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: 262
Date published: April 17, 2020
Status: Active

The Response of Coastal Wetlands to Sea-level Rise: Understanding how Macroscale Drivers Influence Local Processes and Feedbacks

The purpose of this work is to advance our understanding of how coastal wetland responses to sea-level rise (SLR) within the conterminous United States are likely to vary as a function of local, regional, and macroscale drivers, including climate. Based on our interactions with managers and decision makers, as well as our knowledge of the current state of the science, we propose to: (a)...

Date published: April 8, 2020
Status: Completed

Hydrochemical Analysis of Groundwater in Jewel Cave National Monument

The Issue: The park’s landscape and geomorphology is characterized as a carbonate karst environment, with sinking streams and fast connections between surface water and groundwater, resulting in high vulnerability of contamination to groundwater. Now that subterranean lakes have been discovered in Jewel Cave, understanding the groundwater connection of the lakes therein to the...

Contacts: Andrew J Long
Date published: March 10, 2020
Status: Active

Weed-Suppressive Bacteria – Testing a Control Measure for Invasive Grasses in the West

Recent popular news has implied that Weed-Suppressive Bacteria (WSB) holds promise for cheatgrass control, yet a lack of peer-reviewed research exists to support this claim. USGS researchers stepped up to the challenge of objectively and rigorously evaluating the effectiveness of WSB for controlling exotic annual grasses, such as...

Date published: February 28, 2020
Status: Active

Walla Walla Groundwater

The Issue: Within the states of Washington and Oregon, the 1,777 mi2 Walla Walla River Basin (WWRB) is a complex hydrogeologic system with long-term water-level declines in regional aquifers and insufficient instream flows required for threatened and culturally important fish populations. The public and state resource management agencies need an improved...

Date published: February 7, 2020
Status: Completed

USGS science supporting the Elwha River Restoration Project

The Elwha River Restoration Project...

... has reconnected the water, salmon, and sediment of a pristine river and coast of the Olympic Peninsula of Washington. Coordinated by the National Park Service, restoration of the Elwha River included the removal of two large dams that had blocked salmon and sediment passage for almost 100 years. The largest dam removal in U.S. history began in...

Date published: November 29, 2019
Status: Completed

Using Video Imagery to Study Coastal Change: Whidbey Island

From May of 2018 through November of 2019, USGS scientists collected imagery from video cameras overlooking the coast along a beach on Whidbey Island, Island County at the northern boundary of Puget Sound in western Washington.

    Contacts: Eric Grossman
    Date published: September 6, 2019
    Status: Active

    PS-CoSMoS: Puget Sound Coastal Storm Modeling System

    The CoSMoS model is currently available for most of the California coast and is now being expanded to support the 4.5 million coastal residents of the Puget Sound region, with emphasis on the communities bordering the sound.

    Date published: June 17, 2019
    Status: Active

    Elwha River Restoration Project

    From 2011 to 2014, the Nation’s largest dam removal project to date took place in Washington State, allowing the Elwha River to once again flow unimpeded from its origin in the Olympic Mountains to the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Nearly 100 years of sediment (30 million tons) had accumulated behind two dams, and about two-thirds of that (20 million tons) was released, dramatically affecting the...

    Date published: June 17, 2019
    Status: Active

    Estuarine Ecosystem Recovery in Puget Sound

    A clean and abundant sediment supply is critical for building and maintaining viable estuarine and wetland habitats. However, in many coastal regions, dikes, levees, and dams have disconnected water and sediment supply to estuarine and wetland habitats, altering sedimentation patterns, water quality, and nutrient loads. Dike and dam removal have become important methods for restoring river and...

    Date published: May 30, 2019
    Status: Active

    Quantifying suspended-sediment load and transport characteristics in the Calawah and Upper Bogachiel Rivers, Washington

    The issue: Salmonid fisheries are an important cultural and economic activity and efforts to support a thriving fisheries industry remain a major priority for the Quileute Tribe on the Olympic Peninsula, Washington. Land use changes can have a profound influence on basin sediment production with direct effects on fisheries (Madej and Ozaki, 2009). Studies are needed to improve...

    Date published: May 28, 2019
    Status: Active

    Coarse sediment delivery and routing in the White River

    The Issue: Ongoing channel aggradation has reduced flow conveyance along the lower White River, increasing the flood risk in urban-suburban areas. A refined understanding of the delivery, transport and deposition of sediment in the White River, and how those processes may be influenced by climate and existing dam operations, is necessary in order to plan for future flood...

    Filter Total Items: 184
    Date published: January 1, 2019

    Digital elevation models (DEMs) of the Elwha River delta, Washington, July 2017

    This portion of the USGS data release presents digital elevation models (DEMs) derived from bathymetric and topographic surveys conducted on the Elwha River delta in July 2017 (USGS Field Activity Number 2017-638-FA). Nearshore bathymetry data were collected using two personal watercraft (PWCs) and a kayak equipped with single-beam echosounders and survey-grade global navigation satel

    Date published: January 1, 2019

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

    This part of the data release presents bathymetry data from the Elwha River delta collected in July 2017 using two personal watercraft (PWCs). The PWCs were equipped with single beam echosounders and survey-grade global navigation satellite system (GNSS) receivers.

