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: 421
Date published: March 17, 2016

Volcano Hazards Assessments Help Mitigate Disasters

The Volcano Hazards Program develops long-range volcano hazards assessments. These includes a summary of the specific hazards, their impact areas, and a map showing ground-hazard zones. The assessments are also critical for planning long-term land-use and effective emergency-response measures, especially when a volcano begins to show signs of unrest.

Date published: March 9, 2016
Status: Active

California Water Science Center

The Center's mission is to collect and analyze hydrologic data needed to manage water resources for the State of California. The CAWSC operates local and statewide networks to collect high-quality data that define natural and human hydrologic changes; analyzes hydrologic processes; maintains data bases; and publishes peer-reviewed reports to create unbiased hydrologic information.

Attribution:
Date published: March 9, 2016
Status: Active

Geology, Minerals, Energy, and Geophysics (GMEG) Science Center

Scientists at the GMEG Science Center work on issues related to geologic processes and mineral and energy resource potential, primarily in the western United States. The science staff includes geologists, geophysicists, geochemists, biologists, geospatial information specialists, and remote sensing specialists who are located in offices in several western states.

Attribution:
Date published: March 9, 2016

Pacific Island Ecosystems Research Center

We work with others to provide scientific understanding and technologies needed to support and implement sound management and conservation of our Nation's biological resources in Hawaii and other Pacific island locations.

Date published: March 9, 2016

Pacific Islands Water Science Center

This center is one of 48 Water Science Centers in the USGS, and its mission is to collect, analyze and disseminate the impartial hydrologic data and information needed to wisely manage water resources for the people of the United States, the State of Hawaii, and other Pacific Islands.

Date published: March 9, 2016

Salton Sea Science Office

USGS Salton Sea Science Office works closely with Federal, State, local, nongovernmental, and tribal partners, providing information for management actions. This USGS office has a unique charter to serve as an independent liaison between resource managers and the scientific community. In that capacity the the office provides scientific information and evaluations to decision makers who are...

Date published: March 9, 2016
Status: Active

Western Geographic Science Center (WGSC)

WGSC scientists conduct geographic research on the environmental and societal consequences of a changing landscape. We develop tools and models to help decision makers better understand complex scientific information so that alternative options/scenarios can be assessed.

Attribution:
Date published: March 9, 2016
Status: Active

Western Ecological Research Center

The Pacific Region contains a dazzling array of habitats from below-sea-level deserts to alpine tundra to coastal mountains, seashores, and marine ecosystems. The Western Ecological Research Center reflects the qualities of this region with equally diverse expertise. Our scientists are trained in research, monitoring, and technology development to basic biology and modeling.

Attribution:
Date published: March 3, 2016

"Get your science used--Six guidelines to improve your products"

This USGS Circular addresses the challenges natural scientists face when communicating their science to people outside their fields and, based on the expertise of social scientists and other risk communicators, provides guidelines to those seeking to improve their products.

Date published: March 3, 2016
Status: Active

Developing a USGS Legacy Data Inventory to Preserve and Release Historical USGS Data

Legacy data (n) - Information stored in an old or obsolete format or computer system that is, therefore, difficult to access or process. (Business Dictionary, 2016) For over 135 years, the U.S. Geological Survey has collected diverse information about the natural world and how it interacts with society. Much of this legacy information is one-of-a-kind and in danger of being lost forever...

Date published: March 2, 2016

USGS California Volcano Observatory (CalVO)

CalVO operates real-time volcano monitoring networks, disseminates forecasts and notifications of significant activity, assesses volcano hazards, researches volcano processes, and works with communities to prepare for volcanic eruptions in California and Nevada. The Observatory is located at USGS offices in Menlo Park, California.

Date published: December 23, 2015
Status: Active

Estimating Natural Flows for Hydrologic Reference Streams

Scientists develop metrics of expected hydrological conditions at ungaged sites throughout Callifornia 

Filter Total Items: 585
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
Date published: May 18, 2017

California Basin Characterization Model: A Dataset of Historical and Future Hydrologic Response to Climate Change

Input datasets for the the Basin Characterization Model, including precipitation, temperature, evapotranspiration, soil profile, climatic water deficit, runoff and recharge.

