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Land Resources

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Understanding a changing world and how it affects our natural resources, livelihoods, and communities. Science plays an essential role in helping communities and resource managers understand the local to global implications of change, anticipate the effects of change, prepare for change, and reduce the risks associated with decisionmaking in a changing environment.

Carbon Sequestration

Carbon Sequestration

Scientists are working to assess both the potential capacities and the potential limitations of the various forms of carbon sequestration and to evaluate their geologic, hydrologic, and ecological consequences.

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Image of the week

Image of the week

This Image Gallery allows users to see how the surface of the Earth is changing rapidly, at local, regional, national, even global scales, with significant repercussions for people, the economy, and the environment.

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Data and Tools

Land Resources supports the science community with its long-term observational networks and extensive databases encompassing the fields of climate history, land-use and land-cover change, and carbon and nutrient cycles.

U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit

Data Discovery

Global Ecosystems

LandCarbon

National Climate Change Viewer

National Land Cover Database

News

Date published: July 5, 2018

A Testimonial for Analysis Ready Data

Jim Vogelmann discovered something interesting about Analysis Ready Data (ARD) these last few months as he and his colleagues worked on finding a better way to quantify fire risk in the Great Basin of the western United States.

ARD, Vogelmann learned, works really well.

Date published: June 27, 2018

EROS Evapotranspiration Model Key Part of Upper Rio Grande Basin Study

Kyle Douglas-Mankin wants to know where the raindrops go when they fall on the arid and semi-arid landscapes of the Upper Rio Grande Basin.

Date published: June 15, 2018

Landsat 7 Flight Operations Transition to New Home Now Complete

Life in satellite flight operations is busy enough without the disruption of uprooting and moving an entire Mission Operations Center (MOC). Yet that’s been the reality for the Landsat 7 MOC as it transitioned this spring into a new address at the Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, MD.

Land Resource science is essential to improve understanding of past and present change; develop relevant forecasts; and identify those lands, resources, and communities most vulnerable to Earth system change processes.

Our Science Strategy
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Date published: March 7, 2018
Status: Active

Paleoclimate Reconstruction from Marine and Lake Sediments

Instrumental measurements of climate variables (e.g., precipitation, temperature, ocean circulation, etc.) are only available over the past century or less. In order to quantify the rate and magnitude of natural climate variability going back in time beyond the 20th century, scientists rely on paleoclimate reconstructions. 

Date published: February 27, 2018
Status: Active

Paleoceanographic Proxy Calibration

A sediment trap time series in the northern Gulf of Mexico is used to better assess the control of environmental variables (e.g., temperature and salinity) on the flux of both microfossils and molecular fossils to the sediments. The information gained from sediment trap studies is used to develop better proxy-based estimates of past oceanographic conditions from analyses of microfossils and ...

Date published: February 1, 2018

2018 William T. Pecora Award: Nominations being accepted through June 15, 2018

The William T. Pecora Award is presented annually to individuals or groups that have made outstanding contributions toward understanding the Earth by means of remote sensing. Nominations for the 2018 award must be received by June 15, 2018.

Date published: May 12, 2017
Status: Active

Climate Change in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed: Effects on Riverine Discharge, Ecosystems, and Water Quality

The 64,000-square mile watershed that drains to the Chesapeake Bay is highly populated and has diverse land use, including forested, agricultural, and urbanized areas. Increased precipitation in the eastern United States over the last 100 years has affected stream flow and thus the loading of pollutants delivered to the bay. Such pollutants as suspended sediment and dissolved phosphorus and...

Contacts: Karen C Rice
Date published: May 9, 2017

Time Series of Glacier Retreat

The retreat of glaciers in Glacier National Park, Montana, has received widespread attention by the media, the public, and scientists because it is a clear and poignant indicator of change in the northern Rocky Mountains of the USA.  In 2017 the...

