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: 269
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,...

Date published: January 2, 2008
Status: Completed

Eastbank Aquifer near Rocky Reach Dam

Ground water from the Eastbank Aquifer system in north-central Washington is a regional water supply for about 50,000 people, as well as for a fish hatchery operated by the Chelan County Public Utility District (PUD). The fish hatchery compensates for salmon and steelhead lost in the operation of two hydroelectric projects on the Columbia River owned by the PUD. The fish hatchery needs...

Date published: January 1, 2008
Status: Completed

DOH Nitrates

Ground water is a significant source of drinking water in Washington State, and keeping it free of contamination is important for public health. Public supply wells are frequently tested for nitrate concentrations, but private wells are tested only when they are drilled. This limits information about the potential exposure to elevated nitrate concentrations in private wells.

To help the...

Contacts: Lonna M Frans
Date published: January 2, 2007
Status: Completed

San Juan County

Aquifers of the San Juan Islands, which are the principal source of fresh water, are commonly intruded by seawater at near-shoreline locations (less than one mile from the shore). Because the demand for ground water has escalated in recent years due to population growth and is expected to continue, the progression of seawater intrusion and areas most susceptible to future seawater intrusion...

Date published: January 1, 2007
Status: Completed

Yakima River Temperature Model

In the Yakima and Naches Rivers, water temperature is often a limiting factor in the survival of salmon during spawning and rearing. The Bureau of Reclamation uses a computer model to assess the effects of reservoir-management scenarios on temperatures and the success of salmon restoration. To provide the daily maximum and long-term water temperature data needed by the model, the Bureau of...

Contacts: Mark Mastin
Date published: January 3, 2006
Status: Completed

Salmon Creek Basin

Two reservoirs in the Salmon Creek Basin in north-central Washington store runoff from the upper basin for out-of-basin irrigation of farmlands. The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), in cooperation with the Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation), developed a precipitation-runoff model that simulates historical daily unregulated streamflows for different locations in the Salmon Creek Basin. The model...

Date published: January 2, 2006
Status: Completed

Nitrate in GW, Lower Umatilla Basin, OR

Stretching from Pendleton, Oreg., to the Columbia River, the Lower Umatilla Basin covers 550 square miles. Concentrations of nitrate in the basin's ground water frequently exceed national drinking-water standards. The basin's complex ground-water system is exposed to five human-related sources of nitrate: septic tanks, feedlots, explosives, fertilizer, and land applications of food waste....

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Year Published: 2008

Cascadia Subduction Zone

The geometry and recurrence times of large earthquakes associated with the Cascadia Subduction Zone (CSZ) were discussed and debated at a March 28-29, 2006 Pacific Northwest workshop for the USGS National Seismic Hazard Maps. The CSZ is modeled from Cape Mendocino in California to Vancouver Island in British Columbia. We include the same...

Frankel, Arthur D.; Petersen, Mark D.
Cascadia Subduction Zone; 2008; OFR; 2007-1437-L; Appendix L in The Uniform California Earthquake Rupture Forecast, Version 2 (UCERF 2); Frankel, Arthur D.; Petersen, Mark D.

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Year Published: 2008

White sturgeon mitigation and restoration in the Columbia and Snake rivers upstream from Bonneville Dam, Annual Progress Report April 2006 - March 2007. Report C

Describe reproduction and early life history characteristics of white sturgeon populations in the Columbia River between Bonneville and Priest Rapids dams. Define habitat requirements for spawning and rearing white sturgeon and quantify the extent of habitat available in the Columbia River between Bonneville and Priest Rapids dams. Progress...

Parsley, M.J.; Kofoot, P.

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Year Published: 2008

Characterization of estuary use by Nisqually Hatchery Chinook based on Otolith analysis

INTRODUCTION The Nisqually Fall Chinook population is one of 27 stocks in the Puget Sound evolutionarily significant unit listed as threatened under the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA). Preservation and extensive restoration of the Nisqually delta ecosystem are planned to assist in recovery of the stock. A pre-restoration baseline...

Lind-Null, Angie M.; Larsen, Kim A.; Reisenbichler, Reg
Characterization of Estuary Use by Nisqually Hatchery Chinook Based on Otolith Analysis; 2008; OFR; 2008-1102; Lind-Null, Angie M.; Larsen, Kim A.; Reisenbichler, Reg

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Year Published: 2008

Needs Assessment and Scoping Study for Sinking Ships as Diving Sites in Puget Sound

BACKGROUND There is growing interest in starting a program to sink ships in Puget Sound to create one or more underwater dive sites. Experience in other parts of the world has indicated that sunken vessels are highly popular with divers and could provide a basis for increased recreation and attraction of out-of-state divers with attendant...