First release: 2014
Second release: 2017, (WY2011-WY2016 Update)

Date published: April 19, 2017

Minisparker seismic-reflection data of field activity S-12-10-SC: Oceanside to La Jolla, offshore southern California from 2010-06-01 to 2010-06-12

This dataset includes raw and processed, high-resolution seismic-reflection data collected in 2010 to collect information on active offshore faults. The survey area is offshore southern California between Oceanside and La Jolla. The data were collected aboard USGS R/V Parke Snavely. The seismic-reflection data were acquired using a SIG 2mille minisparker. Subbottom acoustic penetration spanned...

Date published: April 19, 2017

Minisparker seismic-reflection data of field activity S-07-11-SC: offshore San Diego, and Los Angeles Counties, southern California from 2011-06-08 to 2011-06-22

This dataset includes raw and processed, high-resolution seismic-reflection data collected in 2011 to collect information on active offshore faults. The survey area is offshore southern California between Long Beach and San Diego. The data were collected aboard USGS R/V Parke Snavely. The seismic-reflection data were acquired using a SIG 2mille minisparker system. Subbottom acoustic...

Date published: April 19, 2017

Chirp seismic-reflection data of field activity S-12-10-SC: Oceanside to La Jolla, offshore southern California from 2010-06-01 to 2010-06-12

This dataset includes raw and processed, high-resolution seismic-reflection data collected in 2010 to collect information on active offshore faults. The survey is area is offshore southern California between Oceanside and La Jolla. The data were collected aboard USGS R/V Parke Snavely. The seismic-reflection data were acquired using an EdgeTech 512 chirp subbottom profiler. Subbottom acoustic...

Date published: April 19, 2017

Chirp seismic-reflection data of field activity S-07-11-SC: offshore San Diego, and Los Angeles Counties, southern California from 2011-06-08 to 2011-06-22

This dataset includes raw and processed, high-resolution seismic-reflection data collected in 2011 to collect information on active offshore faults. The survey area is offshore southern California between Long Beach and San Diego. The data were collected aboard USGS R/V Parke Snavely. The seismic-reflection data were acquired using an EdgeTech 512 subbottom profiler. Subbottom acoustic 

Date published: April 18, 2017

Minisparker seismic-reflection data of field activity B-1-08-SC: between Huntington Beach and San Diego, offshore southern California from 2008-04-28 to 2008-05-05

This dataset includes raw and processed, high-resolution seismic-reflection data collected in 2008 to collect information on active offshore faults. The survey area is offshore southern California between Huntington Beach and San Diego. The data were collected aboard R/V Bold. The seismic-reflection data were acquired using a SIG 2mille minisparker. Subbottom acoustic penetration spanned tens...

Filter Total Items: 484
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Year Published: 2005

Rates of landsliding and cliff retreat along the Big Sur Coast, California--measuring a crucial baseline

Hapke, Cheryl J.; Green, Krystal R.
Rates of landsliding and cliff retreat along the Big Sur Coast, California--measuring a crucial baseline; 2005; FS; 2004-3099; Hapke, Cheryl J.; Green, Krystal R.

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Year Published: 2005

Blind comparisons of shear-wave velocities at closely-spaced sites in San Jose, California: Proceedings of a Workshop held at the US Geological Survey, Menlo Park, May 3, 2004

Shear-wave velocities within several hundred meters of Earth's surface are important in specifying earthquake ground motions for engineering design. Not only are the shearwave velocities used in classifying sites for use of modern building codes, but they are also used in site-specific studies of particularly significant structures. Many are the...

Asten, Michael W.; Boore, David M.
Blind comparisons of shear-wave velocities at closely-spaced sites in San Jose, California: Proceedings of a Workshop held at the US Geological Survey, Menlo Park, May 3, 2004; 2005; OFR; 2005-1169; edited by Asten, Michael W.; Boore, David M.

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Year Published: 2005

Landslide hazards at La Conchita, California

Jibson, Randall W.
Landslide hazards at La Conchita, California; 2005; OFR; 2005-1067; Jibson, Randall W.