    Date published: January 1, 2019

    Topography data from the Elwha River delta, Washington, July 2017

    This part of the data release presents topography data from the Elwha River delta collected in July 2017. Topography data were collected on foot with global navigation satellite system (GNSS) receivers mounted on backpacks.

    Date published: January 1, 2019

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

    RBRduo pressure and temperature sensors (early 2015 generation), mounted on aluminum frames, were moored in shallow (< 6 m) water depths in Bellingham Bay, Washington, 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: November 29, 2018

    Downloadable Data for Eastern Oregon-Washington Oil and Gas Assessments

    Downloadable Data for Eastern Oregon-Washington Oil and Gas Assessments

    Date published: November 29, 2018

    Downloadable Data for Western Oregon-Washington Oil and Gas Assessments

    Downloadable Data for Western Oregon-Washington Oil and Gas Assessments 

    Date published: November 13, 2018

    Chinook Salmon Use of Eelgrass Habitats Skagit River Delta Washington

    The degree to which eelgrass on river deltas provides critical habitat for estuarine fishes, especially out‐migrating juvenile salmon, is an important scientific and management issue that bears on efforts to conserve and restore both eelgrass and fish.

    Date published: October 12, 2018

    2015 environmental DNA surveys for lampreys in Chehalis River tributaries, Washington

    Columns of data representing Chehalis River tributary, sample reach locations, dates of water sampling, quantitative PCR results, and whether lamprey were sampled by electrofishing in each sample reach.

    Date published: September 24, 2018

    National Water Information System Elwha River at Diversion

    Site Number 12046260 Elwha River at diversion near Port Angeles, WA

    Date published: September 24, 2018

    National Water Information System McDonald Bridge

    Site Number 12045500 Elwha River at McDonald Bridge Near Port Angeles, WA

    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 1, 2018

    MODFLOW-NWT model used to simulate groundwater storage changes in the Quincy Basin, Washington

    A three-dimensional, groundwater flow model (MODFLOW-NWT) was developed to
    examine groundwater storage changes in the Quincy Basin, Washington. The
    model was calibrated to conditions from 1920 to 2013. The model was used to
    (1) determine the change in groundwater storage from 1920 to 2013 , and
    (2) simulate the potential effects of increases in pumping.

    Filter Total Items: 783
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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

    A bioenergetics evaluation of temperature‐dependent selection for the spawning phenology by Snake River fall Chinook salmon

    High water temperatures can increase the energetic cost for salmon to migrate and spawn, which can be important for Snake River fall‐run Chinook salmon because they migrate great distances (>500 km) at a time when river temperatures (18–24°C) can be above their optimum temperatures (16.5°C). Average river temperatures and random...

    Plumb, John M.
    Plumb, J.M. 2018. A bioenergetics evaluation of temperature-dependent selection for the spawning phenology by Snake River fall Chinook salmon. Ecol. Evol. 2018 1-13 (Early View).

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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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    Year Published: 2018

    Evaluation of sockeye salmon after passage through an innovative upstream fish-passage system at Cle Elum Dam, Washington, 2017

    Executive SummaryThe Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation) and the Washington State Department of Ecology (Ecology), working with the Yakima River Basin Water Enhancement Project Workgroup (composed of representatives of the Yakama Nation; Federal, State, county, and city governments; environmental organizations; and irrigation districts), developed...

    Kock, Tobias J.; Evans, Scott D.; Hansen, Amy C.; Perry, Russell W.; Hansel, Hal C.; Haner, Philip V.; Tomka, Ryan G.
    Kock, T.J., Evans, S.D., Hansen, A.C., Perry, R.W., Hansel, H.C., Haner, P.V., and Tomka, R.G., 2018, Evaluation of sockeye salmon after passage through an innovative upstream fish-passage system at Cle Elum Dam, Washington, 2017: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2018-1116, 30 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/ofr20181116.

    Filter Total Items: 872
    Girls stand in circle with one pointing a paper on the ground
    August 5, 2019

    The GeoGirls Create Field Drawings

    The GeoGirls create field drawings of 1980 pyroclastic flow deposits on Mount St. Helens’ Pumice Plain.

    Girls stand in stream and take measurements
    August 5, 2019

    GeoGirls Hike to Willow Creek

    GeoGirls hike to Willow Creek, on Mount St. Helens’ Pumice Plain, to learn more about the ecology of the blast zone and how the area has recovered since the catastrophic May 18, 1980, eruption. Here, they look at stream characteristics and how it has influenced the return of life to the area.

    People standing with lights in a dark cave
    August 4, 2019

    GeoGirls Venture into Ape Cave

    GeoGirls venture into Ape Cave, a 2,000-year-old lava tube on the south flank of Mount St. Helens, as they learn about Mount St. Helens’ eruptive history and lava flows.

    Carousel image of the Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge
    July 16, 2019

    Billy Frank Jr. Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge

    Panoramic views of tidal marsh at Billy Frank Jr. Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge under an overcast sky.

