Mission Areas

Ecosystems

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The Ecosystems Mission Area provides impartial science information and tools to the Nation’s natural resource managers, with particular focus on the science needs of the Department of the Interior (DOI) and DOI bureaus to manage species, lands and priority ecosystems; fulfill treaty obligations; respond to and reduce threats to natural resources; and manage mineral and energy resources.

 

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Filter Total Items: 747
Date published: September 30, 2018
Status: Active

Wind Erosion and Dust Emissions on the Colorado Plateau

Wind erosion of soils and dust emissions are a significant resource management challenge on the Colorado Plateau. Loss of topsoil and associated aeolian sediment (wind-driven sediment) movement can lead to reduced soil fertility as well as abrasion and burial of vegetation. Dust in the atmosphere poses a threat to human health, visual resources, and regional water supplies (due to interactions...

Date published: September 30, 2018
Status: Active

Measuring Suspended-Sediment Concentrations, Grain Sizes, and Bedload using Multiple Single-Frequency Acoustic Doppler Profilers and Echologgers in the Lower Chippewa River, Wisconsin.

The Upper Mississippi River (UMR) provides critical habitat for hundreds of aquatic species and provides Minnesota with a transportation link to the rest of the world. Reliable measurements of sediment are important for making decisions as part of maintaining the channel. In 2014, sediment deposition in the navigation channel caused channel closures of the UMR delaying commercial navigation...

Contacts: David J Dean
Date published: September 27, 2018
Status: Completed

Early Detection Monitoring May Not Be Sufficient for Invasive Mussels in the Columbia River Basin

The ecological and economic costs of an invasive quagga or zebra mussel infestation in the Pacific Northwest of the U.S. would be significant. The development of invasive mussel monitoring programs in the Pacific Northwest provides a unique opportunity to evaluate a regional invasive species detection effort early in its development. Although efforts are underway to monitor for the presence of...

Contacts: Timothy Counihan, Stephen M. Bollens
Date published: September 19, 2018
Status: Active

Joint Ecosystem Modeling: Cape Sable Seaside Sparrow Helper

The Sparrow Helper tool allows for the evaluation of water management scenarios by generating, plotting, and mapping hydrologic metrics across a range of time scales to predict impacts of proposed water depth changes to sparrow subpopulations.

Date published: September 18, 2018
Status: Active

Joint Ecosystem Modeling: Wader Distribution & Evaluation Modeling (WADEM)

WADEM (Wader Distribution Evaluation Modeling) is a JEM model that estimates species-specific habitat suitability across the landscape for Great Egret (Ardea alba), White Ibis (Eudocimus albus), and Wood Stork (Mycteria americana).

Date published: September 16, 2018
Status: Active

Long-Term Vegetation Change on the Colorado Plateau

Drylands comprise ~35% of Earth’s terrestrial biomes, with over 1 billion people depending on these landscapes for their livelihoods. In the U.S., drylands comprise ~40% of the landmass and 83% of Department of Interior (DOI)-managed lands (excluding Alaska). Due to their vast extent nationally and globally, changes to these landscapes have the potential to affect global climate regulation. A...

Date published: September 12, 2018
Status: Active

Salmonid Population and Life History Research in Tributary Stream and River Habitats and Response to Dam Removal

Juvenile anadromous salmonids all spend some portion of their lives in freshwater. This time may vary from days to years depending upon species and run. Spring Chinook Salmon and Coho salmon generally spend one year in freshwater and Steelhead may spend up to five years in freshwater prior to beginning their journey to sea. Several projects at WFRC – CRRL are investigating populations, life-...

Contacts: Ian Jezorek
Date published: September 10, 2018
Status: Active

Reconstructing Ancient Human and Ecosystem Responses to Holocene Climate Conditions

This research project will reconstruct Holocene climatic conditions to better understand human adaptation and response to past environmental variability. 

