2increased by about 80 ppm. Understanding the mechanisms responsible for this change is a central theme of palaeoclimatology, relevant for predicting future CO2 transfers in a warming world. Deglacial CO2 rise hypothetically tapped an accumulated deep Pacific carbon...

Du, Jianghui; Haley, Brian; Mix, Alan; Walczak, Maureen; Praetorius, Summer K.
Du, J., Haley, B., Mix, A., Walczak, M., Praetorius, S: Flushing of the deep Pacific Ocean and the deglacial rise of atmospheric CO2 concentrations. Nature Geoscience. 10.1038/s41561-018-0205-6 (2018)

Year Published: 2018

Global and Arctic climate sensitivity enhanced by changes in North Pacific heat flux

Arctic amplification is a consequence of surface albedo, cloud, and temperature feedbacks, as well as poleward oceanic and atmospheric heat transport. However, the relative impact of changes in sea surface temperature (SST) patterns and ocean heat flux sourced from different regions on Arctic temperatures are not well constrained. We modify ocean-...

Praetorius, Summer K.; Rugenstein, Maria A.; Persad, Geeta; Caldeira, Ken
Praetorius, S., Rugenstein, M. Persad, G. Caldeira, K. Global and Arctic climate sensitivity enhanced by changes in North Pacific heat flux, Nature Communications 9: 3124 (2018).

Year Published: 2018

Outburst floods provide erodability estimates consistent with long-term landscape evolution

Most current models for the landscape evolution over geological timescales are based on semi-empirical laws that consider riverbed incision proportional to rock erodability (dependent on lithology) and to the work performed by water flow (stream power). However, the erodability values obtained from these models are entangled with poorly known...

Garcia-Castellanos, Daniel; O'Connor, Jim E.
Garcia-Castellanos, D., and O'Connor, J.E., 2018, Outburst floods provide erodability estimates consistent with long-term landscape evolution: Scientific Reports, https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-018-28981-y.

Year Published: 2018

A database of biodiversity and habitat quantification tools used in market-based conservation

Market-based conservation uses economic incentives to leverage market forces in ways that encourage and improve efficiency in the restoration, enhancement, and preservation of species and habitats. Biodiversity and habitat quantification tools are vital to the operation of this conservation strategy, as they are used to measure the quality and...

Chiavacci, Scott J.; Pindilli, Emily
Chiavacci, S.J., and Pindilli, E.J., 2018, A database of biodiversity and habitat quantification tools used in market-based conservation: U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2018–3039, 4 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/fs20183039.

Year Published: 2018

Breaching of strike-slip faults and successive flooding of pull-apart basins to form the Gulf of California seaway from ca. 8–6 Ma

The geologic record of the formation of marine basins during continental rifting is uncommonly preserved. Using GIS-based paleotectonic maps, we show that marine basin formation in the Gulf of California–Salton trough oblique rift (Mexico and the United States) occurred in a stepwise manner as crustal thinning lowered elevations within the Gulf of...

Umhoefer, Paul J.; Darin, Michael H.; Bennett, Scott E. K.; Skinner, Lisa A.; Dorsey, Rebecca J.; Oskin, Michael E.
Umhoefer, P. J., Darin, M. H., Bennett, S. E., Skinner, L. A., Dorsey, R. J., & Oskin, M. E. (2018). Breaching of strike-slip faults and successive flooding of pull-apart basins to form the Gulf of California seaway from ca. 8–6 Ma. Geology, 46(8), 695-698.

Year Published: 2018

Geochemical characterization and modeling of regional groundwater contributing to the Verde River, Arizona between Mormon Pocket and the USGS Clarkdale gage

We use synoptic surveys of stream discharge, stable isotopes, and dissolved noble gases to identify the source of groundwater discharge to the Verde River in central Arizona. The Verde River more than doubles in discharge in Mormon Pocket over a 1.4 km distance that includes three discrete locations of visible spring input to the river and other...

Beisner, Kimberly R.; Gardner, W. Payton; Hunt, Andrew G.
Beisner, K.R., Gardner, W.P., Hunt, A.G., (2018) Geochemical characterization and modeling of regional groundwater contributing to the Verde River, Arizona between Mormon Pocket and the USGS Clarkdale gage, Journal of Hydrology. vol. 564, p. 99-114. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jhydrol.2018.06.078

Year Published: 2018

Rapid 3-D analysis of rockfalls

Recent fatal and damaging rockfalls in Yosemite National Park indicate the need for rapid response data collection methods to inform public safety and assist with management response. Here we show the use of multiple-platform remote sensing methods to rapidly capture pertinent data needed to inform management and the public following a several...

Stock, Greg M.; Guerin, A.; Avdievitch, Nikita N.; Collins, Brian D.; Jaboyedoff, Michel
Stock, G.M., Guerin, A., Avdievitch, N., Collins, B.D., Jaboyedoff, M., 2018, Rapid 3-D analysis of rockfalls, GSA Today, Groundwork, v. 28, https://doi.org/10.1130/GSATG374GW.1.