Rubin, Steve; Grossman, Eric E.; Koontz, Lynne; Paulson, Anthony; Sexton, Natalie; Reisenbichler, Reg
Needs Assessment and Scoping Study for Sinking Ships as Diving Sites in Puget Sound; 2008; OFR; 2008-1020; Rubin, Steve; Grossman, Eric; Koontz, Lynne; Paulson, Anthony; Sexton, Natalie; Reisenbichler, Reg

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Year Published: 2008

Chemistry, mineralogy, and petrology of amphibole in Mount St. Helens 2004-2006 dacite

Textural, compositional, and mineralogical data are reported and interpreted for a large population of clinoamphibole phenocrysts in 22 samples from the seven successive dacite spines erupted at Mount St. Helens between October 2004 and January 2006. Despite the uniformity in bulk composition of magma erupted since 2004, there is striking...

Sherrod, David R.; Scott, William E.; Stauffer, Peter H.; Thornber, Carl R.; Pallister, John S.; Lowers, Heather; Rowe, Michael C.; Mandeville, Charles W.; Meeker, Gregory P.
Chemistry, mineralogy, and petrology of amphibole in Mount St. Helens 2004-2006 dacite: Chapter 32 in A volcano rekindled: the renewed eruption of Mount St. Helens, 2004-2006; 2008; PP; 1750-32; A volcano rekindled: the renewed eruption of Mount St. Helens, 2004-2006 (Professional Paper 1750); Thornber, Carl R.; Pallister, John S.; Lowers, Heather A.; Rowe, Michael C.; Mandeville, Charles W.; Meeker, Gregory P.

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Year Published: 2008

Petrology of the 2004-2006 Mount St. Helens lava dome -- implications for magmatic plumbing and eruption triggering

Eighteen years after dome-forming eruptions ended in 1986, and with little warning, Mount St. Helens began to erupt again in October 2004. During the ensuing two years, the volcano extruded more than 80×106 m3 of gas-poor, crystal-rich dacite lava. The 2004-6 dacite is remarkably uniform in bulk-rock composition and, at 65 percent SiO2 ,...

Sherrod, David R.; Scott, William E.; Stauffer, Peter H.; Pallister, John S.; Thornber, Carl R.; Cashman, Katharine V.; Clynne, Michael A.; Lowers, Heather; Mandeville, Charles W.; Brownfield, Isabelle K.; Meeker, Gregory P.
Petrology of the 2004-2006 Mount St. Helens lava dome -- implications for magmatic plumbing and eruption triggering: Chapter 30 in A volcano rekindled: the renewed eruption of Mount St. Helens, 2004-2006; 2008; PP; 1750-30; A volcano rekindled: the renewed eruption of Mount St. Helens, 2004-2006 (Professional Paper 1750); Pallister, John S.; Thornber, Carl R.; Cashman, Katharine V.; Clynne, Michael A; Lowers, Heather A.; Mandeville, Charles W.; Brownfield, Isabelle K.; Meeker, Gregory P.

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Year Published: 2008

Numerical modeling of rainfall thresholds for shallow landsliding in the Seattle, Washington, area

The temporal forecasting of landslide hazard has typically relied on empirical relations between rainfall characteristics and landslide occurrence to identify conditions that may cause shallow landslides. Here, we describe an alternate, deterministic approach to define rainfall thresholds for landslide occurrence in the Seattle, Washington, area....

Godt, Jonathan W.; McKenna, Jonathan P.
Numerical modeling of rainfall thresholds for shallow landsliding in the Seattle, Washington, area; 2008; Article; Book; Landslides and engineering geology of the Seattle, Washington, area; Godt, Jonathan W.; McKenna, Jonathan P.

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Year Published: 2008

3D crustal structure and long-period ground motions from a M9.0 megathrust earthquake in the Pacific Northwest region

We have developed a community velocity model for the Pacific Northwest region from northern California to southern Canada and carried out the first 3D simulation of a Mw 9.0 megathrust earthquake rupturing along the Cascadia subduction zone using a parallel supercomputer. A long-period (<0.5 Hz) source model was designed by mapping the...

Olsen, K.B.; Stephenson, W.J.; Geisselmeyer, A.
3D crustal structure and long-period ground motions from a M9.0 megathrust earthquake in the Pacific Northwest region; 2008; Article; Journal; Journal of Seismology; Olsen, K. B.; Stephenson, W. J.; Geisselmeyer, A.

