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U.S. Virgin Islands

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We conduct impartial, multi- and interdisciplinary research and monitoring on a large range of natural-resource issues that impact the quality of life of citizens and landscapes of the Southeastern United States and the Caribbean region.

News

Preparing to measure Irma's storm surge in Puerto Rico
September 6, 2017

 To learn more about USGS’ role providing science to decision makers before, during and after Hurricane Irma, visit the USGS Hurricane Irma page.

A healthy coral reef at Buck Island, U.S. Virgin Island
April 20, 2017

In the first ecosystem-wide study of changing sea depths at five large coral reef tracts in Florida, the Caribbean and Hawai’i, U.S. Geological Survey researchers found the sea floor is eroding in all five places, and the reefs cannot keep pace with sea level rise. As a result, coastal communities protected by the reefs are facing increased risks from storms, waves and erosion.

Catawba rhododendron blooming at Round Bald, NC
August 11, 2016

“From the mountains to the coast, the southeastern U.S. contains ecosystems that harbor incredible biodiversity. Many of those ecosystems are already highly at risk from urbanization and other human land-use change. Identifying the ecosystems at risk from climate change will help inform conservation and management to ensure we don’t lose that biodiversity.” (Jennifer Constanza, report author)

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a birder on a bridge looking at the birds
July 26, 2016

HDgov is an interactive and mobile-responsive online portal to interagency, academic, and non-government resources focused on the human dimensions of natural resource management. The web portal provides easy access to tools, publications, data, and methods that help ensure that the people side of natural resources is considered throughout the entire natural resource management process. The...

A crowd of people in a National Park.
July 26, 2016

The National Park Service (NPS) manages the Nation’s most iconic destinations that attract millions of visitors from across the Nation and around the world. Trip-related spending by NPS visitors generates and supports a considerable amount of economic activity within park gateway communities. USGS economists collaborate with the National Park Service social science program to estimate...

Migratory Bird Hunting Stamp
July 21, 2016

The ultimate success of North American Waterfowl Management Plan (NAWMP) depends on maintaining relevance to stakeholders and society. In order to be relevant, a first step is to better understand what people value in regard to waterfowl and their habitats. Without this information, NAWMP population, habitat, and people objectives may not reflect stakeholder and societal values; and...

Coral Bleaching and Disease: Effects on Threatened Corals and Reefs
April 17, 2016

Severe coral bleaching in 2005, followed by a disease outbreak, resulted in severe reef degradation in the US Virgin Islands; the amount of living coral cover at long-term monitoring sites decreased an average of 60%. With climate change, high seawater temperatures are expected to lead to more frequent bleaching episodes and possibly more disease outbreaks. ...

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.

Understanding host-parasite and parasite consumer trophic relationships
March 22, 2016

Marine reserves and protected areas in the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico encompass a variety of tropical ecosystems, including coral reefs, mangroves, and seagrass beds, but questions remain regarding how effective these areas are at preserving and protecting the habitats and species they encompass. USGS and collaborators address this question by examining the biodiversity and food web...

Detritus sampling from coral reef - WARC
March 10, 2016

Coral reefs around the world are exposed to a number of environmental contaminants. USGS researchers investigate the issue of contamination on the reefs around the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Life on the Edge: Can Corals Thriving in Mangroves Provide Insights into Climate Change?
February 26, 2016

On an island in the U.S. Virgin Islands, USGS scientists discover corals are seeking refuge from climate change in mangroves.

Sea Turtle Habitat Use at Buck Island Reef National Monument, U.S. Virgin Islands
February 26, 2016

USGS researchers tag and track endangered and threatened sea turtles to inform adaptive management strategies in marine protected areas.

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Application screenshot thumbnail
September 1, 2017

National Water Information System (NWIS)

The National Water Information System (NWIS) web application provides access to surface-water, groundwater, water-quality, and water-use data collected at approximately 1.5 million sites across all 50 states.

NWIS-Mapper thumbnail image
August 30, 2017

National Water Information System (NWIS) Mapper

The National Water Information System (NWIS) Mapper provides access to water-resources data at over 1.5 million sites across the U.S., including current and historical data. Users can search by site type, data type, site number, or place.

Structure datasets for the nation from The National Map
April 20, 2016

Structures Data

USGS data portray selected structures data, including the location and characteristics of manmade facilities. Characteristics consist of a structure's physical form (footprint), function, name, location, and detailed information about the structure. The types of structures collected are largely determined by the needs of the disaster planning and response and homeland security organizations.

