Unified Interior Regions


The Southwest Region includes California, Nevada, and Arizona. The Regional Office, headquartered in Sacramento, provides Center oversight and support, facilitates internal and external collaborations, and works to further USGS strategic science directions.

States L2 Landing Page Tabs

Filter Total Items: 140
Date published: September 12, 2018
Status: Active

Regional Planetary Image Facility (RPIF)

The NASA/USGS Astrogeology Regional Planetary Information Facility (RPIF), located in the Shoemaker Building (Building 6) on the USGS Campus in Flagstaff, Arizona, is a facility of the USGS Astrogeology Science Center. The Astro RPIF houses in 3000 square feet of climate-controlled space more than 100,000 lunar and planetary maps, a reference library, an ever-growing photo and...

Contacts: Amy Zink
Date published: August 9, 2018
Status: Active

USGS Response to Possible Metals Contamination from Legacy Mines in the Patagonia Mountains Region and Adjacent Areas, Southeast Arizona and a Template for Future Mineral Environmental Emergency Response

USGS is conducting sampling, monitoring, and modeling in the Patagonia Mountains and nearby regions in Arizona to identify contaminant risk potential of legacy and proposed mine sites and to develop classification criteria for predicting vulnerabilities and targeted sources and sinks of metal contaminants.

Contacts: Floyd Gray
Date published: August 5, 2018
Status: Active

Global Hyperspectral Imaging Spectroscopy of Agricultural-Crops & Vegetation (GHISA)

This webpage showcases the key research advances made in hyperspectral remote sensing of agricultural crops and vegetation over the last 50 years. There are three focus areas:

Date published: July 23, 2018
Status: Active

BOR environmental DNA sampling for invasive mussels at USGS gages

As part of an ongoing project funded by the Bureau of Reclamation and lead by the Idaho Water Sciences Center (IDWSC) and Northern Rocky Mountain Research Center (NOROCK), the Upper Midwest Environmental Sciences Center (UMESC) will analyze environmental DNA samples collected at gage stations directly downstream of multiple reservoirs throughout the Columbia River Basin. The goal of this...

Contacts: Jon Amberg
Date published: July 8, 2018
Status: Active

AzWSC Capabilities: Arizona Water Use

Since 1950, the AzWSC has estimated water use by county at 5-year intervals, publishing the results in a series of reports since 1981. Water demand is met by pumping groundwater from aquifers or by conveying surface water to users through a system of reservoirs and canals. Because of the importance of water to Arizona’s communities and future economic development, the AzWSC works cooperatively...

Contacts: Saeid Tadayon
Date published: July 5, 2018
Status: Active

Assessment of Infiltration and Recharge due to Wetland Restoration in a Semiarid Ecosystem- Laura M. Norman

This intern will work with an exciting team of scientists to develop novel approaches to assess wetland restoration. Methods include documenting baseline conditions and monitoring site evolution, hydrologic modeling, using shallow piezometers to estimate recharge and storage change, tracking streambed water exchanges using heat as a tracer, and estimating percolation using electrical...

Date published: May 10, 2018
Status: Active

Land Treatment Exploration Tool

The Land Treatment ExplorationTool provides a practical resource for managers who are planning restoration and rehabilitation actions on public lands. The tool generates a variety of spatial products while being user friendly for all levels of GIS expertise, even to those with little or no experience.

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...

Date published: March 19, 2018
Status: Active

AzWSC Capabilities: Reservoir and Lake Monitoring and Assessment

The Arizona Water Science Center (AzWSC) has specialized expertise in monitoring, measuring, and collecting reservoir and lake water and sediment for a variety of phycial and chemical properties.

Date published: March 19, 2018
Status: Active

Ciénega San Bernardino - Wetland Restoration

Desert marshes, or ciénega, are extremely biodiverse habitats imperiled by anthropogenic demands for water and changing climates. Given their widespread loss and increased recognition as important wildlife habitat, remarkably little is known about restoration techniques.

Contacts: Laura M Norman
Date published: March 19, 2018
Status: Active

Patagonia - Gully Restoration

The Deep Dirt Farm Institute (DDFI), founded and directed by Kate Tirion, comprises 34 acres with deep agricultural soils, bisected by an ephemeral stream/wildlife corridor. The farm lies within a folded topography of hills, small sheltered valleys & broad meadow.  A deep gully has diverted flows and needs repair.

Contacts: Laura M Norman
Date published: March 19, 2018
Status: Active

Nogales, Sonora - Flood Control

Flooding in Ambos Nogales often exceeds the capacity of the channel and adjacent land areas, endangering people and property. Goals of RDS are to diminish impacts of flooding and sedimentation on wastewater infrastructure thereby reducing the incidence of sanitary sewer overflows. We are studying the Nogales Wash to prevent future flood disasters and RDS are being installed in tributaries. We...

Contacts: Laura M Norman
Filter Total Items: 240
April 19, 2016

USGS: More Than a Workplace

Employees of the Arizona Water Science Center describe their experiences working for the USGS revealing that it is far more than just a workplace.

