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The Southwest Region ranges from the Colorado Rockies to the Gulf Coast and the Western Deserts to the Great Plains. The Southwest Region conducts multi- and interdisciplinary research and monitoring in locations across the Region, the United States, around the world, and across our solar system.

News

View from Canyonlands Research Center
March 15, 2017

Arid and semiarid ecosystems are expected to experience significant changes in temperature and precipitation patterns, which may affect soil organisms in ways that cause surfaces to become lighter in color and thus reflect more sunlight, according to a new U.S. Geological Survey study.

Lake Mead
March 15, 2017

The Colorado River system provides about 35 million Americans with a portion of their water supply. It irrigates 5½ million acres of land in the West and provides water to tribes, parks, and wildlife. The system serves parts of seven States and Mexico—but reservoir levels have crept lower over the past several years, sparking questions about how much water remains and who will have access.

Chris Huber
March 10, 2017

On March 7, 2017, economist Chris Huber presented at the High Altitude Re-vegetation Workshop and Central Rockies Chapter of the Society for Ecological Restoration 2017 Conference in Fort Collins, Colorado. 

Filter Total Items: 82
An image of an Ephemeroptera Heptageniidae Epeorus longimanuis.
February 2, 2017

Aquatic invertebrates are a key component of freshwater ecosystems, and an understanding of aquatic invertebrate taxonomy is central to freshwater science. The U.S. Geological Survey Aquatic Experimental Lab (AXL) at the Fort Collins Science Center has developed the North American Aquatic Macroinvertebrate Digital Reference Collection (NAAMDRC) to provide users with a graphic tool to aid...

Dead and dying cottonwoods along the Mojave River, California, following a decrease in the riparian water table
January 17, 2017

Drought is killing riparian trees along many rivers in the western United States. The cause can be increasing temperature or decreasing precipitation, flow or water-table elevation. At multiple locations we are relating water availability to physiological measurements of tree survival and water stress, such as ring width, carbon stable isotope ratio and branch hydraulic conductivity....

a specimen found on a rock in the river
December 19, 2016

Although there are ways of developing causal relationships between stressors and aquatic community responses without experimentation; some argue that experimental manipulation under controlled conditions is both critical and necessary to establish causation. Single species toxicity tests are the gold standard for developing toxicant biological response relationships however these tests are...

Boulder glacier in 1913.
December 12, 2016

Natural resource agencies are challenged not only by climate change impacts on terrestrial and marine resources, but also by related effects on human communities that depend on these lands and waters. These effects include changes in economic activity, subsistence practices, demographic trends, human health, recreation, infrastructure, and community resilience. While there are many policy...

Multi-colored flowers in the Great Basin.
December 12, 2016

The Department of Interior (DOI) produces annual estimates of the economic contributions of DOI programs, activities, and services. USGS economists contribute to the annual analysis, and the USGS Information Science Branch has developed an interactive data visualization to display results: https://my.usgs.gov/doidv/.

Bee
December 8, 2016

There is a lack of knowledge and understanding of how widespread use of pesticides may affect bees as they move across a diverse agricultural landscape. Studies have shown there are impacts to honey bees due to exposure to pesticides including neonicotinoid insecticides and fungicides, but the effects of these compounds on native pollinators are largely unknown....

A native Colorado bee on a yellow wildflower.
December 8, 2016

Beginning in 2012, the USGS collaborated with the USDA to assess the effectiveness of pollinator plantings and how alteration of landscapes has affected native pollinators and potentially contributed to their decline. The 2008 Farm Bill recognized contributions made by pollinators and made conservation of pollinator habitat a priority. The USGS is assessing native bee habitat,...

A hiker on the Lower White River Wilderness trail. BLM photo.
December 7, 2016

The National Park Service (NPS) preserves and protects more than 84 million acres of important historic, cultural, and natural resources across 401 sites for the enjoyment of present and future generations. Protected resources and landscapes managed by the National Park Service contribute to the societal welfare of the American public, reflected by ecosystem service values derived from their...

Mountain goats in Glacier National Park, Montana
December 7, 2016

There is a well-known bias in the location of protected areas both within the US and globally. Lands protected for conservation tend to be located on less productive soils at high elevations far from cities. USGS is exploring whether this ‘high and far’ paradigm applies within protected areas as well. That is, does human modification within lands that already have some degree of...

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....