Contacts: Greg Pederson
Date published: September 4, 2018
Status: Active

Detection Protocols - Renibacterium salmoninarum

Protocols for the Detection of Renibacterium salmoninarum in salmon

Date published: August 30, 2018
Status: Active

Columbia River Basin Sturgeon Habitat Modeling

A study was conducted to identify habitat characteristics associated with age 0 White Sturgeon (Acipenser transmontanus Richardson, 1863) recruitment in three reaches of the Columbia River Basin: Skamania reach (consistent recruitment), John Day reach (intermittent/inconsistent recruitment), and Kootenai reach (no recruitment).

Contacts: James Hatten
Date published: August 29, 2018
Status: Active

Molecular Characterization of Novel Fish Viruses from Technical Assistance Cases

Viruses occur in many cultured and wild stocks of fish. William Batts collaborates with many government, state, tribal, and private research and diagnostic laboratories to aid in identification of these unknown replicating agents of uncertain pathogenicity. Typically, viruses can be replicated in a variety of fish cell lines and investigated at several temperatures to see if the cytopathic...

Contacts: William N Batts
Date published: August 28, 2018
Status: Active

Statistical Tools for Wind and Solar Energy Development and Operations

Solar and wind power development is increasing exponentially in the United States. However, these energy sources may affect wildlife, either directly from collisions with the turbine blades or photovoltaic arrays or indirectly from loss of habitat and migration routes. An important component to understanding the effects of these renewable energy projects on wildlife is accurate and precise...

Filter Total Items: 153
Date published: July 6, 2017

Standardization and Application of an Index of Community Integrity for Waterbirds in the Chesapeake Bay

This data set is comprised of five files related to the modification and scoring of Index of Waterbird Community Integrity (IWCI) scores for all waterbirds of the Chesapeake Bay. One Excel file (A) contains a list of 100+ Chesapeake waterbird species and their species attribute and IWCI scores.

Date published: June 29, 2017

Field efficacy trials with sylvatic plague vaccine

These data were collected as part of a field trial to test the efficacy of a sylvatic plague vaccine. Treatment and control sites were selected randomly from the available sites at each location. Site pairs were a minimum of 20 acres, (with a few exceptions). Prairie dog trapping took place a minimum of two weeks post-baiting and trapping procedures were approved by the NWHC Animal Care and...

Date published: May 31, 2017

Transcriptional response to West Nile virus infection in the zebra finch (Taeniopygia guttata), a songbird model for immune function

The data set contains paired-end, 100 nucleotide long RNA sequencing reads for each sample. Raw sequencing reads ranged from 18-30million reads per sample. Quality trimmed reads were mapped to the Zebra Finch reference genome with an average of 79.0-80.8% mapping rate, corresponding to 18,618 Ensembl gene IDs. Of these, 14,114 genes averaged at least 5 mapped reads across all samples and were...

Date published: May 19, 2017

Early Estimates of Herbaceous Annual Cover in the Sagebrush Ecosystem

These data were developed to provide land managers and researchers with early-season, near-real-time predictions of spatially explicit percent cover predictions of herbaceous annual vegetation in the study area. Appropriate use of the data should be defined by the user; however, this data comes with several caveats.

Date published: March 28, 2017

Low-pathogenic avian influenza viruses in wild migratory waterfowl in a region of high poultry production, Delmarva, Maryland

This data set is comprised of four files related to the biosurveillance of low pathogenic avian influenza viruses (LPAIV) in migratory waterfowl at 22 locations in the Maryland portion of the Delmarva Peninsula in fall/winter of 2013-2014. 

Date published: March 22, 2017

DATA RELEASE - Southwestern Riparian Plant Trait Matrix, Colorado River, Grand Canyon, Arizona, 2014 - 2016

This dataset contains information on the physical traits and environmental tolerances of plant species occurring along the lower Colorado River through Grand Canyon. Data for the matrix were compiled from published scientific papers, unpublished reports, plant fact sheets, existing trait databases, regional floras, and plant guides.

Date published: March 14, 2017

Quantitative Analysis Using Structural Equation Modeling

USGS scientists have been involved for a number of years in the development and use of Structural Equation Modeling (SEM). This methodology represents an approach to statistical modeling that focuses on the study of complex cause-effect hypotheses about the mechanisms operating in systems.

