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: 263
Date published: January 1, 2011
Status: Completed

Lake Roosevelt-Upper Columbia River

Lake Roosevelt was formed on the Columbia River by the construction of the Grand Coulee Dam, and extends a total of 217 km to within 24 km of Canada The lake is heavily contaminated with trace elements that were discharged as slag material from a smelter in Canada; approximately 360 metric tons were discharged per day from 1900 to 1998. A study by the USGS reported that Lake Roosevelt bed...

Date published: January 10, 2010
Status: Completed

Skagit Ground Water Model

State and local water-resource managers in Lower Skagit/Samish Water Resource Inventory Area (WRIA-3) face two water-availability issues that are common throughout Washington State. First, they must reserve water for domestic wells that are exempt from the water rights system without harming river and stream ecosystems in the lower Skagit River basin. Skagit County, which would be responsible...

Date published: January 2, 2010
Status: Completed

Mount Rainier Fluvial Geomorphology and River Sedimentation

To provide information for management efforts to reduce flooding and improve aquatic habitat in the Lower Puyallup River Basin (Puyallup, Carbon and White Rivers), Pierce County and other stakeholders are looking for river-system management options that consider the system's flood-carrying capacity and trends in sedimentation. To assist, the USGS is building a computerized hydraulic model of...

Date published: January 15, 2009
Status: Completed

FEMA High Water Marks - Western Washington Flood, January 2009

The Issue: Significant flooding occurred throughout western Washington on January 7 and 8, 2009. As part of its Hazard Mitigation effort, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Region X needs documentation on the extent of flooding for verifying Preliminary Digital Flood Insurance Rate Maps (DFIRMs) and corresponding Flood Insurance Studies (FIS) that have been...

Contacts: Mark Mastin
Date published: January 5, 2009
Status: Completed

Moses Lake Sediment

Located in central Washington, Potholes Reservoir is a key feature of the Columbia Basin Project and serves as a vital source of irrigation water. Potholes Reservoir has traditionally been fed water through the East Low Canal, but due to operational changes over the years, the Bureau of Reclamation is looking for reliable alternatives to ensure an adequate portion of water supply to Potholes...

Contacts: Mark Mastin
Date published: January 4, 2009
Status: Completed

Lower Bonaparte Springs

The Issue: The Confederated Colville Tribes are concerned with maintaining and enhancing endangered summer steelhead fish stocks in the Okanogan River and its tributaries. One Okanogan River subbasin of particular interest is Bonaparte Creek where almost 50 percent of the summer steelhead captured in 2008 were of natural rather than hatchery stock. The Colville Tribes are working to ensure...

Date published: January 3, 2009
Status: Completed

FEMA Technical Support

9722-DRE00 - FEMA Technical Support, Pre-Declaration, January 2009 Floods - Completed FY2009

A wide plume of warm moist air streaming in from west of Hawaii caused widespread rainfall throughout western Washington in early January 2009. National Weather Service flood stages were exceeded in many different basins, most of which drain from the west side of the Cascade Range. Flows at four...

Contacts: Mark Mastin
Date published: January 1, 2009
Status: Completed

WSDOT Stormwater Monitoring

The Washington State Department of Transportation, or WSDOT, monitors the water quality of runoff from state highways and other transportation facilities under their National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit. The NPDES permit requires WSDOT to make sure that the stormwater meets Clean Water Act and other regulations designed to restore and protect our country's water...

Contacts: Rich Sheibley
Date published: December 2, 2008
Status: Completed

Navigable Rivers in Washington

Determining whether a stream or river in Washington is "navigable" is important because it helps establish state ownership of the "bed and shore" of navigable waterways as stated in the Washington State constitution. State-owned lands are managed by the Washington State Department of Natural Resources. Because the constitution does not explicitly define what criteria should be used to...

Date published: January 5, 2008
Status: Completed

Potholes Reservoir

Managed by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (USBR), water is diverted from the Columbia River into Potholes Reservoir and the canal system for delivery to irrigators.

Through the USGS/USBR collaborative Watershed and River Systems Management Program (WARSMP), the USBR will be developing a river-management model to improve the efficiency of water distribution. An important input needed for...

Contacts: Mark Mastin
Date published: January 4, 2008
Status: Completed

Mid-Columbia Habitat Project

To meet their dam licensing agreements, operators of privately owned dams are required to offset the unavoidable loss of endangered salmon passing the dam by restoring and enhancing streams and providing hatcheries. Finding suitable side channels is made difficult by subtle features and overgrowth.

To help the Mid-Columbia Tributary Committee identify sites for restoration and...