Year Published: 2018

Against the current— The Mojave River from sink to source: The 2018 Desert Symposium field trip road log

The Mojave River evolved over the past few million years by “fill and spill” from upper basins near its source in the Transverse Ranges to lower basins. Each newly “spilled into” basin in the series? sustained a long-lived lake but gradually filled with Mojave River sediment, leading to spill to a yet lower elevation? basin. The Mojave River...

Miller, David; Reynolds, R.E.; Groover, Krishangi D.; Buesch, David C.; Brown, H. J.; Cromwell, Geoffrey; Densmore-Judy, Jill; Garcia, A.L.; Hughson, D.; Knott, J.R.; Lovich, Jeffrey E.
Miller, D.M., Reynolds, R.E., Groover, K., Buesch, D.C., Brown, H.J., Cromwell, G.A., Densmore, J., Garcia, A.L., Hughson, D., Knott, J.R., and Lovich, J., 2018, Against the current-The Mojave River from sink to source; The 2018 Desert Symposium Field Trip Road Log: California, Desert Symposium meeting in April of 2018.

Year Published: 2018

World distribution of uranium deposits

Deposit data derived from IAEA UDEPO (http://infcis.iaea.org/UDEPO/About.cshtml) database with assistance from P. Bruneton (France) and M. Mihalasky (U.S.A.). The map is an updated companion to "World Distribution of Uranium Deposits (UDEPO) with Uranium Deposit Classification, IAEA Tech-Doc-1629". Geology was derived from L.B. Chorlton,...

Fairclough, M. C.; Irvine, J. A.; Katona, L. F.; Simmon, W. L.; Bruneton, P.; Mihalasky, Mark J.; Cuney, M.; Aranha, M.; Pylypenko, O.; Poliakovska, K.
Fairclough, M.C., Irvine, J.A., Katona, L.F., and Slimmon, W.L., 2018, World distribution of uranium deposits, second edition: International Atomic Energy Agency, Vienna, Austria.

Year Published: 2018

Assessing rockfall susceptibility in steep and overhanging slopes using three-dimensional analysis of failure mechanisms

Rockfalls strongly influence the evolution of steep rocky landscapes and represent a significant hazard in mountainous areas. Defining the most probable future rockfall source areas is of primary importance for both geomorphological investigations and hazard assessment. Thus, a need exists to understand which areas of a steep cliff are more likely...

Matasci, Battista; Stock, Greg M.; Jaboyedoff, Michael; Carrea, Dario; Collins, Brian D.; Guérin, Antoine; Matasci, G.; Ravanel, L.
Matasci B., Stock G.M., Jaboyedoff M., Carrea D., Collins B.D., Guerin A., Matasci G., Ravanel L., 2018, Assessing rockfall susceptibility in steep and overhanging slopes using three-dimensional analysis of failure mechanisms: Landslides, Vol. 15(5), 859–878 .

Year Published: 2018

Integrating adaptive management and ecosystem services concepts to improve natural resource management: Challenges and opportunities

Executive Summary—OverviewNatural resource managers must make decisions that affect broad-scale ecosystem processes involving large spatial areas, complex biophysical interactions, numerous competing stakeholder interests, and highly uncertain outcomes. Natural and social science information and analyses are widely recognized as important for...

Epanchin-Niell, Rebecca S.; Boyd, James W.; Macauley, Molly K.; Scarlett, Lynn; Shapiro, Carl D.; Williams, Byron K.
Epanchin-Niell, R.S., Boyd, J.W., Macauley, M.K., Scarlett, Lynn, Shapiro, C.D., and Williams, B.K., 2018, Integrating adaptive management and ecosystem services concepts to improve natural resource management—Challenges and opportunities: U.S. Geological Survey Circular 1439, 62 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/cir1439.

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Date published: July 12, 2018

The Right Tool for the Right Job

Land managers, regulators and other participants in market-based conservation wanting to assess the ecological benefits provided by restored, enhanced and preserved land now have a one-stop shop for the quantification tools used to measure these benefits, courtesy of the USGS and the USDA.

Date published: May 24, 2018

Better Together: How Ecosystem Services and Adaptive Decision-Making Can Improve Land Management

An ecosystem services approach combined with adaptive decision-making can aid land and resource managers in administering their regions for the benefit of communities and stakeholders, according to a recent report by the U.S. Geological Survey and Resources for the Future

Date published: October 25, 2017

USGS Releases Selenium Modeling Framework for Montana and British Columbia’s Lake Koocanusa

Resource managers, regulators, and stakeholders of Montana and British Columbia’s Lake Koocanusa now have a new approach for understanding the implications of different levels of selenium, and to explore alternative selenium criteria for waters in the Lake.

Date published: March 19, 2014

Bighorn Sheep on A Desert Island: Been There, Dung That

In a finding authors are coining an "unintentional rewilding," scientists identified a cave dung deposit as belonging to bighorn sheep that became extinct on a desert island sometime between the 6th and the 20th century.

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