Invasive Tamarisk or saltcedar as it is known, growing on the side of a river.
December 3, 2016

Due to high rates of disturbance and human activity, streamside or “riparian” areas are prone to colonization and spread of invasive plants. In the western US, hundreds of thousands of riparian acres are occupied by the invasive shrubs/trees tamarisk and Russian olive, as well as numerous exotic herbaceous plants. Our work focuses on understanding the factors driving the...

Everglades National Park
December 2, 2016

The Daniel Beard Center in Everglades National Park provides the base for most of the field work done on the control of invasive reptiles by USGS Fort Collins Science Center staff. The team works in Everglades National Park, Big Cypress National Preserve, Crocodile Lake National Wildlife Refuge, and other parts of the Greater Everglades Ecosystem focusing on, among other species of concern,...

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View of the Rio Brazos river with green trees and blue sky as the backdrop.
March 21, 2017

New Mexico Surface Water Data

The U.S. Geological Survey operates and maintains approximately 7,300 streamgages nationwide, 126 here in New Mexico, which provide long-term, accurate, and unbiased information that meets the needs of many diverse users. The USGS collects the streamflow data needed by Federal, State, and local agencies for planning and operating water-resources projects and regulatory programs.

Landscape Intactness for the Western US
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.

Bibiocephala dorsal vent
February 2, 2017

North American Aquatic Macroinvertebrate Digital Reference Collection

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.

Image: Arizona Upland Plant Community in the Sonoran Desert
January 27, 2017

Mean of the Top Ten Percent of NDVI Values in the Yuma Proving Ground during Monsoon Season, 1986-2011

This study uses growth in vegetation during the monsoon season measured from LANDSAT imagery as a proxy for measured rainfall. NDVI values from 26 years of pre- and post-monsoon season Landsat imagery were derived across Yuma Proving Ground (YPG) in southwestern Arizona, USA.

The Little Missouri River, flood plain
January 27, 2017

Aerial photographs and shape files for GIS analysis along the Little Missouri River: 1939-1995

This dataset includes aerial imagery of the Little Missouri River in the North Unit of Theodore Roosevelt National Park, ND from 1939 to 2005, as well as shape files delineating the channel in each image. 

Miller, J.R., and J.M. Friedman. 2009. Influence of flow variability on flood-plain formation and destruction, Little Missouri River, North Dakota. Geological Society of America Bulletin 121:752

Erosion along the Rio Puerco during the flood of 2006 following herbicide application to control saltcedar in 2003.
January 27, 2017

Lower Rio Puerco geospatial data, 1935 - 2014

A long-term study of the geomorphic history of the lower Rio Puerco arroyo in north-central New Mexico included the collection of high-precision (Real-time kinematic) GPS survey data (2002, 2007, 2010, and 2014), registration and rectification of historical aerial photographs (1935, 1950s, 1970s, and 1996), aerial LiDAR survey (2005) and post-flood (2006) satellite imagery.

Pytoplankton Data Map showing Cheney Reservoir near Cheney Kansas
July 6, 2016

Phytoplankton data for Cheney Reservoir near Cheney, Kansas, June 2001 through November 2015

This U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Data Release provides phytoplankton data collected from Cheney Reservoir, Kansas, during June 2001 through November 2015.

This example of Public water use, blue water tower in field with winter trees blue sky. Half the letters of Seneca visible.
July 1, 2016

Public-Supply Water Use in Kansas, 2014

This U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Data Release provides derivative statistics of water used by Kansas public-supply systems in 2014.

USGS WaterAlert Site
June 15, 2016

USGS WaterAlert Service

Now you can receive instant, customized updates about water conditions by subscribing toWaterAlert, a new service from the U.S. Geological Survey. WaterAlert allows you to receive daily or hourly updates about current conditions in rivers, lakes and groundwater when they match conditions of concern to you.

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June 15, 2016

Flood Watch for Kansas

Maps of flood and high flow conditions within Kansas

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June 15, 2016

WaterWatch Real-time streamflow data for Kansas

WaterWatch displays maps, graphs, and tables describing real-time, recent, and past streamflow conditions for the United States, including flood and droughts. Real-time information generally is updated on an hourly basis.

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June 15, 2016

WaterQualityWatch for Kansas

WaterQualityWatch provides access to real time water-quality data collected in surface waters in Kansas, including streamflow, water temperature, specific conductance, pH, dissolved oxygen, turbidity, and nitrate.

