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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States L2 Landing Page Tabs

Filter Total Items: 56
Date published: November 1, 2018
Status: Active

Permian Basin Oil and Gas Assessments

The USGS has conducted several assessments of undiscovered oil and gas in formations in the Permian Basin of western Texas.  This inlcudes the following.

Date published: August 9, 2018
Status: Active

Gulf Coast Petroleum Systems Project - Assessments

This site highlights the assessments of the Gulf Coast Petroleum Systems Project.   Scientifically robust assessments of undiscovered, technically recoverable hydrocarbon resources are published in a variety of USGS publications.  This project also conducts research on the processes that impact the formation, accumulation, occurrence and alteration of hydrocarbon energy resources. The Gulf...

Date published: June 18, 2018
Status: Active

Using Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) Capabilities to Help Identify Hummock-Hollow Formation and Fragmentation in Critical Marsh Habitat for Mottled Ducks

For many years, coastal marshes in Texas and Louisiana have served as critical habitat for the mottled duck (Anas fulvigula), which is considered a priority species in the Texas/Louisiana Gulf Coast area.

Date published: May 29, 2018
Status: Active

Surface-water and Groundwater Interaction at Air Force Plant 4

The USGS Oklahoma-Texas Water Science Center is monitoring sediment, surface-water, and groundwater properties at Air Force Plant 4.

Date published: February 1, 2018
Status: Completed

Hurricane Harvey - Forecast and Documentation of Coastal Change

Hurricane Harvey coastal change forecast and pre- and post-storm photos documenting coastal change.

Date published: January 18, 2018
Status: Active

Forecasting Coastal Change

This project focuses on understanding the magnitude and variability of extreme storm impacts on sandy beaches. The overall objective is to improve real-time and scenario-based predictions of coastal change to support management of coastal infrastructure, resources, and safety. 

Contacts: Kara Doran
Date published: January 18, 2018
Status: Active

National Assessment of Coastal Vulnerability to Sea Level Rise

The original national coastal vulnerability index (CVI) assessment was motivated by expected accelerated sea-level rise (SLR) and the uncertainty in the response of the coastline to SLR. This research was conducted between 1999 and 2001, and is currently being updated using new data sources and methodology. This original study was part of the ...

Date published: January 18, 2018
Status: Active

Long-Term Coastal Change

Goals of this task include developing and improving coastal-change assessments and supporting long-term planning and decision making to ensure sustainable coastal economies, infrastructure, and ecosystems.

Date published: December 11, 2017
Status: Active

Use of Remote Sensing Data to Quantify Bird and Bat Distributions and Inform Migratory Bird Conservation Efforts

Three federal wildlife refuge complexes on the upper Texas coast include portions of the Columbia Bottomlands and other forests that are important for migratory birds and possibly bats: Texas Mid-Coast, Trinity River, and Chenier Plain.

Date published: December 7, 2017
Status: Active

Geologic and Morphologic Evolution of Coastal Margins

A combination of geophysics, sediment sampling, and chronology techniques are used to characterize the regional geomorphologic response of coastal systems to environmental changes.

Date published: December 5, 2017
Status: Active

The Gulf of Mexico Water Dashboard: Cross-Center Collaboration Brings Real-time, USGS Water Data to the Gulf Coast through a Spatially Enabled Mapping Application

The USGS Southeast Regional Office has funded a cross-center collaboration between the Wetland and Aquatic Research Center and the Texas Water Science Center for the development of the Gulf of Mexico Water Dashboard. The objective of this effort is to expand the Texas Water Dashboard platform to include the coastal regions of the five Gulf states: Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and...

Filter Total Items: 33
Date published: April 19, 2016

The United States Interagency Elevation Inventory (USIEI)

The USIEI is a comprehensive, nationwide listing of known high-accuracy topographic and bathymetric data for the United States and its territories. The project is a collaborative effort of the USGS and NOAA with contributions from other federal agencies. The inventory supports the 3D Elevation Program and the Integrated Ocean and Coastal Mapping effort. This resource is updated in Spring and...

Date published: April 19, 2016

Elevation Data

The 3DEP products and services available through The National Map consist of lidar point clouds (LPC), standard digital elevation models (DEMs) at various horizontal resolutions, elevation source and associated datasets, an elevation point query service and bulk point query service. All 3DEP products are available, free of charge and without use restrictions.

Date published: April 12, 2016

Orthoimagery Data

Orthoimagery data typically are high resolution aerial images that combine the visual attributes of an aerial photograph with the spatial accuracy and reliability of a planimetric map. The National Map offers public domain, 1-meter orthoimagery for the conterminous United States with many urban areas and other locations at 2-foot or finer resolution.

Date published: April 12, 2016

The National Map Small-Scale Collection

The National Map offers a collection of small-scale datasets, most of which are at 1:1,000,000. The National Map publishes two data collections at one million-scale: one for Global Map users and one for National Map users. In terms of vector geometry, the lines, points, and areas in these data collections are identical. The difference is in the attributes assigned to these features.

