Colorado River Basin: Building Advanced, Strategic, Innovative, Integrated System Science

The Colorado River Basin Pilot Project

The Colorado River Basin Pilot Project

The Colorado River Basin Pilot Project is exploring new approaches for the USGS to answer complex earth systems science questions identified in partnership with stakeholders, which cannot be answered through a single discipline approach.

Read More

Drought in the Colorado River Basin

Drought in the Colorado River Basin

The USGS together with partners and stakeholders are working together to understand the complexity of drought impacts and compounding hazards, such as climate change on human and natural systems.

Read More

Connect

A multidisciplinary team of experts is working to determine how the USGS can develop integrative science, data, models, and tools that can be used to address key science challenges related to drought risk within the Colorado River Basin.

Subgroups of the Colorado River Basin Pilot

Pilot Team Members

Science Center Objects

The Colorado River Basin is currently experiencing its worst drought in recorded history. The period from 2000 through 2020 is the driest 21-year period in over 100 years and one of the driest periods in the 1,200-year paleo-record. Drought impacts include worsening conditions in the 9 ecoregions, including habitat for several threatened and endangered species, wildland fire risks, reduced snowpack, changes in water availability and agricultural production; reduced recreation opportunities at National Parks, Wildlife Refuges, and Conservation areas; and impacts to over 20 Tribes for whom the basin is a physical, economic, and cultural resource.

The complexity of issues facing the Colorado River Basin ecosystem and earth science aspects requires the USGS to have an interdisciplinary science approach, coordinating with multiple USGS mission areas, regional office, science centers, and non-USGS science partners to inform a broad base of decision makers. Contact the Rocky Mountain Region to learn more about these efforts.

Today’s Earth system challenges are far more complex and urgent than those that existed in 1879 when the USGS was established. Society’s greatest challenges are directly or indirectly linked to major areas of USGS science. This Science Strategy defines a vision and mission for how we will continue to evolve USGS Science to address these Earth system challenges.

U.S. Geological Survey 21st-Century science strategy 2020–2030 (usgs.gov)