Unified Interior Regions

Region 7: Upper Colorado Basin

Map of Region 7: Upper Colorado Basin

Map of Region 7:  Upper Colorado Basin

Map Showing USGS/DOI Unified Region 7 and parts of adjoining Regions

Regions L2 Landing Page Tabs

USGS Science Centers in Region 7-Upper Colorado Basin conduct a large number of cooperative and collaborative projects with other agencies and partners. A sampling of those projects are shown below on this web page.

Filter Total Items: 386
Date published: April 1, 2009
Status: Active

Snowpack Sublimation - Measurements and Modeling in the Colorado River Basin

Snow is an essential resource in the western United States (U.S.), providing water for drinking, irrigation, industry, energy production, and ecosystems across much of the region.  In the mountains of the western U.S., most precipitation falls as snow, which accumulates in seasonal snowpacks that serve as a large natural reservoir.

Snowpack sublimation, which is analogous to evaporation...

Date published: January 1, 2009
Status: Completed

Loutzenhizer Arroyo Water Quality Monitoring activities in the Lower Gunnison Basin

Emerging water-quality issues within Delta, Montrose, and Mesa counties reflect changing land use practices, housing development and related pressures due to growth. Significant amounts of data have been collected by members of the Gunnison Basin Selenium Task Force as it relates to selenium related water-quality problems.  

    Contacts: Kenneth J Leib
    Date published: January 1, 2009
    Status: Active

    Characterization of Selenium Sources in the Lower Gunnison River Basin

    High concentrations of dissolved selenium have been detected in the lower Gunnison River basin including the Uncompahgre River basin. Butler and others (1991 and 1996) identified the highest concentrations of selenium in surface waters in areas that are irrigated on soils derived from Mancos Shale. In July 1997, the Colorado Water Quality Control Commission amended the classifications and...

    Contacts: Kenneth J Leib
    Date published: October 11, 2008
    Status: Completed

    RCMAP - Roaring Fork River at Basalt, Colorado

    The U.S. Geological Survey was engaged in a program to monitor and assess the long-term geomorphic behavior of selected river and stream reaches that previously had undergone some physical modification.  These modifications included natural channel adjustments to floods as well as intentional channel reconfigurations to alter the function or appearance of a river reach.

    The Roaring Fork...

    Contacts: Cory A Williams
    Date published: October 1, 2008
    Status: Completed

    Upper Gunnison River Water-Quality Data

    The Upper Gunnison River Watershed, located in the Rocky Mountains 150 miles southwest of Denver, Colorado, drains approximately 3,965 square miles. Forest and rangeland comprise 89 percent of land within the watershed, but the traditional western ranching economy is increasingly supplemented through a tourism economy centered around Crested Butte Mountain Resort and the Curecanti National...

    Contacts: Kenneth J Leib
    Date published: July 1, 2008
    Status: Active

    Upper Arkansas Toxic-Substances Hydrology

    Since 1986, the USGS Hard-Rock Mining Toxic-Substances Hydrology Project has focused on metal transport in streams affected by mining.

    The approach is to study chemical processes within a hydrologic context, using a two-step approach:

    • First, the USGS used instream experimentation to provide data about the processes affecting metals.
    • Second, the USGS used the
    • ...
    Date published: March 1, 2008
    Status: Completed

    Effects of Urbanization on Salinity and Selenium Loading in Montrose Arroyo, Western Colorado

    Salinity and dissolved selenium are known water-quality impairments in the lower Gunnison River watershed of western Colorado. Salinity is a concern because of its adverse effects on agricultural land and equipment, and on municipal and industrial users. The Montrose Arroyo watershed in Montrose, Colorado, contains agricultural and residential areas as well as undeveloped land and has...

    Date published: October 1, 2007
    Status: Completed

    Southwest Study Area Water-Quality Data

    In southwest Colorado, drought, wildfires, mining activities, agriculture, and population growth have altered the landscape from its natural condition. These changes have potentially degraded the water-quality of streams, rivers, reservoirs, and groundwater by introducing or increasing levels of metals, nutrients, synthetic organic chemicals, and sediment. Recognizing the need to understand...