Contacts: Joseph Jones
Date published: January 3, 2008
Status: Completed

Green River Geomorphic Responses

In the Pacific Northwest, water, sediment, and vegetation primarily determine the form of large river channels and shape their ecosystems. Dams on rivers affect all of these elements, with consequences for habitats and aquatic species. Understanding how water, sediment, and vegetation interact in habitats is key to managing rivers. In the case of the middle Green River in King County,...

Filter Total Items: 783
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Year Published: 2010

Snake River Fall Chinook Salmon life history investigations annual report, 2009

In 2009, we used radio and acoustic telemetry to evaluate the migratory behavior, survival, mortality, and delay of subyearling fall Chinook salmon in the Clearwater River and Lower Granite Reservoir. We released a total of 1,000 tagged hatchery subyearlings at Cherry Lane on the Clearwater River in mid August and we monitored them as they passed...

Tiffan, Kenneth F.; Connor, William P.; Bellgraph, Brian J.; Buchanan, Rebecca A.

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Year Published: 2010

Snake River fall Chinook salmon life history investigations, annual report 2008

In 2009, we used radio and acoustic telemetry to evaluate the migratory behavior, survival, mortality, and delay of subyearling fall Chinook salmon in the Clearwater River and Lower Granite Reservoir. We released a total of 1,000 tagged hatchery subyearlings at Cherry Lane on the Clearwater River in mid August and we monitored them as they passed...

Tiffan, Kenneth F.; Connor, William P.; Bellgraph, Brian J.; Buchanan, Rebecca A.

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Year Published: 2010

Characterization of the contents and histology of the gastrointestinal tracts of White Sturgeon (Acipenser transmontanus) captured from Upper Lake Roosevelt, Washington, October 2008

The gastrointestinal tracts of 37 juvenile white sturgeon (Acipenser transmontanus) captured from the upper part of Lake Roosevelt during October 2008, were examined to identify prey taxa and to determine if the fish were consuming smelter slag along with other sediments. Histological examination of the gastrointestinal tract tissues and...

Parsley, Michael J.; van der Leeuw, Bjorn K.; Elliott, Diane G.
Characterization of the contents and histology of the gastrointestinal tracts of White Sturgeon (Acipenser transmontanus) captured from Upper Lake Roosevelt, Washington, October 2008; 2010; OFR; 2010-1193; Parsley, Michael J.; van der Leeuw, Bjorn K.; Elliott, Diane G.

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Year Published: 2010

Water use trends in Washington, 1985-2005

Since 1950, the U.S. Geological Survey Washington Water Science Center (USGS-WAWSC) has collected, compiled, and published, at 5-year intervals, statewide estimates of the amounts of water withdrawn and used for various purposes in Washington State. As new data and methods became available, some of the original datasets were recompiled. The most...

Lane, R.C.
Water use trends in Washington, 1985-2005; 2010; FS; 2010-3057; Lane, R. C.

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Year Published: 2010

Hydraulic alterations resulting from hydropower development in the Bonneville Reach of the Columbia River

We used a two-dimensional (2D) hydrodynamic model to simulate and compare the hydraulic characteristics in a 74-km reach of the Columbia River (the Bonneville Reach) before and after construction of Bonneville Dam. For hydrodynamic modeling, we created a bathymetric layer of the Bonneville Reach from single-beam and multi-beam echo-sounder surveys...

Hatten, James R.; Batt, Thomas R.

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Year Published: 2010

Sediment management strategies associated with dam removal in the State of Washington

Different removal strategies are described for dams in three diverse drainage basins (Wind River, White Salmon River, and Elwha River basins) in the State of Washington (USA). The comparisons between the strategies offer the opportunity to track the effects of sediment resulting from dam decommissioning in the Pacific Northwest and to determine...

Magirl, C. S.; Connolly, P.J.; Coffin, B.; Duda, J.J.; Draut, A.E.

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Year Published: 2010

Volcano collapse promoted by progressive strength reduction: New data from Mount St. Helens

Rock shear strength plays a fundamental role in volcano flank collapse, yet pertinent data from modern collapse surfaces are rare. Using samples collected from the inferred failure surface of the massive 1980 collapse of Mount St. Helens (MSH), we determined rock shear strength via laboratory tests designed to mimic conditions in the pre-collapse...

Reid, Mark E.; Keith, Terry E.C.; Kayen, Robert E.; Iverson, Neal R.; Iverson, Richard M.; Brien, Dianne

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Year Published: 2010

Influence of a low intensity electric sea lion deterrence system on the migratory behavior of fishes in the upstream migrant tunnel (UMT) at Bonneville Dam.

Predation by pinnipeds, such as California sea lions (Zalophus alifornianus), Pacific harbor seals (Phoca vitulina), and Stellar sea lions (Eumetopias jubatus) on returning adult Pacific salmon (Oncorhynchus spp.) in the Columbia River basin has become an increasing concern for fishery managers trying to conserve and restore threatened and...

