Regions

Pacific

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The Pacific Region has nine USGS Science Centers in California, Nevada, and Hawaii. The Regional Office, headquartered in Sacramento, provides Center oversight and support, facilitates internal and external collaborations, and works to further USGS strategic science directions. Our scientists do a broad array of research and technical assistance throughout the U.S. and across the globe.

Where are we?

Where are we?

The USGS Pacific Regional Directors Office is located at 6000 J Street, Placer Hall, Sacramento, CA 95819. For more information, please contact (916) 278-9551.

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Who are we?

Who are we?

We help support the USGS mission by providing objective science and technical support to address a wide array of important societal issues, our capabilities and activities are diverse.

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News

A Laysan Albatross chick in its nest near the coastline at Midway Atoll, Hawaii
June 22, 2017

Sudden flooding hit islands of global importance for Pacific birds highlighting threats and opportunities for conservation planning

Tuktu Bluffs of the Alaska North Slope
May 23, 2017

Budget Focuses on Core USGS Science and Efficiency

Side-by-side comparison of the northwest wall of Kīlauea Caldera on a clear day (left) and a day with thick vog (right).
May 18, 2017

Just like smog and fog, this EarthWord is not what you want to see while driving...

USGS is the nation's premiere earth and natural science research organization. Because our core mission is to provide objective science and technical support to address a wide array of important societal issues, our capabilities and activities are diverse. Our work is conducted by employees at our Science Centers, and in collaboration with our many external partners.

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A Burmese python coiled in the grass in the Everglades.
December 4, 2016

Invasive species are considered to be second only to habitat degradation in terms of negative impacts on the Earth’s ecosystems, and our scientists make up a significant proportion of the global expertise in the rapidly-growing problem of invasive reptiles....

A photo of the beach on Guam, by Bob Reed.
December 1, 2016

USGS scientists and staff associated with the Brown Treesnake Project are co-located at the Guam National Wildlife Refuge at the northern end of Guam in the western Pacific Ocean. Project staff work on developing and testing control tools for invasive brown treesnakes, as well as understanding their impacts on Guam's ecosystems. Project staff also lead the multi-agency Brown Treesnake...

Ducks eating brine flies
October 19, 2016

The Challenge: The Laysan Teal is an endangered, endemic, Hawaiian dabbling duck that has been pushed to the brink of extinction numerous times. The previous range includes the Main and Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, and its current range is less than 10 sq. km within the National Wildlife Refuges of Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument. This non-migratory...

Box Springs Field Station
October 19, 2016

Deserts in the southwestern United States are experiencing rapid changes due to human activities. The growth of human populations and development of cities and towns affect adjacent rare, threatened, and endangered species and their associated ecosystems in the Mojave and Sonoran deserts of southeastern California, southern Nevada, southwestern Utah, and western Arizona. ...

A genetic analysis illustration
August 10, 2016

The Molecular Ecology Laboratory applies genetic and genomic technologies to address a variety of complex questions and conservation issues facing the management of the Nation's fish and wildlife resources. Together with our partners, we design and implement studies to document genetic diversity and the distribution of genetic variation among individuals, populations, and species....

A brown treesnake in a tree in Guam. Photo by Bob Reed, USGS, 2009.
July 6, 2016

The Brown Treesnake is a highly destructive reptile species that has extirpated many native species of birds, bats, and lizards from the U.S. Territory of Guam. For more than two decades branch scientists with the Invasive Reptile Project have developed, validated, and tested the feasibility of Brown Treesnake control and suppression at various spatial scales....

The National Map
April 19, 2016

Would you like to learn more about USGS National Map products and services? Then welcome to the National Geospatial Program User Engagement office. We can help you leverage NGP products and services through The National Map and other venues. Connect with us through our network of National Map Liaisons. There's a liaison for every state!

Development of an Environmental Assessment and Eradication Plan to Remove Tilapia from Ponds and Wetlands in National Parks on t
April 17, 2016

Mozambique tilapia, a highly invasive non-native fish of the family Cichlidae, were discovered in a wetland in Kaloko-Honokohau National Historical Park on the Big Island of Hawai'i. As the U.S. National Park Service works to restore the natural communities and functions of wetland ecosystems on the island, the eradication of the tilapia population is considered necessary to fully...

homes damaged by hurricane Sandy on Fire Island, New York
April 13, 2016

Scientists perform a range of studies that document, assess, and model coastal change, risk, and vulnerability. Studies include historical shoreline change, the geologic structure and history of coastal regions, sediment supply and transport, sea-level rise, and how extreme storm events affect rates and impacts of coastal change.

