Unified Interior Regions

Region 7: Upper Colorado Basin

Map of Region 7 Upper Colorado River Basin

Map of Region 7 Upper Colorado River 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: 385
Date published: July 1, 2016

Assessing Impacts to Ecosystems from Uranium Mining in the Grand Canyon Region

The use of uranium is an alternative energy source to petroleum products and some of the United States’ highest quality ore is located on the Colorado Plateau. However, some regions where suitable mining efforts are conducted include areas that are near important environmental resources such as National Parks that provide viewscapes and habitat for wildlife.

Date published: June 28, 2016
Status: Active

Urban Storm-Water Program in the Albuquerque Metropolitan Area

As part of the surface-water drainage system of the Albuquerque metropolitan area, numerous ephemeral channels collect and transport surface water through the urban area and, eventually, into the Rio Grande.

Date published: June 27, 2016


Working with the Northern Rockies Science Center, the Information Science Branch designed and developed ScienceCache, a scientific geocaching mobile application framework. Initially developed for citizen science data collection, the application was extended to work for any field data collection effort. The lead researcher controls the data collection route, collection forms, and data...

Contacts: Tim Kern
Date published: June 27, 2016
Status: Active

Surface Disturbance and Reclamation Tracking Tool (SDARTT)

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the United States Geological Survey (USGS) have partnered to create the Surface Disturbance Analysis and Reclamation Tracking Tool (SDARTT). SDARTT is to be the national repository for and analysis tool of disturbance data pertaining to public land operations for the BLM. Users will upload disturbance and reclamation data to SDARTT to map, analyze, and...

Contacts: Gail Montgomery
Date published: June 27, 2016


The Information Science Branch provides Agile project management, technical oversight, software research and development, and architectural support to the USGS ScienceBase project. ScienceBase provides a number of features that scientists can use to build data collections, share data through web services, and ensure these data are preserved for use by future researchers. The project involves...

Date published: June 23, 2016
Status: Completed

USGS Data Collection: Real-Time Rain Gages for Post Conchas-Fire Flood-Early Warning System

The Las Conchas fire started on June 26, 2011, near the small community of Las Conchas in the Jemez Mountains of north-central New Mexico. When the fire was contained on August 3, 2011, it had burned 156,593 acres of mixed conifer, pinyon/juniper, and ponderosa forest. At the time, it was the largest wildfire in New Mexico history. Peak burn severity was extreme; over 60,000 acres of the total...

Contacts: Mark A Gunn
Date published: June 20, 2016
Status: Active

Implementing a Web-based Streamflow Statistics Tool for New Mexico (StreamStats)

Estimates of streamflow are needed for a wide variety of applications, including water-resources planning and management, flood-plain mapping, and instream flow determinations. Surface water is the primary source of water for irrigators along major stream corridors in New Mexico and is increasingly being utilized by large municipalities. While streamflow statistics for gaged sites are readily...

Contacts: Anne C Tillery
Date published: June 12, 2016
Status: Active

Rio Grande Transboundary Integrated Hydrologic Model: Modeling Conjunctive Use to Support Resource Management

The Palomas, Mesilla, and Conejos-Médanos Basins in New Mexico, Texas, and northern Mexico compose a geologically and hydrologically complex region. The conjunctive use of surface water and groundwater takes place under a myriad of legal and operational constraints, including the Rio Grande Compact, an international treaty, and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation’s Rio Grande Project. New demands...

Contacts: Andre Ritchie
Date published: June 4, 2016
Status: Active

Upper Rio Grande Basin Focus Area Study

The Upper Rio Grande Basin (URGB) of Colorado, New Mexico, Texas, and northern Mexico was chosen as a focus area study (FAS) for the USGS National Water Census. The conjunctive use of water in the URGB takes place under a myriad of legal constraints including the Rio Grande Compact agreement between the States, an international treaty with Mexico, and several federal water projects....