Sonoran desert spring wildflower display.
March 31, 2016

Sonoran Desert Wildflowers and Invasive Species

Ecosystems are changing at a rapid pace. It can be difficult to determine if a landscape is in need of restoration. In this photo of the spring wildflower bloom in the Sonoran desert, an invasive annual grass, Bromus rubens (red brome), is pervasive. Land managers have to make decisions about when, where, and how to intervene in a system. Does this grass pose a threat to

Image: Saguaro National Park, East Unit, Southern Arizona -  ca. 1935
March 14, 2016

Saguaro National Park, East Unit, Southern Arizona - ca. 1935

This camera station is located on a hill within the newly established Saguaro National Monument near Tucson. The view is northeast toward Agua Caliente Hill and looks down a gentle incline that drains into Tanque Verde Creek. The saguaro stand pictured here is a particularly memorable one because of the many large individuals and absence of small ones. It is an example of

Attribution: Land Resources
Image shows the Colorado River cutting through the Grand Canyon
March 7, 2016

Colorado River through the Grand Canyon

A view of the Grand Canyon, with the Great Unconformity visible. Credit: Alex Demas, USGS.

Aerial view showing greenup of restoration plots in the lower Colorado River Delta following the 2014 Minute 319 pulse flow.
October 31, 2015

Aerial view of lower Colorado River

Aerial view showing the intense greenup of restoration plots in the lower Colorado River Delta following the 2014 Minute 319 pulse flow.

Photograph showing San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area.
June 1, 2015

San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area

Photograph showing San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area, residential development southeast of Sierra Vista, Arizona, and the Huachuca Mountains from Hereford Road, Cochise County, Arizona. 

May 24, 2015

Texas Flood Surveys

Hydrologists from Arizona aid the Texas Water Science Center in gathering measurements and other information after the catastrophic Blanco River flooding event that swept Austin, Texas.

March 25, 2015

Drone Survey

USGS revolutionizes data collection by surveying a river channel within the Redlands area using a drone.

March 1, 2015

Flood at Oak Creek South of Sedona

This video captures the bizarre occurrences that can happen during a flood. A USGS employee witnesses such an event while taking a measurement at Oak Creek from a cable way.

February 5, 2015

Learning Hydrology

The Field Hydrology Class from the University of Arizona learns how to take a discharge measurement with USGS Hydrologist.

DEM Merge of the Moon
February 4, 2015

LRO LOLA and Kaguya Terrain Camera DEM Merge 60N60S 512ppd

The LOLA and Kaguya Teams have created an improved lunar digital elevation model (DEM) covering latitudes within ±60°, at a horizontal resolution of 512 pixels per degree (∼59 m at the equator) and a typical vertical accuracy ∼3 to 4 m. This DEM is constructed from ∼4.5×109 geodetically-accurate topographic heights from the Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter (LOLA) onboard the

December 18, 2014

Grand Canyon High Flow Monitoring

The USGS monitors sediment loads during Grand Canyon's beach-building high flow releases.

Filter Total Items: 192
August 8, 2013

Scientists are surveying a potential debris flow area within the Yarnell Hill burn zone, as part of a cooperative study by the U.S. Geological Survey, the Arizona Geological Survey, and the Arizona Department of Emergency Management. 

July 29, 2013

The Santa Cruz River watershed, located on the Arizona-Sonora portion of the U.S.-Mexico border, depends for its perennial flow on an international treatment plant that treats wastewater on both sides of the border before discharging it into the river in Arizona.

July 25, 2013

USGS research geologist Kyle House has been recognized by the Geological Society of America for work that helps explain how and when the Grand Canyon and the lower Colorado River took their present form, a scientific problem that has vexed geologists for more than a century.

April 9, 2013

The streamflow of the Verde River—one of Arizona's largest streams with year-round flow—declined from 1910 to 2005 as the result of human stresses, primarily groundwater pumping, according to a new U.S. Geological Survey study. The study's findings suggest that streamflow reductions will continue and may increase in the future.

January 29, 2013

Lake Mead National Recreation Area's water quality is good, the sport fish populations are sufficient, and the lakes provide important habitat for an increasing number of birds. 

November 28, 2012

MENLO PARK, Calif. —New insights into the differences between fire ecologies of the Chihuahuan and Mojave Deserts in the southwestern United States are coming through the use of terrestrial Light Detection and Ranging, or lidar, technology. Studies by the U.S. Geological Survey show that while fire is detrimental to some areas of the desert, it is beneficial to others. 

October 19, 2012

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. — Experts in volcano hazards and public safety have started a conversation about volcanoes in the southwestern United States, and how best to prepare for future activity. Prior to this meeting, emergency response planning for volcanic unrest in the region had received little attention by federal or state agencies.

July 23, 2012

Dr. Justin Hagerty, a research geologist with the U.S. Geological Survey, was named one of President Obama's recipients of the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, the highest honor bestowed by the United States government on science and engineering professionals in the early stages of their independent research careers. 

July 5, 2012

TUCSON, Ariz. —On Wednesday, the U.S. Geological Survey finished installing six early-flood-warning units—rain and stream gages—in the burned areas of New Mexico’s Whitewater-Baldy Fire. The gages transmit data via satellite to the National Weather Service, which provides warnings to communities that may be affected by flooding. The gages can provide up to 60 minutes advanc

May 21, 2012

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. — Laszlo Kestay has been named the new director of the U.S. Geological Survey Astrogeology Science Center, based in Flagstaff, Ariz. Kestay will lead the Astrogeology team in working closely with NASA and other planetary science organizations to develop and operate space missions exploring the Solar System, process and analyze data from many types of instruments...

February 21, 2012

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. — Coconino National Forest’s Cinder Lake—a natural depression that has been used to store runoff from areas affected by the 2010 Schultz Fire—can store about 4,000 acre-feet of water, or enough to fill about 2,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools, according to a new U.S. Geological Survey report.

February 15, 2012

TUCSON, Ariz. – Climate change is likely to have strong effects on the abundance of dominant Sonoran Desert plant species, according to a study published recently in Global Change Biology.