Devastation of the coastal city of Banda Aceh, Indonesia, after the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.
April 13, 2016

We study the distribution and hazard potential of coastal and submarine events such as earthquakes and submarine landslides and associated tsunami potential, hurricane induced coastal inundation, extreme storms, sea-level rise and oil and gas spills. We also model development to help evaluate and forecast coastal hazard probability and occurrence.

Methane hydrate
April 13, 2016

Our scientists conduct research studies focused on geologic mapping, sampling and understanding of mineral and energy resources and studies of the geologic setting and processes to inform renewable energy development offshore.

crustose coralline algae
April 13, 2016

We bring together multidisciplinary expertise focused on developing tools and models to improve understanding of how healthy ecosystems function as well as how they respond to environmental changes and human impacts including ecosystem restoration. Research studies address coral reef, coastal wetland, benthic habitat and groundwater resources.

USGS is known for the producing objective, high-quality data that is relevant to decision-makers, resource managers, the scientific community, and the public. We are recognized as the world leader in making data and tools readily available; as a result, our tools and data are widely used to better understand our world and protect human life and property.

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Digital Elevation Model in the Atchafalaya Basin, LA
April 19, 2016

Elevation Data

The 3DEP products and services available through The National Map consist of lidar point clouds (LPC), standard digital elevation models (DEMs) at various horizontal resolutions, elevation source and associated datasets, an elevation point query service and bulk point query service. All 3DEP products are available, free of charge and without use restrictions.

Fish on seafloor, Offshore Northern California
April 18, 2016

Coastal and Marine Geology Video and Photography Portal

This portal contains U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) video and photography of the seafloor off of coastal California and Massachusetts, and aerial imagery of the coastline along segments of the Gulf of Mexico and mid-Atlantic coasts. These data were collected as part of several USGS Coastal and Marine Geology Program Seafloor Mapping projects and Hurricane and Extreme Storm research.

Lidar data of the Gulf Islands, Florida
March 17, 2016

Coastal and Marine Geoscience Data System

Site provides access to Coastal and Marine Geology Program (CMGP) data via Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) standards services; serving data to GeoMapApp and Virtual Ocean 2-D and 3-D earth browsing tools, for data integration, visualization and analysis; and metadata catalogs for data discovery.

Colored, shaded multibeam data, offshore of Monterey, CA.
March 15, 2016

California State Waters Map Series GIS Data and Metadata

GIS data files for map areas offshore of California are listed with a brief description, a small image, and links to the metadata files and the downloadable data files.

USGS is a world leader in producing and distributing maps and geospatial data, ranging from local to national scales.

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WERC Sooty Shearwater (Puffinus griseus) 2011-2012 Density map (birds/sq km) Summer - north
November 9, 2016

Sooty Shearwater (Puffinus griseus) Density map (birds/sq km) Summer - north as part of the Pacific Continental Shelf Environmental Assessment (PaCSEA) project. 
Project contacts: Josh Adams josh_adams@usgs.gov,  John Takekawa john_takekawa@usgs.gov, Jonathan Felis jfelis@usgs.gov
Partner partners: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management

Digital Elevation Model in the Atchafalaya Basin, LA
April 19, 2016

The 3DEP products and services available through The National Map consist of standard digital elevation models (DEMs) at various horizontal resolutions, elevation source and associated datasets, an elevation point query service and bulk point query service. All 3DEP products are available, free of charge and without use restrictions.

Fish on seafloor, Offshore Northern California
April 14, 2016

CSMP is a cooperative program to create a comprehensive coastal and marine geologic and habitat base map series for all of California's State waters. Data collected during this project reveal the seafloor offshore of the California coast in unprecedented detail and provide an ecosystem context for the effective management of this precious marine resource.

Map shows color-coded seafloor character offshore of Monterey, California
March 7, 2016

This portal is a “go to” source for maps related to ocean and coastal mapping. Information is organized by geography or region, by theme, and by the year data was published.

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Year Published: 2015

Kelp, cobbles, and currents: Biologic reduction of coarse grain entrainment stress

Models quantifying the onset of sediment motion do not typically account for the effect of biotic processes because they are difficult to isolate and quantify in relation to physical processes. Here we investigate an example of the interaction of kelp (Order Laminariales) and coarse sediment transport in the coastal zone, where it is possible to...

