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Cars, pedestrians, and homes alongside a coast with big waves hitting the cliffs and sections of the cliff have collapsed.
January 8, 2016

Santa Cruz coastal erosion

The coastal bluff along East Cliff Drive in Santa Cruz, California are especially vulnerable to rising sea level during big storms. Sometimes even the rip-rap, put in place to protect roadways and homes, cannot protect the bluffs from erosion.

Photograph of Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk and Main Beach in winter of 2016 when big storms hit the California coast.
January 7, 2016

Santa Cruz, California's Main Beach in winter

View of the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk amusement park in Santa Cruz, California. Photo was taken from the bluff on East Cliff Drive, east of the San Lorenzo River mouth. Sand on the beach gets eroded, redistributed, and deposited due to the dynamic conditions brought about by storms and changing river flow.

Illustration showing the location of the San Andreas Fault with underwater landslides identified nearby.
December 31, 2015

Slope failures along the San Andreas Fault, Fort Ross

Geology and geomorphology offshore of Fort Ross, California, showing location of the San Andreas Fault and slope failures in the fault zone.

Geologic field-trip guide to Lassen Volcanic National Park and vici...
December 31, 2015

Geologic field-trip guide to Lassen Volcanic National Park

Geologic field-trip guide to Lassen Volcanic National Park and vicinity, California

GPS data collection along the Big Sur coast in 2007 (left), and 2015 (right).
December 31, 2015

GPS data collection along the Big Sur coast in 2007 (L), and 2015 (R)

Left: Mark Reid (left) and Kevin Schmidt collecting GPS data along the Big Sur coast on September 19, 2007. Photo credit: Maiana Hanshaw, then with the USGS, now with the in Switzerland (swisstopo). Right: Kevin Schmidt collecting GPS data on the Big Sur coast on March 19, 2015. Photo credit: Mark Reid, USGS.

A buckle in the concrete lining of the Delta-Mendota canal.
December 31, 2015

Land Subsidence Along the Delta-Mendota Canal

Reduced surface-water availability (associated with droughts) during 1976-77, 1986-92, 2007-09, and 2012-current caused groundwater-pumping increases, water-level declines to near or beyond historic lows, and renewed aquifer compaction. The resulting land subsidence has canal buckling and reduced flow capacity of the Delta-Mendota Canal (pictured), the California Aqueduct

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A man navigates a personal watercraft with equipment mounted on it through choppy waves, he's looking over his left shoulder.
December 31, 2015

PWC bathymetric survey

Engineering technician Tim Elfers of the USGS Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center navigates a personal watercraft (PWC) through waves offshore of central California. The PWC is equipped with sonar and GPS in order to map the nearshore seafloor.

A monitoring station for rainfall in a basin of the Santa Monica Mountains
November 30, 2015

Telemetered Rain Gauge in Springs Fire

A Telemetered rain gauge to monitor the rainfall conditions in the Springs Fire burn area. 

Telemetered rain gauge in Springs fire burn area with mountains in the background
November 30, 2015

Telemetered Rain Gauge in Springs Fire

A telemetered rain gauge in the Springs Fire burn area to help collect post-fire information. 

Man sits at a desk with a keyboard and computer screen with a colorful image on it and he is gesturing and talking about it.
November 23, 2015

Jared Kluesner discusses seismic data visualization

USGS geophysicist Jared Kluesner points at a three-dimensional cross-section of seismic data about 40 kilometers across and several kilometers deep located in the Santa Barbara Channel. This imaging deep below the seafloor allows scientists to visualize and map faults better.

November 17, 2015

PubTalk 11/2015 — Waterbirds in a Changing Landscape

Evaluating Avian Response to the West Coast's Largest Tidal Marsh Restoration Project

by Susan De La Cruz, USGS Research Wildlife Biologist

  • The urbanized San Francisco Bay is a critical wintering and stop-over area for more than a million migratory annually that rely on a mosaic of Bay habitats, including former salt ponds.
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USGS science for a changing world logo
March 29, 2011

Nitrogen and phosphorus concentrations decreased in streams of the Santa Ana Basin during 1975–2004, as improved wastewater treatment was implemented basinwide. Nutrient concentrations in the San Joaquin Basin during the same period increased in association with increased land application of nutrients. In the Sacramento Basin nutrient trends were mostly downward. 

USGS science for a changing world logo
March 25, 2011

U.S. Geological Survey field crews recorded the two highest direct measurements made in the last 70 years at two streamgages on the San Lorenzo River yesterday. Woody debris, including large trees, carried by the turbulent river destroyed two flow meters, but new equipment was shuttled in and the record measurements completed.

USGS
March 17, 2011

The images of destruction coming from Japan have caused those who dwell on America's West Coast to wonder: Could a devastating tsunami hit here? The answer is a resounding yes. Our coast is under threat from two types of tsunamis.

USGS science for a changing world logo
March 7, 2011

Government and university scientists are collecting seismic images, or pictures, of the Earth's crust beneath the Imperial and Coachella Valleys in southern California this week. 

USGS science for a changing world logo
March 3, 2011

U.S. Geological Survey scientists who study trends in climate change will be presenting the results from new studies at the Pacific Climate Workshop held in Pacific Grove, California, at the Asilomar Conference Grounds, March 6-9.

USGS science for a changing world logo
February 15, 2011

Forests should be managed according to their respective, specific fire ecology — not whole-scale fire suppression or one-size-fits-all plans — to optimize forest growth and stabilize carbon storage.

USGS science for a changing world logo
February 15, 2011

Forests should be managed according to their respective, specific fire ecology — not whole-scale fire suppression or one-size-fits-all plans — to optimize forest growth and stabilize carbon storage.

USGS science for a changing world logo
January 25, 2011

Gold dredging that disturbs fine-grained, mercury-laden sediment in California’s South Yuba River can allow higher amounts of mercury to enter the environment, potentially threatening food webs far downstream.

USGS science for a changing world logo
January 13, 2011

For emergency planning purposes, scientists will unveil a California scenario that describes a catastrophic storm that could possibly overwhelm the state's flood protection system, and significantly disrupt statewide social and economic systems.

USGS science for a changing world logo
January 11, 2011

For emergency planning purposes, scientists will unveil a California scenario that describes a catastrophic storm that could possibly overwhelm the state's flood protection system, and significantly disrupt statewide social and economic systems.

USGS
December 12, 2010

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) is celebrating the success of three distinguished researchers who are recipients of the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE). This award is the highest recognition granted by the United States government to scientists and engineers in the early stages of their research careers.

USGS
December 10, 2010

SAN FRANCISCO­ —  The U.S. Geological Survey participates in the American Geophysical Union's fall meeting with hundreds of technical presentations.  Selected here are some highlights of USGS science at AGU.