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: 377
Date published: December 7, 2017
Status: Active

The Mud Creek landslide on California’s Big Sur coast

On May 20, 2017, the steep slopes at Mud Creek on California’s Big Sur coast, about 140 miles south of San Francisco, suffered a catastrophic collapse. USGS Scientists from the Pacific Coastal and Marine and the Geology, Minerals, Energy, and Geophysics Science Centers are monitoring this section of the coastline, in collaboration with the California Department of Transportation.

Date published: October 30, 2017
Status: Active

Ecology of Infectious Diseases

The public is most familiar with parasites' role in spreading infectious diseases to people and domestic animals. In tropical developing countries, malaria, schistosomiasis, and other infectious diseases cause significant human suffering. While most related studies focus on treating patients, Dr. Kevin Lafferty is studying how ecology of the local environment affects transmission of infectious...

Contacts: Kevin Lafferty
Date published: October 30, 2017
Status: Active

Desert Tortoise Ecology, Health, Habitat, and Conservation Biology

The desert tortoise is listed as “threatened” under the Endangered Species Act. USGS WERC scientists, along with project partners have been conducting long-term analyses on how changes in the southwestern deserts of the United States can affect desert tortoise populations. Dr. Todd Esque and his team are investigating how habitat disturbances and restoration projects influence tortoise...

Contacts: Todd Esque
Date published: October 30, 2017
Status: Active

Southwestern Desert Ecology of At-risk Species and their Habitats

The southwestern desert region is home to many sensitive species. Species are at-risk due to past, present, and future changes to the landscape. WERC’s Dr. Todd Esque, field researchers, and collaborators are using models, monitoring plans, and decision-support tools to provide land managers with the resources they need to answer questions about how environmental change influences plants,...

Contacts: Todd Esque
Date published: October 30, 2017
Status: Active

Ecological Stressors - Rocky Coastlines, Mangroves, Marshes, Droughts, and Storms

Coastal estuaries that contain marshes and mangroves are currently being reshaped by changing ocean and atmospheric conditions through prolong drought, sea-level rise and increased extreme storm events. Many projected increases in sea-level are expected to result in loss of tidal wetlands and their component species. In addition, changing sediment loads, extreme tide and storm events, and...

Date published: October 30, 2017
Status: Active

Supporting Informed Responses to Sea-Level Rise

To facilitate communication and outreach of sea level rise research results and implications, Dr. Karen Thorne and members of USGS WERC are hosting in-person workshops along the Pacific coast at different sites in Washington, Oregon, and California.

Date published: October 30, 2017
Status: Active

California Sea Otter Stranding Network

The California Sea Otter Stranding Network is part of the USGS effort to monitor southern sea otters (Enhydra lutris nereis) and provide data to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. WERC's sea otter team works with multiple institutions and partners to report, recover, and examine stranded sea otters. In addition, instructions on how to report a stranded sea otter are included in this webpage...

Date published: October 30, 2017
Status: Active

Process-based Approaches for Ecological Restoration of Degraded Drylands

Surface disturbances ranging from military training, recreation, energy exploration and development, and wildfires impact a large majority of federal lands in the western US, but the ecological and economic impacts are poorly understood. Explore this webpage to learn how Dr. Lesley DeFalco and her research team are currently evaluating and refining conventional approaches for post-fire...

Contacts: Lesley DeFalco
Date published: October 30, 2017
Status: Active

Native Plant Materials for Ecological Restoration of Degraded Drylands

There is a growing consensus among resource managers to use native plant materials for ecological restoration of degraded drylands. Some plant species may be suitable for re-introduction across broad environmental gradients. Other species may fail under narrower conditions, or their re-introduction may have genetic consequences for local ecotypes, particularly when adapting to future climate...

Contacts: Lesley DeFalco
Date published: October 30, 2017
Status: Active

Conservation of Rare, Sensitive, and At-risk Desert Plant Species

The Mojave Desert is among the hottest and driest of the North American drylands, but in spite of these extreme conditions, and in part because of them, a diverse flora exists. This diversity of rare, endemic, and endangered species is threatened by the complex interaction between fluctuating climate and human-mediated disturbances. USGS studies have identified rare species “hotspots” for...