Mesa, Matthew G.; Dixon, Christopher J.

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Year Published: 2010

Extended abstracts from the Coastal Habitats in Puget Sound (CHIPS) 2006 Workshop

Puget Sound is the second largest estuary in the United States. Its unique geology, climate, and nutrient-rich waters produce and sustain biologically productive coastal habitats. These same natural characteristics also contribute to a high quality of life that has led to a significant growth in human population and associated development. This...

Gelfenbaum, Guy R.; Fuentes, Tracy L.; Duda, Jeffrey J.; Grossman, Eric E.; Takesue, Renee K.
Extended Abstracts from the Coastal Habitats in Puget Sound (CHIPS) 2006 Workshop; 2010; OFR; 2009-1218; Edited by: Gelfenbaum, Guy; Fuentes, Tracy L.; Duda, Jeffrey J.; Grossman, Eric E.; Takesue, Renee K.

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Year Published: 2010

Elwha River dam removal: A major opportunity for salmon and steelhead recolonization

In this in-depth paper, authors George R. Pess, Gary A. Winans and Timothy J. Beechie of the NOAA Fisheries, Northwest Fisheries Science Center in Seattle, Samuel J. Brenkman of the National Park Service, Olympic National Park, Michael L. McHenry of the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe and Jeffrey J. Duda of the U.S. Geological Survey, Western Fisheries...

Pess, George R.; Brenkman, Samuel J.; Winans, Gary A.; McHenry, Michael L.; Duda, Jeffrey J.; Beechie, Timothy J.

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Year Published: 2010

Faunal assemblages and multi-scale habitat patterns in headwater tributaries of the South Fork Trinity River - an unregulated river embedded within a multiple-use landscape

Headwaters can represent 80% of stream kilometers in a watershed, and they also have unique physical and biological properties that have only recently been recognized for their importance in sustaining healthy functioning stream networks and their ecological services. We sampled 60 headwater tributaries in the South Fork Trinity River, a 2,430 km2...

Welsh, H.H.; Hodgson, G.R.; Duda, J.J.; Emlen, J.M.
Faunal assemblages and multi-scale habitat patterns in headwater tributaries of the South Fork Trinity River - an unregulated river embedded within a multiple-use landscape; 2010; Article; Journal; Animal Biodiversity and Conservation; Welsh, H. H.; Hodgson, G. R.; Duda, J. J.; Emlen, J. M.

Filter Total Items: 872
Earthquakes at Mount St. Helens from March 14, 2016 through May 4, ...
May 4, 2016

Earthquakes at Mount St. Helens from Mar. 14, 2016 - May 4, 2017

Map view plot of earthquakes located by the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network from March 14, 2016 through May 4, 2016. Only high-quality locations are shown (8 or more observations with a 130 degree gap or less between observing stations).

USGS-CVO crew digs out Mount St. Helens' September Lobe monitoring ...
March 30, 2016

USGS-CVO crew digs out Mount St. Helens' Sep. Lobe monitoring station.

During the first few days of Mount St. Helen's earthquake swarm in March 2016, the September Lobe monitoring station (located on the 1980-86 dome) was buried in deep snow and not transmitting data. USGS-Cascades Volcano Observatory Technicians Kelly Swinford and Amberlee Darold dug out the station on March 30, restoring data flow and improving our ability to monitor the

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Photo of Tidal marsh
March 18, 2016

Tidal marsh, Billy Frank Jr. Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge, WA.

A tidal marsh at Billy Frank Jr. Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge, WA.

mountain scenery with bare rock in left foreground, and river and forest in distance
December 31, 2015

Headscarp of Red Bluffs Landslide Overlooking Crescent Lake Landslide

View out over the Crescent Lake landslide from the headscarp (left foreground) of the Red Bluffs landslide, looking toward Stevenson, Washington and the Columbia River.

Group of women and girls looking at Mount St. Helens in the distance
December 31, 2015

USGS scientist and GeoGirls viewing Mount St. Helens

USGS scientists Kate Allstadt and Cynthia Gardner tell the story of the May 18, 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens and how the catastrophic landslide, lateral blast, and lahar changed the landscape.

Large map at top shows the study area bathymetry, four smaller maps below show the detail at locations from larger map.
December 30, 2015

Bathymetry data of Columbia River mouth

Bathymetry data of Columbia River mouth, derived from an interferometric swath bathymetry systems survey in 2013. A) Swath map of data; B-E) sample detail pull-outs

USGS researcher examines large-scale structural features of the 2014 SR530 landslide near Oso, Washington
September 22, 2015

Scientist stands on the bank of a still river

USGS hydrologist Mark Reid looks at one of the many grabens (extensional basins) that formed as the Oso landslide swept across the North Fork Stillaguamish River valley.

