Unified Interior Regions

California

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: 417
Date published: December 29, 2016
Status: Completed

Assessing system-wide riverine geomorphic change in support of science-based restoration on the mainstem Trinity River, northern California

Historic landuse, dam construction, water storage and flow diversion within the Trinity River watershed resulted in downstream geomorphic changes that simplified the river planform and lead to dramatic losses of salmonid habitat and significant population declines. The Trinity River Restoration Program (TRRP) requested the USGS complete an assessment of geomorphic change that could be used to...

Date published: December 9, 2016
Status: Active

RAMPS: Restoration Assessment & Monitoring Program for the Southwest

The Restoration Assessment and Monitoring Program for the Southwest (RAMPS) seeks to assist U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) and other land management agencies in developing successful techniques for improving land condition in dryland ecosystems of the southwestern United States. Invasion by non-native species, wildfire, drought, and other disturbances are growing...

Date published: December 1, 2016
Status: Active

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,...

Date published: November 3, 2016

California's Central Valley

Competition for water resources is growing throughout California, particularly in the Central Valley. Statewide population growth, anticipated reductions in Colorado River water deliveries, drought, and the ecological crisis in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta have created an intense demand for water. USGS Tools and information can be used to help manage the Central Valley aquifer system, an...

Attribution:
Date published: November 2, 2016

Western Drought Resilience Assessment

We collected streamflow, water temperature, and other data from more than 2,500 gaging stations on rivers and streams across California, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, and Washington to document the severity of the 2015 drought. We are using the data collected to assess how warmer winter temperatures, reduced mountain snowpack, and a shift in precipitation from snow to rain may affect future...

Date published: October 28, 2016
Status: Active

WERC Newsletters

USGS Western Ecological Research Center newsletters ran from 2012 to early 2016. Explore the archives for exciting information on projects, events, and news interviews involving our scientists.

Date published: October 28, 2016
Status: Active

Research Handouts

USGS Western Ecological Research Center compiles one-page handouts on WERC scientists' projects involving high-profile topics like renewable energy, drought, climate change, and more. These handouts are perfect for conferences and meetings with partners and resource managers. 

Date published: October 24, 2016
Status: Active

Kelp Forest Community Ecology

The near shore waters along the coast of southern California host one of the most productive marine ecosystems on earth: giant kelp forests. These complex environments provide habitat, food, and hiding places for more than 1,000 species of plants and animals, but are easily disturbed by both natural events and human activities. Strong storms, fluctuating water temperatures, coastal development...

Contacts: Kevin Lafferty
Date published: October 21, 2016

USGS WERC Ecology Research Update: March 2016

USGS Western Ecological Research Center newsletters are posted on our blog. Check back for a rundown of new research and events on ecology and wildlife science in California and Nevada. 

Date published: August 1, 2016
Status: Active

Ecology of Insect-eating Bats

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...

Date published: July 26, 2016
Status: Active

HDgov: Multi-agency Website for Human Dimensions of Natural Resources

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...

Date published: July 26, 2016
Status: Active

National Park Service Visitor Spending Effects

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...

Filter Total Items: 557
Date published: December 26, 2017

Hydrodynamic and sediment transport data from San Pablo Bay and China Camp marsh (northern San Francisco Bay), 2013-2016

The USGS Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center collected data to investigate sediment dynamics in the shallows of San Pablo Bay (SP) and sediment exchange between bay shallows and the tidal salt marsh in China Camp State Park (CMC) in a series of deployments between December 2013 and June 2016. This data release includes two related groups of data sets, one for SP and one for CMC.

Date published: December 12, 2017

River-channel topography, grain size, and turbidity records from the Carmel River, California, before, during, and after removal of San Clemente Dam

The San Clemente Dam, built in the 1920s on the Carmel River in Monterey County, California, was removed during 2014 and 2015. The dam-removal project was the largest in California to date, and one of the largest in the U.S. The USGS collected data before, during, and after the removal of the dam to study how the river channel's topographic profiles and sediment distributions changed...

Date published: November 16, 2017

Multibeam bathymetry and acoustic-backscatter data collected in 2016 in Catalina Basin, southern California and merged multibeam bathymetry datasets of the northern portion of the Southern California Continental Borderland

In February 2016 the University of Washington in cooperation with USGS PCMSC collected multibeam bathymetry and acoustic-backscatter data in and near the Catalina Basin, southern California aboard the University of Washington's Research Vessel Thomas G. Thompson. Data was collected using a hull-mounted Kongsberg EM300 multibeam...