Contacts: Lesley DeFalco
Date published: October 30, 2017
Status: Active

Waterbird Breeding Ecology and Management

The San Francisco Bay is designated as a site of hemispheric importance to shorebirds and annually supports over one million waterbirds. Within the USGS WERC waterbird breeding ecology program, Dr. Josh Ackerman and partners are studying habitat selection, movements, and factors influencing waterbird nest success and chick growth and survival. 

Contacts: Josh T Ackerman
Filter Total Items: 501
Date published: October 4, 2018

Electrical Resistivity Tomography Data at Fort Irwin National Training Center, San Bernardino County, California, 2015 and 2017

The U.S. Army Fort Irwin National Training Center (NTC), approximately 35 mi north-northeast of Barstow, California, covers approximately 1,177 square miles, and is comprised of ten groundwater basins, three of which have been subdivided into subbasins on the basis of additional hydrologic testing. Since the early 1990s, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) has been studying water resources...

Date published: August 28, 2018

USGS Domestic Continuous (Unconventional) Oil & Gas Assessments, 2000-Present

Interactively explore assessment summary information for continuous (unconventional) assessments conducted at the USGS from 2000-2018. The assessment results data used to generate this visualization can be downloaded here in Excel Format.  These data represent all assessment results...

Date published: August 24, 2018

GAMA-Priority Basin Project Groundwater-Quality Results: Assessment and Trends

This interactive webmap plots water-quality data from domestic and public-supply wells sampled by the USGS for the California Groundwater Ambient Monitoring and Assessment Program (GAMA) Priority Basin Project, and allows users to download datasets.

Date published: June 19, 2018

Water Use Data for California

State water-use data are reported by source (surface water or groundwater, fresh and saline, and total), category, and area type (county). The water-use data presented here are the current best estimates, and may have been revised from previous publications. Data collection varied between the different compilations. Pre-1995 datasets have more data available than 2000 and later.

Date published: June 1, 2018

Historic Depth-to-Water, San Joaquin Valley, California, 1910

Mendenhall and others (1916) published depth-to-water data compiled in 1910 for all known wells in the San Joaquin Valley, California. Data for the 3,429 wells having depth-to-water of greater than zero feet were used to construct an interpolated depth-to-water surface for the entire SJV. This map represents groundwater levels in approximately 1910, prior to extensive development of the

Date published: May 13, 2018

Coastal Storm Modeling System (CoSMoS) for Southern California, v3.0, Phase 2

The Coastal Storm Modeling System (CoSMoS) makes detailed predictions (meter-scale) over large geographic scales (100s of kilometers) of storm-induced coastal flooding and erosion for both current and future sea-level rise (SLR) scenarios. CoSMoS v3.0 for Southern California shows projections for future climate scenarios (sea-level rise and storms) to provide emergency responders and...

Date published: May 3, 2018

Land Treatment Exploration Tool

The Land Treatment Exploration Tool is designed for resource managers to use when planning land treatments. The tool provides useful summaries of environmental characteristics of planned treatment areas and facilitates adaptive management practices by comparing those characteristics to other similar treatments within a specified distance or area of interest. ...

Date published: April 12, 2018

HayWired aftershock (M> 5) ShakeMaps

The maps in this archive display estimated intensities and ground motions for the earthquake scenarios - events on faults that have ruptured in the past or have a likelihood of rupturing in the future. These maps are typically used for emergency response exercises and planning as well as for understanding the potential consequences of future large earthquakes.

Attribution: Natural Hazards
Date published: April 12, 2018

The HayWired Scenario: An Urban Earthquake in a Connected World - A Geonarrative

What might it be like the next time the Hayward Fault has a large earthquake? A geonarrative and related imagery examines a hypothetical earthquake, the magnitude 7.0 HayWired earthquake scenario.”