    Contacts: Kenneth J Leib
    Date published: September 30, 2007
    Status: Completed

    USGS Abandoned Mine Lands Initiative

    The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) conducted an Abandoned Mine Lands (AML) Initiative during the fiscal years 1997 through 2001 to provide technical assistance in support of Federal Land Management Agency (FLMA) actions to remediate contamination associated with abandoned hard rock mining activities. This initiative was part of a larger strategy by the U.S. Department of the Interior and the U....

    Date published: September 30, 2007
    Status: Completed

    Simulated Effects of Proposed Southern Delivery System Alternatives on Hydrodynamics and Water Quality of Pueblo Reservoir Using a Two-Dimensional Hydrodynamic and Water-Quality Model, Pueblo, Colorado

    Pueblo Reservoir is one of southeastern Colorado's most valuable water resources. The reservoir provides irrigation, municipal, and industrial water to various entities throughout the region. The reservoir also provides flood control, recreational activities, sport fishing, and wildlife enhancement to the region.

    The Bureau of Reclamation is working to meet its goal to issue a Final...

    Contacts: David P Mau
    Date published: August 8, 2007
    Status: Completed

    Groundwater Availability Analysis of the Denver Groundwater Basin

    The Denver Basin aquifer system is a critical water resource for growing municipal, industrial, and domestic uses along the semiarid Front Range urban corridor of Colorado. The confined bedrock aquifer system is located along the eastern edge of the Rocky Mountain Front Range where the mountains meet the Great Plains physiographic province. Mining, transportation, agricultural,
    and urban...

    Contacts: Suzanne Paschke
    Date published: August 2, 2007
    Status: Completed

    Prediction of suspended-sediment transport and identification of sediment source areas in the Fountain Creek watershed

     The Fountain Creek drainage network currently is in a precarious geomorphic situation. This situation arises because:

    1. the Palmer Divide and the Rampart Range have the potential to cause very high orographically induced rainfall rates
    2. east of the foothills, streams within the watershed flow through valley bottoms filled with easily eroded alluvial sediments
    3. there
    4. ...

    USGS Science Centers in Region 7-Upper Colorado Basin produce hundreds of USGS-series publications, journal papers, and books each year that are subject to rigorous review by USGS specialists. The publications shown below on this page are related to study areas and staff members of USGS Science Centers in Region 7 compiled from the USGS Publications Warehouse.

    Filter Total Items: 5,153
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    Year Published: 2020

    Seepage investigation of the Rio Grande from below Leasburg Dam, Leasburg, New Mexico, to above El Paso, Texas, 2018

    Seepage investigations were conducted periodically by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) from 1988 to 1998 and from 2006 to 2015 along a 64-mile reach of the Rio Grande as part of the Mesilla Basin monitoring program. Past studies were conducted during no-flow or low-flow periods. In 2018, a seepage investigation was conducted during April 3–4...

    Ball, Grady P.; Robertson, Andrew J.; Morales, Karen Medina
    Ball, G.P., Robertson, A.J., and Medina Morales, K., 2020, Seepage investigation of the Rio Grande from below Leasburg Dam, Leasburg, New Mexico, to above El Paso, Texas, 2018: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2019–5140, 16 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/sir20195140.

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    Year Published: 2020

    A new stratigraphic framework and constraints for the position of the Paleocene-Eocene boundary in the rapidly subsiding Hanna Basin, Wyoming

    The Paleocene–Eocene strata of the rapidly subsiding Hanna Basin give insights in sedimentation patterns and regional paleogeography during the Laramide orogeny and across the climatic event at the Paleocene–Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM). Abundant coalbeds and carbonaceous shales of the fluvial, paludal, and lacustrine strata of the Hanna...

    Dechesne, Marieke; Currano, Ellen D; Dunn, Regan E; Higgins, Pennilyn; Hartman, Joseph; Chamberlain, Kevin R; Holm-Denoma, Christopher S.

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    Year Published: 2020

    A 100-year geoelectric hazard analysis for the U.S. high-voltage power grid

    A once-per-century geoelectric hazard map is created for the United States high-voltage power grid. A statistical extrapolation from 31 years of magnetic field measurements is made by identifying 84 geomagnetic storms with the Kp and Dst indices. Data from 24 geomagnetic observatories, 1079 magnetotelluric survey sites, and 17,258 transmission...