Date published: October 30, 2017

Hydrogen stable isotope data for: 'Mechanisms associated with an advance in the timing of seasonal reproduction in an urban songbird'

This dataset includes stable hydrogen isotope values of the nonexchangeable hydrogen contained in the outer most secondary feathers of dark-eyed juncos (Junco hyemalis thurberi) collected from the University of California San Diego campus in La Jolla, California in 2014.

Date published: September 1, 2017

National Water Information System web interface (NWISweb)

The National Water Information System (NWIS) web application provides access to real-time and historical surface-water, groundwater, water-quality, and water-use data collected at approximately 1.5 million sites across all 50 states.

Date published: August 30, 2017

California spotted owl fledgling counts, climate, and landscape habitat at territories on the Lassen National Forest, CA 1991-2010

This is a comma separated values (CSV) file used to conduct the logistic quantile regression analyses in R provided by Cade et al. (2017). The data set consists of records of California spotted owl fledgling counts on 88 territories on the Lassen National Forest, CA from 1991-2010. Climatic condition data were obtained from PRISM and landscape habitat data were obtained from LANDFIRE.

Date published: August 24, 2017

Coastal Change Hazards Portal

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. Displays probabilities of coastal erosion.

Date published: August 4, 2017

San Diego Hydrogeology Data Map

Map of the San Diego Hydrogeology project study area with links to groundwater and surface water data for each of the monitoring sties. 

Date published: July 17, 2017

Multichannel sparker and minisparker seismic-reflection data of USGS field activity 2014-645-FA collected in the outer Santa Barbara Channel, California, between 2014-11-12 to 2014-11-25 (ver. 2.0, March 2020)

This data release contains 35 multichannel sparker and 24 multichannel minisparker seismic reflection (MCS) profiles that were collected in November of 2014 from the Catalina and Santa Cruz Basins offshore southern California by the U.S. Geological Survey Pacific and Coastal Marine Science Center. Data were collected aboard the University of California’s R/V Robert Gordon Sproul on

Date published: July 17, 2017

Chirp seismic-reflection data of USGS field activity 2014-645-FA collected in the outer Santa Barbara Channel, California, between 2014-11-12 to 2014-11-25 (ver. 2.0, March 2020)

This data release contains 43 chirp sub-bottom profiles that were collected in November of 2014 from the Catalina and Santa Cruz Basins offshore southern California by the U.S. Geological Survey Pacific and Coastal Marine Science Center. Data were collected aboard the University of California’s R/V Robert Gordon Sproul on USGS cruise 2014-645-FA. Chirp profiles were collected to assess

Date published: June 7, 2017

Bathymetry and acoustic backscatter data of the Sacramento River, from the Feather River to Knights Landing, California in February, 2011

On February 1, 2011, the USGS Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center team carried out a project using interferometric sidescan sonar to characterize the riverbed and channel banks of a 12 mile reach of the Sacramento River near the town of Knights Landing, California (River Mile 79 through River Mile 91). The project was developed in coordination with the US Army Corps of Engineers as part...

Date published: May 26, 2017

Data from Earthquake-Induced Landslide Hazards for a M7.0 Scenario Earthquake on the Hayward Fault

The seismic-landslide probability map covers the counties of Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Solano, and Sonoma. The slope failures are triggered by a hypothetical earthquake with a moment magnitude of 7.0 occurring on April 18, 2018, at 4:18 p.m. on the Hayward Fault in the east bay part of California’s San Francisco Bay region.

Attribution: Natural Hazards
Filter Total Items: 429
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Year Published: 1999

Map showing locations of damaging landslides in Napa County, California, resulting from 1997-98 El Nino rainstorms

Heavy rainfall associated with a strong El Nino caused over $150 million in landslide damage in the 10-county San Francisco Bay region during the winter and spring of 1998. A team of USGS scientists collected information on landslide locations and damage costs. Napa County was relatively unaffected in comparison to other counties in the region...

Godt, Jonathan W.; Savage, William Z.; Wilson, Raymond C.
Map showing locations of damaging landslides in Napa County, California, resulting from 1997-98 El Nino rainstorms; 1999; MF; 2325-A; Godt, Jonathan W.; Savage, William Z.; Wilson, Raymond C.

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Year Published: 1999

Map showing locations of damaging landslides in San Francisco City and County, California, resulting from 1997-98 El Nino rainstorms

Heavy rainfall associated with a strong El Nino caused over $150 million in landslide damage in the 10-county San Francisco Bay region during the winter and spring of 1998. A team of USGS scientists collected information on landslide locations and damage costs. About $4 million in damages were assessed in San Francisco City and County.

