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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.

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News

Image shows a detail of a yellow mineral on white rock
November 14, 2017

Estimates of Potential Uranium in the Southern High Plains Could Equal Just Under One Year of U.S. Needs.

Image shows a detail shot of finchite
October 1, 2017

Everyone’s seen the news–scientists discover a new species of fly and name it for Beyonce; scientists discover a new species of monkey and auction its name off; etc. Hundreds of new species of animals, plants, and other organisms are discovered and named every year. But did you know that dozens of minerals are discovered every year too?

Photo Highlighting Predicted Erosion and Inundation areas in Texas
September 15, 2017

Pre- and post-storm photo comparisons using NOAA imagery

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Vegetation along the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon
December 1, 2016

Riparian ecologists in the AS Branch study interactions among flow, channel change, and vegetation along rivers across the western United States and worldwide. Our work focuses on issues relevant to the management of water and public lands, including dam operation, climate change, invasive species, and ecological restoration. Investigations take place on a range of scales. For example,...

This photo of a Pacific sheath-tailed bat is the last good photo of this bat from Aguiguan in existence.
August 1, 2016

Bats are the only flying mammals that are active mostly at night and occur on all continents except Antarctica. Bats are ecologically diverse, with a range of species that specialize in feeding on fruit, nectar, blood, fish, small mammals, and insects. However, of the more than 1,100 known species of bats on Earth, the majority specialize in feeding on insects. In the United States for example...

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 NPS...

A cutthroat trout. Photo by James Roberts, USGS.
July 21, 2016

Unexplained heterogeneity in statistical models of animal responses to their physical environment is reasonable to expect because the measured habitat resources are a constraint on—but not the sole determinant of—abundance, survival, fecundity, or fitness. The ecological understanding and reliability of management predictions based on animal habitat models can be improved by shifting focus ...

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 management...

The sunset on the main city beach in Laguna Beach, CA.
July 19, 2016

Mathematical and statistical models are powerful research tools that play several important roles in conceptualizing and understanding the structure and dynamics of complicated ecological systems, including developing mechanistic hypotheses pertaining to ecological systems, designing studies that elucidate ecosystem structure and function, and extracting information from data.

Mobile Bay, Alabama study area: Emergent wetlands, 1956
June 22, 2016

Throughout the past century, emergent wetlands have been declining across the Gulf of Mexico. Emergent wetland ecosystems provide a plethora of resources including plant and wildlife habitat, commercial and recreational economic activity, water quality, and natural barriers against storms.

Caddo Lake Institute - Paddlefish Finder - Tracking Map
June 2, 2016

Partnering with the Caddo Lake Institute, the USGS WARC Advanced Applications Team developed a web-based mapping application that visualizes the paddlefish tracking observations being collected by FWS.

Real-time kinematic GPS surveys combined with complimentary ground leveling
May 11, 2016

Storm surge waves and tides of hurricanes have the propensity to wash up marsh detritus of dead reeds and leaf debris along with plastic trash and lumber, commonly referred to as wrack, from overwashed beaches, marshes, forests, streets, and lawns.

Mangrove forest range expansion at the expense of salt marshes
April 18, 2016

Winter climate change has the potential to have a large impact on coastal wetlands in the southeastern United States.

Mangrove Migration Network
April 17, 2016

At the poleward marsh-mangrove ecotone, mangrove abundance and coverage is winter temperature-sensitive in that it oscillates in response to the frequency, duration, and/or intensity of extreme winter temperatures. Future winter climate change is expected to facilitate poleward mangrove range expansion at the expense of salt marshes in Texas, Louisiana, and parts of Florida. 

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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.

Science Base Logo
April 18, 2017

Data tables in support of manuscript "​δ13C and δ15N in the Endangered Kemp's Ridley Sea Turtle Lepidochelys kempii After the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill"

Carbon and nitrogen isosope ratios of satellite-tagged turtles to 1) assess changes in foraging strategies of nesting Lk sampled in 2010 (the year of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill) and two subsequent post-spill years; and 2) estimate the proportion of females that were within the area affected by the oil spill, the latter via discriminant analysis.

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.

Screenshot of the USGS Sediment Data Portal
April 9, 2016

Sediment Data Portal

The Sediment Data Portal allows users to find and interpret USGS discrete and daily suspended-sediment, as well as related data, through a searchable mapping interface.

USGS science for a changing world logo
March 12, 2016

WaterWatch

WaterWatch is a U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) World Wide Web site that displays maps, graphs, and tables describing real-time, recent, and past streamflow conditions for the United States. The real-time information generally is updated on an hourly basis.

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Screenshot of the Texas Water Dashboard on August 25, 2017. 
August 25, 2017

The Texas Water Dashboard presents USGS real-time stream, lake and reservoir, precipitation and groundwater data for more than 750 USGS real-time observation stations in Texas.