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North Platte, Nebraska US Topo quadrangle: 2014
September 26, 2016

Network wells depicted on the Climate Response Network location map
Note: Color shading in the table below indicates multiple wells that plot as a single point on the state location map above.
Note: BLS = Water Level in Feet Below Land Surface, RVD = Water Level referenced to a vertical datum

Mobile River Basin Study
September 22, 2016

The Mobile River Basin in Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, and Tennessee is one of the 59 study units that are part of the U.S. Geological Survey's National Water-Quality Assessment (NAWQA) Program.

Hurricane Louisiana Coast
September 14, 2016

June 1 marks the beginning of hurricane season. Should storms arrive on the Louisiana coast, the people in coastal communities across the State, along with many Federal, State, and local agencies will need to know how the storms are affecting the coastal and low-lying areas.The USGS maintains an extensive network of coastal gages that provides critical time-sensitive water level.

Map of Kansas with a mark at Wamego and De Soto
August 1, 2016

Study area for the Kansas River Algal project.

Indian Creek Map
June 15, 2016

The purpose of the study is to assess the effects of wastewater discharge and treatment facility upgrades on the environmental and biological conditions of Indian Creek, downstream from the Middle Basin wastewater treatment facility (WWTF).

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.

Boston.jpg
April 6, 2016

USGS topographic maps originally published on paper in the period 1884-2006 have been scanned and published as PDF documents. This collection is of topographic quadrangle maps with scales between 1:10,000 and 1:250,000. These historic documents are downloadable free of charge through several interfaces.

USGS science for a changing world logo
March 14, 2016

To allow for a comprehensive evaluation among different energy types, an interdisciplinary team of U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) scientists has developed an online Interactive Energy Atlas for Colorado and New Mexico. The Energy and Environment in the Rocky Mountain Area (EERMA) interdisciplinary team includes investigators from several USGS science centers.

USGS science for a changing world logo
March 14, 2016

The Planetary Geologic Mapping Program is managed by the USGS for NASA, producing geologic maps across the Solar System.The maps are made to the same standards as similar maps for the Earth, providing a consistent high-quality product readily intelligible to any geoscientist.

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.

Low Flow Map
May 1, 2014

As part of their mission to protect public health and aquatic ecosystems, Alabama state agencies need accurate and representative streamflow statistics to establish realistic and applicable criteria for both water quality and water quantity (fig. 1).

Arkansas Map Thumbnail
January 1, 2014

The Arkansas Groundwater - Quality Network is a web map interface that provides rapid access to the U.S. Geological Survey's (USGS) NWIS and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) STORET databases of ambient groundwater information. The interface enables users to perform simple graphical analysis and download selected water-quality data. 

Filter Total Items: 29
Underground waters of southwestern Kansas
Year Published: 1897

Underground waters of southwestern Kansas

Haworth, Erasmus
Underground waters of southwestern Kansas; 1897; WSP; 6; Haworth, Erasmus
Cottonwood Falls folio, Kansas
Year Published: 1904

Cottonwood Falls folio, Kansas

Prossler, Charles Smith; Beede, Joshua William
Cottonwood Falls folio, Kansas; 1904; GF; 109; Prossler, Charles Smith; Beede, Joshua William
Destructive floods of the United States in 1903
Year Published: 1904

Destructive floods of the United States in 1903

Murphy, E.C.
Destructive floods of the United States in 1903; 1904; WSP; 96; Murphy, E. C.
Destructive floods in the United States in 1904
Year Published: 1905

Destructive floods in the United States in 1904

Publication's summary is not available

Murphy, Edward C.
Destructive floods in the United States in 1904; 1905; WSP; 147; Murphy, Edward C.
Preliminary report on the geology and underground water resources of the central Great Plains
Year Published: 1905

Preliminary report on the geology and underground water resources of the central Great Plains

Darton, N.H.
Preliminary report on the geology and underground water resources of the central Great Plains; 1905; PP; 32; Darton, N. H.
Joplin District folio, Missouri-Kansas
Year Published: 1907

Joplin District folio, Missouri-Kansas

Smith, William Sidney Tangier; Siebenthal, Claude Ellsworth
Joplin District folio, Missouri-Kansas; 1907; GF; 148; Smith, William Sidney Tangier; Siebenthal, Claude Ellsworth
Independence folio, Kansas
Year Published: 1908

Independence folio, Kansas

Schrader, Frank Charles
Independence folio, Kansas; 1908; GF; 159; Schrader, Frank Charles
Quality of the water supplies of Kansas, with a preliminary report on stream pollution by mine waters in southeastern Kansas
Year Published: 1911

Quality of the water supplies of Kansas, with a preliminary report on stream pollution by mine waters in southeastern Kansas