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Year Published: 2005

Elevated mercury concentrations in failed eggs of Snowy Plovers at Point Reyes National Seashore

[No abstract available]

Schwarzbach, S.E.; Stephenson, M.; Ruhlen, T.; Abbott, S.; Page, G. W.; Adams, D.
Elevated mercury concentrations in failed eggs of Snowy Plovers at Point Reyes National Seashore; 2005; Article; Journal; Marine Pollution Bulletin; Schwarzbach, S. E.; Stephenson, M.; Ruhlen, T.; Abbott, S.; Page, G. W.; Adams, D.

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Year Published: 2005

Estimation of regional material yield from coastal landslides based on historical digital terrain modelling

High-resolution historical (1942) and recent (1994) digital terrain models were derived from aerial photographs along the Big Sur coastline in central California to measure the long-term volume of material that enters the nearshore environment. During the 52-year measurement time period, an average of 21 000 ?? 3100 m3 km-1 a-1 of material was...

Hapke, C.J.
Estimation of regional material yield from coastal landslides based on historical digital terrain modelling; 2005; Article; Journal; Earth Surface Processes and Landforms; Hapke, C. J.

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Year Published: 2005

Habitat restoration as a means of controlling non-native fish in a Mojave desert Oasis

Non-native fish generally cause native fish decline, and once non-natives are established, control or elimination is usually problematic. Because non-native fish colonization has been greatest in anthropogenically altered habitats, restoring habitat similar to predisturbance conditions may offer a viable means of non-native fish control. In this...

Scoppettone, G.G.; Rissler, P.H.; Gourley, C.; Martinez, C.
Habitat restoration as a means of controlling non-native fish in a Mojave desert Oasis; 2005; Article; Journal; Restoration Ecology; Scoppettone, G. G.; Rissler, P. H.; Gourley, C.; Martinez, C.

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Year Published: 2005

Relation of desert pupfish abundance to selected environmental variables in natural and manmade habitats in the Salton Sea basin

We assessed the relation between abundance of desert pupfish, Cyprinodon macularius, and selected biological and physicochemical variables in natural and manmade habitats within the Salton Sea Basin. Field sampling in a natural tributary, Salt Creek, and three agricultural drains captured eight species including pupfish (1.1% of the total catch),...

Martin, B.A.; Saiki, M. K.
Relation of desert pupfish abundance to selected environmental variables in natural and manmade habitats in the Salton Sea basin; 2005; Article; Journal; Environmental Biology of Fishes; Martin, B. A.; Saiki, M. K.

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Year Published: 2005

The composition of coexisting jarosite-group minerals and water from the Richmond mine, Iron Mountain, California

Jarosite-group minerals accumulate in the form of stalactites and fine-grained mud on massive pyrite in the D drift of the Richmond mine, Iron Mountain, California. Water samples were collected by placing beakers under the dripping stalactites and by extracting pore water from the mud using a centrifuge. The water is rich in Fe3+ and SO4...

Jamieson, Heather E.; Robinson, Clare; Alpers, Charles N.; Nordstrom, D. Kirk; Poustovetov, Alexei; Lowers, Heather A.
The composition of coexisting jarosite-group minerals and water from the Richmond mine, Iron Mountain, California; 2005; Article; Journal; Canadian Mineralogist; Jamieson, H. E.; Robinson, C.; Alpers, C. N.; Nordstrom, D. K.; Poustovetov, A.; Lowers, H. A.

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Year Published: 2005

Total mercury concentrations in fillets of bluegill, redear sunfish, largemouth bass, and other fishes from Lake Natoma, Sacramento County, California

This study was conducted during September-October 2002 to verify preliminary findings of elevated total mercury concentrations in skinless fillets of sportfishes inhabiting Lake Natoma. Although we measured total mercury concentrations, most mercury in fish flesh occurs in the methylated form. In August 2000, other investigators collected a small...

Saiki, M. K.; Martin, B.A.; May, T.W.; Alpers, Charles N.
Total mercury concentrations in fillets of bluegill, redear sunfish, largemouth bass, and other fishes from Lake Natoma, Sacramento County, California; 2005; Article; Journal; California Fish and Game; Saiki, M. K.; Martin, B. A.; May, T. W.; Alpers, C. N.