Date published: March 12, 2016


WaterWatch is a U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) World Wide Web site that displays maps, graphs, and tables describing real-time, recent, and past streamflow conditions for the United States. The real-time information generally is updated on an hourly basis.

Date published: January 1, 2016

USGS National and Global Oil and Gas Assessment Project-Permian Basin Province, Midland Basin, Wolfcamp Shale Assessment Units

The Assessment Unit is the fundamental unit used in the National Assessment Project for the assessment of undiscovered oil and gas resources. The Assessment Unit is defined within the context of the higher-level Total Petroleum System. The Assessment Unit is shown herein as a geographic boundary interpreted, defined, and mapped by the geologist responsible for the province and incorporates...

Date published: April 24, 2014

Historic groundwater quality of in situ recovery (ISR) uranium mines, Texas

The historic groundwater geochemistry database of uranium in-situ recovery (ISR) mines in Texas was compiled from obscure public sources to make it readily available to the public and scientific researchers. This data is of interest because of current concerns about groundwater restoration following uranium ISR mining in aquifers throughout the U.S.

Filter Total Items: 26
Publication Thumbnail
Year Published: 1990

National water summary 1987: Hydrologic events and water supply and use

Water use in the United States, as measured by freshwater withdrawals in 1985, averaged 338,000 Mgal/d (million gallons per day), which is enough water to cover the 48 conterminous States to a depth of about 2.4 inches. Only 92,300 Mgal/d, or 27.3 percent of the water withdrawn, was consumptive use and thus lost to immediate further use; the...

Carr, Jerry E.; Chase, Edith B.; Paulson, Richard W.; Moody, David W.
Attribution: Water, Central Midwest Water Science Center, Dakota Water Science Center, , , Kansas Water Science Center, Minnesota Water Science Center, Pennsylvania Water Science Center, Oklahoma-Texas Water Science Center, Utah Water Science Center, , Upper Midwest Environmental Sciences Center, Upper Midwest Water Science Center, Water Resources, Water Availability and Use Science Program, , , Region 4: Mississippi Basin, Region 6: Arkansas-Rio Grande-Texas-Gulf, , Region 7: Upper Colorado Basin, Region 1: North Atlantic-Appalachian, Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, U.S. Virgin Islands, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming, United States of America
National water summary 1987: hydrologic events and water supply and use; 1990; WSP; 2350; Carr, Jerry E.; Chase, Edith B.; Paulson, Richard W.; Moody, David W.

Publication Thumbnail
Year Published: 1990

Freshwater withdrawals in Texas, 1985

Since 1950, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) has estimated water use in the United States at 5-year intervals.  Resulting reports tabulate water use by State and by water-resources region (major river basins) for a number of categories, such as irrigation, water supply, and industrial.  In 1977, the USGS began the National Water-Use...

Lurry, Dee L.; Barber, Nancy L.
Freshwater withdrawals in Texas, 1985; 1990; WRI; 89-4044; Lurry, Dee L.; Barber, Nancy L.

Filter Total Items: 284
August 12, 2019

Surveying Contracted-Opening Indirect Measurements

This video goes into detail about surveying high-water marks, various aspects of bridges, and cross sections for the contracted-opening method. 

August 2, 2019

Requirements for the Contracted-Opening Method

This video discusses the general requirements that will be needed to accomplish a contracted-opening indirect discharge measurement. Approach section, contracted section, and necessary high-water mark locations are described along with scenarios where the method will not be successful. 

Bandera water supply tower near the Bandera County Courthouse
July 26, 2019

Bandera water supply tower

Southwest-oriented view of the Bandera water supply tower near the Bandera County Courthouse, Bandera, Texas, December 2018 (photograph by Frank L. Engel, U.S. Geological Survey).

SIR 2019-5067

Medina River looking upstream near State Route 16 in Bandera
July 26, 2019

Medina River near State Route 16 in Bandera

West-oriented view of the Medina River looking upstream near State Route 16 in Bandera, Texas, December 2018 (photograph by Frank L. Engel, U.S. Geological Survey).

SIR 2019-5067

December 12, 2018

Image of the Week - Lake Meredith’s Return

Lake Meredith National Recreation Area takes its name from the water body it surrounds in the Texas Panhandle. The Amarillo-area lake sees more than a million visitors a year.

Visitor numbers were much smaller just a few years ago. More than a decade of drought shrank water levels at Lake Meredith until a rush of rain in 2017 brought a turnaround.

Each week,

Image from an application that navigates users through USGS National Oil and Gas Assessment Provinces
November 14, 2018

National Oil and Gas Assessment Provinces

This is a graphic from the USGS National Oil and Gas Assessment Explorer application, which allows user to drill into 70 oil and gas assessment provinces throughout the United States.