    June 11, 2019

    Tribal Resources for Climate Change Vulnerability Assessments

    Tribes have been actively engaged in efforts to anticipate and respond to climate impacts on their natural and cultural resources. And yet, some tribes have faced difficulties initiating and completing the critical first step of the climate adaptation planning process: an assessment of locally-specific climate risks that accounts for the unique priorities, values, and

    USGS Scientists taking sediment core at Six Gill Slough restored marsh.
    May 30, 2019

    USGS Scientists taking sediment core at Six Gill Slough restored marsh

    USGS Scientists taking sediment core USGS Scientists taking sediment core at Six Gill Slough restored marsh.

    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.

    November 2, 2018

    Image of the Week - Elwha River Dam Removal

    In September 2011, the largest dam removal project in U.S. history began. 

    Two dams built on the Elwha River in the early 1900s created two reservoirs in northwestern Washington. They also greatly reduced the amount of sediment flowing to the river’s delta and blocked salmon migration upstream into Olympic National Park.

    Each week, the Earth Resources

    Juga sp. snails
    October 17, 2018

    Juga sp. snails

    Juga sp. snails, the molluscan intermediate host for Nanophyetus salmincola, populate the bottom of a stream bed in a south Puget Sound watershed.

    Landscape photo of mountains in distance with low clouds filling valley in mid-ground and pine tress on slope in foreground
    October 10, 2018

    Sunrise at Mount St. Helens

    The sun rises at Mount St. Helens (pictured in the distance), with low-level clouds covering Coldwater Lake. The view is from the Coldwater Science and Learning Center, the site of the 2018 GeoGirls field camp program.

    September 25, 2018

    First mission: USGS UAS monitors gas emissions at Mount St. Helens

    On September 25, 2018, a team of three scientists based at the USGS–Cascades Volcano Observatory conducted the first-ever USGS-led Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) campaign at Mount St. Helens. The UAS survey was conducted with the permission and coordination of the U.S. Forest Service Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument.

    The team used a multi-rotor UAS (“

    September 25, 2018

    First mission: USGS UAS monitors gas emissions at Mount St. Helens —AD

    On September 25, 2018, a team of three scientists based at the USGS–Cascades Volcano Observatory conducted the first-ever USGS-led Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) campaign at Mount St. Helens. The UAS survey was conducted with the permission and coordination of the U.S. Forest Service Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument.

    The team used a multi-rotor UAS (“

    Filter Total Items: 386
    Hazy photograph taken at an angle up in the sky of a water inlet with islands, a shape with words is placed on top of the photo.
    May 29, 2019

    Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center director Guy Gelfenbaum and NW Region Staff Scientist Bill Labiosa represented the USGS in the Puget Sound Day on the Hill in Washington, D.C. May 14 - 16, 2019.

    Checking lampara net for fish
    May 28, 2019

    Interactive Data Visualization Tool Allows Us to Explore Fish Use of Eelgrass Habitat in Puget Sound

    Spawning Sockeye Salmon
    April 5, 2019

    The sockeye salmon population of the Lake Ozette watershed in northwestern Washington has been federally listed as threatened since 1999. Although the population has grown, numbers remain insufficient to allow harvest.

    SR530 OSO Landslide Sediment Transport
    March 20, 2019

    The Oso (SR 530) Landslide in Washington - Five Years Later 

    The following is an updated version of a story first published in March of 2015.

    Image: School of Bull Trout
    February 22, 2019

    Species reintroduction is a powerful conservation tool when successful, but it is an expensive management strategy and for many species including freshwater fish, reintroduction attempts often fail.

    Issue7.2February2019NLThumb
    February 14, 2019

    Identifying Habitat Characteristics for Successful White Sturgeon Recruitment in the Columbia River Basin

    Image: Cascades Frog
    February 1, 2019

    In montane ecosystems of the U.S. Pacific Northwest, increasing temperatures are resulting in a transition from snow-dominated to rain-dominated precipitation events, reducing snowpack.

    Mean annual streamflow permanence probability
    December 21, 2018

    An interdisciplinary team comprised of USGS and university scientists has developed the Probability of Streamflow Permanence Model or PROSPER which predicts flow permanence for unregulated and minimally impaired streams in the Pacific Northwest.

    mountains and cloud covered valley
    November 30, 2018

    The USGS and National Park Service (NPS) have published the first Natural Resource Condition Assessment for Olympic National Park. A Natural Resource Condition Assessment, or NRCA, is a report that evaluates a subset of important natural resources in a NPS Unit. 

    Underwater photo of a rocky outcrop with many multicolored corals growing on it.
    November 29, 2018

    Researchers from the USGS Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center (PCMSC) participated in a research cruise to survey deep-water coral, sponge, and fish habitats off U.S. West Coast.

    two teenage girls facing camera, one flashing peace sign. Outdoors
    October 15, 2018

    Mount St. Helens volcano loomed in the distance as 25 middle-school “GeoGirls” signed in, received a name tag, dropped their overnight gear and gathered in a grassy open space to meet camp staff, women scientists and volunteers.

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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