Date published: May 9, 2017

GLACIER SIMULATION

The simulation reflects the predicted exponential rise in atmospheric CO2 concentrations, a 2xCO2 "global warming" scenario, by 2030 with a concurrent warming of 2-3 degrees centigrade (4-5 degrees Fahrenheit) by the year 2050. In addition it assumes that precipitation, primarily during the winter, will increase over the same time period five to 10 percent. The animation view of the Blackfoot-...

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. SEM is increasingly used in ecological and environmental studies and this site seeks to provide...

Date published: October 16, 2016

Modeling Past Variation in Florida Manatee Survival, Breeding, and Movements Rates to Establish Baselines for Aquatic Ecosystem and Restoration Research

Long-term monitoring data in the Manatee Individual Photo-identification System (MIPS), developed and coordinated by WARC-Sirenia Project in collaboration with Florida’s Fish and Wildlife Research Institute and Mote Marine Laboratory, are the basis for modeling manatee demography rates.

Date published: September 20, 2016
Status: Active

Improving Our Ability to Forecast Tidal Marsh Response to Sea Level Rise

The Challenge: Accelerations in sea-level rise and changing environmental stressors have important implications for the integrity of coastal wetlands and for efforts to restore and protect the ecosystem services they provide. Their persistence and adaptation to these stressors depends on the net effects of changes in physical processes and biotic responses. Future planning by decision makers...

Date published: September 20, 2016

Post-fire Recovery Patterns in Southwestern Forests

High-severity crown fires in Southwestern dry-conifer forests — resulting from fire suppression, fuel buildups, and drought — are creating large treeless areas that are historically unprecedented in size. These recent stand-replacing fires have reset extensive portions of Southwest forest landscapes, fostering post-fire successional vegetation that can alter ecological recovery trajectories...

Contacts: Collin Haffey
Date published: August 2, 2016
Status: Active

Assessing Coastal Forest Impacts and Resource Management Implications following Hurricane Sandy

Tropical storms and hurricanes wreak havoc with coastal forests where damage can vary with wind speed and approach from isolated treefalls to wide-area blowdowns of whole forests.

Date published: August 1, 2016

Monitoring and Assessing Effects of the Picayune Strand Restoration Project (PSRP) on the Florida Manatee

Critical information predicting condition changes in manatee habitat resulting from the alteration of freshwater flows to estuaries is needed to develop the PSRP Detailed Design and PSRP Operations Plan components and complete consultation under the Endangered Species Act.

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Date published: June 6, 2018

Remote Sensing Memory Game

In this interactive matching game developed by USGS and AmericaView, you’ll compare satellite images that show land cover change at various locations around the world. The goal is to find all the matching pairs of images in the shortest amount of time. 

Date published: June 6, 2018

Landsat State Mosaic Puzzle Game

How well do you know your state? Find out by completing the puzzle! Once you master your state, you can choose another state or try one of our other images. Click here to play.

Date published: May 15, 2018

CoNED Project Viewer

The Coastal National Elevation Database (CoNED) Project Viewer is a portal to the topobathymetric models created with the expertise of the expertise of the U.S. Geological Survey Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) Center near Sioux Falls, SD. 

Date published: May 9, 2018

EarthNow! Landsat Image Viewer

The EarthNow! Landsat Image Viewer displays imagery in near real-time as Landsat 7 and Landsat 8 orbit the Earth. Along with the near real-time video stream, EarthNow! also replays acquisition recordings from a list of previous Landsat overpasses. When Landsat 7 or Landsat 8 are out of viewing range of a ground station, the most recent overpass is displayed.

Date published: May 9, 2018

EarthExplorer

Use EarthExplorer to find and download images from the entire series of Landsat satellites, Sentinel 2, ASTER, MODIS and other LP DAAC archive products. EarthExplorer is also a portal to aerial photography, point cloud data, phenology and land cover mapping tools and more.

Date published: February 12, 2018

Shoreline change rates in salt marsh units in Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge, New Jersey

This dataset displays shoreline change rates at the Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge (EBFNWR), which spans over Great Bay, Little Egg Harbor, and Barnegat Bay in New Jersey, USA

Date published: July 18, 2017

GloVis

The USGS Global Visualization Viewer (GloVis) is an online search and order tool for selected remote sensing data.  