Date published: February 8, 2017

The North American Breeding Bird Survey, Results and Analysis 1966 - 2015

This website presents population change information for more than 400 species of North American birds, as estimated from the North American Breeding Bird Survey. Estimates of trend (interval-specific estimates of population change), annual indices of abundance, and maps of abundance and population change for these species are presented for a variety of regions.

Date published: February 8, 2017

North American Amphibian Monitoring Program (NAAMP) anuran detection data from the eastern and central United States (1994-2015)

The North American Amphibian Monitoring Program (NAAMP) was a collaborative citizen science effort between the US Geological Survey (USGS) and 26 Partners (state agencies, universities, and nonprofits) for monitoring calling amphibian populations over much of the eastern and central United States.

Date published: February 2, 2017

A Multiscale Index of Landscape Intactness for the Western United States

Landscape intactness has been defined as a quantifiable estimate of naturalness measured on a gradient of anthropogenic influence. We developed a multiscale index of landscape intactness for the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) landscape approach, which requires multiple scales of information to quantify the cumulative effects of land use.

Date published: February 2, 2017

North American Aquatic Macroinvertebrate Digital Reference Collection (NAAMDRC)

Aquatic invertebrates are a key component of freshwater ecosystems, and an understanding of aquatic invertebrate taxonomy is central to freshwater science. The North American Aquatic Macroinvertebrate Digital Reference Collection (NAAMDRC) was created by the USGS Aquatic Experimental Lab (AXL) to provide users with high-quality digital microscopy photographs.

Date published: January 30, 2017

Field Guide to the Nonindigenous Marine Fishes of Florida

The purpose of this field guide is to provide information on nonindigenous (i.e., non-native) fishes that have been observed in Florida’s marine waters.

Filter Total Items: 30,796
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Year Published: 2019

Life-history model for sockeye salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka) at Lake Ozette, northwestern Washington—Users' guide

Salmon populations spawning in the Lake Ozette watershed of northwestern Washington were once sufficiently abundant to support traditional Tribal fisheries, and were later harvested by settlers. However, in 1974 and 1975, the sockeye salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka) harvest decreased to 0 from a high of more than 17,500 in 1949, thus stimulating...

Woodward, Andrea; Haggerty, Mike; Crain, Patrick
Woodward, A., Haggerty, M., and Crain, P., 2019, Life-history model for sockeye salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka) at Lake Ozette, northwestern Washington—Users' guide: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2019-1031, 79 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/ofr20191031.

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Year Published: 2019

Grizzly bear depredation on grazing allotments in the Yellowstone ecosystem

Grizzly bear (Ursus arctos) conflicts with humans, including livestock depredation on public land grazing allotments, have increased during the last several decades within the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE) in the western United States as the grizzly bear population has grown in number and occupied range. Minimizing conflicts and improving...

Wells, Smith L.; McNew, Lance B.; Tyers, Daniel B.; van Manen, Frank T.; Thompson, Daniel J.

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Year Published: 2019

Identifying occupancy model inadequacies: Can residuals separately assess detection and presence?

Occupancy models are widely applied to estimate species distributions, but few methods exist for model checking. Thorough model assessments can uncover inadequacies and allow for deeper ecological insight by exploring structure in the observed data not accounted for by a model. We introduce occupancy model residual definitions that utilize the...

Wright, Wilson; Irvine, Kathryn M.; Higgs, Megan D.

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Year Published: 2019

Development of a quantitative PCR method for screening ichthyoplankton samples for bigheaded carps

Monitoring ichthyoplankton is useful for identifying reproductive fronts and spawning locations of bigheaded carps (Hypophthalmichthys spp.). Unfortunately, sorting and identifying ichthyoplankton to monitor for bigheaded carp reproduction is time consuming and expensive. Traditional methods require frequent egg-larvae sampling, sorting of all...

Fritts, Andrea; Knights, Brent C.; Larson, James H.; Amberg, Jon J.; Merkes, Christopher M.; Tajjioui, Tariq; Butler, Steven E.; Diana, Matthew J.; Wahl, David H.; Weber, Michael J.; Waters, John D.