Contacts: For contact information, please reach out to:
Date published: May 29, 2016
Status: Completed

National Water-Quality Assessment Program (NAWQA) Rio Grande Valley Study

The New Mexico Water Science Center (NMWSC) has historically conducted NAWQA data collection of groundwater and surface water-data within the former Rio Grande Valley (RIOG) study unit, which covers about 45,700 square miles in Colorado, New Mexico, and Texas.

Contacts: Rebecca Travis
Date published: May 25, 2016
Status: Completed

Cannon Air Force Base: Seasonal Potentiometric Surfaces and Groundwater-Level Trends

Declining water levels and a history of high nitrate concentrations in groundwater near and on Cannon Air Force Base (CAFB) necessitated a more detailed assessment of groundwater flow directions than has been done in the past. Previous potentiometric-surface maps were sufficient for showing regional directions of groundwater flow, but more detailed seasonal (summer high-pumping and winter low-...

Contacts: Nathan C Myers
Date published: May 25, 2016
Status: Completed

Reconstruction of an Avalanche: The West Salt Creek Rock Avalanche

Release Date: MAY 25, 2016

The West Salt Creek Rock Avalanche, Colorado, May 25, 2014

USGS Science Centers in Region 7-Upper Colorado Basin collect a wide variety of natural resource data types including spatial, geologic, hydrologic, and biologic data. Data included in USGS-series publications that are not publically available in USGS databases are published in Data Releases. Tools are USGS products that can be used to analyze those types of data.

Filter Total Items: 272
Date published: July 6, 2016

Wyoming Landscape Conservation Initiative (WLCI) - Important Agricultural Lands Assessment Project (Datasets)

The data contained in this report was compiled, modified, and analyzed for the Wyoming Landscape Conservation Initiative (WLCI) Integrated Assessment (IA). These data represent an initial step towards spatially identifying lands that represent greater importance in the agricultural context and can be used by interested parties to conduct further geospatial analysis.

Date published: April 20, 2016

Structures Data

USGS data portray selected structures data, including the location and characteristics of manmade facilities. Characteristics consist of a structure's physical form (footprint), function, name, location, and detailed information about the structure. The types of structures collected are largely determined by the needs of the disaster planning and response and homeland security organizations....

Date published: April 19, 2016

The United States Interagency Elevation Inventory (USIEI)

The USIEI is a comprehensive, nationwide listing of known high-accuracy topographic and bathymetric data for the United States and its territories. The project is a collaborative effort of the USGS and NOAA with contributions from other federal agencies. The inventory supports the 3D Elevation Program and the Integrated Ocean and Coastal Mapping effort. This resource is updated in Spring and...

Date published: April 19, 2016

Elevation Data

The 3DEP products and services available through The National Map consist of lidar point clouds (LPC), standard digital elevation models (DEMs) at various horizontal resolutions, elevation source and associated datasets, an elevation point query service and bulk point query service. All 3DEP products are available, free of charge and without use restrictions.

Date published: April 12, 2016

Orthoimagery Data

Orthoimagery data typically are high resolution aerial images that combine the visual attributes of an aerial photograph with the spatial accuracy and reliability of a planimetric map. The National Map offers public domain, 1-meter orthoimagery for the conterminous United States with many urban areas and other locations at 2-foot or finer resolution.

Date published: April 12, 2016

The National Map Small-Scale Collection

The National Map offers a collection of small-scale datasets, most of which are at 1:1,000,000. The National Map publishes two data collections at one million-scale: one for Global Map users and one for National Map users. In terms of vector geometry, the lines, points, and areas in these data collections are identical. The difference is in the attributes assigned to these features.

Date published: March 17, 2016

Volcano Monitoring Data

Many volcanoes in the U.S. are monitored by arrays of several instruments that detect subtle movements within the earth and changes in gas and water chemistry. The Volcano Hazards Program streams this data to its Volcano Observatories and makes it available on volcano-specific websites.