Masteller, Claire C; Finnegan, Noah J; Warrick, Jonathan; Miller, Ian M.
66. Masteller, C.C., N.J. Finnegan, J.A. Warrick, and I.M. Miller, 2015, Kelp, cobbles, and currents: Biologic reduction of coarse grain entrainment stress. Geology, v. 43, no. 6, p. 543-546.

Year Published: 2015

Rapid water quality change in the Elwha River estuary complex during dam removal

Dam removal in the United States is increasing as a result of structural concerns, sedimentation of reservoirs, and declining riverine ecosystem conditions. The removal of the 32 m Elwha and 64 m Glines Canyon dams from the Elwha River in Washington, U.S.A., was the largest dam removal project in North American history. During the 3 yr of dam...

Foley, Melissa M.; Duda, Jeffrey J.; Beirne, Matthew M.; Paradis, Rebecca; Ritchie, Andrew; Warrick, Jonathan A.
Foley, M.M., J.J. Duda, M.M. Beirne, R. Paradis, A. Ritchie, J.A. Warrick (2015). Rapid water quality change in the Elwha River estuary complex during dam removal. Limnology and Oceanography. doi: 10.1002/lno.10129

Year Published: 2013

USGS science at work in the San Francisco Bay and Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta estuary

The San Francisco Bay and Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta form one of the largest estuaries in the United States. The “Bay-Delta” system provides water to more than 25 million California residents and vast farmlands, as well as key habitat for birds, fish, and other wildlife. To help ensure the health of this crucial estuary, the U.S. Geological...

Shouse, Michelle K.; Cox, Dale A.
USGS science at work in the San Francisco Bay and Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta estuary; 2013; FS; 2013-3037; Shouse, Michelle K.; Cox, Dale A.

Year Published: 2012

Calculation of hydrocarbon-in-place in gas and gas-condensate reservoirs - Carbon dioxide sequestration

The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (Public Law 110-140) authorized the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) to conduct a national assessment of geologic storage resources for carbon dioxide (CO2), requiring estimation of hydrocarbon-in-place volumes and formation volume factors for all the oil, gas, and gas-condensate reservoirs within the...

Verma, Mahendra K.
Attribution: Pacific
Calculation of hydrocarbon-in-place in gas and gas-condensate reservoirs - Carbon dioxide sequestration; 2012; OFR; 2012-1033; Verma, Mahendra K.

Year Published: 2010

Mercury-contaminated hydraulic mining debris in San Francisco Bay

The hydraulic gold-mining process used during the California Gold Rush and in many developing countries today contributes enormous amounts of sediment to rivers and streams. Commonly, accompanying this sediment are contaminants such as elemental mercury and cyanide used in the gold extraction process. We show that some of the mercurycontaminated...

Bouse, Robin M.; Fuller, Christopher C.; Luoma, Samuel N.; Hornberger, Michelle I.; Jaffe, Bruce E.; Smith, Richard E.
Attribution: Pacific

Year Published: 2010

Estuarine sedimentation, sediment character, and foraminiferal distribution in central San Francisco Bay, California

Central San Francisco Bay is the deepest subembayment in the San Francisco Bay estuary and hence has the largest water volume of any of the subembayments. It also has the strongest tidal currents and the coarsest sediment within the estuary. Tidal currents are strongest over the west-central part of central bay and, correspondingly, this area is...

Chin, John L.; Woodrow, Donald L.; McGann, Mary; Wong, Florence L.; Fregoso, Theresa; Jaffe, Bruce E.
Estuarine sedimentation, sediment character, and foraminiferal distribution in central San Francisco Bay, California; 2010; OFR; 2010-1130; Chin, John L.; Woodrow, Donald L.; McGann, Mary; Wong, Florence L.; Fregoso, Theresa; Jaffe, Bruce E.

Year Published: 2010

Spatial trends in tidal flat shape and associated environmental parameters in South San Francisco Bay

Spatial trends in the shape of profiles of South San Francisco Bay (SSFB) tidal flats are examined using bathymetric and lidar data collected in 2004 and 2005. Eigenfunction analysis reveals a dominant mode of morphologic variability related to the degree of convexity or concavity in the cross-shore profileindicative of (i) depositional, tidally...