Boundaries datasets for the nation from The National Map.
April 19, 2016

Boundaries Data

Boundaries data or governmental units represent major civil areas including states, counties, Federal, and Native American lands, and incorporated places such as cities and towns.

Illustration related to the the river corridor
April 19, 2016

Hydrography Data

The National Hydrography Dataset (NHD) and Watershed Boundary Dataset (WBD) are used to portray surface water on The National Map.

3D Lidar Point Cloud Image of San Francisco Bay and Golden Gate Bridge
April 19, 2016

The United States Interagency Elevation Inventory (USIEI)

The USIEI is a comprehensive, nationwide listing of known high-accuracy topographic and bathymetric data for the United States and its territories. The project is a collaborative effort of the USGS and NOAA with contributions from other federal agencies. The inventory supports the 3D Elevation Program and the Integrated Ocean and Coastal Mapping effort. This resource is updated in Spring and Fall.

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.

Orthoimagery of Augusta Ga
April 12, 2016

Orthoimagery Data

Orthoimagery data typically are high resolution aerial images that combine the visual attributes of an aerial photograph with the spatial accuracy and reliability of a planimetric map. The National Map offers public domain, 1-meter orthoimagery for the conterminous United States with many urban areas and other locations at 2-foot or finer resolution.

Small Scale Collection USA
April 12, 2016

The National Map Small-Scale Collection

The National Map offers a collection of small-scale datasets, most of which are at 1:1,000,000. The National Map publishes two data collections at one million-scale: one for Global Map users and one for National Map users. In terms of vector geometry, the lines, points, and areas in these data collections are identical. The difference is in the attributes assigned to these features.

Gaging station on the Tanana River at Nenana, Alaska
March 10, 2016

Science Data Integration and Delivery

Consistent synthesis, integration, storage, and availability of fundamental data is critical to meeting the needs of USGS Science. We develop databases for hydrography, topography, invasive species, water resources, and many other datasets utilized by resource managers.

Queen angelfish - Hurricane Hole, Virgin Islands
September 9, 2010

Mangrove Secrets

The Sheltered Corals of Hurricane Hole, US Virgin Islands

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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.

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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2017 (approx.)
Before a hurricane, USGS Scientists undertake a data collection effort of a grand scale. They install a temporary mobile network of sensors along the coasts to collect additional data on the intensity of storm surge, one of the most dangerous elements of a hurricane. This effort provides critical information that allows various USGS partners and emergency responders to make better informed...
Hurricane Irma satellite image
September 5, 2017
Satellite Image of Hurricane Irma on September 5, 2017. Photo by NASA/NOAA GOES Project
As US models predicted Hurricane Joaquin washed out a road at Kitty Hawk, NC in 2015.
2016 (approx.)
As US models predicted Hurricane Joaquin washed out a road at Kitty Hawk, NC in 2015.
Elkhorn coral has died and turned to rubble.
2015 (approx.)
These Elkhorn corals ( Acropora palmata ) near Buck Island, U.S. Virgin Islands have died and collapsed into rubble. As coral reef structure degrades, valuable habitat for marine life is lost and nearby coastlines become more susceptible to storms, waves and erosion.
A healthy coral reef at Buck Island, U.S. Virgin Island
2015 (approx.)
Healthy Elkhorn coral ( Acropora palmata ) near unpopulated Buck Island, U.S. Virgin Islands. Elkhorn coral is one of many important reef-building species that create 3D structure on the seafloor. Coral reef structure provides habitat for marine life and helps break up waves as they approach the coastline.
Image: Buffalo Trunkfish (Lactophrys trigonus)
March 6, 2010
The Buffalo Trunkfish (Lactophrys trigonus) is larger and less abundant than the Spotted and Smooth Trunkfishes seen frequently in the mangroves.
Queen angelfish - Hurricane Hole, Virgin Islands
September 18, 2009
A queen angelfish peers through the safety of the mangrove roots across the rich colors and textures of corals, sponges, urchins, and algae. Queen angelfish feed almost exclusively on sponges, which are abundant in these mangroves.
Image: Hurricane Hole, Virgin Islands Coral Reef National Monument
April 17, 2009
Bird's-eye view of Hurricane Hole in Virgin Islands Coral Reef National Monument, showing protected bays and coastlines fringed by mangroves.
Image: A Diversity of Corals Growing in the Mangroves Within Virgin Islands Coral Reef National Monument
March 21, 2009
This photo shows a mangrove ecosystem that may be unique in the Caribbean in terms of the abundance and diversity of corals. USGS scientists are collaborating with scientists at the University of the Virgin Islands to learn more about why these corals are thriving while coral cover on USVI reefs has declined by 60% from bleaching and disease. With climate change, sea water temperatures are...
Image: A Diversity of Corals Growing in the Mangroves Within Virgin Islands Coral Reef National Monument
March 21, 2009
This photo shows a mangrove ecosystem that may be unique in the Caribbean in terms of the abundance and diversity of corals. USGS scientists are collaborating with scientists at the University of the Virgin Islands to learn more about why these corals are thriving while coral cover on USVI reefs has declined by 60% from bleaching and disease. With climate change, sea water temperatures are...
Image: Mycetophyllia sp. Coral Abundance in the Virgin Islands
March 8, 2009
This coral (Mycetophyllia sp.) is not abundant in coral reefs of the Virgin Islands. It most commonly grows in water deeper than 40 ft., and it is surprising to find it growing in the shade of the mangroves in 3 ft of water.
Image: Red Mangroves in Hurricane Hole, US Virgin Islands
January 24, 2009
In Hurricane Hole, Red Mangrove trees extend from land into the water, anchoring the trees along the shoreline and creating a rich marine ecosystem.
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Preparing to measure Irma's storm surge in Puerto Rico
September 6, 2017