Hillhouse, John W.; Godt, Jonathan W.
Map showing locations of damaging landslides in San Francisco City and County, California, resulting from 1997-98 El Nino rainstorms; 1999; MF; 2325-G; Hillhouse, John W.; Godt, Jonathan W.

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Year Published: 1999

Map showing locations of damaging landslides in San Mateo County, California, resulting from 1997-98 El Nino rainstorms

Heavy rainfall associated with a strong El Nino caused over $150 million in landslide damage in the 10-county San Francisco Bay region during the winter and spring of 1998. A team of USGS scientists collected information on landslide locations and damage costs. About $55 million in damages were assessed in San Mateo County. The only fatality...

Jayko, Angela S.; De Mouthe, Jean; Lajoie, Kenneth R.; Ramsey, David W.; Godt, Jonathan W.
Map showing locations of damaging landslides in San Mateo County, California, resulting from 1997-98 El Nino rainstorms; 1999; MF; 2325-H; Jayko, Angela S.; De Mouthe, Jean; Lajoie, Kenneth R.; Ramsey, David W.; Godt, Jonathan W.

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Year Published: 1999

Map showing locations of damaging landslides in Santa Clara County, California, resulting from 1997-98 El Nino rainstorms

Heavy rainfall associated with a strong El Nino caused over $150 million in landslide damage in the 10-county San Francisco Bay region during the winter and spring of 1998. A team of USGS scientists collected information on landslide locations and damage costs. About $7.6 million in damages were assessed in Santa Clara County.

Ellis, William L.; Harp, Edwin L.; Arnal, Caroline H.; Godt, Jonathan W.
Map showing locations of damaging landslides in Santa Clara County, California, resulting from 1997-98 El Nino rainstorms; 1999; MF; 2325-J; Ellis, William L.; Harp, Edwin L.; Arnal, Caroline H.; Godt, Jonathan W.

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Year Published: 1999

Map showing locations of damaging landslides in Santa Cruz County, California, resulting from 1997-98 El Nino rainstorms

Heavy rainfall associated with a strong El Nino caused over $150 million in landslide damage in the 10-county San Francisco Bay region during the winter and spring of 1998. A team of USGS scientists collected information on landslide locations and damage costs. About $14.5 million in damages were assessed in Santa Cruz County.

Baum, Rex L.; Schuster, Robert L.; Godt, Jonathan W.
Map showing locations of damaging landslides in Santa Cruz County, California, resulting from 1997-98 El Nino rainstorms; 1999; MF; 2325-D; Baum, Rex L.; Schuster, Robert L.; Godt, Jonathan W.

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Year Published: 1999

Map showing locations of damaging landslides in Solano County, California, resulting from 1997-98 El Nino rainstorms

Heavy rainfall associated with a strong El Nino caused over $150 million in landslide damage in the 10-county San Francisco Bay region during the winter and spring of 1998. A team of USGS scientists collected information on landslide locations and damage costs. About $13.5 million in damages were assessed in Solano County.

Howell, David G.; Godt, Jonathan W.
Map showing locations of damaging landslides in Solano County, California, resulting from 1997-98 El Nino rainstorms; 1999; MF; 2325-I; Howell, David G.; Godt, Jonathan W.

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Year Published: 1999

Map showing locations of damaging landslides in Sonoma County, California, resulting from 1997-98 El Nino rainstorms

Heavy rainfall associated with a strong El Nino caused over $150 million in landslide damage in the 10-county San Francisco Bay region during the winter and spring of 1998. A team of USGS scientists collected information on landslide locations and damage costs. About $21 million in damages were assessed in Sonoma County.

Ramsey, David W.; Godt, Jonathan W.
Map showing locations of damaging landslides in Sonoma County, California, resulting from 1997-98 El Nino rainstorms; 1999; MF; 2325-F; Ramsey, David W.; Godt, Jonathan W.

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Year Published: 1998

Chapter A. The Loma Prieta, California, Earthquake of October 17, 1989 - Lifelines

To the general public who had their televisions tuned to watch the World Series, the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake was a lifelines earthquake. It was the images seen around the world of the collapsed Cypress Street viaduct, with the frantic and heroic efforts to pull survivors from the structure that was billowing smoke; the collapsed section of the...