Bearman, J.A.; Friedrichs, Carl T.; Jaffe, B.E.; Foxgrover, A.C.
Attribution: Pacific
Spatial trends in tidal flat shape and associated environmental parameters in South San Francisco Bay; 2010; Article; Journal; Journal of Coastal Research; Bearman, J. A.; Friedrichs, C. T.; Jaffe, B. E.; Foxgrover, A. C.

Year Published: 2010

The annual cycles of phytoplankton biomass

Terrestrial plants are powerful climate sentinels because their annual cycles of growth, reproduction and senescence are finely tuned to the annual climate cycle having a period of one year. Consistency in the seasonal phasing of terrestrial plant activity provides a relatively low-noise background from which phenological shifts can be detected...

Winder, M.; Cloern, J.E.
Attribution: Pacific
The annual cycles of phytoplankton biomass; 2010; Article; Journal; Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences; Winder, M.; Cloern, J. E.

Year Published: 2009

How humans and nature have shaped the San Francisco Estuary since the Gold Rush

The San Francisco Estuary has undergone dramatic changes since the Gold Rush, as both natural forces and human activities have added and removed massive quantities of sediment, primarily sand and mud. A long-term perspective of sediment movement and patterns of sediment deposition and erosion is vital for effective management of wetlands, sediment...

Jaffe, B.E.
Attribution: Pacific

Year Published: 2009

A Tidally Averaged Sediment-Transport Model for San Francisco Bay, California

A tidally averaged sediment-transport model of San Francisco Bay was incorporated into a tidally averaged salinity box model previously developed and calibrated using salinity, a conservative tracer (Uncles and Peterson, 1995; Knowles, 1996). The Bay is represented in the model by 50 segments composed of two layers: one representing the channel (...

Lionberger, Megan A.; Schoellhamer, David H.
A Tidally Averaged Sediment-Transport Model for San Francisco Bay, California; 2009; SIR; 2009-5104; Lionberger, Megan A.; Schoellhamer, David H.

Year Published: 2008

Complex seasonal patterns of primary producers at the land-sea interface

Seasonal fluctuations of plant biomass and photosynthesis are key features of the Earth system because they drive variability of atmospheric CO 2, water and nutrient cycling, and food supply to consumers. There is no inventory of phytoplankton seasonal cycles in nearshore coastal ecosystems where forcings from ocean, land and atmosphere intersect...

Cloern, J.E.; Jassby, A.D.
Attribution: Pacific
Complex seasonal patterns of primary producers at the land-sea interface; 2008; Article; Journal; Ecology Letters; Cloern, J. E.; Jassby, A. D.

Year Published: 2007

Box Model of a Series of Salt Ponds, as Applied to the Alviso Salt Pond Complex, South San Francisco Bay, California

This report documents the development and application of a box model to simulate water level, salinity, and temperature of the Alviso Salt Pond Complex in South San Francisco Bay. These ponds were purchased for restoration in 2003 and currently are managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to maintain existing wildlife habitat and prevent a...

Lionberger, Megan A.; Schoellhamer, David H.; Shellenbarger, Gregory; Orlando, James L.; Ganju, Neil K.
Box Model of a Series of Salt Ponds, as Applied to the Alviso Salt Pond Complex, South San Francisco Bay, California; 2007; SIR; 2007-5173; Lionberger, Megan A.; Schoellhamer, David H.; Shellenbarger, Gregory G.; Orlando, James L.; Ganju, Neil K.