Date published: May 9, 2017

Area of the Named Glaciers of Glacier National Park (GNP) and Flathead National Forest (FNF) Derived from Aerial and Satellite Imagery, 1966, 1998, 2005, 2015

These data represent a time series of the 37 named glaciers of Glacier National Park, MT, USA and two named glaciers in the Flathead National Forest.

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: April 27, 2016

EarthExplorer

The EarthExplorer (EE) tool provides users the ability to query, search, and order satellite images, aerial photographs, and cartographic products. In addition to data from the Landsat missions, EE provides access to MODIS land data products from the NASA Terra and Aqua missions, and ASTER level-1B data products over the U.S. and and Territories from the NASA ASTER mission.

Filter Total Items: 140
Year Published: 2018

Spatial patterns of development drive water use

Water availability is becoming more uncertain as human populations grow, cities expand into rural regions and the climate changes. In this study, we examine the functional relationship between water use and the spatial patterns of developed land across the rapidly growing region of the southeastern United States. We quantified the spatial pattern...

Sanchez, G.M.; Smith, J.W.; Terando, Adam J.; Sun, G.; Meentemeyer, R.K.
Attribution: Land Resources

Year Published: 2018

Potential impacts of projected climate change on vegetation-management strategies in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park

Climate change is expected to alter the seasonal and annual patterns of rainfall and temperature in the Hawaiian Islands. Land managers and other responsible agencies will need to know how plant-species habitats will change over the next century in order to manage these resources effectively. This issue is a major concern for resource managers at...

Camp, Richard J.; Berkowitz, S. Paul; Brink, Kevin W.; Jacobi, James D.; Loh, Rhonda; Price, Jonathan; Fortini, Lucas B.
Camp, R.J., Berkowitz, S.P., Brinck, K.W., Jacobi, J.D., Loh, R., Price, J., and Fortini, L.B., 2018, Potential impacts of projected climate change on vegetation-management strategies in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2018–5012, 151 p., 3 appendixes, https://doi.org/10.3133/sir20185012.

Year Published: 2018

U.S. Department of the Interior Climate Science Centers and U.S. Geological Survey National Climate Change and Wildlife Science Center—Annual report for 2017

IntroductionThe year 2017 was a year of review and renewal for the Department of the Interior (DOI) Climate Science Centers (CSCs) and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) National Climate Change and Wildlife Science Center (NCCWSC). The Southeast, Northwest, Alaska, Southwest, and North Central CSCs’ 5-year summary review reports were released in...

Varela Minder, Elda
Varela Minder, Elda, 2018, U.S. Department of the Interior Climate Science Centers and U.S. Geological Survey National Climate Change and Wildlife Science Center—Annual report for 2017: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2018–1049, 14 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/ofr20181049.

Year Published: 2018

Movers and stayers: Novel assemblages in changing environments

How species will respond to ongoing climate and other change is of increasing concern.Most attention is given to how species move or are moved, but many species stay.Understanding the dynamics of new species combinations is essential for successful conservation in a changing climate.Increased attention to species movement in response to...

Hobbs, Richard L.; Valentine, Leonie E.; Standish, Rachel J.; Jackson, Stephen T.
Movers and Stayers: Novel Assemblages in Changing Environments. Hobbs, Richard J. et al., Trends in Ecology & Evolution , Volume 0 , Issue 0 ,

Year Published: 2018

Temperature variations in the southern Great Lakes during the last deglaciation: Comparison between pollen and GDGT proxies

Our understanding of deglacial climate history in the southern Great Lakes region of the United States is primarily based upon fossil pollen data, with few independent and multi-proxy climate reconstructions. Here we introduce a new, well-dated fossil pollen record from Stotzel-Leis, OH, and a new deglacial temperature record based on branched...

Watson, Benjamin I.; Williams, John W.; Russell, James M.; Jackson, Stephen T.; Shane, Linda; Lowell, Thomas V.