Date published: March 12, 2016


WaterWatch is a U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) World Wide Web site that displays maps, graphs, and tables describing real-time, recent, and past streamflow conditions for the United States. The real-time information generally is updated on an hourly basis.

Date published: March 4, 2016

Current Alerts for U.S. Volcanoes

Volcano-alert notifications are produced by Volcano Observatory scientists based on analysis of data from monitoring networks, direct observations, and satellite sensors. They are issued for both increasing and decreasing volcanic activity and include text about the nature of the unrest or eruption and about potential or current hazards and likely outcomes.

Date published: January 1, 2016

Total Mercury Concentrations in Fish Muscle from the Colorado River and Bright Angel Creek, AZ, USA (2015)

This dataset contains data on the length, mass, and muscle total mercury concentration of Brown Trout (Salmo trutta) and Rainbow Trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) collected from the Colorado River in Glen Canyon National Recreation Area (GLCA) and Grand Canyon National Park (GRCA), and Bright Angel Creek in GRCA.

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: 5,065
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Year Published: 2020

Coexisting seismic behavior of transform faults revealed by high-resolution bathymetry

Transform faults are known to have anomalously low rates of seismicity, but no direct observations reveal why this is the case. We use new, autonomous underwater vehicle high-resolution seafloor mapping to image the morphology of and offsets along transform fault segments in the Gulf of California. Fault splays display a varied history of...

Hilley, George E.; Sare, Robert M.; Aron, Felipe; Baden, Curtis W; Caress, Dave; Castillo, Chris; Dobbs, Stephen C; Gooley, Jared T; Johnstone, Samuel A.; Liu, Frances; McHargue, Tim; Nevitt, Josie M; Paull, Charles K.; Shumaker, Lauren E.; Traer, Miles M; Young, Holly H

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Year Published: 2020

Preferential elution of ionic solutes in melting snowpacks: Improving process understanding through field observations and modeling in the Rocky Mountains

The preferential elution of ions from melting snowpacks is a complex problem that has been linked to temporary acidification of water bodies. However, the understanding of these processes in snowpacks around the world, including the polar regions that are experiencing unprecedented warming and melting, remains limited despite being instrumental in...

Costa, Diogo; Sexstone, Graham A.; Pomeroy, J.W.; Campbell, Donald H.; Clow, David W.; Mast, Alisa

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Year Published: 2020

Earthquake magnitude and Lg Q variations between the Grenville and northern Appalachian geologic provinces of eastern Canada

This article assesses the ability of regionally specific, frequency‐dependent crustal attenuation (⁠1/Q">1/Q⁠) to reduce mean magnitude discrepancies between seismic stations in the northern Appalachian and Grenville provinces (NAP and GP) of Canada. LgQ(f)">Q(f) is an important parameter in ground‐motion models used in...

Perry, H.K. Claire; Bent, Allison L.; McNamara, Daniel E.; Crane, Stephen; Kolaj, Michal

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Year Published: 2020

Biomarker similarities between the saline lacustrine Eocene Green River and the Paleoproterozoic Barney Creek Formations

The Paleoproterozoic Barney Creek Formation, which is currently interpreted as a restricted, deep marine paleoenvironment, plays a disproportionate role in our understanding of Proterozoic ocean chemistry and the rise of complex life. The Barney Creek Formation hosts several unusual biomarker features, specifically its methylhopane and carotenoid...

French, Katherine L.; Birdwell, Justin E.; Vanden Berg, Michael

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Year Published: 2020

Persistence and plasticity in conifer water-use strategies

The selective use of seasonal precipitation by vegetation is critical to understanding the residence time and flow path of water in watersheds, yet there are limited datasets to test how climate alters these dynamics. Here, we use measurements of the seasonal cycle of tree ring 18O for two widespread conifer species in the Rocky Mountains of North...

