Colorado

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Map of the Colorado Plateau, including the San Juan River pilot study area.
Date Published: October 3, 2017

Colorado Plateaus Regional Groundwater Availability

Pilot phase

This study is in a pilot phase during fiscal years 2017 and 2018. The purpose of the pilot phase is to identify possible technical challenges of using the USGS code GSFLOW for simulating groundwater and surface-water flow in the Colorado Plateau principal aquifer system. During the pilot phase, the project will evaluate GSFLOW in the San Juan River Basin (...

The Little Missouri River, flood plain
Date Published: August 30, 2017

Reconstructing Flow History From Riparian Tree Rings

Aquatic Systems Branch scientists analyze rings of riparian trees relating tree growth and establishment to historical flow. We then use the tree rings to reconstruct the flow in past centuries. Flow reconstructions discover the frequency and magnitude of past droughts and floods—information that is essential for management of rivers and water supplies. We also use downscaled climate...

USGS research vessel collecting bathymetry data at Clear Creek Reservoir.
Date Published: April 4, 2017

Clear Creek Reservoir Bathymetry

To better characterize the water supply capacity of Clear Creek Reservoir, Chaffee County, Colorado, the U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with the Pueblo Board of Water Works and Colorado Mountain College, carried out a bathymetry survey of Clear Creek Reservoir. The equipment and methods used in this study allowed water-resource managers to maintain typical reservoir operations,...

Contacts: Michael S Kohn, P.E., Paul Kinzel, Jacob S. Mohrmann
An image of an Ephemeroptera Heptageniidae Epeorus longimanuis.
Date Published: February 2, 2017

Aquatic Experimental Laboratory (AXL)

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 in...

Contacts: David Walters, Ph.D., Robert E Zuellig, Ph.D., Boris Kondratieff
Snowpack-sampling pit at Berthoud Pass, Colorado.
Date Published: January 25, 2017

Rocky Mountain Regional Snowpack Chemistry Monitoring Study

Snowpacks collect atmospheric deposition throughout the snowfall season and offer a unique opportunity to obtain a composite sample of the chemistry of most of the annual precipitation at high elevations [> 1,800 meters]. The purpose of the snowpack network is to determine annual concentrations and depositional amounts of selected nutrients and other constituents in snow resulting from...

Contacts: Graham Sexstone
Dead and dying cottonwoods along the Mojave River, California, following a decrease in the riparian water table
Date Published: January 17, 2017

Ecological Drought in Riparian Ecosystems

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. These...

Boulder glacier in 1913.
Date Published: December 12, 2016

Human Dimensions of Climate Change

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...

Contacts: Wylie Carr, Ph.D., Rudy Schuster, Ph.D., Rob Winthrop
Multi-colored flowers in the Great Basin.
Date Published: December 12, 2016

Support for the Annual Department of Interior Economics Report

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
Date Published: December 8, 2016

Assessment of Pesticide Exposure to Native Bees Found in Agricultural Landscapes

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.

Contacts: Mark Vandever
A native Colorado bee on a yellow wildflower.
Date Published: December 8, 2016

Assessment of Native Pollinator Habitat and Diversity in Agricultural Ecosystems

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, diversity, and...

Contacts: Mark Vandever
A hiker on the Lower White River Wilderness trail. BLM photo.
Date Published: December 7, 2016

Uncovering the Ecosystem Service Value of Carbon Sequestration in National Parks

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
Date Published: December 7, 2016

Higher and Farther: Patterns of Development within Protected Areas

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 protection,...