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Year Published: 2004

Science support for salt pond restoration and management in south San Francisco Bay

Swanson, Kathleen M.; Shellenbarger, Gregory; Henderson, Kathleen D.; DiLeo, Jeanne S.; Schoellhamer, David H.
Science support for salt pond restoration and management in south San Francisco Bay; 2004; FS; 2004-3135; Swanson, Kathleen M.; Shellenbarger, Gregory G.; Henderson, Kathleen D.; DiLeo, Jeanne S.; Schoellhamer, David H.

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Year Published: 2004

Chapter E. The Loma Prieta, California, Earthquake of October 17, 1989 - Geologic setting and crustal structure

Although some scientists considered the Ms=7.1 Loma Prieta, Calif., earthquake of 1989 to be an anticipated event, some aspects of the earthquake were surprising. It occurred 17 km beneath the Santa Cruz Mountains along a left-stepping restraining bend in the San Andreas fault system. Rupture on the southwest-dipping fault plane consisted of...

Wells, Ray E.
Chapter E. The Loma Prieta, California, Earthquake of October 17, 1989 - Geologic Setting and Crustal Structure; 2004; PP; 1550-E; The Loma Prieta, California, Earthquake of October 17, 1989: Earthquake Occurrence; Edited by Wells, Ray E.

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Year Published: 2004

Map showing coastal cliff retreat rates along the Big Sur coast, Monterey and San Luis Obispo Counties, California

The average coastal cliff retreat rate along the Big Sur coast is 18 ? 6 cm/yr as measured over a 52-year time period. The erosion reference features measured as the cliff edge include the well-defined cliff edges common to marine terraces, slight breaks in the slope defining the upper edge of the active lower slope, and the road grade. Cliff...

Hapke, Cheryl J.; Green, Krystal R.
Map showing coastal cliff retreat rates along the Big Sur coast, Monterey and San Luis Obispo Counties, California; 2004; SIM; 2853; Hapke, Cheryl J.; Green Krystal R.

Filter Total Items: 1,116
A woman shows visitors how she uses sediment sieves.
December 9, 2017

Sifting sand with sieves

During a USGS Open House in Santa Cruz, California, research geologist Amy East shows onlookers how to sift sand to determine its size.

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.

person bent over on barren ground over looking a lake and mountains. A jute net covers the foreground.
December 8, 2017

Scientist spreading moss fragments

A USGS scientist spreads moss fragments for a study to test the restoration potential of moss, an important component of biological soil crust. A jute net, foreground, helps stabilize the moss fragments as they adhere to the soil.

Coastal view of landslide area with sand, gravel, cobbles, and large rocks of all sizes on a slope.
December 7, 2017

Upper terrace of Mud Creek slide

Mud Creek slide from south side of north upper terrace (above north and south berms). Note tension cracks and offset on the terrace to the north.

November 30, 2017

2017 Nov. Pub. Lecture—Sea Otters: Confessions of a Keystone Carnivore

  • Sea otters are perhaps the best-known example of a "keystone predator".
  • Sea otter behavior -- in particular diet specialization and limited mobility -- can mediate their effects on ecosystem dynamics.
  • Other predators, especially large sea stars, can complement and reinforce the keystone role of sea otters: this became apparent with the loss of all
Attribution: Ecosystems
View of a beach from up high on a roof with a pier, gentle waves, and an amusement park far off in the distance.
November 7, 2017

Santa Cruz Main Beach

Still-image from video camera atop the Dream Inn looks eastward over Main Beach and boardwalk in Santa Cruz, CA.

A series of images from various sources of shaded-relief topography show the progression of the Mud Creek landslide area.
November 6, 2017

Mud Creek Shaded-Relief Topography, 2010-2017

A series of images from various sources of shaded-relief topography show the progression of the Mud Creek landslide area, from 2010 through October 12, 2017.