    Lucas, Greg M.; Love, Jeffrey J.; Kelbert, Anna; Bedrosian, Paul A.; Rigler, E. Joshua

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    Year Published: 2020

    A new sampler for the collection and retrieval of dry dust deposition

    Atmospheric dust can influence biogeochemical cycles, accelerate snowmelt, and affect air, water quality, and human health. Yet, the bulk of atmospherically transported material remains poorly quantified in terms of total mass fluxes and composition. This lack of information stems in part from the challenges associated with measuring dust...

    Brahney, J.; Wetherbee, Gregory A.; Sexstone, Graham A.; Youngbull, C.; Strong, P.; Heindel, Ruth C.

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    Year Published: 2020

    A continuously updated, geospatially rectified database of utility-scale wind turbines in the United States

    Nearly 60,000 utility-scale wind turbines are installed in the United States as of July, 2019, representing over 97 gigawatts of electric power capacity; US wind turbine installations continue to grow at a rapid pace. Yet, until April 2018, no publicly-available, regularly updated data source existed to describe those turbines and their locations...

    Rand, Joesph; Kramer, Louisa A.; Garrity, Christopher P.; Hoen, Ben; Diffendorfer, James E.; Hunt, Hannah; Spears, Michael

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    Year Published: 2020

    Challenges for leveraging citizen science to support statistically robust monitoring programs

    Large samples and long time series are often needed for effective broad-scale monitoring of status and trends in wild populations. Obtaining those sample sizes can be more feasible when volunteers contribute to the dataset, but volunteer-selected sites are not always representative of a population. Previous work to account for biased site...

    Weiser, Emily L.; Diffendorfer, James E.; Lopez-Hoffman, Laura; Semmens, Darius J.; Thogmartin, Wayne E.

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    Year Published: 2020

    Spatiotemporal variability of modeled watershed scale surface-depression storage and runoff for the conterminous United States

    This study uses the explores the viability of a proxy model calibration strategy through assessment of the spatiotemporal variability of surface-depression storage and runoff generated with the U.S. Geological Survey’s National Hydrologic Model (NHM) infrastructure for hydrologic response units (HRUs; n=109,951) across the conterminous United...

    Driscoll, Jessica M.; Hay, Lauren; Vanderhoof, Melanie K.; Viger, Roland J.

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    Year Published: 2020

    Using a dense seismic array to determine structure and site effects of the Two Towers earthflow in northern California

    We deployed a network of 68 three-component geophones on the slow moving Two Towers earthflow in northern California. We compute horizontal-to-vertical spectral ratios (HVSRs) from the ambient seismic field. The HVSRs have two prominent peaks, one near 1.23 Hz and another between 4 and 8 Hz at most stations. The 1.23 Hz resonance is a property...

    Thomas, Amanda M.; Spica, Zack; Bodmer, Miles; Schulz, William; Roering, Joshua J.

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    Year Published: 2020

    Resolving small-scale forest snow patterns using an energy-balance snow model with a 1-layer canopy

    Modelling spatiotemporal dynamics of snow in forests is challenging, as involved processes are strongly dependent on small-scale canopy properties. In this study, we explore how local canopy structure information can be integrated in a medium-complexity energy-balance snow model to replicate observed snow patterns at very high spatial resolutions...

    Mazzotti, Giulia; Essery, Richard; Moeser, C. David; Jonas, Tobias

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    Year Published: 2020

    An open source database for the synthesis of soil radiocarbon data: ISRaD version 1.0

    Radiocarbon is a critical constraint on our estimates of the timescales of soil carbon cycling that can aid in identifying mechanisms of carbon stabilization and destabilization and improve the forecast of soil carbon response to management or environmental change. Despite the wealth of soil radiocarbon data that have been reported over the past...

    Lawrence, Corey R.; Beem-Miller, Jeffrey; Hoyt, Alison; Monroe, Grey; Sierra, Carlos; Stoner, Shane; Heckman, Katherine; Blankinship, Joseph; Crow, Susan; McNichol, Gavin; Trumbore, Susan; Levine, Paul; Vinduśková, Olga; Todd-Brown, Katherine; Rasmussen, Craig; Hicks Pries, Caitlin; Schadel, Christina; McFarlane, Karis; Doetterl, Sebastian; Hatté, Christine; He, Yujie; Treat, Claire C.; Harden, Jennifer W.; Torn, Margaret S; Estop-Aragonés, Cristian; Berhe, Asmeret A.; Keiluweit, Marco; Kuhnen, Agatha Della Rosa; Marin-Spiotta, Erika; Plante, Alain F.; Thompson, Aaron; Shi, Zheng; Schimel, Joshua P.; Vaughn, Lydia J.S. ; von Fromm, Sophie F.; Wagai, Rota

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    Year Published: 2020

    Sustaining Environmental Capital Initiative summary report

    Federal agencies need credible scientific information to determine the production and value of ecosystem services in an efficient and timely manner. The U.S. Geological Survey addresses this scientific information need through the Sustaining Environmental Capital Initiative project. The project has relied on U.S. Geological Survey expertise...