Parker, Horatio Newton; Bailey, E.H.S.
Quality of the water supplies of Kansas, with a preliminary report on stream pollution by mine waters in southeastern Kansas; 1911; WSP; 273; Parker, Horatio Newton; Bailey, E. H. S.
Underground-water papers, 1910
Year Published: 1911

Underground-water papers, 1910

Fuller, Myron Leslie; Clapp, F.G.; Matson, G.C.; Sanford, Samuel; Wolff, H.C.
Underground-water papers, 1910; 1911; WSP; 258; Fuller, Myron Leslie; Clapp, F. G.; Matson, G. C.; Sanford, Samuel; Wolff, H. C.
Preliminary report on ground water for irrigation in the vicinity of Wichita, Kansas
Year Published: 1915

Preliminary report on ground water for irrigation in the vicinity of Wichita, Kansas

Meinzer, O.E.
Preliminary report on ground water for irrigation in the vicinity of Wichita, Kansas; 1915; WSP; 345-A; Meinzer, O. E.
Leavenworth-Smithville folio, Missouri-Kansas
Year Published: 1917

Leavenworth-Smithville folio, Missouri-Kansas

Hinds, Henry; Greene, Frank Cook
Leavenworth-Smithville folio, Missouri-Kansas; 1917; GF; 206; Hinds, Henry; Greene, Frank Cook
Channel stability downstream from a dam assessed using aerial photographs and stream-gage information
Year Published: 2000

Channel stability downstream from a dam assessed using aerial photographs and stream-gage information

Juracek, K.E.
Channel stability downstream from a dam assessed using aerial photographs and stream-gage information; 2000; Article; Journal; Journal of the American Water Resources Association; Juracek, K. E.
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Water Use Site Retrieval Page Icon
July 4, 2016

In 1977, the Congress of the United States recognized the need for uniform, current, and reliable information on water use and directed the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) to establish a National Water-Use Information Program (NWUIP) to complement the Survey's data on the availability and quality of the Nations water resources.

The Southwest Region ranges from the Colorado Rockies to the Gulf Coast and the Western Deserts to the Great Plains. The Southwest Region conducts multi- and interdisciplinary research and monitoring in locations across the Region, the United States, around the world, and across our solar system.

Filter Total Items: 89
Hydro techs snowshoeing in the Sandia Mountains as part of a snowpack hydrology study.
January 24, 2017
Hydrologist Ryan McCutcheon and student Aurelia Mitchell recently trekked up into the Sandia Mountains in Albuquerque, New Mexico to collect snow data as part of an ongoing hydrologic study in the East Mountains, conducted in cooperation with the Bernalillo County Public Works Division. They measured the depth and density of the snow in several locations to determine the snow/water equivalent...
Snowshoeing in the Sandia Mountains in Albuquerque, New Mexico as part of a snowpack hydrology study
January 24, 2017
Student Aurelia Mitchell recently trekked up into the Sandia Mountains to collect snow data as part of an ongoing hydrologic study in the East Mountains, conducted in cooperation with the Bernalillo County Public Works Division. They measured the depth and density of the snow in several locations to determine the snow/water equivalent. This information can be used in the future to calculate...
Loveland Pass Colorado
2016 (approx.)
A view of the highway going over Loveland Pass in Colorado.
Dissected bat guano pellet showing antennae, eyes, and body fragments of midges.
2016 (approx.)
Dissected guano pellet showing antennae, eyes, and body fragments of midges.
Photo of USGS research boat conducting science on the Great Salt Lake.
2016 (approx.)
USGS scientist Robert Baskin takes a boat out on the Great Salt Lake to conduct research. Baskin is being awarded with a 2016 Governor’s Medal for Science and Technology. Gov. Gary R. Herbert will present awards to 11 individuals and one company at the 30th anniversary awards dinner on January 18, 2017. Baskin is best known for his innovative research on Great Salt Lake, collaborating with the...
December 1, 2016
The new Great Salt Lake breach was opened on Dec. 1 by the Union Pacific Railroad Company. This created a new opening between the north and the south arm of the lake, allowing water to flow between the two sides. This time-lapse video shows the breach opening, which took about two hours. Before the new breach was opened, the north arm of the Great Salt Lake was at an historic low. Water had...
View of the Rio Brazos river with green trees and blue sky as the backdrop.
October 17, 2016
Hydrologic technician Lindsay Hastings took this photo of the Rio Brazos near Tierra Amarilla, New Mexico during her first field trip as a streamgager with the New Mexico Water Science Center. Did you know that New Mexico was the birth place of streamgaging? The USGS began collecting streamflow information in 1889 when the first streamgage was established on the Rio Grande in New Mexico, about 80...
Photo of footprint damage to biocrusts.
September 29, 2016
Many human activities can be unintentionally harmful to biological crusts. The biocrusts are no match for the compressional stress caused by footprints of livestock or people or tracks from vehicles. Arid and semiarid ecosystems are expected to experience significant changes in temperature and precipitation patterns, which may affect soil organisms in ways that cause surfaces to become lighter in...
Photo of mature, dark-colored biocrust
September 29, 2016
On the Colorado Plateau, mature biocrusts are bumpy and dark-colored due to the presence of lichens, mosses, and high densities of cyanobacteria and other organisms. These organisms perform critical functions, such as fertilizing soils and increasing soil stability, therefore reducing dust. Arid and semiarid ecosystems are expected to experience significant changes in temperature and...
View from Canyonlands Research Center
September 29, 2016
View from Canyonlands Research Center.
Photo of biocrust
September 29, 2016
On the Colorado Plateau, mature biocrusts are bumpy and dark-colored due to the presence of lichens, mosses, and high densities of cyanobacteria and other organisms. Disturbed biocrusts are lighter in color, looking more like the underlying sand than undisturbed ones, and are less capable of stabilizing soils or providing soil fertility. Arid and semiarid ecosystems are expected to experience...
Filter Total Items: 93
View from Canyonlands Research Center
March 15, 2017

