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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 USGS scientists in PFDs with an acoustic doppler sensor in a flooded river
May 31, 2018

No one has a crystal ball to foresee what will happen during the 2018 hurricane season that begins June 1, but NOAA forecasters say there’s a 75 percent chance this hurricane season will be at least as busy as a normal year, or busier.

Xan Fredericks
March 29, 2018

USGS Scientists will participate in the Gulf of Mexico Habitat Monitoring and Mapping User Workshop and Mapping Summit at the NOAA Disaster Response Center in Mobile, Alabama.

Prairie dog and SPV bait
December 13, 2017

About 70 percent of wild prairie dogs successfully ingested baits containing an oral sylvatic plague vaccine, or SPV, that were distributed throughout their habitats, according to a new U.S. Geological Survey study.

Filter Total Items: 26
TAAP Map, US Geological Survey
Date Published: June 13, 2018
Status: Active

Transboundary Aquifer Assessment Program (TAAP)

Transboundary aquifers are an essential source of water for United States – Mexico border communities. Declining water levels, deteriorating water quality, and increasing use of groundwater resources on both sides of the border raise concerns about the long-term availability of this supply.

The U.S. – Mexico Transboundary Aquifer Assessment Act (Public Law 109-448) of 2006 was enacted...

Boundary of Model Grid, NM Water Science Center
Date Published: June 12, 2018
Status: Active

Rio Grande Transboundary Integrated Hydrologic Model: Modeling Conjunctive Use to Support Resource Management

The Palomas, Mesilla, and Conejos-Médanos Basins in New Mexico, Texas, and northern Mexico compose a geologically and hydrologically complex region. The conjunctive use of surface water and groundwater takes place under a myriad of legal and operational constraints, including the Rio Grande Compact, an international treaty, and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation’s Rio Grande Project. New demands...

Contacts: Andre Ritchie
Photo of Bird Bands in a Variety of Sizes and Types
Date Published: May 1, 2018
Status: Active

Bird Banding Laboratory

The Bird Banding Laboratory (BBL) is an integrated scientific program established in 1920 supporting the collection, archiving, management and dissemination of information from banded and marked birds in North America.  This information is used to monitor the status and trends of resident and migratory bird populations. Because birds are good indicators of the health of the environment, the...

Photo Highlighting Predicted Erosion and Inundation areas in Texas
Date Published: February 1, 2018
Status: Completed

Hurricane Harvey - Forecast and Documentation of Coastal Change

Hurricane Harvey coastal change forecast and pre- and post-storm photos documenting coastal change.

Oblique aerial photograph near Rodanthe, NC, looking south along the coast on August 30, 2011, three days after landfall of Hurr
Date Published: January 18, 2018
Status: Active

National Assessment of Storm-Induced Coastal Change Hazards

The overall objective is to improve real-time and scenario-based predictions of coastal change to support management of coastal infrastructure, resources, and safety. Research is part of the  National Assessment of Coastal Change Hazards project.

coastal vulnerability of sea-level rise map
Date Published: January 18, 2018
Status: Active

National Assessment of Coastal Vulnerability to Sea Level Rise

This research seeks to objectively determine the relative risks due to future sea-level rise for the U.S. Atlantic, Pacific, and Gulf of Mexico coasts. Research is part of National Assessment of Coastal Change Hazards project. 

Oblique aerial photograph looking to the southwest along the southern end of Cedar Island, Virginia
Date Published: January 18, 2018
Status: Active

Long-Term Coastal Change

Goals of this project include developing and improving coastal-change assessments and supporting long-term planning and decision making to ensure sustainable coastal economies, infrastructure, and ecosystems. Research is part of the National Assessment of Coastal Change Hazards...

Cliff erosion is a common storm-induced hazard along the West Coast.
Date Published: January 17, 2018
Status: Active

National Assessment of Coastal Change Hazards

Research to identify areas that are most vulnerable to coastal change hazards including beach and dune erosion, long-term shoreline change, and sea-level rise.

Moss-draped oak in the Columbia Bottomlands
Date Published: December 11, 2017
Status: Active

Use of Remote Sensing Data to Quantify Bird and Bat Distributions and Inform Migratory Bird Conservation Efforts

Three federal wildlife refuge complexes on the upper Texas coast include portions of the Columbia Bottomlands and other forests that are important for migratory birds and possibly bats: Texas Mid-Coast, Trinity River, and Chenier Plain.

A perspective model of the morphology and geologic framework near Petit Bois Island showing the relationships between seafloor f
Date Published: December 7, 2017
Status: Active

Geologic and Morphologic Evolution of Coastal Margins

A combination of geophysics, sediment sampling, and chronology techniques are used to characterize the regional geomorphologic response of coastal systems to environmental changes.