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Year Published: 2019

Consequences of ignoring spatial variation in population trend when conducting a power analysis

Long-term, large-scale monitoring programs are becoming increasingly common to document status and trends of wild populations. A successful program for monitoring population trend hinges on the ability to detect the trend of interest. Power analyses are useful for quantifying the sample size needed for trend detection, given expected variation in...

Weiser, Emily L.; Diffendorfer, James E.; Lopez-Hoffman, Laura; Semmens, Darius J.; Thogmartin, Wayne E.

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Year Published: 2019

Simulating the effects of climate variability on waterbodies and wetland-dependent birds in the Prairie Pothole Region

Understanding how bird populations respond to changes in waterbody availability in the climatically variable Prairie Pothole Region (PPR) of North America hinges on being able to couple hydrological and climate modeling to represent potential future landscapes. Model experiments run with the Pothole Complex Hydrologic Model using downscaled...

Mcintyre, N.E.; Liu, G.; Gorzo, J.; Wright, C.K.; Guntenspergen, Glenn R.; Schwartz, F.

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Year Published: 2019

Mercury exposure and altered parental nesting behavior in a wild songbird

Methylmercury is a neurotoxin and endocrine disruptor and may impair avian reproduction directly through embryotoxicity or by altering parental care behaviors. We studied mercury exposure and incubation behavior of free-living tree swallows (Tachycineta bicolor) nesting in artificial nest boxes. Using small temperature dataloggers, we measured...

Hartman, C. Alex; Ackerman, Joshua T.; Herzog, Mark P.

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Year Published: 2019

Serologic evidence for influenza A virus exposure in three loon species (Gavia spp.) breeding in Alaska

Limited information exists on exposure to influenza A viruses (IAVs) in many wild waterbird species, including loons. We analyzed serum samples from breeding adult Pacific (Gavia pacifica), Red-throated (G. stellata), and Yellow-billed Loons (G. adamsii) sampled at three locations along the coast of Alaska from 2008-2017 to gain a better...

Uher-Koch, Brian D.; Spivey, Timothy J.; Van Hemert, Caroline R.; Schmutz, Joel A.; Jiang, Kaijun; Wan, Xiu-Feng; Ramey, Andrew M.

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Year Published: 2019

Effects of age and environment on stable carbon isotope ratios in tree rings of riparian Populus

Stable carbon isotopes of riparian tree rings are enabling improved reconstruction of past climate variability, but this advance is limited by difficulty distinguishing the effects of tree age from those of climate. We investigated relative influence of age and climate trends in genus Populus, which dominates floodplain forests in Europe, Asia and...

Friedman, Jonathan M.; Stricker, Craig A.; Adam Z Csank; Honghua Zhou

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Year Published: 2019

Wetland drying linked to variations in snowmelt runoff across Grand Teton and Yellowstone national parks

In Grand Teton and Yellowstone national parks wetlands offer critical habitat and play a key role in supporting biological diversity. The shallow depths and small size of many wetlands make them vulnerable to changes in climate compared with larger and deeper aquatic habitats. Here, we use a simple water balance model to generate estimates of...

Ray, Andrew M.; Sepulveda, Adam J.; Irvine, Kathryn M.; Wilmoth, Siri K.C.; Thoma, David P.; Patla, Debra A.

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Year Published: 2019

Establishing molecular methods to quantitatively profile gastric diet items of fish—Application to the invasive blue catfish (ictalurus furcatus)

Understanding the diet of invasive species helps researchers to more accurately assess the health, survivorship, growth, and stability of an invasive fish species, as well as their effects on native populations. Techniques capable of identifying multiple prey species from fish stomach contents have been developed. In this study, a multi-locus...

Iwanowicz, Deborah D.; Schill, William B.; Sanders, Lakyn R.; Tim Groves; Groves, Mary C.
Iwanowicz, D.D., Schill, W.B., Sanders, L.R., Groves, T., and Groves, M.C., 2019, Establishing molecular methods to quantitatively profile gastric diet items of fish—Application to the invasive blue catfish (Ictalurus furcatus): U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2019–1021, 15 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/ofr20191021.