Year Published: 2017

Ad hoc instrumentation methods in ecological studies produce highly biased temperature measurements

In light of global climate change, ecological studies increasingly address effects of temperature on organisms and ecosystems. To measure air temperature at biologically relevant scales in the field, ecologists often use small, portable temperature sensors. Sensors must be shielded from solar radiation to provide accurate temperature measurements...

Terando, Adam J.; Youngsteadt, Elsa; Meineke, Emily K.; Prado, Sara G.
Attribution: Land Resources
Terando AJ, Youngsteadt E, Meineke EK, Prado SG (2017) Ad hoc instrumentation methods in ecological studies produce highly biased temperature measurements. Ecology and Evolution, 7, 9890–9904.

Year Published: 2017

Building translational ecology communities of practice: insights from the field

Translational ecology (TE) prioritizes the understanding of social systems and decision contexts in order to address complex natural resource management issues. Although many practitioners in applied fields employ translational tactics, the body of literature addressing such approaches is limited. We present several case studies illustrating the...

Lawson, Dawn M.; Hall, Kimberly R.; Yung, Laurie; Enquist, Carolyn A. F.

Year Published: 2017

Developing a translational ecology workforce

We define a translational ecologist as a professional ecologist with diverse disciplinary expertise and skill sets, as well as a suitable personal disposition, who engages across social, professional, and disciplinary boundaries to partner with decision makers to achieve practical environmental solutions. Becoming a translational ecologist...

Schwartz, Mark W.; Hiers, J. Kevin; Davis, Frank W.; Garfin, Gregg; Jackson, Stephen T.; Terando, Adam J.; Woodhouse, Connie A.; Morelli, Toni; Williamson, Matthew A.; Brunson, Mark W.

Year Published: 2017

Early-career experts essential for planetary sustainability

Early-career experts can play a fundamental role in achieving planetary sustainability by bridging generational divides and developing novel solutions to complex problems. We argue that intergenerational partnerships and interdisciplinary collaboration among early-career experts will enable emerging sustainability leaders to contribute fully to a...

Lim, Michelle; Lynch, Abigail J.; Fernández-Llamazares, Alvaro; Balint, Lenke; Basher, Zeenatul; Chan, Ivis; Jaureguiberry, Pedro; Mohamed, A.A.A.; Mwampamba, Tuyeni H.; Palomo, Ignacio; Pliscoff, Patricio; Salimov, R.A.; Samakov, Aibek; Selomane, Odirilwe; Shrestha, Uttam B.; Sidorovich, Anna A.
Lim, M., A.J. Lynch, Á. Fernández-Llamazares, L. Balint, Z. Basher, I. Chan, P. Jaureguiberry, A.A.A. Mohamed, T.H. Mwampamba, I. Palomo, P. Pliscoff, R.A. Salimov, A. Samakov, O. Selomane, U.B. Shrestha, A.A. Sidorovich. 2018. Early-career experts essential for planetary sustainability. Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability. 29:151-157. IP-085650.

Year Published: 2017

Foundations of translational ecology

Ecologists who specialize in translational ecology (TE) seek to link ecological knowledge to decision making by integrating ecological science with the full complement of social dimensions that underlie today's complex environmental issues. TE is motivated by a search for outcomes that directly serve the needs of natural resource managers and...

Enquist, Carolyn A. F.; Jackson, Stephen T.; Garfin, Gregg M.; Davis, Frank W.; Gerber, Leah R.; Littell, Jeremy; Tank, Jennifer L.; Terando, Adam; Wall, Tamara U.; Halpern, Benjamin S.; Morelli, Toni L.; Hiers, J. Kevin; McNie, Elizabeth; Stephenson, Nathan L.; Williamson, Matthew A.; Woodhouse, Connie A.; Yung, Laurie; Brunson, Mark W.; Hall, Kimberly R.; Hallett, Lauren M.; Lawson, Dawn M.; Moritz, Max A.; Nydick, Koren R.; Pairis, Amber; Ray, Andrea J.; Regan, Claudia M.; Safford, Hugh D.; Schwartz, Mark W.; Shaw, M. Rebecca
Front Ecol Environ 2017; 15(10): 541–550, doi:10.1002/fee.1733

Year Published: 2017

Toward an effective practice of translational ecology

No abstract available.