Gulf of Mexico Dashboard USGS Obsservation Stations
Date Published: December 5, 2017
Status: Active

The Gulf of Mexico Water Dashboard: Cross-Center Collaboration Brings Real-time, USGS Water Data to the Gulf Coast through a Spatially Enabled Mapping Application

The USGS Southeast Regional Office has funded a cross-center collaboration between the Wetland and Aquatic Research Center and the Texas Water Science Center for the development of the Gulf of Mexico Water Dashboard. The objective of this effort is to expand the Texas Water Dashboard platform to include the coastal regions of the five Gulf states: Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and...

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

Riparian Ecology

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,...

Filter Total Items: 16
Science Datasets
/data-tools/summary-key-findings-scenario-based-assessment-hurricanes

Key Findings for Scenario-Based Assessment for Hurricanes

summary of key findings for scenario-based assessment for hurricanes
February 14, 2018

Percentage of sandy beaches very likely (probability > 0.9) to experience erosion associated with collision, overwash, and inundation during category 1-5 hurricane landfall.

Web Application
/data-tools/oblique-aerial-photography-viewer

Oblique Aerial Photography Viewer

Oblique Aerial Photography Viewer
January 19, 2018

Obique photos offer a unique perspective of the coast. Features such as beach erosion or accretion, dune erosion and overwash can all be clearly characterized in this imagery. It also documents coastal infrastructure, as well as the damage that infrastructure may incur as the result of an impacting hurricane. 

Web Application
/data-tools/gulf-mexico-dashboard

Gulf of Mexico Dashboard

Gulf of Mexico Dashboard Real-time Stream Data with Live Storm Radar
December 11, 2017

The USGS Southeast Regional Office has funded a cross-center collaboration between the Wetland and Aquatic Research Center and the Texas Water Science Center for the development of the Gulf of Mexico Water Dashboard. 

Science Datasets
/data-tools/prospect-and-mine-related-features-us-geological-survey-75-and-15-minute-topographic

Prospect- and Mine-Related Features from U.S. Geological Survey 7.5- and 15-Minute Topographic Quadrangle Maps of the United States

data location map
December 1, 2017

These data are part of a larger USGS project to develop an updated geospatial database of mines, mineral deposits and mineral regions in the United States. Mine and prospect-related symbols, such as those used to represent prospect pits, mines, adits, dumps, tailings, etc., are currently being digitized on a state-by-state basis from USGS Historical Topographic Maps.

Water
/data-tools/national-water-information-system-nwis

National Water Information System (NWIS)

Application screenshot thumbnail
September 1, 2017

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.

Real-time Data
/data-tools/national-water-information-system-nwis-mapper-0

National Water Information System (NWIS) Mapper

NWIS-Mapper thumbnail image
August 30, 2017

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.

Web Application
/data-tools/coastal-change-hazards-portal

Coastal Change Hazards Portal

Coastal Change Hazards Portal Interactive Mapper screen grab
August 24, 2017

Interactive access to coastal change science and data for our Nation’s coasts. Information and products are organized within three coastal change hazard themes: 1) extreme storms, 2) shoreline change, and 3) sea-level rise. Each data item represents an individual research product, with some items grouped together as aggregates to show the breadth of the topic and make it easy to explore.

Science Datasets
/data-tools/data-tables-support-manuscript-13c-and-15n-endangered-kemps-ridley-sea-turtle

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"

Science Base Logo
April 18, 2017

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.

GIS Data
/data-tools/structures-data

Structures Data

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

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.

GIS Data
/data-tools/boundaries

Boundaries Data

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

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.

GIS Data
/data-tools/hydrography-data

Hydrography Data

Illustration related to the the river corridor
April 19, 2016

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

GIS Data
/data-tools/united-states-interagency-elevation-inventory-usiei

The United States Interagency Elevation Inventory (USIEI)

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

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.

Filter Total Items: 5
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.

Filter Total Items: 6
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.

Year Published: 2010

In vitro studies evaluating leaching of mercury from mine waste calcine using simulated human body fluids

In vitro bioaccessibility (IVBA) studies were carried out on samples of mercury (Hg) mine-waste calcine (roasted Hg ore) by leaching with simulated human body fluids. The objective was to estimate potential human exposure to Hg due to inhalation of airborne calcine particulates and hand-to-mouth ingestion of Hg-bearing calcines. Mine waste...

Gray, John E.; Plumlee, Geoffrey S.; Morman, Suzette A.; Higueras, Pablo L.; Crock, James G.; Lowers, Heather A.; Witten, Mark L.

Filter Total Items: 190
Photograph showing Monitoring equipment at Frio River at Concan, Tex.
December 31, 2017

Monitoring equipment at Frio River at Concan, Tex.

Monitoring equipment at Frio River at Concan, Tex.

Photograph showing pump hoist truck at Shavano Park at Fawn Drive
December 31, 2017

Pump hoist truck at Shavano Park at Fawn Drive

Back cover photo from
Opsahl, S.P., Musgrove, M., Mahler, B.J., and Lambert, R.B., 2018, Water-quality observations of the San Antonio segment of the Edwards aquifer, Texas, with an emphasis on processes influencing nutrient and pesticide geochemistry and factors affecting aquifer vulnerability, 2010–16: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2018–5060, 67 p.,...