Schiff, Anshel J.
Chapter A. The Loma Prieta, California, Earthquake of October 17, 1989 - Lifelines; 1998; PP; 1552-A; The Loma Prieta, California, Earthquake of October 17, 1989: Performance of the Built Environment; Edited by Schiff, Anshel J.

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Year Published: 1998

Chapter D. The Loma Prieta, California, Earthquake of October 17, 1989 - Earth Structures and Engineering Characterization of Ground Motion

This chapter contains two papers that summarize the performance of engineered earth structures, dams and stabilized excavations in soil, and two papers that characterize for engineering purposes the attenuation of ground motion with distance during the Loma Prieta earthquake. Documenting the field performance of engineered structures and...

Holzer, Thomas L.
Chapter D. The Loma Prieta, California, Earthquake of October 17, 1989 - Earth Structures and Engineering Characterization of Ground Motion; 1998; PP; 1552-D; The Loma Prieta, California, Earthquake of October 17, 1989: Performance of the Built Environment; Edited by Holzer, Thomas L.

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Year Published: 1998

Chapter D. The Loma Prieta, California, Earthquake of October 17, 1989 - Recovery, Mitigation, and Reconstruction

The papers in this chapter reflect the broad spectrum of issues that arise following a major damaging urban earthquake-the regional economic consequences, rehousing problems, reconstruction strategies and policies, and opportunities for mitigation before the next major seismic event. While some of these papers deal with structural or physical...

Nigg, Joanne M.
Chapter D. The Loma Prieta, California, Earthquake of October 17, 1989 - Recovery, Mitigation, and Reconstruction; 1998; PP; 1553-D; The Loma Prieta, California, Earthquake of October 17, 1989: Societal Response; Edited by Nigg, Joanne M.

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Year Published: 1998

Chapter B. The Loma Prieta, California, Earthquake of October 17, 1989 - Forecasts

The magnitude (Mw) 6.9 Loma Prieta earthquake struck the San Francisco Bay region of central California at 5:04 p.m. P.d.t. on October 17, 1989, killing 62 people and generating billions of dollars in property damage. Scientists were not surprised by the occurrence of a destructive earthquake in this region and had, in fact, been attempting to...

Harris, Ruth A.
Chapter B. The Loma Prieta, California, Earthquake of October 17, 1989 - Forecasts; 1998; PP; 1550-B; The Loma Prieta, California, Earthquake of October 17, 1989: Earthquake Occurrence; Edited by Harris, Ruth A.

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Year Published: 1998

Chapter C. The Loma Prieta, California, Earthquake of October 17, 1989 - Building Structures

Several approaches are used to assess the performance of the built environment following an earthquake -- preliminary damage surveys conducted by professionals, detailed studies of individual structures, and statistical analyses of groups of structures. Reports of damage that are issued by many organizations immediately following an earthquake...

Çelebi, Mehmet
Chapter C. The Loma Prieta, California, Earthquake of October 17, 1989 - Building Structures; 1998; PP; 1552-C; The Loma Prieta, California, Earthquake of October 17, 1989: Performance of the Built Environment; Edited by Celebi, Mehmet

Filter Total Items: 1,125
 model grid with four rows and four columns showing A, types of cascading hydrologic response units (HRUs) and B, land-surface a
December 31, 2017

Model Grids with Cascading Hydrologic Response Units

Hypothetical model grid showing A, types of cascading hydrologic response units and B, land-surface altitudes and cascading flow directions.

man in yellow slicker standing in rushing river up to his thighs, holding a stick-like instrument in the water
December 31, 2017

Measuring streamflow in fast moving floodwater.

USGS hydrographer measuring streamflow using a handheld Acoustic Doppler Velocimeter in fast moving floodwater Cajon Creek near Keenbrook, California. 

Satellite showing the burn scars from the Thomas fire in California
December 25, 2017

Southern California Wildfires Update

In the Landsat 8 image acquired on December 9, smoke is carried west by strong winds, which also continued to spread fire through the dry terrain, mountain passes, and canyons. The diagonal lines are an airplane contrail and its shadow cast on the ground. Landsat 8’s December 25 image reveals the burn scar and shows

...
December 15, 2017

Image of the Week - Southern California Wildfires, December 2017

The Thomas fire has burned more than 230,000 acres and continues to blaze across souther California. These images show some of the burn scar left behind.

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 (

Two young children sit on top of machines that are not moving, in a yard.
December 9, 2017

Posing for pictures

Posing for pictures on personal watercraft during the USGS Open House in Santa Cruz in December, 2017 was very popular.