Jackson, Stephen T.; Garfin, Gregg; Enquist, Carolyn A.F.
Front Ecol Environ 2017; 15(10):540–540, doi:10.1002/fee.1738

Year Published: 2017

A three-dimensional mapping of the ocean based on environmental data

The existence, sources, distribution, circulation, and physicochemical nature of macroscale oceanic water bodies have long been a focus of oceanographic inquiry. Building on that work, this paper describes an objectively derived and globally comprehensive set of 37 distinct volumetric region units, called ecological marine units (EMUs). They are...

Sayre, Roger; Wright, Dawn J.; Breyer, Sean P.; Butler, Kevin; Van Graafeiland, Keith; Costello, Mark J.; Harris, Peter T.; Goodin, Kathleen; Guinotte, John M.; Basher, Zeenatul; Kavanaugh, Maria T.; Halpin, Patrick N.; Monaco, Mark E.; Cressie, Noel; Aniello, Peter; Frye, Charles; Stephens, Drew
Attribution: Land Resources
Sayre, R.G., D.J. Wright, S.P. Breyer, K.A. Butler, K. Van Graafeiland, M.J. Costello, P.T. Harris, K.L. Goodin, J.M. Guinotte, Z. Basher, M.T. Kavanaugh, P.N. Halpin, M.E. Monaco, N. Cressie, P. Aniello, C.E. Frye, and D. Stephens. 2017. A three-​dimensional mapping of the ocean based on environmental data. Oceanography 30(1):90–103, https://doi.org/10.5670/oceanog.2017.116.

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Date published: May 8, 2018

Tracking Change Over Time

The Earth Resources Observation and Science Center offers educational resources designed for elementary- and middle-school students. The U.S. Geological Survey offers more options through its science education resource page.

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Map of AK showing probability of change occurrence
December 31, 2018

Map of AK showing probability of change occurrence

Map of Alaska showing probability (%) of change occurrence. Insets show fire boundaries from the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Large Fire Database and Landsat 8 imagery (bottom right; 2016) north of Fairbanks, Alaska.

June 30, 2018

Daily Operations of Landsat 7

What it takes each day to keep Landsat 7 operating smoothly. Hear the stories from inside the L7 Mission Operation Center.
 

June 26, 2018

Waterfowl Seeking Submerged Aquatic Vegetation

Waterfowl populations in the northern Gulf of Mexico (NGOM) rely extensively on plants that grow under the surface in shallow waters, know as submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV), as a critical food resource in the winter season. SAV roots, shoots, and seeds provide high carbohydrate wildlife food that sustains valuable waterfowl species, including the American Wigeon,

...
May 31, 2018

Evaluating the Effectiveness of Fish Rescue Programs

A unique effort to seasonally translocate fish, termed “fish rescue”, has quietly emerged in the Pacific Northwest as a way to reduce drought related mortality in wild fish by manually moving individuals from fragmented areas to either free-flowing habitat or artificial rearing facilities, providing refuge during periods of low flow. Work supported by the Northwest CASC

...
Fog on Yukon River
May 29, 2018

Fog on Yukon River

Fog along the Yukon River showing a Black Spruce dominated forest in the foreground, which is prone to wildfire.  Photo by Bruce Wylie, USGS

color photograph
April 25, 2018

Garretson School Second Graders

A group of second-graders from the Garretson School District in Garretson, South Dakota pose for a photo at the Earth Resources Observation and Science Center near Sioux Falls, SD.

April 20, 2018

MODIS and VIIRS Observe Snowpack in the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range

The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) sensor is located onboard NASA’s Terra and Aqua satellites. The Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) sensor is located onboard the joint NASA/NOAA Suomi National Polar-Orbiting Partnership (S-NPP) and data products created by NASA provide a continuation of the MODIS data heritage. These data are crucial

...
April 2, 2018

Image of the Week - Volcan de Fuego, Guatemala

Landsat 8 shows the effects after Volcan de Fuego erupted in Guatemala.