    Huber, Christopher; Meldrum, James R.; Schuster, Rudy M.; Ancona, Zachary H.; Bagstad, Kenneth J.; Beck, Scott M.; Carlisle, Daren; Claggett, Peter R.; Franco, Fabiano; Galbraith, Heather S.; Haefele, Michelle; Hoelting, Kristin R; Hogan, Dianna M.; Hopkins, Kristina G.; Kern, Tim; Lawrence, Collin B.; Lischka, Stacy; Loomis, John B.; Mueller, Julie M.; Noe, Gregory B.; Pindilli, Emily J.; Quay, Brian; Semmens, Darius J.; Sinclair, Wilson; Spooner, Daniel E.; Voigt, Brian; St. John White, Barabara
    Huber, C., Meldrum, J.R., Schuster, R.M., Ancona, Z.H., Bagstad, K.J., Beck, S.M., Carlisle, D.M., Claggett, P.R., Franco, F., Galbraith, H.S., Haefele, M., Hoelting, K.R., Hogan, D.M., Hopkins, K.G., Kern, T., Lawrence, C.B., Lischka, S., Loomis, J.B., Mueller, J.M., Noe, G.B., Pindilli, E.J., Quay, B., Semmens, D.J., Sinclair, W., Spooner, D.E., Voigt, B., and St. John White, B., 2020, Sustaining Environmental Capital Initiative summary report: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2019–1117, 23 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/ofr20191117.

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    Year Published: 2020

    Observations on the May 2019 Joffre Peak landslides, British Columbia

    Two catastrophic landslides occurred in quick succession on 13 and 16 May 2019, from the north face of Joffre Peak, Cerise Creek, southern Coast Mountains, British Columbia. With headscarps at 2560 m and 2690 m elevation, both began as rock avalanches, rapidly transforming into debris flows along middle Cerise Creek, and finally into debris floods...

    Friele, Pierre; Millard, Tom; Mitchell, Andrew; Allstadt, Kate; Menounos, Brian; Geertsema, Marten; Clague, John J.

    Photos and videos described and linked on this webpage come from a wide variety of USGS science activities and presentations performed by USGS Science Center staff members in the Region 7-Upper Colorado Basin.

    Filter Total Items: 517
    Installing piezometer on the bank of the New Fork River
    September 28, 2014

    Installing piezometer on the bank of the New Fork River

    Installing piezometer on the bank of the New Fork River

    Installing stream thermistor at New Fork Groundwater Streamgage
    September 25, 2014

    Installing stream thermistor at New Fork Groundwater Streamgage

    Installing stream thermistor at New Fork Groundwater Streamgage

    Confluence of New Fork (foreground) and Green Rivers
    September 25, 2014

    Confluence of New Fork (foreground) and Green Rivers

    Confluence of New Fork (foreground) and Green Rivers

     Confluence of Cement Creek and the Animas River in Colorado
    August 30, 2014

    Confluence of Cement Creek and the Animas River in Colorado

    Although the visual picture of mixing zones at stream confluences appears straightforward, such as this one at the confluence of Cement Creek and the Animas River in Colorado, the chemical reactions that occur make them extremely complex from a water-quality perspective.

    A managed wildfire in New Mexico demonstrates application of wildland fire science for forest restoration and risk reduction
    August 8, 2014

    A managed wildfire in New Mexico

    A managed wildfire in New Mexico demonstrates application of wildland fire
    science for forest restoration and risk reduction

    Flames consume woody fuels in a managed wildfire, New Mexico
    August 2, 2014

    Flames consume woody fuels in a managed wildfire, New Mexico

    Flames consume woody fuels in a managed wildfire, New Mexico

    Flames from a managed wildfire consume surface fuels, New Mexico
    August 2, 2014

    Flames from a managed wildfire consume surface fuels, New Mexico

    Flames from a managed wildfire consume surface fuels, New Mexico

    A convective smoke plume from a managed wildfire rises above Ponderosa pine trees, New Mexico
    August 2, 2014

    A convective smoke plume from a managed wildfire

    A convective smoke plume from a managed wildfire rises above Ponderosa pine trees, New Mexico

    August 1, 2014

    Debris Flow Monitoring at Chalk Cliffs, CO (2014)

    The USGS and its cooperators have installed debris-flow monitoring equipment in the largest drainage basin at Chalk Cliffs, CO. Data collection at this site supports research on the hydrologic factors that control debris-flow initiation, entrainment, and flow dynamics.