Photograph showing Groundwater sampling equipment at AY-68-27-610 (Parkwood Park)
December 31, 2017

Groundwater sampling equipment at AY-68-27-610 (Parkwood Park).

Back cover photo from
Opsahl, S.P., Musgrove, M., Mahler, B.J., and Lambert, R.B., 2018, Water-quality observations of the San Antonio segment of the Edwards aquifer, Texas, with an emphasis on processes influencing nutrient and pesticide geochemistry and factors affecting aquifer vulnerability, 2010–16: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2018–5060, 67 p.,...

Photograph showing Comal 1 spring run
December 31, 2017

Comal 1 spring run

Back cover photo from
Opsahl, S.P., Musgrove, M., Mahler, B.J., and Lambert, R.B., 2018, Water-quality observations of the San Antonio segment of the Edwards aquifer, Texas, with an emphasis on processes influencing nutrient and pesticide geochemistry and factors affecting aquifer vulnerability, 2010–16: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2018–5060, 67 p.,...

Photograph showing nitrate sensor at the Frio River at Concan, Tex.
December 31, 2017

Nitrate sensor at the Frio River at Concan, Tex.

Back cover photo from
Opsahl, S.P., Musgrove, M., Mahler, B.J., and Lambert, R.B., 2018, Water-quality observations of the San Antonio segment of the Edwards aquifer, Texas, with an emphasis on processes influencing nutrient and pesticide geochemistry and factors affecting aquifer vulnerability, 2010–16: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2018–5060, 67 p.,...

Photograph showing Comal spring run
December 31, 2017

Comal spring run

Cover background photo from
Opsahl, S.P., Musgrove, M., Mahler, B.J., and Lambert, R.B., 2018, Water-quality observations of the San Antonio segment of the Edwards aquifer, Texas, with an emphasis on processes influencing nutrient and pesticide geochemistry and factors affecting aquifer vulnerability, 2010–16: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2018–5060, 67 p.,...

Photograph showing Frio Stilling well
December 31, 2017

Frio Stilling well

Photo from pages 8 and 9 of
Opsahl, S.P., Musgrove, M., Mahler, B.J., and Lambert, R.B., 2018, Water-quality observations of the San Antonio segment of the Edwards aquifer, Texas, with an emphasis on processes influencing nutrient and pesticide geochemistry and factors affecting aquifer vulnerability, 2010–16: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2018–5060, 67 p.,...

Photograph showing dry Frio below Concan
December 31, 2017

Dry Frio below Concan

Photograph from page 19 of
Opsahl, S.P., Musgrove, M., Mahler, B.J., and Lambert, R.B., 2018, Water-quality observations of the San Antonio segment of the Edwards aquifer, Texas, with an emphasis on processes influencing nutrient and pesticide geochemistry and factors affecting aquifer vulnerability, 2010–16: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2018–5060, 67 p.,...

Photograph showing Helotes flood
December 31, 2017

Helotes flood

Page 67 photo from
Opsahl, S.P., Musgrove, M., Mahler, B.J., and Lambert, R.B., 2018, Water-quality observations of the San Antonio segment of the Edwards aquifer, Texas, with an emphasis on processes influencing nutrient and pesticide geochemistry and factors affecting aquifer vulnerability, 2010–16: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2018–5060, 67 p.,...

September 30, 2017

USGS Hurricane Preparedness

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

Taking a High-Water Mark after Hurricane Harvey

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

Taking a High-Water Mark after Hurricane Harvey

USGS scientist Steve Hannes marks high water marks along the Colorado River after flooding from Hurricane Harvey in Wharton County, Texas.

Filter Total Items: 134
Image shows USGS scientists in PFDs with an acoustic doppler sensor in a flooded river
May 31, 2018

No one has a crystal ball to foresee what will happen during the 2018 hurricane season that begins June 1, but NOAA forecasters say there’s a 75 percent chance this hurricane season will be at least as busy as a normal year, or busier.

Xan Fredericks
March 29, 2018

USGS Scientists will participate in the Gulf of Mexico Habitat Monitoring and Mapping User Workshop and Mapping Summit at the NOAA Disaster Response Center in Mobile, Alabama.

Prairie dog and SPV bait
December 13, 2017

About 70 percent of wild prairie dogs successfully ingested baits containing an oral sylvatic plague vaccine, or SPV, that were distributed throughout their habitats, according to a new U.S. Geological Survey study.

Photo of a young girl drinking water, which likely originated from groundwater sources. 
December 7, 2017

A regional assessment of untreated groundwater in the Rio Grande aquifer system, which includes parts of Colorado, New Mexico and Texas, is now available from the U.S. Geological Survey.

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.