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Year Published: 2008

A prototype system for forecasting landslides in the Seattle, Washington, area

Empirical rainfall thresholds and related information form the basis of a prototype system for forecasting landslides in the Seattle area. The forecasts are tied to four alert levels, and a decision tree guides the use of thresholds to determine the appropriate level. From analysis of historical landslide data, we developed a formula for a...

Chleborad, Alan F.; Baum, Rex L.; Godt, Jonathan W.; Powers, Philip S.
A prototype system for forecasting landslides in the Seattle, Washington, area; 2008; Article; Book; Landslides and engineering geology of the Seattle, Washington, area; Chleborad, Alan F.; Baum, Rex L.; Godt, Jonathan W.; Powers, Philip S.

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Year Published: 2008

Baseline studies in the Elwha River ecosystem prior to dam removal: Introduction to the special issue

The planned removal of two dams that have been in place for over 95 years on the Elwha River provides a unique opportunity to study dam removal effects. Among the largest dams ever considered for removal, this project is compelling because 83% of the watershed lies undisturbed in Olympic National Park. Eighteen million cubic meters of sediment...

Duda, Jeffrey J.; Freilich, Jerry; Schreiner, Edward G.

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Year Published: 2008

Benthic invertebrates and periphyton in the Elwha river basin: Current conditions and predicted response to dam removal

The impending removal of two dams on the Elwha River in Washington State offers a unique opportunity to study ecosystem restoration at a watershed scale. We examine how periphyton and benthic invertebrate assemblages vary across regulated and unregulated sections of the Elwha River and across different habitat types, and establish baseline data...

Morley, S.A.; Duda, J.J.; Coe, H.J.; Kloehn, K.K.; McHenry, M.L.
Benthic invertebrates and periphyton in the Elwha river basin: Current conditions and predicted response to dam removal; 2008; Article; Journal; Northwest Science; Morley, S. A.; Duda, J. J.; Coe, H. J.; Kloehn, K. K.; McHenry, M. L.

Filter Total Items: 871
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

August 20, 2015

F2 West Transect – 2015

Permanent Site: F2 West Transect; Depth: 11.2 Meters (36.9 Feet); Distance from river mouth: 1.5 Kilometers (0.9 Miles) east; Pre/Post Dam Removal: 4 years post-dam removal; Lat/Long: 48.15672004,-123.55036603; Site Description: Visibility is poor on video due to a large amount of surge on the day of the dive. Substrate is mainly a gravel - cobble mixture with an

August 19, 2015

4SP1 West Transect – 2015

Permanent Site: 4SP1 - West Transect; Depth: 6.1 Meters (19.9 Feet); Distance from river mouth: 0.8 Kilometers (0.5 Miles) East; Pre/Post Dam Removal: 3 years post-dam removal; Lat/Long: 48.15257, -123.557376; Site Description: The site has converted from gravel/cobble substrate to all sand. Seaweed is completely absent. 
 

August 9, 2015

L1 West Transect – 2015

Permanent Site: L1 West Transect; Depth: 11.4 Meters (37.3 Feet); Distance from river mouth: 2.3 Kilometers (1.4 Miles) west; Pre/Post Dam Removal: 4 years post-dam removal; Lat/Long: 48.13957527,-123.59427175; Site Description: This transect is medium depth. The first 20 meters contains scattered boulders (0:18 seconds). Where there are no boulders, substrate is still

August 9, 2015

L1 East Transect – 2015

Permanent Site: L1 East Transect; Depth: 11.6 Meters (38.0 Feet); Distance from river mouth: 2.3 Kilometers (1.4 Miles) west; Pre/Post Dam Removal: 4 years post-dam removal; Lat/Long: 48.13957527,-123.59359993; Site Description: This transect is medium depth. Substrate is mainly fine sediment/sand/mud with a few scattered boulders (1:15 seconds). Seaweed has returned.

August 8, 2015

K1 East Transect – 2015

Permanent Site: K1 East Transect; Depth: 6.7 Meters (22.0 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,-123.5101581; Site Description: This is a shallow site. Sediment is a gravel/sand mixture. Both red (0:44, 0:48 seconds) and brown seaweed was abundant and appears close to pre-dam

August 8, 2015

A1 West Transect – 2015

Permanent Site: A1 West Transect; Depth: 8.7 Meters (28.5 Feet); Distance from river mouth: 1.9 Kilometers (1.2 Miles) West; Pre/Post Dam Removal: 4 years post-dam removal; Lat/Long: 48.13870775, -123.586203; Site Description: Transect is in eastern part of Freshwater Bay. Sediment is primarily sand/sandy mud with patches of boulders. Seaweeds have returned. A boulder