USGS scientist Scott Grzyb reviews high-water data on the Llano River in response a flash flood on October 8.
October 8, 2018

Collecting flood data on the Llano River in response to a flash flood

USGS scientist Scott Grzyb reviews high-water data collected by boat on the Llano River in Llano, Texas in response to a flash flood on October 8, 2018.

USGS scientists pause at sunset at the end of a long day collecting high-water measurements on the Llano River.
October 8, 2018

End of a long day collecting flood data on the Llano River

USGS scientists Scrott Grzyb and Michael Scheider pause at sunset at the end of a long day collecting high-water measurements along the Llano River on October 8, 2018.

September 20, 2018

Habitat Connectivity: Assessing Threats and IDing Conservation Actions

An important conservation strategy for climate change is to enhance and maintain regional habitat connectivity for the long-term viability of wildlife populations. Modeling habitat connectivity for wildlife species often results in a mapped network of linkages between habitat patches. A critical next step is to determine which of those linkages are priorities for

June 26, 2018

Waterfowl Seeking Submerged Aquatic Vegetation

Waterfowl populations in the northern Gulf of Mexico (NGOM) rely extensively on plants that grow under the surface in shallow waters, know as submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV), as a critical food resource in the winter season. SAV roots, shoots, and seeds provide high carbohydrate wildlife food that sustains valuable waterfowl species, including the American Wigeon,

An image of USGS research drilling rig on side of U.S. Route 90 in Kinney County, Texas.  The sky is streaked with clouds.
May 8, 2018

Going for the Eagle Ford Shale Formation, Kinney County, Texas

One charge of the U.S. Geological Survey’s Energy Resources Science Center is performing description
and analysis of hydrocarbon source rocks as input to USGS oil and gas assessments. This 2018 image
shows a coring and geophysical well-logging operation adjacent to U.S. Route 90, Kinney County, Texas.
The borehole yielded a 500’ rock core containing Austin

Vista of Buda, Eagle Ford, and Austin Formations, Terrell County, Texas (March 10, 2015)
May 8, 2018

Vista of Buda, Eagle Ford, and Austin Formations, Terrell County

One charge of the U.S. Geological Survey’s Energy Resources Science Center is conducting field work to
better understand the distribution of hydrocarbon source rocks as input to USGS oil and gas
assessments. This 2015 image is a view to the south-southeast of rocks exposed along an unnamed
draw near Antonio Creek, Terrell County, Texas. The Buda Limestone is

Filter Total Items: 172
Map of Earth MRI critical minerals projects in Texas
September 29, 2020

A total of $134,453 will fund new research and preserve important data across the Lone Star State

Image shows an aerial view of an oxbend in the Neches River in Big Thicket National Preserve
August 28, 2020

As Hurricane Laura came ashore near the Texas and Louisiana borders, its strong winds pushed so much water ahead of it that the Neches River even flowed backwards for a time, according to a USGS streamgage in Beaumont.

A screenshot of the Coastal Change Hazards Portal for Hurricane Laura showing red lines on gulf coast where change is likely.
August 26, 2020

Some erosion likely for nearly one-half of sandy shorelines from East Texas to Alabama

Editor's Note: This updated story reflects today's coastal change forecast and includes a new map.


To learn more about USGS’s role in providing science to decision makers before, during and after Hurricane Laura, visit www.usgs.gov/laura

Dragonfly larvae being held in an open hand
July 21, 2020

A team of federal, academic, and NGO researchers conducted a national-scale assessment of mercury bioaccumulation in aquatic ecosystems using dragonfly larvae as biosentinels.

Southern Rincon Valley in Doña Ana County, New Mexico
April 22, 2020

Changes in population, agricultural practices, and climate are increasing demands on available water resources, particularly groundwater, in the southwest.

March 26 West Texas Earthquake Map
March 26, 2020

On March 26, 2020, a  magnitude 5.0 earthquake struck West Texas near the New Mexico border. Seismic instruments indicate the earthquake originated at a depth of 5.3 miles (8.5 kilometers). 

Infrared photo of plane in flight
October 21, 2019

Every work day at the USGS Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) Center, contractor Mike Austad pulls up a chair and begins scanning aerial photographs of the Earth’s surface into the massive public database that is EarthExplorer.

USGS Flood Inundation Mapper with water depth of 38 feet
August 26, 2019

New tools for flood preparedness are now available for the Medina River near Bandera, Texas, from the U.S. Geological Survey, the Bandera County River Authority and Groundwater District, and the Texas Water Development Board.

USGS scientist Jon Thomas collecting time-domain electromagnetic sounding in the Texas southern high plains
March 22, 2019

An interactive viewer to visualize groundwater resources in Gaines, Terry and Yoakum Counties, Texas, is now available from the U.S. Geological Survey in cooperation with the Llano Estacado Underground Water Conservation District, Sandy Land Underground Water Conservation District and South Plains Underground Water Conservation District. 

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