A man wearing glasses talks into a microphone while gesturing with his hand.
December 9, 2017

Talking to the news

Open house organizer Rex Sanders explains the wide range of USGS research for a TV interview. Screen capture from KION video.

A young boy sits atop a personal watercraft on the lawn outside a USGS building.
December 9, 2017

Checking out the personal watercraft

A future personal watercraft captain checked out the controls on a beautiful December day in Santa Cruz.

A man on left talks to a news reporter who holds a microphone while he speaks.
December 9, 2017

USGS talks to reporter

KION-TV reporter Ashley Keehn (right) asked PCMSC Director Guy Gelfenbaum about why we held this open house.

A crowd of people stand in a lobby talking in small groups and looking at various exhibits.
December 9, 2017

USGS Santa Cruz open house

Visitors and staff filled our lobby for several hours.

A woman holding a video camera on a tripod aimed at another woman who's pointing at something and talking to a young student
December 9, 2017

TV camera records scene at Open House

Emma Kelsey (right) explained seabird biology to visitors as a TV camera recorded the scene. 

A man and two women crouch around a table with a computer screen that one of the women is pointing to while she talks.
December 9, 2017

Sharing information on the screen

Visitors watched closely as Alicia Balster-Gee (in green vest) presented our research on marine geohazards in Alaska.

A woman facing the camera talks to two men with their backs to the camera.
December 9, 2017

USGS Open House discussions

Members of the PCMSC Marine Minerals Team, including physical science technician Kira Mizell (center), took turns describing the importance of seafloor minerals.

Filter Total Items: 975
USGS
November 7, 2013

Although dousing the flames was foremost in people's minds during the recent Rim Fire in Stanislaus National Forest and Yosemite National Park, U.S. Geological Survey scientific work continues well after the fire is out. USGS scientists are continuing their critical research characterizing the hidden dangers faced after large wildfires.

USGS
November 4, 2013

A new cooperative study by the U.S. Geological Survey and the Hi-Desert Water District indicates that the artificial replenishment of the groundwater aquifer system in the west hydrogeologic unit of the Warren groundwater basin in San Bernardino County’s Yucca Valley resulted in a decrease of nitrate concentrations in groundwater samples and a rise in water levels.

Volcanic eruptions have a much longer warning phase before the onse...
October 29, 2013

On October 6, 2013 the California Office of Emergency Services (CalOES) published its 2013 State of California Multi-Hazard Mitigation Plan complete with a chapter from the USGS on volcano hazard mitigation.

Magnitude 3.8 earthquake (large purple dot) located about 18 km SE ...
October 21, 2013

A magnitude 3.8 earthquake occurred on October 21, 2013 at 10:04 PDT 18 km (11 miles) SE of the town of Mammoth Lakes in eastern California.

USGS
September 26, 2013

Nitrate was detected at high concentrations in 10 percent of the aquifer system used for public supply in coastal areas of Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties, according to a new U.S. Geological Survey report.

USGS
September 12, 2013

California’s Sea Otter Numbers Continue Slow Climb

Tsunami Messaging Image
September 5, 2013

The fearsome aftermath of a tsunami striking California might cost at least $3.4 billion to repair, but neither of the state's nuclear power plants would be damaged, suggests a new analysis that could help officials and the public prepare for a tsunami and reduce risks before any such disasters happen.

USGS
September 4, 2013

While scientists can't predict when a great earthquake producing a pan-Pacific tsunami will occur, thanks to new tools being developed by federal and state officials, scientists can now offer more accurate insight into the likely impacts when tsunamis occur. This knowledge can lead officials and the public to reduce the risk of the future tsunamis that will impact California.

USGS
August 20, 2013

A new interagency report provides a plan for long-term scientific monitoring and assessment for California's Salton Sea. Monitoring of the Salton Sea ecosystem is critical for informed decision making and the success of restoration efforts. 

USGS
August 13, 2013

When California State University, East Bay demolishes its seismically unsafe Warren Hall on Aug. 17 on its Hayward campus, the landmark building's implosion will produce energy similar to a small earthquake that can be used to study and map the nearby Hayward Fault. 

USGS
August 9, 2013

Science and technology have peeled back a veil of water just offshore of California, revealing the hidden seafloor in unprecedented detail. New imagery, specialized undersea maps, and a wealth of data from along the California coast are now available.

USGS
July 26, 2013

A study on frogs in remote Sierra Nevada mountain habitats including Yosemite National Park and Giant Sequoia National Monument, detected concentrations of pesticides in frog tissue that potentially came from California's Central Valley sources.