August 8, 2015

A1 East Transect – 2015

Permanent Site: A1 East Transect; Depth: 8.3 Meters (27.1 Feet); Distance from river mouth: 1.8 Kilometers (1.1 Miles) West; Pre/Post Dam Removal: 4 years post-dam removal; Lat/Long: 48.13870775, -123.5855312; Site Description: Transect is in eastern part of Freshwater Bay. Sediment is primarily sand/sandy mud. Previous small boulders appear to be buried. Seaweeds are very

August 7, 2015

H1 East Transect – 2015

Permanent Site: H1 East Transect; Depth: 5.5 Meters (Feet 18.2); Distance from river mouth: 2.4 Kilometers (1.5 Miles) east; Pre/Post Dam Removal: 4 years post-dam removal; Lat/Long: 48.1479177,-123.53472865; Site Description: This is a shallow site and one of the farthest removed from the effects of the sediment plume outside of the control sites. Substrate is still

August 7, 2015

C2 East Transect – 2015

Permanent Site: C2 East Transect; Depth: 16.3 Meters (Feet 53.4); Distance from river mouth: 0.7 Kilometers (0.4 Miles); Pre/Post Dam Removal: 4 years post-dam removal; Lat/Long: 48.147841,-123.57596074; Site Description: One of our deepest sites. Substrate is all muddy sand. Seaweed is absent. Some woody debris is seen (0:39 seconds). Featherduster tubeworms, mainly

August 7, 2015

H1 West Transect – 2015

Permanent Site: H1 West Transect; Depth: 5.7 Meters (Feet 18.6); Distance from river mouth: 2.4 Kilometers (1.5 Miles) east; Pre/Post Dam Removal: 4 years post-dam removal; Lat/Long: 48.14803012,-123.53535558; Site Description: This is a shallow site and one of the farthest removed from the effects of the sediment plume outside of the control sites. Substrate is still

Filter Total Items: 384
USGS
June 21, 2012

SPOKANE, Wash. — Starting Friday, scientists will be using sound waves to look down into the Earth, and the result will be a picture of the geology beneath Spokane, perhaps including faults that cause shallow earthquakes.

USGS
May 8, 2012

PORTLAND, Ore.­–-Human activities, such as industrial production, transportation, and day-to-day living, are sources of many contaminants that flow into the Columbia River.

USGS
May 4, 2012

VANCOUVER, Wash. — 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.

USGS
February 29, 2012

SACRAMENTO, Calif.— Scientists at the U.S. Geological Survey have, for the first time, demonstrated how aquifer composition can affect how excessive levels of phosphorous (an essential nutrient contained in fertilizers) can be carried from fertilized agricultural fields via groundwater to streams and waterways. 

USGS science for a changing world logo
October 7, 2011

Gustavo Bisbal has been selected as the center director of the Department of the Interior’s Northwest Climate Science Center, headquartered at Oregon State University in Corvallis, Ore., with additional resources and capabilities at the University of Washington in Seattle, Wash., and the University of Idaho in Moscow, Idaho.

USGS science for a changing world logo
September 13, 2011

Selected and compressed for your convenience, here is the Elwha River science that the USGS has been working on, often as part of an interagency collabora­tion. The topics are presented in chronological order with session in­formation. USGS scientists involved are listed. Complete listings can be found in the symposium program.

USGS science for a changing world logo
September 13, 2011

Note: This news release modifies the dates in the news release of August 31, 2011. 

VANCOUVER, Wash. — Climbers and hikers on the cone of Mount St. Helens should not be alarmed to witness a low-flying helicopter with trailing equipment making repeated passes over the area this week. The project will largely be conducted over remote terrain in the crater and on the flanks of the volcano. 

USGS science for a changing world logo
September 7, 2011

Two new USGS publications explain to scientists and the general public what to expect starting later this month as the historic removal of two dams from Washington’s Elwha River begins what is hoped to be a full ecosystem restoration.

USGS science for a changing world logo
August 31, 2011

Restoration of the Elwha River, including the start of the Nation’s largest dam removal to date, is the backdrop for the Elwha River Science Symposium, sponsored by the Elwha Research Consortium and held at Peninsula College in Port Angeles, Wash. on September 15 and16, 2011.

USGS science for a changing world logo
August 31, 2011

Climbers and hikers on the cone of Mount St. Helens should not be alarmed to witness a low-flying helicopter with trailing equipment making repeated passes over the area this week. The project will largely be conducted over remote terrain in the crater and on the flanks of the volcano. 

USGS science for a changing world logo
August 25, 2011

 The USGS on Aug. 26-27, 2011 will conduct its final beach erosion survey of the Elwha River delta before a historic dam removal begins upstream in September, in line with its ongoing study of the dams' effects on the ecosystem.

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