Unified Interior Regions

Washington

Washington's Puget Sound is a complex ecosystem directly adjacent to a robust metropolitan area that scientists from the USGS Western Fisheries Research Center study. Recent surveys have looked at juvenile surf smelt, a key link in the food web that are consumed by predators such as salmon, orca, and many marine birds. 

Western Fisheries Research Center

Western Fisheries Research Center

Research at the WFRC focuses on the environmental factors responsible for the creation, maintenance, and regulation of fish populations including their interactions in aquatic communities and ecosystems. 

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Washington Water Science Center

Washington Water Science Center

The Water Science Center's 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 and the State of Washington.

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States L2 Landing Page Tabs

Filter Total Items: 267
Date published: July 28, 2020
Status: Active

U.S. West Coast and Alaska Marine Geohazards

Marine geohazards are sudden and extreme events beneath the ocean that threaten coastal populations. Such underwater hazards include earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, landslides, and tsunamis.

Devastating earthquakes in Japan (2011) and Chile (2010) that spawned pan-oceanic tsunamis sent a sobering reminder that U.S. coastlines are also vulnerable to natural disasters that originate in...

Date published: July 15, 2020
Status: Active

Dynamic coastlines along the western U.S.

The west coast of the United States is extremely complex and changeable because of tectonic activity, mountain building, and land subsidence. These active environments pose a major challenge for accurately assessing climate change impacts, since models were historically developed for more passive sandy coasts.

Date published: July 7, 2020
Status: Active

Coastal Storm Modeling System (CoSMoS)

The Coastal Storm Modeling System (CoSMoS) makes detailed predictions of storm-induced coastal flooding, erosion, and cliff failures over large geographic scales. CoSMoS was developed for hindcast studies, operational applications and future climate scenarios to provide emergency responders and coastal planners with critical storm-hazards information that can be used to increase public safety...

Date published: June 23, 2020
Status: Active

Hazards: EXPRESS

Marine geohazards including earthquakes, landslides, and tsunamis lie offshore of densely populated areas of California, Oregon, and Washington. One goal of EXPRESS is to improve assessments of these hazards.

Date published: June 23, 2020
Status: Active

Resources: EXPRESS

Along the U.S. west coast, the Pacific Ocean, ocean floor, and winds above contain potentially vast energy and mineral resources. Developing these resources safely and wisely requires detailed information for each area of interest. One goal of EXPRESS is to inform ocean...

Date published: June 18, 2020
Status: Active

Recreational Birdwatching and Habitat

Thousands of visitors flock to the Billy Frank Jr. Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge every year to look for birds both rare and common. Birdwatching activities contribute to economic activity for the Nisqually area and play a role in the broader outdoor-loving culture of the Pacific Northwest. The refuge has kept detailed records of how birds are using the different habitats within the refuge...

Date published: June 18, 2020
Status: Active

Fisheries and Fish Habitat

The estuarine habitat of the Delta is critical to the production of salmon, which supports recreational, commercial, and subsistence fishing. The combination of shaded pools, shallow reaches, and a rich prey population provide excellent feeding grounds for juvenile fish. Fishing also holds great importance in the cultural practices of the Nisqually Tribe.

Date published: June 18, 2020
Status: Active

Marsh Elevation Change and Carbon Sequestration

Tidal marsh vegetation grows in a narrow elevation zone between sea level and the upland behind it. These plant communities have evolved to accumulate sediment over time and maintain their relative elevation with gradual rates of change in sea level. It is uncertain which marsh vegetation communities will be able to accumulate sediment at a rate that keeps pace with accelerated sea level rise...

Date published: June 15, 2020
Status: Active

An Ecosystem Services Assessment of the Nisqually River Delta, South Puget Sound, Washington

Overview of Nisqually River Delta ecosystem services modeling

Date published: May 29, 2020
Status: Completed

The Blind Zone of Earthquake Early Warning

Residents in California, Oregon, and Washington have been told that earthquake early warning (EEW) is at their doorstep and will alert them to the shaking from an earthquake before it arrives. Some media reports have said there will be “up to a minute of warning”. The problem is, for onshore earthquakes these claims are exaggerated, and under some conditions a warning is not scientifically or...