At the USGS EROS Center, we study land change, operate the Landsat satellites, and maintain the longest, continuously acquired collection of images of the Earth's land surface.

USGS EROS Center (https://eros.usgs.gov/)

March 27, 2018

Landsat in Action - Advocating for Landsat with Kass Green

Kass Green talks about the role Landsat plays to help create high resolution maps, the benefits of the archive at EROS and the value of Landsat imagery to agencies throughout the government.
 

March 16, 2018

LP DAAC Prospectus 2017 - 2019

The “LP DAAC Prospectus: 2017 to 2019” short video features the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) Land Processes Distributed Active Archive Center (LP DAAC), a key access point for global land remote sensing data. The video provides an overview of the significance of the LP DAAC’s archive and distribution functions, explains the depth of the user

...
February 27, 2018

Landsat's Calibration and Validation

Engineers and scientists from both Landsat and Sentinel missions are working together to calibrate observation data and validate its quality to improve the science using these resources.
 

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Date published: July 5, 2018

A Testimonial for Analysis Ready Data

Jim Vogelmann discovered something interesting about Analysis Ready Data (ARD) these last few months as he and his colleagues worked on finding a better way to quantify fire risk in the Great Basin of the western United States.

ARD, Vogelmann learned, works really well.

Date published: June 27, 2018

EROS Evapotranspiration Model Key Part of Upper Rio Grande Basin Study

Kyle Douglas-Mankin wants to know where the raindrops go when they fall on the arid and semi-arid landscapes of the Upper Rio Grande Basin.

Date published: June 15, 2018

Landsat 7 Flight Operations Transition to New Home Now Complete

Life in satellite flight operations is busy enough without the disruption of uprooting and moving an entire Mission Operations Center (MOC). Yet that’s been the reality for the Landsat 7 MOC as it transitioned this spring into a new address at the Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, MD.

Date published: June 12, 2018

Landsat, Sentinel Harmony Effort Shows Promising Results in Great Basin

The advent of remote sensing was a boon to the ancient science of phenology.

Satellite data offered a global view of nature’s seasonal life cycles that historical tabulators of budding trees and buzzing bees could scarcely imagine.

From the start, however, remotely sensed phenology has come with caveats.

Date published: June 11, 2018

USGS Hosting Constellation Mission Operations Working Group in Sioux Falls

It sounds like a kind of science-fiction fantasy—space trains chugging along on orbital tracks 705 kilometers above the Earth.

In fact, they are real—in a manner of speaking.

Date published: June 6, 2018

EROS Burn Mapping Crucial in Post-Fire Risk Assessments

It began with a tree falling onto a power line.

There were sparks, then very quickly a wilderness ablaze. In its first 13 hours, the Las Conchas Fire that erupted just west of Bandelier National Monument in New Mexico on June 26, 2011, spread at an acre per second. By the time the last embers died weeks later, it had grown into what then was the largest wildfire in New Mexico history....

Date published: June 5, 2018

Julie Bernier to serve as panelist at the 2018 State of the Coast Conference

Julie Bernier (SPCMSC geologist) was invited to serve as a panelist for the session "Extraction Related Subsidence and the Potential for Uplift" at the 2018 State of the Coast Conference.

Date published: May 16, 2018

2017 CEOS Chair Team Led by USGS EROS Given Unit Award for Excellence of Service

EROS team earns top honor from Department of Interior for work with international body.

Date published: May 7, 2018

EROS Work Called 'Critical' to Wildfire Mapping, Response

Remotely-sensed data key to response in tracking danger in areas like Montecito 

Date published: April 30, 2018

Loveland Selected for South Dakota Hall of Fame

Former Chief Scientist's contributions as head of Landsat Science Team, commitment to education recognized

Date published: April 26, 2018

Senay, EROS Helping to Solve Riddle of Water Use in Upper Klamath Basin

Scientists at EROS use remote sensing data to assist in the understanding of water dynamics in Upper Klamath