August 23, 2015

K1 West Transect – 2015

Permanent Site: K1 West Transect; Depth: 6.0 Meters (19.8 Feet); Distance from river mouth: 4.5 Kilometers (2.8 Miles) east; Pre/Post Dam Removal: 4 years post-dam removal; Lat/Long: 48.13592923,-123.51082988; Site Description: This is a shallow site. Sediment is a gravel/sand mixture. Both red (1:30 seconds) and brown seaweed was abundant and appears close to pre-dam

August 21, 2015

A2 West Transect – 2015

Permanent Site: A2 West Transect; Depth: 12.9 Meters (Feet 42.3); Distance from river mouth: Kilometers 1.8 (1.1 Miles); Pre/Post Dam Removal: 4 years post-dam removal; Lat/Long: 48.14130295, -123.5883331; Site Description: One of our deeper sites at over 40 feet. Sediment is primarily sand/sandy mud with a few scattered boulders. Seaweeds have returned but are sparse and

August 21, 2015

A2 East Transect – 2015

Permanent Site: A2 East Transect; Depth: 12.4 Meters (Feet 40.8); Distance from river mouth: Kilometers 1.8 (1.1 Miles); Pre/Post Dam Removal: 4 years post-dam removal; Lat/Long: 48.14130295, -123.58766124; Site Description: One of our deeper sites at over 40 feet. Sediment is primarily sand/sandy mud. Seaweeds have returned, mainly bull kelp Nereocystis luetkeana (0:14, 0

Filter Total Items: 386
USGS
May 16, 2013

The U.S. Geological Survey's Western Fisheries Research Center (WFRC), headquartered in Seattle, has led cutting-edge research on fish and aquatic environments for nearly 80 years – first in the Pacific Northwest, then nationwide and throughout the world.

USGS
May 15, 2013

For about one month, an airplane operated under contract to the U.S. Geological Survey will be making low-level flights over a 1000-square-mile area centered over Spokane and including parts of eastern Washington and western Idaho.

USGS
May 6, 2013

May is Volcano Awareness Month in Washington state.  While no volcanoes in Washington currently show indications of immediate reawakening, experience has taught us that volcanoes often give just a few days' warning before an eruption begins.  Monitoring Washington’s volcanoes and developing eruption response plans are important tasks for volcano scientists and public officials.

Scientists Discuss Their Work in Short Videos...
May 6, 2013

Meet scientists of the USGS Volcano Science Center and learn more about their jobs as they watch over 161 known active volcanoes within the US and its territories.

USGS
April 22, 2013

The U.S. Geological Survey Cascades Volcano Observatory is cancelling its planned May 4th public open house due to to the federal budget sequestration.

USGS
April 3, 2013

New scientific findings published in Ecology reveal that interactions of climate, soils, shrubs, and a natural nitrogen fertilization process affect regrowth of forests following wildfire in southern Oregon and northern California. Managers can use this information to consider post-fire management practices, including fertilization and shrub-removal.

USGS
March 27, 2013

Floodplain managers downstream of Mount Rainier are using information in a report recently published by the U.S. Geological Survey to manage flood risks in their communities.

USGS
February 5, 2013

Geologic barriers, the intermixing of water between aquifers through wells, and groundwater pumping contribute to the pattern of declines of groundwater levels of the Columbia Plateau, according to a report published by the U.S. Geological Survey.

USGS
October 23, 2012

SANTA CRUZ, Calif. — The largest dam-removal project in history has increased river water cloudiness caused by suspended particles, known as turbidity, a process that could affect aquatic life. The dismantling of two large dams on the Elwha River in Washington began in September of last year and has increased river turbidity significantly, even though most of the sediment trapped behind the...

USGS
October 9, 2012

TACOMA, Wash. — Water management in the Chamokane Creek Basin can now be guided by a new computer model to run "what-if" simulations to evaluate the potential effects of groundwater withdrawals on streamflows in the basin, according to a report released today by the U. S. Geological Survey. 

USGS
September 24, 2012

SEATTLE — The U.S. Geological Survey has named fish pathologist Dr. Jill Rolland the director of its ‪Western Fisheries Research Center (WFRC), headquartered in Seattle. 

USGS
September 24, 2012

TACOMA, Wash. — Roughly enough sediment to fill a football field to the height of six Space Needles is delivered into the Puget Sound each year through a complex delivery network of rivers, according to a fact sheet published by the U.S. Geological Survey.  The sediment delivery has both positive and negative effects on the environment, with some significant unknowns.

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.

Go to Center