    This debris flow took place August 1, 2014. The video includes two different views of an

    Little Powder River above Dry Week, near Weston, Wyoming
    July 14, 2014

    Little Powder River above Dry Week, near Weston, Wyoming

    Little Powder River above Dry Week, near Weston, Wyoming

    Flowing well used for stock water, Green River Basin
    July 10, 2014

    Flowing well used for stock water, Green River Basin

    Flowing well used for stock water, Green River Basin

    News items shown on this page are highlights of selected studies conducted and publications produced by USGS Science Center staff members in Region 7-Upper Colorado Basin.

    Filter Total Items: 349
    USGS
    April 25, 1998

    Blue skies and gentle breezes prevailed for the 5k race and 2k fun run that kicked off Open House at the U.S. Geological Survey, Sat., April 25, 1998.

    USGS
    April 20, 1998

    Water quality in the South Platte River Basin has been adversely affected by agriculture and urban development, according to the results of a 5-year investigation of water quality by the U.S. Geological Survey.

    USGS
    April 16, 1998

    A 5-year study of water quality in the Rio Grande Valley, from its headwaters in Colorado to near El Paso, Texas, has been completed by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). The study focused on ground water in the flood plain of the Rio Grande and surface water in the Rio Grande and selected tributaries.

    USGS
    April 16, 1998

    Although agriculture and urban activities have substantially affected water quality in several areas of the South Platte River Basin, concentrations of pesticides and volatile organic chemicals (VOCs), such as MTBE, are generally below levels of concern for human health, according to the results of a 5-year investigation of water quality by the U.S. Geological Survey.

    USGS
    April 14, 1998

    An air temperature threshold is a powerful indicator for anticipatingpotentially hazardous landslides during the spring snowmelt season,according to the results of a recent study by the U.S. Geological Survey.

    USGS
    March 17, 1998

    The potential for earthquakes in many parts of the United States, a review of the more than 10,000 earthquakes that have occurred near Mammoth Lakes, Calif., during the past year, and updates on the monitoring of earthquakes, mine explosions and earthquake-induced landslides are part of 32 presentations by scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey at the annual meeting of the Seismological...

    USGS
    February 13, 1998

    From Seafloor Mapping to Hammer Awards and AAAS Fellowships........

    USGS
    October 16, 1997

    The asteroid impact that occurred 65 million years ago comes to life on the computer screen, Tuesday, Oct. 21, as a research cartographer with the U.S. Geological Survey demonstrates his latest HyperCard animation at the annual meeting of the Geological Society of America (GSA) in Salt Lake City.

    USGS
    October 16, 1997

    When Henry J. Moore was growing up on Third Avenue during the 1930s, he says he didn’t pay much attention to the comic-book space dust being kickedup by Buck Rogers and Flash Gordon. Twenty years later, however, Moore’s interest in the dust and landforms of Planet Earth set him on a course that would eventually land in the dust on Mars; in a matter of speaking.

    USGS
    September 26, 1997

    High concentrations of dissolved salts in the lower Colorado River basin have been linked to regional geologic collapse near Glenwood Springs, Colo., according to scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey and the Colorado Geological Survey.

    USGS
    June 9, 1997

    The 1996/97 austral summer season marked the beginning of the newest deep ice core drilling project sponsored by the National Science Foundation, Office of Polar Programs.

    USGS
    June 2, 1997

    The U. S. Geological Survey has released Open-File Report 97-59 entitled: Geology and Structure of the Pine River, Florida River, Carbon Junction, and Basin Creek Gas Seeps, La Plata County, Colorado.

    This page includes links to Social Media accounts (top of page), Science Centers (middle of page), and Regional Office staff members (bottom of page) of the USGS Region 7--Upper Colorado Basin.