Date published: May 5, 2020
Status: Active

LCMAP Change Stories: Where the Ocean Eats the Land

The unincorporated hamlet of North Cove, WA is the owner of a rather unfortunate superlative: fastest-eroding place in the West Coast.

Attribution: Land Resources
Date published: April 29, 2020
Status: Active

LCMAP Change Stories: Gone in 60 Seconds

At first glance, the most striking patterns in land cover change over time in this animation of the Oso, Washington area would appear to be forest harvest and regrowth, but a more dramatic change emerged in 2014.

Filter Total Items: 184
Date published: September 26, 2019

Data for assessing the susceptibility of groundwater used for drinking water supply from selected principal aquifers of the Western United States, 2004-2018

Groundwater age distribution and susceptibility to natural and anthropogenic contaminants were assessed for selected principal aquifers of the Western United States: the Central Valley aquifer system (CVAL), the Basin and Range basin-fill aquifers (BNRF), the Rio Grande aquifer system (RIOG), the High Plains aquifer (HPAQ), the Columbia Plateau basaltic-rock aquifers (

Date published: September 6, 2019

Wave observations from nearshore bottom-mounted pressure sensors in Skagit and Bellingham Bays, Washington, USA from Dec 2017 to Feb 2018

RBRduo pressure and temperature sensors, mounted on aluminum frames, were moored in shallow (< 6 m) water depths in Skagit and Bellingham Bays, Washington, USA, from December 2017 to February 2018, to capture wave heights and periods. Continuous pressure fluctuations are transformed into surface-wave observations of wave heights, periods, and frequency spectra at 30-minute intervals.

Date published: September 5, 2019

Geodetic Data for USGS Benchmark Glaciers: Orthophotos, Digital Elevation Models, and Glacier Boundaries

Since the late 1950s, the USGS has maintained a long-term glacier mass-balance program at three North American glaciers. Measurements began on South Cascade Glacier, WA in 1958, expanding to Gulkana and Wolverine glaciers, AK in 1966, and later Sperry Glacier, MT in 2005. Additional measurements have been made on Lemon Creek Glacier, AK to compliment data collected by the Juneau Ice

Date published: July 16, 2019

High Altitude Weather Station Data at USGS Benchmark Glaciers

Since the late 1950s, the USGS has maintained a long-term glacier mass-balance program at three North American glaciers. Measurements began on South Cascade Glacier, WA in 1958, expanding to Gulkana and Wolverine glaciers, AK in 1966, and later Sperry Glacier, MT in 2005. Additional measurements have been made on Lemon Creek Glacier, AK to compliment data collected by the Juneau Ice

Date published: June 10, 2019

Beach topography and nearshore bathymetry of the Columbia River littoral cell, Washington and Oregon

This data release presents beach topography and nearshore bathymetry data from repeated surveys performed by a team of scientists from the USGS, Washington State Department of Ecology, and Oregon State University in the Columbia River littoral cell (CRLC), Washington and Oregon. The CRLC extends approximately 165 kilometers between Point Grenville, WA, and Tillamook, OR.

Date published: April 19, 2019

Puget Sound Real-Time Water-Level Data

The chart shows the most recent 7 days of data at all Puget Sound water level sites with available data. Use mouse scroll wheel to zoom and drag to pan. Sites include Bellingham, Oak Harbor, Edmonds, Lofall, Steilacoom, and Olympia.

Date published: January 1, 2019

Wave observations from bottom-mounted pressure sensors in Skagit Bay, Washington from Dec 2017 to Feb 2018

RBRduo pressure and temperature sensors (early 2015 generation), mounted on aluminum frames, were moored in shallow (< 6 m) water depths in Skagit Bay to capture wave heights and periods. Continuous pressure fluctuations are transformed into surface-wave observations of wave heights, periods, and frequency spectra at 30-minute intervals.

Date published: January 1, 2019

Nearshore bathymetry data from the Elwha River delta, Washington, July 2017, collected from kayak

This part of the data release presents bathymetry data from the Elwha River delta collected in July 2017 using a kayak. The kayak was equipped with a single-beam echosounder and a survey-grade global navigation satellite system (GNSS) receiver.

