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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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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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Date published: January 1, 2018

Database of Biodiversity and Habitat Quantification Tools Used for Market-based Conservation in the United States

This dataset includes quantification tools being used or developed for habitat and biodiversity markets in the United States. These tools are designed to estimate the ecological quality or functionality of a site for conservation mechanisms such as payment for ecosystem services programs, eco-label certification programs, habitat exchanges, and conservation banking. The dataset consists of...

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Year Published: 2019

The Mississippi Alluvial Plain aquifers—An engine for economic activity

U.S. Geological Survey science supports groundwater resource management in the Mississippi Alluvial Plain region. The USGS Science and Decisions Center is working with the Water Availability and Use Science Program to integrate economics into a sophisticated model of groundwater in the region. The model will quantify the status of the groundwater...

Alhassan, Mustapha; Lawrence, Collin B.; Richardson, Steven; Pindilli, Emily J.
Alhassan, M., Lawrence, C., Richardson, S., and Pindilli, E., 2019, The Mississippi Alluvial Plain aquifers—An engine for economic activity: U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2019–3003, 4 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/fs20193003.

Year Published: 2019

Valuation of the flood attenuation ecosystem service in Difficult Run, VA, USA

Floodplains and riparian wetlands provide several ecosystem services that directly benefit people. We present a methodology for valuing the flood attenuation ecosystem service in Difficult Run, a suburban watershed with extensive natural floodplains in northern Virginia. High-resolution lidar-derived data were...

Lawrence, Collin B.; Pindilli, Emily J.; Hogan, Dianna M.

Year Published: 2018

Estimating the societal benefits of carbon dioxide sequestration through peatland restoration

The Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge (GDS) is a forested peatland that provides a number of ecosystem services including carbon (C) sequestration. We modeled and analyzed the potential capacity of the GDS to sequester C under four management scenarios: no management, no management with catastrophic fire, current management, and...

Pindilli, Emily J.; Sleeter, Rachel; Hogan, Dianna M.

Year Published: 2018

Geologic map of the Fort Collins 30'×60' quadrangle, Larimer and Jackson Counties, Colorado, and Albany and Laramie Counties, Wyoming

The rocks and landforms of the Fort Collins 30′ × 60′ 1:100,000-scale U.S. Geological Survey quadrangle reveals a particularly complete record of geologic history in the northern Front Range of Colorado. The Proterozoic basement rocks exposed in the core of the range preserve evidence of Paleoproterozoic marine sedimentation, volcanism, and...

Workman, Jeremiah B.; Cole, James C.; Shroba, Ralph R.; Kellogg, Karl S.; Premo, Wayne R.
Workman, J.B., Cole, J.C., Shroba, R.R., Kellogg, K.S., and Premo, W.R., 2018, Geologic map of the Fort Collins 30'×60' quadrangle, Larimer and Jackson Counties, Colorado, and Albany and Laramie Counties, Wyoming: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Map 3399, pamphlet 83 p., scale 1:100,000, https://doi.org/10.3133/sim3399/.

Year Published: 2018

Descriptive models for epithermal gold-silver deposits: Chapter Q in

Epithermal gold-silver deposits are vein, stockwork, disseminated, and replacement deposits that are mined primarily for their gold and silver contents; some deposits also contain substantial resources of lead, zinc, copper, and (or) mercury. These deposits form in the uppermost parts of the crust, at depths less than about 1,500 meters below the...

John, David A.; Vikre, Peter G.; du Bray, Edward A.; Blakely, Richard J.; Fey, David L.; Rockwell, Barnaby W.; Mauk, Jeffrey L.; Anderson, Eric D.; Graybeal, Frederick T.
John, D.A., Vikre, P.G., du Bray, E.A., Blakely, R.J., Fey, D.L., Rockwell, B.W., Mauk, J.L., Anderson, E.D., and Graybeal, F.T., 2018, Descriptive models for epithermal gold-silver deposits: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2010–5070–Q, 247 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/sir20105070Q.

Year Published: 2018

Understanding the captivity effect on invertebrate communities transplanted into an experimental stream laboratory

Little is known about how design and testing methodologies affect the macroinvertebrate communities that are held captive in mesocosms. To address this knowledge gap, we conducted a 32‐d test to determine how seeded invertebrate communities changed once removed from the natural stream and introduced to the laboratory. We evaluated larvae survival...