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.

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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Year Published: 2017

Nocturnal arboreality in snakes in the swamplands of the Atchafalaya Basin of south-central Louisiana and Big Thicket National Preserve of Southeast Texas

The southeastern United States is home to a diverse assemblage of snakes, but only one species, the Rough Greensnake (Opheodrys aestivus), is considered specialized for a predominantly arboreal lifestyle. Other species, such as Ratsnakes (genus Pantherophis) and Ribbonsnakes/Gartersnakes (genus Thamnophis), are widely known to climb into...

Glorioso, Brad M.; Waddle, J. Hardin
Glorioso, B.M., and Waddle, J.H., 2017, Nocturnal arboreality in snakes in the swamplands of the Atchafalaya Basin of south-central Louisiana and Big Thicket National Preserve of Southeast Texas: Journal of North American Herpetology, v. 2017, no. 1, p. 11-18, http://www.cnah.org/pdf/88616.pdf.

Year Published: 2016

Historical files from Federal Government mineral exploration-assistance programs, 1950 to 1974

The Defense Minerals Administration (DMA), Defense Minerals Exploration Administration (DMEA), and Office of Minerals Exploration (OME) mineral exploration programs were active over the period 1950–1974. Under these programs, the Federal Government contributed financial assistance in the exploration for certain strategic and critical minerals. The...

Frank, David G.
Frank, D.G., 2016, Historical files from Federal Government mineral exploration-assistance programs, 1950 to 1974: U.S. Geological Survey Data Series 1004, http://dx.doi.org/10.3133/ds1004.

Year Published: 2016

Groundwater ages from the freshwater zone of the Edwards aquifer, Uvalde County, Texas—Insights into groundwater flow and recharge

Tritium–helium-3 groundwater ages of the Edwards aquifer in south-central Texas were determined as part of a long-term study of groundwater flow and recharge in the Edwards and Trinity aquifers. These ages help to define groundwater residence times and to provide constraints for calibration of groundwater flow models. A suite of 17 samples from...

Hunt, Andrew G.; Landis, Gary P.; Faith, Jason R.
Hunt, A.G., Landis, G.P., and Faith, J.R., 2016, Groundwater ages from the freshwater zone of the Edwards Aquifer, Uvalde County, Texas—Insights into groundwater flow and recharge: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2015–5163, 28 p., http://dx.doi.org/10.3133/sir20155163.

Year Published: 2013

Economic vulnerability to sea-level rise along the northern U.S. Gulf Coast

The northern Gulf of Mexico coast of the United States has been identified as highly vulnerable to sea-level rise, based on a combination of physical and societal factors. Vulnerability of human populations and infrastructure to projected increases in sea level is a critical area of uncertainty for communities in the extremely low-lying and flat...

Thatcher, Cindy A.; Brock, John C.; Pendleton, Elizabeth A.
Economic vulnerability to sea-level rise along the northern U.S. Gulf Coast; 2013; Article; Journal; Journal of Coastal Research; Thatcher, Cindy A.; Brock, John C.; Pendleton, Elizabeth A.

Year Published: 2011

Assessing the vulnerability of public-supply wells to contamination—Edwards aquifer near San Antonio, Texas

This fact sheet highlights findings from the vulnerability study of a public-supply well field in San Antonio, Texas. The well field consists of six production wells that tap the Edwards aquifer. Typically, one or two wells are pumped at a time, yielding an average total of 20-21 million gallons per day. Water samples were collected from public-...

Jagucki, Martha L.; Musgrove, MaryLynn; Lindgren, Richard J.; Fahlquist, Lynne; Eberts, Sandra M.
Assessing the vulnerability of public-supply wells to contamination—Edwards aquifer near San Antonio, Texas; 2011; FS; 2011-3142; Jagucki, Martha L.; Musgrove, MaryLynn ; Lindgren, Richard J.; Fahlquist, Lynne ; Eberts, Sandra M.

