Unified Interior Regions


The Southwest Region ranges from the Colorado Rockies to the Gulf Coast and the Western Deserts to the Great Plains. The Southwest Region conducts multi- and interdisciplinary research and monitoring in locations across the Region, the United States, around the world, and across our solar system.

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mostly dead bush re-sprouting after fire
August 22, 2016

Nonnative tamarisk is fire resistant

Nonnative tamarisk is resistant to wildfire, in part due to its abilty to resprout from the its roots.

Dead and living trees near a river
August 22, 2016

Defoliated nonnative tamarisk with native cottonwood trees

Nonnative tamarisk can form mixed stands with native trees, such as cottonwoods, and other nonnative trees, such as Russian olive. 

A mostly dead bush with one living branch
August 22, 2016

Tamarisk re-grows new leaves after tamarisk leaf beetle defoliation

Tamarisk can re-grow new leaves after being defoliated by the biocontrol agent tamarisk leaf beetle (Diorhabda spp.).

A satellite image of the Guadalupe Mountains showing a scar of a good burn
June 23, 2016

Landsat Reveals Scar of ‘Good Burn’ at Guadalupe Mountains

Pre- and post-fire images acquired with shortwave infrared (SWIR), near infrared (NIR), and red bands on Landsat 8’s Operational Land Imager sensor reveal a significant, 14,442-acre burn scar within the park’s high country. The burn scar appears red in the June 23 image. Lightning started the wildfire, and strong winds drove it to the Texas-New Mexico border.

Photo of USGS scientist installing a temporary streamgage on the Brazos River near West Columbia, Texas.
June 1, 2016

Temporary Streamgage on Brazos River

USGS scientist Jody Avant installs a temporary streamgage on the Brazos River near West Columbia, Texas. Rapidly deployable streamgages can be installed temporarily to provide emergency managers with additional information needed to help protect public safety.

Photo of a temporary streamgage installed by the USGS on the Brazos River near Brazoria, Texas.
June 1, 2016

Temporary Streamgage on Brazos River

Temporary streamgage installed by the USGS on the Brazos River near Brazoria, Texas. Rapidly deployable streamgages can be installed temporarily to provide emergency managers with additional information needed to help protect public safety.

Public-supply well in an arid area
May 31, 2016

Public-supply well tapping the High Plains aquifer, Texas

This public-supply well taps groundwater in the High Plains aquifer in Texas. The strontium concentration in the sample from this well was 4,630 micrograms per liter, exceeding the health-based screening level of 4,000 micrograms per liter.

Satellite image showing the flooding in Houston, Texas
May 28, 2016

Rain-Swollen Brazos River Floods Suburban Houston

Heavy rains that began falling during Memorial Day weekend in late May 2016 pushed the Brazos River, 30 miles southwest of Houston, Texas, toward a near-record flooding stage that hasn’t been seen since 1913, according to the National Weather Service (NWS).

Andy Ramey holding two ducks
May 18, 2016

Andy Ramey holding two Blue-winged Teals

Andy Ramey holding two Blue-winged Teals. This photo was part of an Avian Influenza program. 

Buff-breasted_Sandpiper with transmitter
April 24, 2016

Buff-breasted Sandpiper with transmitter

Buff-breasted Sandpiper with transmitter

Image: USGS Streamgage near Derby, Texas
April 13, 2016

USGS Streamgage near Derby, Texas

Currently, most of the streamflow equipment is located on a streambank or bridge. Large structures are no longer needed at most streamgage locations. Today, streamgage equipment can be contained in small metal shelters that are located on streambanks or bridges.

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USGS science for a changing world logo
November 3, 2015

On average, streams in the Niobrara-Mowry Play of eastern Wyoming, Fayetteville Play of Arkansas, and Barnett Play of Texas ranked most vulnerable to unconventional oil and gas development, but for different reasons, according to recent U.S. Geological Survey coauthored research.

October 30, 2015

U.S. Geological Survey field crews are measuring record flooding in parts of central Texas following intense rainfall.

Image: San Angelo Streamgage
September 15, 2015

A newly installed U.S. Geological Survey streamgage on the South Concho River is providing dam operators and downstream users critical information about the river.

Image: Hallettsville, Texas Streamgage
September 15, 2015

The U.S. Geological Survey installed a new gage to be used for streamflow monitoring in the City of Hallettsville, Texas.

July 23, 2015

Scientists have a better understanding of how water flows throughout the San Antonio, Texas, segment of the Edwards aquifer because of a new U.S. Geological Survey groundwater flow model, developed in cooperation with San Antonio Water System.

Graphic showing new interactive geologic map of Texas.
June 2, 2015

Do you know where to find extinct volcanoes or where the dinosaurs once roamed in Texas? Can you find where unconventional oil and gas formations are present at the land surface? A new interactive map viewer displaying the geology of Texas will help you explore what’s under your feet and across the state!

December 18, 2014

Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell announced today that Interior’s South Central Climate Science Center is awarding nearly $550,000 to universities and other partners for research to guide managers of parks, refuges and other cultural and natural resources in planning how to help species and ecosystems adapt to climate change.

December 16, 2014

The U.S. Geological Survey has released a new report detailing changes of groundwater levels in the High Plains Aquifer. The report presents water-level change data in the aquifer for two separate periods: from 1950 – the time prior to significant groundwater irrigation development – to 2013, and 2011 to 2013.

Image: Ready for Action
December 15, 2014

Average chloride concentrations often exceed toxic levels in many northern United States streams due to the use of salt to deice winter pavement, and the frequency of these occurrences nearly doubled in two decades.

November 3, 2014

For the first time ever, scientists have simulated the movement of sediment throughout the San Antonio River Basin with a new U.S. Geological Survey model, created in cooperation with the San Antonio River Authority (SARA).