Attribution: Natural Hazards
Date published: January 19, 2018

Oblique Aerial Photography Viewer

Obique photos offer a unique perspective of the coast. Features such as beach erosion or accretion, dune erosion and overwash can all be clearly characterized in this imagery. It also documents coastal infrastructure, as well as the damage that infrastructure may incur as the result of an impacting hurricane. 

Date published: January 1, 2018

Magnetotelluric Data from the San Andreas Fault, Parkfield CA, 1990

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Geology, Geophysics and Geochemistry Science Center (GGGSC) collaborated with the USGS Data at Risk (DaR) team to preserve and release a subset of magnetotelluric data from the San Andreas Fault in Parkfield, California. The San Andreas Fault data were collected by the Branch of Geophysics, a precursor to the now GGGSC, between 1989 and 1994.

Filter Total Items: 351
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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.

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Year Published: 2004

Maps showing estimated sediment yield from coastal landslides and active slope distribution along the Big Sur coast, Monterey and San Luis Obispo Counties, California

The 1982-83 and 1997-98 El Ni?os brought very high precipitation to California?s central coast; this precipitation resulted in raised groundwater levels, coastal flooding, and destabilized slopes throughout the region. Large landslides in the coastal mountains of Big Sur in Monterey and San Luis Obispo Counties blocked sections of California State...

Hapke, Cheryl J.; Green, Krystal R.; Dallas, Kate
Maps showing estimated sediment yield from coastal landslides and active slope distribution along the Big Sur coast, Monterey and San Luis Obispo Counties, California; 2004; SIM; 2852; Hapke, Cheryl J.; Green, Krystal R.; Dallas, Kate

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Year Published: 2004

Preliminary report on using imaging spectroscopy to map ultramafic rocks, serpentinites, and tremolite-actinolite-bearing rocks in California

Swayze, Gregg A.; Higgins, Chris T.; Clinkenbeard, John P.; Kokaly, Raymond F.; Clark, Roger N.; Meeker, Gregory P.; Sutley, Stephen J.
Preliminary report on using imaging spectroscopy to map ultramafic rocks, serpentinites, and tremolite-actinolite-bearing rocks in California; 2004; OFR; 2004-1304; Swayze, Gregg A.; Higgins, Chris T.; Clinkenbeard, John P.; Kokaly, Raymond F.; Clark, Roger N.; Meeker, Gregory P.; Sutley, Stephen J.

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Year Published: 2004

A USGS Study of Talc Deposits and Associated Amphibole Asbestos Within Mined Deposits of the Southern Death Valley Region, California

Van Gosen, Bradley S.; Lowers, Heather; Sutley, Stephen J.
A USGS Study of Talc Deposits and Associated Amphibole Asbestos Within Mined Deposits of the Southern Death Valley Region, California; 2004; OFR; 2004-1092; Van Gosen, Bradley S.; Lowers, Heather A.; Sutley, Stephen J.

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Year Published: 2004

Ecological and political issues surrounding decommissioning of offshore oil facilities in the Southern California Bight

To aid legislators, resource managers, and the general public, this paper summarizes and clarifies some of the issues and options that the federal government and the state of California face in decommissioning offshore oil and gas production platforms, particularly as these relate to platform ecology. Both local marine ecology and political...

Schroeder, Donna M.; Love, Milton S.

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Year Published: 2004

Reproductive status of western mosquitofish inhabiting selenium- contaminated waters in the Grassland Water District, Merced County, California

This study was implemented to determine if western mosquitofish (Gambusia affinis) populations in the Grassland Water District suffer from impaired reproduction because of seleniferous inflows of agricultural drainwater from the Grassland Bypass Project. During June to July 2001, laboratory trials with pregnant female fish collected from two...

Saiki, M. K.; Martin, B.A.; May, T.W.
Reproductive status of western mosquitofish inhabiting selenium- contaminated waters in the Grassland Water District, Merced County, California; 2004; Article; Journal; Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology; Saiki, M. K.; Martin, B. A.; May, T. W.