Sources:

  1. lidar data from 2010
  2. lidar data from 2016
  3. structure-from-motion (SfM), March 8, 2017
  4. SfM, May 19, 2017
  5. SfM, May 27, 2017
  6. SfM, May 31, 2017
...
October 26, 2017

2017 Oct. Public Lecture — Global Trends in Mineral Commodity Supplies

  • The U.S. is increasingly reliant on supply of mineral raw materials from other countries.
  • Advanced technologies are increasingly making use of nearly the entire periodic table of the elements.
  • Dynamic studies of critical and strategic mineral supply and demand can identify emerging potential supply risks.
  • The USGS - National Minerals
October 19, 2017

Can Prescribed Fire Help Forests Survive Drought in the Sierra Nevadas

This webinar was conducted as part of the Climate Change Science and Management Webinar Series, held in partnership by the USGS National Climate Change and Wildlife Science Center and the FWS National Conservation Training Center. 

Webinar Summary: Prescribed fire is commonly used by managers in the western U.S. to remove potential wildfire fuel, such as small trees

October 16, 2017

Image of the Week - Wildfires Devastate California Wine Country

Strong winds are quickly spreading wildfire across California's wine country, as seen in these two Landsat 8 images.

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 (

A series of images showing a steep cliff along the coast from two different dates and the change between them.
October 15, 2017

Mud Creek Topo Change June 13-October 12 2017 View 1

In 2017, the massive Mud Creek landslide buried a quarter-mile of the famous coastal route, California’s Highway 1, with rocks and dirt more than 65 feet deep. USGS monitors erosion along the landslide-prone cliffs of Big Sur, collecting aerial photos frequently throughout the year. Some photos are taken with a camera mounted on an airplane, others come from unmanned

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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. 

USGS
July 11, 2013

Initial findings will support a USGS hydrologic model to better understand area water-supply issues
 

Carbon dioxide gas detection instrument installed at Horseshoe Lake...
July 2, 2013

Since 1990, high levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the soil have killed trees within about a 75-acre area adjacent to Horseshoe Lake on the south side of Mammoth Mountain.

USGS
June 27, 2013

When it comes to weekend activities, many people make the tough choice between recreation and spending their time volunteering.  But recently, The Nature Conservancy and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) gave a group of local anglers a chance to do both at once.  

Plots of earthquakes over time in Long Valley, CA. Top is number o...
June 18, 2013

In the late afternoon of 17 June 2013 a flurry of earthquakes started in the Long Valley Caldera east of the town of Mammoth Lakes, California (in an area known to geologists as the south moat).

USGS
May 28, 2013

North America's largest vulture, the California condor, once graced the skies of the Pacific Northwest from northern California to British Columbia and was deeply woven into the fabric of many Native American cultures. A new book by two federal scientists documents the condors history in the region, from prehistoric times to the early 20th century.

USGS
May 23, 2013

Urban Seismic Studies to Begin in East San Francisco Bay Area — About 30 seismic sensors are seeking a place to hang out for up to three years in the greater Pleasanton/Dublin/San Ramon, Calif., area. 

USGS
April 3, 2013

New scientific findings published in Ecology reveal that interactions of climate, soils, shrubs, and a natural nitrogen fertilization process affect regrowth of forests following wildfire in southern Oregon and northern California. Managers can use this information to consider post-fire management practices, including fertilization and shrub-removal.

USGS
March 29, 2013

Barium and nitrate were detected at high concentrations in 5 percent of untreated groundwater used for public-water supply in the San Francisco Bay region, while human-made organic chemical constituents were found at high concentrations in less than 1 percent. 

USGS
March 25, 2013

Two years after the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami devastated Japan and caused millions of dollars in damage to California coastal communities, the state's Emergency Management Agency and the California Geological Survey continue to work with their local, state and federal partners to reduce the impacts of future tsunamis in California. 

USGS
March 13, 2013

Climate factors such as snowpack and precipitation are playing an increasingly important role in the abundance of American pikas in the Great Basin, according to a continuing ecological study by the U.S. Geological Survey, University of Montana and Montana State University.

USGS
March 13, 2013

The U.S. Geological Survey is cancelling its March 28th Evening Public Lecture "Preparing for California Climate Change," due to travel restrictions the agency has implemented because of the federal budget sequestration.