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scientific instruments and platform next to river surrounded by snow
2017 (approx.)
USGS Streamgaging equipment and cableway on the Pit River near Canby, California operates year round.
two men in camo-patterned overalls standing next to a boat on the shore of a river with an instrument on the ground.
2017 (approx.)
USGS technicians prepare to board a boat to go out to the center of the channel in the San Joaquin River below Friant Dam to get an accurate measurement of water flow during releases from the Dam for flood control.
Gray metal box standing next to a river with a sign in green and black writing
2017 (approx.)
USGS Streamgaging Station in northern Nevada.
man in yellow shirt and camo coveralls standing in thigh-high water with instrument.
2017 (approx.)
USGS technician measuring streamflow in the Sisquoc River near Garey, California, upstream of the Santa Maria Mesa Road Bridge.
Two technicians in a cablecar over a river, with an instrument hanging below them
2017 (approx.)
USGS technicians preparing for a streamflow measurement by lowering an acoustic Doppler current profiler from a cable way on the American River near Fair Oaks, California.
man in yellow slicker standing in rushing river up to his thighs, holding a stick-like instrument in the water
2017 (approx.)
USGS hydrographer measuring streamflow using a handheld Acoustic Doppler Velocimeter in fast moving floodwater Cajon Creek near Keenbrook, California.
Woman standing in middle of stream next to instruments
2017 (approx.)
USGS technician measuring streamflow in northern Nevada.
Man holding red bird.
August 2017 (approx.)
Iiwi with small radio transmitter attached to help track the bird's movement through the forest
Man measuring a little red bird.
August 2017 (approx.)
Measuring the wing length of a banded Iiwi
May 25, 2017
Title: Underwater Secrets of the Hayward Fault Zone: Integrated 3D imaging to understand earthquake hazards Underwater imaging provides a unique opportunity to study urban fault hazards. How do we link surface structures to depths where earthquakes occur? How does "acoustic trenching" help us understand earthquake history?
A cabin along Alaska's Arctic coast was recently washed into the ocean because the bluff it was sitting on eroded away.
May 2017 (approx.)
From the Sound Waves Newletter article, "Erosion Doubles Along Part of Alaska's Arctic Coast — Cultural and Historical Sites Lost" at http://soundwaves.usgs.gov/2009/05/research2.html
March 2017 (approx.)
Scientists from the USGS Western Ecological Research Center (WERC) are conducting a "social attraction" study for seabirds in the Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge. Historically, this region offered wetland habitats to local wildlife. With the introduction of industrial salt ponds and human development, however, much of this habitat was lost. Now, former salt ponds are being...

Research and technical support provided by USGS makes a difference Some recent press releases and media advisories from the Pacific Region are highlighted below.

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A Laysan Albatross chick in its nest near the coastline at Midway Atoll, Hawaii
June 22, 2017

Sudden flooding hit islands of global importance for Pacific birds highlighting threats and opportunities for conservation planning

Side-by-side comparison of the northwest wall of Kīlauea Caldera on a clear day (left) and a day with thick vog (right).
May 18, 2017

Just like smog and fog, this EarthWord is not what you want to see while driving...

2014 South Napa Earthquake in California
May 15, 2017

Early on the morning of August 24, 2014, Loren Turner was awoken by clattering window blinds, a moving bed, and the sound of water splashing out of his backyard pool. He experienced what is now named the “South Napa Earthquake.” 

Image shows a color-based map of the various magnetic readings of the Great Basin
May 3, 2017

Vast mineral wealth has been discovered in the Great Basin since the 1800s. As each new generation of prospectors and geologists brings their cutting-edge tools with them, the arid ridgelines of the desert Southwest have shown more and more potential.

BART
April 6, 2017

Although no one can reliably predict earthquakes, today’s technology is advanced enough to rapidly detect seismic waves as an earthquake begins, calculate the maximum expected shaking, and send alerts to surrounding areas before damage can occur. This technology is known as “earthquake early warning” (EEW).

Earthquake Early Warning: Vital for City Transit
April 6, 2017

The U.S. Geological Survey along with university, state and private-sector partners will highlight the rollout of Version 1.2 of the USGS ShakeAlert earthquake early warning system on April 10, 2017.

house perched at the top of cliff edge above beach.
March 27, 2017

Using a newly-developed computer model called “CoSMoS-COAST” (Coastal Storm Modeling System – Coastal One-line Assimilated Simulation Tool) scientists predict that with limited human intervention, 31 to 67 percent of Southern California beaches may become completely eroded (up to existing coastal infrastructure or sea-cliffs) by the year 2100 under scenarios of sea-level rise of one to two meters.

USGS logo
March 20, 2017

Seal Beach, Calif.— A new collaborative study shows evidence of prior abrupt sinking of the wetlands near Seal Beach, caused by ancient earthquakes that shook the area at least three times in the past 2,000 years, according to researchers.

Chinook Salmon
March 13, 2017

The water in the Delta arrives primarily from the Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers, supplying water for more than 22 million people. This water source supports California’s trillion-dollar economy—the sixth largest in the world—and its $27 billion agricultural industry.

Image Placeholder
March 2, 2017

Pasadena, Calif. – A new U.S. Geological Survey study offers a view into the past behavior of large earthquakes along the southern San Andreas Fault. 

 

Nine USGS Science Centers are administered by the Pacific Regional office, which is headquartered in Sacramento, California.

The Pacific Region works with a wide array of partners across the country, including other Federal and state agencies, regional and local governments, academic institutions, research organizations, non-governmental organizations, and more.

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