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Year Published: 2004

Summary of total mercury concentrations in fillets of selected sport fishes collected during 2000-2003 from Lake Natoma, Sacramento County, California

This report summarizes results of total mercury measurements in skinless fillets of sport fishes collected during August 2000, September?October 2002, and July 2003 from Lake Natoma, a small (8,760 acre-feet) afterbay for Folsom Dam on the lower American River. The primary objective of the study was to determine if mercury concentrations in...

Saiki, Michael K.; Slotton, Darrell G.; May, Thomas W.; Ayers, Shaun M.; Alpers, Charles N.
Summary of total mercury concentrations in fillets of selected sport fishes collected during 2000-2003 from Lake Natoma, Sacramento County, California; 2004; DS; 103; Saiki, Michael K.; Slotton, Darrell G.; May, Thomas W.; Ayers, Shaun M.; Alpers, Charles N.

Filter Total Items: 961
USGS scientist collecting samples of aquatic species from the Pike River, Wis., for later analysis of mercury contamination.
December 31, 2017

Collecting samples of aquatic species from the Pike River, Wisconsin

Microbial Biogeochemistry Laboratory — Menlo Park, California. USGS scientist collecting samples of aquatic species from the Pike River, Wis., for later analysis of mercury contamination.

USGS
December 31, 2017

Big Brown Bat (Eptesicus fuscus) Call

Bats produce a variety of vocalizations that are used for navigation, feeding, and social communication. Most vocalizations are pitched well above the range of human hearing and are referred to as ultrasonic. These calls are often known as echolocation calls since bats use the echoes produced when a sound bounces off a bug or a building to determine what is in the area. 

Map of Active Faults and Historic Earthquakes in California
December 31, 2017

California Seismicity

Map of historic seismicity, major faults, and paleoseismic summary of San Andreas Fault system.

USGS
December 31, 2017

California myotis (Myotis californicus) Call

Bats produce a variety of vocalizations that are used for navigation, feeding, and social communication. Most vocalizations are pitched well above the range of human hearing and are referred to as ultrasonic. These calls are often known as echolocation calls since bats use the echoes produced when a sound bounces off a bug or a building to determine what is in the area. 

3 close-up views of the toe of the Mud Creek landslide created from air photos after the landslide
December 31, 2017

3 close-up views of the toe of the Mud Creek landslide

Close-up views of the toe of the Mud Creek landslide created from air photos taken May 27 (top), June 13 (middle), and June 26 (bottom). Caltrans built roads on top of the slide for assessment and monitoring activities.

Topographic-change image produced by comparing 3D map derived from May 27 air photos with that derived from June 13 air photos
December 31, 2017

Topographic-change image produced by comparing subsequent 3D maps

Topographic-change image produced by comparing 3D map derived from May 27 air photos with that derived from June 13 air photos. Note that material has eroded from the seaward edge of the toe (yellow and orange tones), and material has built up on beaches to either side of the slide (blue tones).

USGS
December 31, 2017

Hoary Bat (Lasiurus cinereus) Echo Call

Bats produce a variety of vocalizations that are used for navigation, feeding, and social communication. Most vocalizations are pitched well above the range of human hearing and are referred to as ultrasonic. These calls are often known as echolocation calls since bats use the echoes produced when a sound bounces off a bug or a building to determine what is in the area. 

Pilot Bob Van Wagenen and the Cessna 182R he flies when taking air photos for the USGS Remote Sensing Coastal Change Project
December 31, 2017

The pilot and plane used to take air photos for the USGS

Pilot Bob Van Wagenen and the Cessna 182R he flies when taking air photos for the USGS Remote Sensing Coastal Change Project.

USGS
December 31, 2017

Hoary Bat (Lasiurus cinereus) Social Call

Bats produce a variety of vocalizations that are used for navigation, feeding, and social communication. Most vocalizations are pitched well above the range of human hearing and are referred to as ultrasonic. These calls are often known as echolocation calls since bats use the echoes produced when a sound bounces off a bug or a building to determine what is in the area. 

erry Hatcher with the system he designed to record the precise time and geographic location of each air photo Van Wagenen shoots
December 31, 2017

Scientist with the system he designed to record precise photo data

Gerry Hatcher with the system he designed to record the precise time and geographic location of each air photo Van Wagenen shoots.