Date published: January 1, 2019

Beach topography of the Columbia River littoral cell, Washington and Oregon, 2018

This portion of the USGS data release presents topography data collected during surveys performed in the Columbia River littoral cell, Washington and Oregon, in 2018 (USGS Field Activity Number 2018-652-FA). Topographic profiles were collected by walking along survey lines with global navigation satellite system (GNSS) receivers mounted on backpacks. Prior to data collection, vertic

Date published: January 1, 2019

Beach topography of the Columbia River littoral cell, Washington and Oregon, 2016

This portion of the USGS data release presents topography data collected during surveys performed in the Columbia River littoral cell, Washington and Oregon, in 2016 (USGS Field Activity Number 2016-663-FA). Topographic profiles were collected by walking along survey lines with global navigation satellite system (GNSS) receivers mounted on backpacks. Prior to data collection, vertic

Filter Total Items: 747
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Year Published: 2019

Conceptualizing ecological responses to dam removal: If you remove it, what's to come?

One of the desired outcomes of dam decommissioning and removal is the recovery of aquatic and riparian ecosystems. To investigate this common objective, we synthesized information from empirical studies and ecological theory into conceptual models that depict key physical and biological links driving ecological responses to removing dams. We...

Bellmore, J. Ryan; Pess, George R.; Duda, Jeffrey J.; O'Connor, Jim E.; East, Amy E.; Foley, Melissa M.; Wilcox, Andrew C.; Major, Jon J.; Shafroth, Patrick B.; Morley, Sarah A.; Magirl, Christopher S.; Anderson, Chauncey W.; Evans, James E.; Torgersen, Christian E.; Craig, Laura S.

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Year Published: 2018

Morphodynamic evolution following sediment release from the world’s largest dam removal

Sediment pulses can cause widespread, complex changes to rivers and coastal regions. Quantifying landscape response to sediment-supply changes is a long-standing problem in geomorphology, but the unanticipated nature of most sediment pulses rarely allows for detailed measurement of associated landscape processes and evolution. The intentional...

Ritchie, Andrew C.; Warrick, Jonathan; East, Amy E.; Magirl, Christopher S.; Stevens, Andrew W.; Bountry, Jennifer A.; Randle, Timothy J.; Curran, Christopher A.; Hilldale, Robert C.; Duda, Jeffrey J.; Miller, Ian M.; Pess, George R.; Eidam, Emily; Foley, Melissa M.; McCoy, Randall; Ogston, Andrea S.

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Year Published: 2018

Geomorphic evolution of a gravel‐bed river under sediment‐starved vs. sediment‐rich conditions: River response to the world's largest dam removal

Understanding river response to sediment pulses is a fundamental problem in geomorphic process studies, with myriad implications for river management. However, because large sediment pulses are rare and usually unanticipated, they are seldom studied at field scale. We examine fluvial response to a massive (~20 Mt) sediment pulse released by...

East, Amy E.; Logan, Joshua B.; Mastin, Mark C.; Ritchie, Andrew C.; Bountry, Jennifer A.; Magirl, Christopher S.; Sankey, Joel B.

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Year Published: 2018

Upstream migration and spawning success of Chinook salmon in a highly developed, seasonally warm river system

This review summarizes what is known about the influence of water temperature and velocity on the migration and spawning success of an inland population of Chinook salmon Oncorhynchus tshawytscha. Models are then developed and used to illustrate how migration and spawning success might change if temperatures and velocities increase under a...

Connor, William P.; Tiffan, Kenneth F.; Chandler, James A.; Rondorf, Dennis W.; Arnsberg, Billy D.; Anderson, Kelvin C.

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Year Published: 2018

Wetland stratigraphic evidence for variable megathrust earthquake rupture modes at the Cascadia subduction zone

Although widespread agreement that the Cascadia subduction zone produces great earthquakes of magnitude 8 to 9 was reached decades ago, debate continues about the rupture lengths, magnitudes, and frequency of megathrust earthquakes recorded by wetland stratigraphy fringing Cascadia’s estuaries. Correlation of such coastal earthquake evidence along...