Schmidt, Travis S.; Rogers, Holly; Miller, Janet L.; Mebane, Christopher A.; Balistrieri, Laurie S.
Schmidt, T. S., Rogers, H. A., Miller, J. L., Mebane, C. A. and Balistrieri, L. S. (2018), Understanding the captivity effect on invertebrate communities transplanted into an experimental stream laboratory. Environ Toxicol Chem, 37: 2820-2834. doi:10.1002/etc.4237

Year Published: 2018

Distinguishing brackish lacustrine from brackish marine deposits in the stratigraphic record: A case study from the late Miocene and early Pliocene Bouse Formation, Arizona and California, USA

Brackish marine and brackish continental environments are fundamentally different from a compositional perspective. Brackish water is often defined as having salinity lower than that of standard seawater but higher than that of freshwater, but less regard is given to the origin of the salts involved. The simple dilution of...

Bright, Jordon; Cohen, Andrew S.; Starratt, Scott W.
Bright, J., Cohen, A.S., and Starratt, S.W., 2018, Distinguishing brackish lacustrine from brackish marine deposits in the stratigraphic record: A case study from the late Miocene and early Pliocene Bouse Formation, Arizona and California, USA: Earth-Science Reviews, v. 185, p. 974-1003, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.earscirev.2018.08.011.

Year Published: 2018

Paleoseismic results from the Alpine site, Wasatch fault zone: Timing and displacement data for six holocene earthquakes at the Salt Lake City–Provo segment boundary

To improve the characterization of Holocene earthquakes on the Wasatch fault zone (WFZ), we conducted light detection and ranging (lidar)‐based neotectonic mapping and excavated a paleoseismic trench across an 8‐m‐high fault scarp near Alpine, Utah, located &lt;1&#x2009;&#x2009;km"><1  km<1  km south of the boundary...

Bennett, Scott E. K.; Duross, Christopher; Gold, Ryan D.; Briggs, Richard W.; Personius, Stephen; Reitman, Nadine G.; Devore, Joshua; Hiscock, Adam; Mahan, Shannon A.; Gray, Harrison J.; Gunnarson, Sydney; Stephenson, William J.; Pettinger, Elizabeth; Odum, Jackson K.

Year Published: 2018

Aeromagnetic map of Mountain Pass and vicinity, California and Nevada

Magnetic investigations of Mountain Pass and vicinity were begun as part of an effort to study regional crustal structures as an aid to understanding the geologic framework and mineral resources of the eastern Mojave Desert. The study area, which straddles the state boundary between southeastern California and southern Nevada, encompasses Mountain...

Ponce, David A.; Ponce, David A.; Denton, Kevin M.
Ponce, D.A., and Denton, K.M. (D.A. Ponce, ed.), 2018, Aeromagnetic map of Mountain Pass and vicinity, California and Nevada: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Map 3412–B, scale 1:62,500, https://doi.org/10.3133/sim3412B.

Year Published: 2018

Isostatic gravity map of Mountain Pass and vicinity, California and Nevada

Gravity investigations of Mountain Pass and vicinity were begun as part of an effort to study regional crustal structures as an aid to understanding the geologic framework and mineral resources of the eastern Mojave Desert. The study area, which straddles the state boundary between southeastern California and southern Nevada, encompasses Mountain...

Ponce, David A.; Ponce, David A.; Denton, Kevin M.
Ponce, D.A., and Denton, K.M. (D.A. Ponce, ed.), 2018, Isostatic gravity map of Mountain Pass and vicinity, California and Nevada: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Map 3412–A, scale 1:62,500, https://doi.org/10.3133/sim3412A.

Year Published: 2018

Geophysical and geologic maps of Mountain Pass and vicinity, California and Nevada

U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Map 3412 is a series of products that consists of geophysical and geologic maps of Mountain Pass and vicinity, California. Maps A and B (red outline in above map image) are gravity and aeromagnetic maps, respectively. The map series was begun as part of an effort to study regional crustal structures...

Ponce, David A.

Year Published: 2018

Thermally induced fracture of macroscale surficial granite sheets

Geologically diverse landforms around the world show indications of energetic macroscale fracture. These fractures are sometimes displayed dramatically as so-called “A-tents”, whereby relatively thin rock sheets push upwards and fracture, forming tent-like voids beneath the ruptured sheets. The origin and formation of such features has been a...

Collins, Brian D.; Stock, Greg M.; Eppes, Martha C.
Collins, B.D., Stock, G.M., and Eppes, M.C., 2018. Thermally induced fracture of macroscale surficial granite sheets, In Proceedings of the 2018 Annual Meeting of the American Rock Mechanics Association, Seattle, Washington.

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April 2, 1984

Mauna Loa Lava Flow, April 2, 1984

A USGS scientist walks along a lava flow from the April 2, 1984 Mauna Loa eruption. The scientist stops to observe a standing wave of lava at the end. The lava flow is moving at 64 km/hr (40 mph) towards Hilo, Hawai'i. 
 

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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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