 To learn more about USGS’ role providing science to decision makers before, during and after Hurricane Irma, visit the USGS Hurricane Irma page.

A healthy coral reef at Buck Island, U.S. Virgin Island
April 20, 2017

In the first ecosystem-wide study of changing sea depths at five large coral reef tracts in Florida, the Caribbean and Hawai’i, U.S. Geological Survey researchers found the sea floor is eroding in all five places, and the reefs cannot keep pace with sea level rise. As a result, coastal communities protected by the reefs are facing increased risks from storms, waves and erosion.

Catawba rhododendron blooming at Round Bald, NC
August 11, 2016

“From the mountains to the coast, the southeastern U.S. contains ecosystems that harbor incredible biodiversity. Many of those ecosystems are already highly at risk from urbanization and other human land-use change. Identifying the ecosystems at risk from climate change will help inform conservation and management to ensure we don’t lose that biodiversity.” (Jennifer Constanza, report author)

As US models predicted Hurricane Joaquin washed out a road at Kitty Hawk, NC in 2015.
June 1, 2016

New USGS models help predict storm effects on beaches

As the 2016 hurricane season opens, weather forecasters, emergency managers and coastal residents have access to tools developed by the U.S. Geological Survey that predict, more precisely than ever, where beach erosion and beachfront flooding will take place during hurricanes and other storms.

 

Map of the 48 contiguous states showing Microcystin concentrations
May 31, 2016

First-of-its-kind survey shows that algal toxins are found nationwide

USGS logo
December 1, 2015

A newly published, three-volume “Remote Sensing Handbook” is a comprehensive coverage of all remote sensing topics written by over 300 leading global experts.

Image:  Black-footed Albatross with Chick
September 23, 2015

Islands used by tropical seabirds are highly vulnerable to sea level rise according to a new study released today.

Image: USGS Documents 2015 Drought
September 8, 2015

U.S. Geological Survey hydrologic technicians are currently taking measurements from hundreds of streams and rivers across the western United States as part of a low flow study.

Crowdsourced Earthquake Warnings illustration
April 10, 2015

MENLO PARK, Calif.— Smartphones and other personal electronic devices could, in regions where they are in widespread use, function as early warning systems for large earthquakes according to newly reported research.

Crowdsourced Earthquake Warnings illustration
April 10, 2015

MENLO PARK, California — Los teléfonos móviles y otros dispositivos electrónicos personales podrían ayudar en las regiones donde se encuentran en uso generalizado, y pueden funcionar como sistemas de alerta para terremotos mayor según la nueva investigación científica recien publicada.

The Bumble Bee, Arizona US Topo map
December 4, 2014

As part of the continued US Topo maps revision and improvement cycle, the USGS will be including mountain bike trails to upcoming quadrangles on a state-aligned basis. 

USGS logo
May 13, 2014

Stronger storms, rising seas, and flooding are placing hundreds of millions people at risk around the world, and big part of the solution to decrease those risks is just off shore. A new study finds that coral reefs reduce the wave energy that would otherwise impact coastlines by 97 percent.

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