Nelson, Alan R.; Witter, Robert C.; Englehart, Simon; Hawkers, Andrea; Horton, Benjamin P.
Wetland stratigraphic evidence for variable megathrust earthquake rupture modes at the Cascadia subduction zone, in Piscitelli, A., Milella, M., and Mastronuzzi, G., eds, Abstract volume for IGCP Project 639 - Sea-level change from minutes to millenia, Crossing southern Italy, a traveling meeting from Taranto to Siracusa, Italy 17-21 Sept 2018, p. 85-87.

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Year Published: 2018

State transportation agencies partner to deploy and enhance ShakeCast

The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) is organizing and leading a three-year Transportation Pooled Fund (TPF) project, Connecting the Dots: Implementing ShakeCast Across Multiple State Departments of Transportation for Rapid Post-Earthquake Response. Ten state Departments of Transportation (DOT)—CA, ID, MO, MS, OK, OR, SC, TX, UT...

Turner, L.; Wald, David J.; Lin, Kuo-wan; Chiou, Brian; Slosky, Daniel

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Year Published: 2018

A snapshot of women of the U.S. Geological Survey in STEM and related careers

IntroductionThe term “STEM” has been used to group together the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics and to describe education and professions related to these fields. The professional fields connected to STEM education are thought of as engineering, medicine, and computer technology. Yet these professional fields are merely...

Aragon-Long, Susan C.; Burkett, Virginia R.; Weyers, Holly S.; Haig, Susan M.; Davenport, Marjorie S.; Warner, Kelly L.
Aragon-Long, S.C., Burkett, V.R., Weyers, H.S., Haig, S.M., Davenport, M.S., and Warner, K.L., 2018, A snapshot of women of the U.S. Geological Survey in STEM and related careers: U.S. Geological Survey Circular 1443, 100 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/cir1443.

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Year Published: 2018

Holocene fault reactivation in the eastern Cascades, Washington

Significant uncertainty remains concerning how and where crustal shortening occurs throughout the eastern Cascade Range in Washington State. Using light detection and ranging (lidar) imagery, we identified an &#x223C;5&#x2010;km&#x2010;long">∼5‐km‐long lineament in Swakane canyon near Wenatchee, roughly coincident with a...

Carlson, Benjamin L.; Schermer, Elizabeth R.; Amos, Colin B.; Stephenson, William J.; Sherrod, Brian; Mahan, Shannon A.
Carlson, B.M., Schermer, E.R., Amos, C.B., Stephenson, W.J., Sherrod, B.L., and Mahan, S.A., 2018 Holocene fault reactivation in the eastern Cascades, Washington, Bulletin Seismological Society of America, https://doi.org/10.1785/0120170228

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Year Published: 2018

Integrated diet analyses reveal contrasting trophic niches for wild and hatchery juvenile Chinook Salmon in a large river delta

Hatchery programs have been used as a conservation tool to bolster declining populations of Chinook Salmon Oncorhynchus tshawytscha along much of the North American Pacific coast. In many watersheds, hatchery stocks are released concurrently with the wild population, thus raising the potential for density‐dependent effects. Competition...

Davis, Melanie J.; Woo, Isa; Ellings, Christopher S.; Hodgson, Sayre; Beauchamp, David A.; Nakai, Glynnis; De La Cruz, Susan E.W.

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Year Published: 2018

Crustal inheritance and a top-down control on arc magmatism at Mount St Helens

In a subduction zone, the volcanic arc marks the location where magma, generated via flux melting in the mantle wedge, migrates through the crust and erupts. While the location of deep magma broadly defines the arc position, here we argue that crustal structures, identified in geophysical data from the Washington Cascades magmatic arc, are equally...

Bedrosian, Paul A.; Peacock, Jared R.; Bowles-Martinez, Esteban; Schultz, Adam; Hill, Graham

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Year Published: 2018

Juvenile Chinook salmon and forage fish use of eelgrass habitats in a diked and channelized Puget Sound River Delta

Eelgrass Zostera marina can form extensive meadows on Puget Sound river deltas. The extent to which these meadows provide critical rearing habitat for local estuarine fishes, especially out‐migrating juvenile salmon, is not well understood. Further, delta eelgrass has been impacted by diking and river channelization with unknown...