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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...
Image shows a USGS scientist in a PFD taking a high-water measurement
September 11, 2017
USGS scientist Steve Hannes marks high water marks along the Colorado River after flooding from Hurricane Harvey in Wharton County, Texas.
Image shows a USGS scientist in a PDF taking a high-water mark
September 11, 2017
USGS scientist Steve Hannes marks high water marks along the Colorado River after flooding from Hurricane Harvey in Wharton County, Texas.
Image shows a USGS scientist in a PFD taking a high-water measurement
September 11, 2017
USGS scientist Steve Hannes marks high water marks along the Colorado River after flooding from Hurricane Harvey in Wharton County, Texas.
Image shows a USGS scientist in a PFD taking a high-water mark
September 11, 2017
USGS scientist Steve Hannes marks high water marks along the Colorado River after flooding from Harvey in Matagorda County, Texas.
USGS scientist David Rodriguez records high water marks from storm surge following Harvey near Corpus Christi, Texas. 
September 8, 2017
USGS scientist David Rodriguez records high water marks from storm surge following Harvey near Corpus Christi, Texas.
September 8, 2017
Hurricane Harvey dumped over 50 inches of rain near Houston, leaving extensive flooding throughout the area. 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/ )
USGS scientist David Rodriguez records high water marks from storm surge near Corpus Christi, Texas. 
September 8, 2017
USGS scientist David Rodriguez records high water marks from storm surge near Corpus Christi, Texas.
Pre- and post-Harvey photos for Mustang Island, Texas
September 5, 2017
Location 1. Elevated water levels during Hurricane Harvey reached the base but did not overtop the ~5m high dunes in Mustang Island, Texas, leading to dune erosion. The predicted probability of dune erosion for this section of coast was 99%.
Satellite image showing the flooding in Texas from Hurricane Harvey.
September 5, 2017
Extensive flooding inundated the Gulf Coast of Texas after Hurricane Harvey made landfall as a Category 4 hurricane on August 25, 2017. Among the many waterways in southeastern Texas that exceeded flood stage was the Brazos River, which flows past Houston to its west and to the Gulf of Mexico at Freeport.
USGS scientist Vidal Mendoza surveying high water marks from storm surge from Hurricane Harvey near Port Aransas, Texas.
September 5, 2017
USGS scientist Vidal Mendoza surveying high water marks from storm surge from Hurricane Harvey near Port Aransas, Texas.
Pre- and post-Harvey photos for Sargent, Texas
September 5, 2017
Location 4. Sand dunes along this stretch of coast in Sargent, Texas, were overwashed by large waves during the storm. Sand from the beach and dunes is covering the roadway behind the dunes and which may be impassable. The predicted probability of overwash in this area was 94%.
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Image shows a detail shot of finchite
October 1, 2017

Everyone’s seen the news–scientists discover a new species of fly and name it for Beyonce; scientists discover a new species of monkey and auction its name off; etc. Hundreds of new species of animals, plants, and other organisms are discovered and named every year. But did you know that dozens of minerals are discovered every year too?

Photo Highlighting Predicted Erosion and Inundation areas in Texas
September 15, 2017

Pre- and post-storm photo comparisons using NOAA imagery

Image: Rio Grande and Cliffs in Boquillas Canyon, Big Bend National Park
September 14, 2017

A new U.S. Geological Survey report describes the below ground geology of the Rio Grande transboundary region of New Mexico and Texas, United States, and northern Chihuahua, Mexico.

USGS scientists J. Alton Anderson and Carole D. Johnson prepare to collect a Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) log at a well.
September 13, 2017

Digital borehole geophysical logs and related data files are now easily accessible through GeoLog Locator a new web-based, map view and retrieval tool developed by the U.S. Geological Survey.

USGS scientist David Rodriguez records high water marks from storm surge following Harvey near Corpus Christi, Texas. 
September 8, 2017

Editor’s note: this news release will be updated online with more information on the streamgage records being set in Texas as it becomes available.

Rivers and streams reached record levels as a result of Hurricane Harvey’s rainfall, with about 40 U.S. Geological Survey streamgages measuring record peaks.

Satellite captured image of the rapidly intensifying storm, Harvey
September 8, 2017

As Harvey’s record breaking rainfall and catastrophic flood waters recede in Texas and western Louisiana, U.S. Geological Survey teams are collecting high water marks, monitoring water levels and coastal change, retrieving storm tide sensors and collecting samples for water quality analysis.

A USGS crew measures flood waters off a bridge.
August 30, 2017

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

A USGS crew prepares to measure Hurricane Harvey floodwaters off of a bridge.
August 29, 2017

Reporters: Do you want to interview USGS scientists as they measure flooding? Please contact Jennifer LaVista or Lynne Fahlquist. 

U.S. Geological Survey field crews are measuring record flooding in parts of south-central Texas following intense rainfall from Tropical Storm Harvey.

A USGS crew prepares to measure Hurricane Harvey floodwaters off of a bridge.
August 29, 2017

Reporters: Do you want to interview USGS scientists as they measure flooding? Please contact Jennifer LaVista or Lynne Fahlquist. 

U.S. Geological Survey field crews are measuring record flooding in parts of south-central Texas following intense rainfall from Tropical Storm Harvey.

Satellite captured image of the rapidly intensifying storm, Harvey
August 25, 2017

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

Satellite captured image of the rapidly intensifying storm, Harvey
August 25, 2017

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