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Year Published: 2019

Improving eDNA yield and inhibitor reduction through increased water volumes and multi-filter isolation techniques

To inform management and conservation decisions, environmental DNA (eDNA) methods are used to detect genetic material shed into the water by imperiled and invasive species. Methodological enhancements are needed to reduce filter clogging, PCR inhibition, and false-negative detections when eDNA is at low concentrations. In the first of three simple...

Hunter, Margaret; Ferrante, Jason; Meigs-Friend, Gaia; Ulmer, Amelia

Filter Total Items: 720
USGS
December 31, 2017

Hoary Bat (Lasiurus cinereus) Echo Call

Bats produce a variety of vocalizations that are used for navigation, feeding, and social communication. Most vocalizations are pitched well above the range of human hearing and are referred to as ultrasonic. These calls are often known as echolocation calls since bats use the echoes produced when a sound bounces off a bug or a building to determine what is in the area. 

...
Alligator Hatchlings
December 31, 2017

Alligator Hatchlings

Crocodilians are one of the few reptile taxa that exhibit parental care. In alligators, following nest construction, females stay nearby in a guard hole, and are known to defend their nests against predators or other intruders. At the end of the 60-day incubation period, alligator hatchlings will vocalize from within the egg, to signal to the mother that they are ready to

...
Corallimorph mouths
December 31, 2017

Corallimorph mouths

The arrows in this image point to mouths of individual corallimorphs, which are a type of invasive anemone that typically thrives in coral reefs that have been degraded by environmental or man-made disturbances. Each corallimorph mouth is surrounded by a corona of tentacles.

Coral reefs are prone to phase shifts where they quickly transition from coral-dominated to

...
Monarch on hairy puccoon
December 31, 2017

Monarch on hairy puccoon

A monarch butterfly on a hairy puccoon plant.

USGS
December 31, 2017

Hoary Bat (Lasiurus cinereus) Social Call

Bats produce a variety of vocalizations that are used for navigation, feeding, and social communication. Most vocalizations are pitched well above the range of human hearing and are referred to as ultrasonic. These calls are often known as echolocation calls since bats use the echoes produced when a sound bounces off a bug or a building to determine what is in the area. 

...
Sea Lamprey Larvae in Hand
December 31, 2017

Sea Lamprey Larvae in Hand

This image shows a sea lamprey in its larvae phase.

Slower sea lamprey growth rates during the larval phase of development may increase the odds of sea lampreys becoming male, according to a USGS study. Sea lampreys are an invasive, parasitic species of fish damaging the Great Lakes.

Corallimorph infestation on coral reef
December 31, 2017

Corallimorph infestation on coral reef

Coral reefs are prone to phase shifts where they quickly transition from coral-dominated to a uniformity of other organisms, typically algae. The Palmyra Atoll National Wildlife Refuge in the Central Pacific is a unique case where a transition from corals to corallimorphs occurred. Corallimorphs are a type of invasive

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Image from a remote camera placed in a golden eagle nest in the Mojave Desert.  The parent is feed the chick a snake.
December 31, 2017

Image from a remote camera placed in a golden eagle nest in the Mojave

Image from a remote camera placed in a golden eagle nest in the Mojave Desert.  The parent is feed the chick a snake.  

USGS
December 31, 2017

Yuma myotis (Myotis yumanensis) Call

Bats produce a variety of vocalizations that are used for navigation, feeding, and social communication. Most vocalizations are pitched well above the range of human hearing and are referred to as ultrasonic. These calls are often known as echolocation calls since bats use the echoes produced when a sound bounces off a bug or a building to determine what is in the area. 

...
Emperor geese standing near the shoreline on Kodiak Island
December 31, 2017

Emperor geese near Kodiak.

Emperor geese gathered near the shoreline on Kodiak Island.