Rubin, Stephen P.; Hayes, Michael C.; Grossman, Eric E.
Rubin, S.P., M.C. Hayes, and E.E. Grossman. 2018. Juvenile Chinook salmon and forage fish use of eelgrass habitats in a diked and channelized Puget Sound River Delta. Marine Coastal Fisheries: Dynamics, Management, and Ecosystem Science 10:435-451.

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Year Published: 2018

Responses of hatchery‐ and natural‐origin adult spring Chinook Salmon to a trap‐and‐haul reintroduction program

The construction of impassable dams severely affected many Pacific salmon Oncorhynchus spp. populations, resulting in reintroduction efforts that are now focused on returning anadromous fish to areas located upstream of these dams. A primary strategy for moving adult salmon and steelhead O. mykiss around a dam or multiple dams...

Kock, Tobias J.; Perry, Russell W.; Pope, Adam C.; Serl, John D.; Kohn, Mike; Liedtke, Theresa L.
Kock, T.J., R.W. Perry, A.C. Pope, J.D. Serl, M. Kohn, and T.L. Liedtke. 2018. Responses of hatchery‐ and natural‐origin adult spring Chinook salmon to a trap‐and‐haul reintroduction program. N. Am. J. Fish. Manage. (Early View).

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Geophysicist works at station PR05, part of the Mount Rainier lahar detection network.
June 19, 2020

Station PR05 is part of the Mount Rainier lahar detection network.

USGS-Cascades Volcano Observatory geophysicist Rebecca Kramer works on station PR05, which is part of the Mount Rainier lahar detection network (Mount Rainier is pictured in the distance). The purpose of the site visit was to upgrade the power system and deploy infrasound equipment. 

Aerial map of modeling area in the Nisqually River Delta
June 15, 2020

Aerial Map of Modeling Area in the Nisqually River Delta

Aerial map of modeling area in the Nisqually River Delta. Managed freshwater marsh at the southern end of the refuge is excluded. Inset: Black point on terrain map shows the location of Billy Frank Jr. Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge within Washington State (grey outline).

June 11, 2020

Land Treatment Exploration Tool: A Quick Introduction

This is a quick introduction video to the Land Treatment Exploration Tool. This short video includes a summary of the tool with screen clips of the fact sheet, web tool, and an example Site Characterization Report.

These tutorial videos were created to aid in the use of the Land Treatment Exploration Tool (LTET). These videos

June 11, 2020

Land Treatment Exploration Tool—Step 1: Describe Proposed Treatment

This video describes Step 1 of the Land Treatment Exploration Tool. In Step 1 the user defines a name, the planned treatment/s, and a file name for exported items.

These tutorial videos were created to aid in the use of the Land Treatment Exploration Tool (LTET). These videos guide a user through the main steps of the tool.

June 11, 2020

Land Treatment Exploration Tool — Step 2: Select Treatment Boundary

This video describes Step 2 of the Land Treatment Exploration Tool. In Step 2 the user defines their planned treatment boundary. The user can load a zipped shapefile or on-screen digitize their boundary.  

These tutorial videos were created to aid in the use of the Land Treatment Exploration Tool (LTET). These videos guide a

June 11, 2020

Land Treatment Exploration Tool — Step 3: Explore Site Characteristics

This video describes Step 3 of the Land Treatment Exploration Tool. In Step 3 the user is guided to the Site History tab to explore land treatment and wildfire history of their planned treatment area. They are also directed to the Fish and Wildfire Information for Planning and Consultation tool to investigate areas of overlap with endangered species, migratory birds, and

June 11, 2020

Land Treatment Exploration Tool— Step 4: Prop. Treatment Area & Report

This video describes Step 4 and the developing report of the Land Treatment Exploration Tool. In Step 4 the used selects layers to generate spatial overlap statistics with their planned treatment boundary. Summary tables are generated and displayed in the Report tab, where a user can create a PDF Site Characterization Report for their planned treatment boundary. Optionally

June 11, 2020

Land Treatment Exploration Tool — Step 5: Select Search Parameters

This video describes Step 5 of the Land Treatment Exploration Tool. In Step 5 the user determines a distance or boundary to search for legacy Land Treatment Digital Library records. The user also indicates if the returned LTDL treatments are statistically evaluated against the planned treatment boundary using a Bray-Curtis Dissimilarity calculation.

