Science and Decisions Center
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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.Science and Decisions Center Website
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.