Sea Lamprey Larvae on White Background
December 31, 2017

Sea Lamprey Larvae on White Background

This image shows a sea lamprey in its larvae phase.

Slower sea lamprey growth rates during the larval phase of development may increase the odds of sea lampreys becoming male, according to a USGS study. Sea lampreys are an invasive, parasitic species of fish damaging the Great Lakes.

Close-up of dried, cracked soil with small plants trying to survive in this soil.
December 31, 2017

Dry, cracked soil (RAMPS)

Rangelands of the desert Southwest can be in a degraded condition and lacking perennial vegetation, which can lead to exposed soil and erosion. RAMPS is working to mitigate degradation by increasing 

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Filter Total Items: 289
Date published: April 10, 2017

Turtles Die in Southern California Lake Following Drought and Fire

Almost all of the turtles living in a southern California lake died following a large fire and years of drought, according to a new U.S. Geological Survey report published in the journal Knowledge and Management of Aquatic Ecosystems.

Date published: April 4, 2017

Hybridization between Native and Invasive Trout is Increasing in the West

Hybridization, or the interbreeding of species, is increasing between native and invasive trout across the northern Rocky Mountains, according to a study released Tuesday by the U.S. Geological Survey and partners.

Date published: March 29, 2017

USGS and Partners Team Up to Track Down Nonnative and Invasive Fishes in South Florida

The Fish Slam event discovered two nonnative fish species never seen before in Big Cypress National Preserve.

 

 

Date published: March 28, 2017

Sex-Shifting Fish: Growth Rate Could Determine Sea Lamprey Sex

Unlike most animals, sea lampreys, an invasive, parasitic species of fish damaging the Great Lakes, could become male or female depending on how quickly they grow, according to a U.S. Geological Survey study published today.

Date published: March 23, 2017

Chandler Robbins Inspired Generations of Scientists and Birders, 1918-2017

U.S. Geological Survey scientist emeritus Chandler S. Robbins, whose heartfelt love of birds, quicksilver mind, boundless energy and sunny demeanor made him a major force in bird conservation in the U.S. and worldwide, died Monday, March 20 at the age of 98.

Date published: March 21, 2017

Livestock grazing effects on sage-grouse: study identifies options to sustain ranching and help wildlife

Effects of livestock grazing on greater sage-grouse populations can be positive or negative depending on the amount of grazing and when grazing occurs, according to research published today in Ecological Applications. The research was conducted by scientists from the United States Geological Survey, Colorado State University and Utah State University.

Date published: March 16, 2017

New Study Supports the Rarity and Limited Range of a Kauai Endemic Bird

Approximately 500 Puaiohi exist in the wild, all on Kauai

Date published: March 15, 2017

Wild Birds an Unlikely Source of Costly Poultry Disease

Wild ducks and shorebirds do not appear to carry Newcastle disease viruses that sicken or kill poultry, according to a new study led by the U.S. Geological Survey.

Date published: March 13, 2017

Increase of Alaskan Snow Geese OK for Other Species

A new report by the USGS finds that although snow geese are increasing rapidly in northern Alaska, they are not having a negative effect on black brant. Brant are a goose species that shares its nesting habitat with snow geese.

Date published: March 7, 2017

Caribou Appear to Keep up with Warming Arctic

Despite recent changes to the growing season for plants in the Arctic, Alaska, caribou appear to have remained in sync with these changes over the last 30 years. 

Date published: March 2, 2017

Increasing Shrubs Mean Changes for Some but Not All Arctic Birds

Scientists can now predict which avian species are most sensitive to the increasingly dominant shrub habitat spreading across Alaska, a capability that will be useful for natural resource agencies in Alaska charged with managing these resources.

Date published: February 23, 2017

Just HOW EARLY is spring arriving in your neighborhood? Find out . . .

Get your flip-flops and shorts out because spring is arriving very early this year . . . at least 2-3 weeks early across almost the entire Southeast, from San Antonio to Atlanta to Washington, D.C.  This unusually early spring is likely to keep rolling north, bringing relatively early ‘signs of spring’ to portions of the central Midwest and northeastern states.