These tutorial

June 11, 2020

Land Treatment Exploration Tool — Step 6: Compare the LTDL Treatments

This video describes Step 6 of the Land Treatment Exploration Tool. In Step 6 the user filters through the returned list of legacy LTDL treatments to identify records that contain useful information or context for the current planned treatment boundary. Selected treatments are added to the developing report and subsequent exported Site Characterization PDFs.  

These

A photo of a tidal forest of the Nisqually River Delta
June 11, 2020

Tidal Forest of the Nasqually River Delta

The tidal forests of the Nisqually River Delta become inundated to just below the trunk during the highest tides of the year.

Illustration of a coastal area with lines, dots, and boxes drawn on it to show where data was collected.
June 5, 2020

EXPRESS surveys, dives, and sampling locations

The west coast of the United States showing locations of EXPRESS ship-based multibeam surveys, ROV dives, AUV dives, and sediment samples. Red boxes show locations of close-up views of multibeam bathymetry in Figures 2 and 3.

Figure 1: EXPRESS surveys, dives, and sampling

...
March 26, 2020

Transboundary Connectivity Conservation for a Changing Climate

Enhancing ecological connectivity - the degree to which landscapes facilitate the movement of the organisms within them - is a frequently recommended strategy for conserving wildlife populations into the future. This is because a primary way in which species respond to climate change is by adjusting their geographic ranges to find more suitable temperatures and adequate

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TNMCorps Mapping Challenge: Summary Results for City/Town Halls in WA & OR
February 25, 2020

Summary results for this challenge are now available. Thank you to everyone who contributed!

TNMCorps Mapping Challenge: City/Town Halls in WA & OR
February 6, 2020

This challenge is SO CLOSE to being finished!

TNMCorps Mapping Challenge: City/Town Halls in WA & OR
January 30, 2020

This challenge is coming along nicely with another 60 points added since last week!

TNMCorps Mapping Challenge: City/Town Halls in WA & OR
January 23, 2020

This challenge is coming along nicely with another 75 points added since last week!  Oregon is mostly complete while Washington is ~50% complete.

TNMCorps Mapping Challenge: City/Town Halls in WA & OR
January 16, 2020

This mapping challenge is moving along nicely with another 30 points added!

TNMCorps Mapping Challenge: City/Town Halls in WA & OR
January 9, 2020

Topo maps will soon be updated for western states, so here’s a new challenge for city/town halls in Washington and Oregon!

Depth of earthquakes at Mount Rainier 2010 to 2019
December 19, 2019

While the seismicity represents a temporary uptick in activity, Mount Rainier remains at normal, background levels of activity.

Dr. Barnard
December 5, 2019

Briefing held on science and policy initiatives that are helping protect West Coast ecosystems and communities from erosion, sea level rise, and other coastal hazards.

Cover of new field trip guide. Image is of Mount St Helens
November 21, 2019

Exposures in valleys surrounding Mount St. Helens reveal records of diverse geologic processes including debris avalanche, lahar, huge water wave on a nearby lake, pyroclastic density currents (surge and flow), tephra fall, lava flow, growth of domes, and past glaciation. 

Pacific Marten image captured by a motion sensor camera
November 6, 2019

Pacific martens remain common in montane regions of Pacific coast U.S. states, yet their distribution and status on the Olympic Peninsula, Washington, is uncertain.

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Western Fisheries Research Center

Western Fisheries Research Center

Research at the WFRC focuses on the environmental factors responsible for the creation, maintenance, and regulation of fish populations including their interactions in aquatic communities and ecosystems. 

Go to Center

Washington Water Science Center

Washington Water Science Center

The Water Science Center's 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 and the State of Washington.

Go to Center