Arid and semiarid ecosystems are expected to experience significant changes in temperature and precipitation patterns, which may affect soil organisms in ways that cause surfaces to become lighter in color and thus reflect more sunlight, according to a new U.S. Geological Survey study.

Lake Mead
March 15, 2017

The Colorado River system provides about 35 million Americans with a portion of their water supply. It irrigates 5½ million acres of land in the West and provides water to tribes, parks, and wildlife. The system serves parts of seven States and Mexico—but reservoir levels have crept lower over the past several years, sparking questions about how much water remains and who will have access.

Chris Huber
March 10, 2017

On March 7, 2017, economist Chris Huber presented at the High Altitude Re-vegetation Workshop and Central Rockies Chapter of the Society for Ecological Restoration 2017 Conference in Fort Collins, Colorado. 

Image: Cow in Pasture
March 10, 2017

Each year Colorado State University (CSU) hosts the Front Range Ecology Symposium. This year the symposium showcased the works of 12 universities and primary schools through 80 oral and poster presentations, including two students currently working with the Fort Collins Science Center.

USGS: Science for a changing world
March 8, 2017

In order to provide long-term storage of diverted surface water from the Rio Grande as part of the Aamodt water rights settlement, managed aquifer recharge by surface infiltration in Pojoaque River Basin arroyos was proposed as an option.

Big Walnut Creek at Sunbury during a low flow period looking downstream
March 2, 2017

A new study published in Global Change Biology this week compares analytical frameworks for conducting ecological climate change impact assessments.

Scientist Sarah Carter shows first grader Hazel how sea otters and sea urchins interact.
March 2, 2017

Sarah Carter, FORT Ecologist, visited Bennett Elementary School in Fort Collins, Colorado on February 14, 2017 to talk to first graders about what it means to be a scientist.

Photo of USGS streamgage measures flooding in the lower Trinity River
February 22, 2017

A better understanding of sediment and freshwater flow into Galveston Bay is now available from a new U.S. Geological Survey report, done in cooperation with the Texas Water Development Board, and the Galveston Bay Estuary Program.

USGS logo
February 17, 2017

Small variations in the density of the earth’s crust—undetectable to humans without sensitive instruments—influence where earthquakes may occur in the central United States. These new findings from the U.S. Geological Survey, published today in Nature Communications, may allow scientists to map where future seismicity in the center of the country is most likely.

Sky Pond in Rocky Mountain National Park, CO.
February 14, 2017

Dr. Jill Baron, research ecologist, spoke with Kevin Beatty, a writer for an online news source Denverite, on January 27, 2017.

USGS: Science for a changing world
February 13, 2017

Water-level changes from 2002 to 2015 were examined in wells screened in the High Plains aquifer within the Republican River Basin and the results are now available in a new U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Map.

The Southwest Region ranges from the Colorado Rockies to the Gulf Coast and the Western Deserts to the Great Plains. The Southwest Region conducts multi- and interdisciplinary research and monitoring in locations across the Region, the United States, around the world, and across our solar system.