USGS
December 31, 2017

Yuma myotis (Myotis yumanensis) Call

Bats produce a variety of vocalizations that are used for navigation, feeding, and social communication. Most vocalizations are pitched well above the range of human hearing and are referred to as ultrasonic. These calls are often known as echolocation calls since bats use the echoes produced when a sound bounces off a bug or a building to determine what is in the area. 

Big Sur coast. Red squares mark some of the sites damaged by 2016–17 winter storms, including Mud Creek and Paul’s Slide areas
December 31, 2017

Map of Big Sur coast with labels

Big Sur coast. Red squares mark some of the sites damaged by 2016–17 winter storms, including Mud Creek and Paul’s Slide areas.

Filter Total Items: 927
USGS
October 14, 2014

The Downtown Association of Santa Cruz will host a 25th anniversary commemoration of the Loma Prieta Earthquake.

WERC Sierra Nevadas
October 13, 2014

The USGS California Volcano Observatory (CalVO) is tracking an earthquake swarm in the Sierra Nevada range south of Long Valley Caldera, about 8 miles SW of Toms Place and 15 miles SE of the town of Mammoth Lakes.

Long Valley Caldera Earthquakes greater than M1.0 from 09/22 to 09/...
September 28, 2014

Over the past 42 hours, the earthquake swarm in California's Long Valley Caldera, which began last Friday (see September 26 post), has gradually diminished in terms of numbers of earthquakes and in earthquake magnitude.

Long Valley Caldera Earthquakes greater than M1.0 from 09/22 to 09/...
September 26, 2014

We have been closely tracking an earthquake swarm in California's Long Valley Caldera, which started yesterday at around 4AM PDT (September 25, 2014).

Mount Shasta looming over the town of Weed in the evening....
September 25, 2014

On the afternoon of September 20, a large volume of water surged down Mount Shasta's south flank into Mud Creek, entraining debris and inundating the drainage and roads near McCloud, California.

Image: Sea Otter Ready for a Nap
September 22, 2014

When sea otters want to rest, they wrap a piece of kelp around their body to hold themselves steady among the rolling waves. Likewise, California’s sea otter numbers are holding steady against the many forces pushing against their population recovery, according to the latest field survey led by federal, state, aquarium, and university scientists.

USGS
September 18, 2014

The U.S. Geological Survey will host an educational event for the news media focused on earthquakes on Wednesday September 24, 2014.

Landcover map (left) and pedestrian evacuation time estimate map (right) Ocean Shores, Washington.
September 16, 2014

Scientists at the U.S. Geological Survey have developed a new mapping tool, the Pedestrian Evacuation Analyst, for use by researchers and emergency managers to estimate how long it would take for someone to travel on foot out of a tsunami-hazard zone.

New 2014 US Topo quadrangle of the Three Fingered Jack, Oregon, area
September 15, 2014

Newly released US Topo maps for Oregon now feature segments of the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail. Several of the 1,835 new US Topo quadrangles for the state now display parts of the Trail along with other improved data layers.

Overview of Klamath Mountains groundwater quality with pie charts showing concentrations of organic and inorganic constituents i
September 5, 2014

Naturally occurring trace elements were detected at high concentrations in less than 3 percent of raw groundwater sources used for public water supply in the Klamath Mountain area, according to the ongoing U.S. Geological Survey study of California groundwater quality.

USGS
September 3, 2014

Members of the news media are invited to attend a scientific briefing at the U.S. Geological Survey to summarize what has been learned about and from the August 24 magnitude 6 South Napa Earthquake

collage of scientists conducting science related to each mission are
August 25, 2014

Yesterday at 3:20 AM local time, the northern San Francisco Bay Area was struck by the largest earthquake to impact the Bay Area since the 1989 M6.9 Loma Prieta earthquake.