Berkelhammer, Max ; Still, Chris ; Ritter, Francois ; Winnik, Matthew ; Anderson, Lesleigh; Carroll, Rosemary ; Carbone, Mariah ; Williams, Kenneth

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Year Published: 2020

Development of a global seismic risk model

Since 2015 the Global Earthquake Model (GEM) Foundation and its partners have been supporting regional programmes and bilateral collaborations to develop an open global earthquake risk model. These efforts led to the development of a repository of probabilistic seismic hazard models, a global exposure dataset comprising structural and occupancy...

Silva, Vitor; Amo-Oduro, Desmond; Calderon, Alejandro; Costa, Catarina; Dabbeek, Jamal; Despotaki, Venetia; Martins, Luis; Pagani, Marco; Rao, Anirudh; Simionato, Michele; Viganò, Daniele; Yepes-Estrada, Catalina; Acevedo, Ana Beatriz; Crowley, Helen; Horspool, Nick; Jaiswal, Kishor; Journeay, Murray; Pittore, Massimiliano

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Year Published: 2020

High-resolution mapping of the freshwater-brine interface using deterministic and Bayesian inversion of airborne electromagnetic data at Paradox Valley, USA

Salt loads in the Colorado River Basin are a primary water quality concern. Natural groundwater brine discharge to the Dolores River where it passes through the collapsed salt anticline of the Paradox Valley in western Colorado is a significant source of salt to the Colorado River. An airborne electromagnetic survey of Paradox Valley has...

Ball, Lyndsay B.; Bedrosian, Paul A.; Minsley, Burke J.

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Year Published: 2020

Progress in natural capital accounting for ecosystems

Reversing the ongoing degradation of the planet's ecosystems requires timely and detailed monitoring of ecosystem change and uses. Yet, the System of National Accounts (SNA), first developed in response to the economic crisis of the 1930s and used by statistical offices worldwide to record economic activity (for example, production, consumption,...

Hein, Lars; Bagstad, Kenneth J.; Obst, Carl; Edens, Bram; Schenau, Sjoerd; Castillo, Gem; Soulard, Francois; Brown, Claire; Driver, Amanda; Bordt, Michael; Steurer, Anton; Harris, Rocky; Capparros, Alejandro

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Year Published: 2020

A brief introduction to seismic instrumentation: Where does my data come from?

Modern seismology has been able to take advantage of several technological advances. These include feedback loops in the seismometer, specialized digitizers with absolute timing, and compression formats for storing data. While all of these advances have helped to improve the field, they can also leave newcomers a bit confused. Our goal here is...

Ringler, Adam T.; Bastien, Patrick

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Year Published: 2020

Estimating rupture dimensions of three major earthquakes in Sichuan, China, for early warning and rapid loss estimates

Large earthquakes like in Wenchuan in 2008, MW 7.9, Sichuan, China, provide opportunity for earthquake early warning (EEW) as many heavily shaken areas are far (~50 km) from the epicenter and warning time could be long enough (≥ 5 s) to take effective preventative action. On the other hand, earthquakes with magnitudes larger than ~M 6.5 are...

Li, Jiawei; Böse, Maren; Wyss, Max; Wald, David J.; Hutchinson, Alexandra; Clinton, John F.; Wu, Zhongliang; Jiang, Changsheng; Zhou, Shiyong

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Year Published: 2020

Earthquakes, did you feel it?

The US Geological Survey (USGS) “Did You Feel It?”® (DYFI) system is an automated system for rapidly collecting macroseismic intensity data from Internet users’ shaking and damage reports and generating intensity maps immediately following earthquakes.Although the collection and assignment of DYFI-based Macroseismic Intensity (MI) data depart...

Wald, David J.; Quitoriano, Vince; Dewey, James W.

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: 520
February 23, 2016

Getting set up

Biologists are very careful to keep the grizzly bear under shade and protected from the elements while they collect biological data.  Vital signs are monitored throughout the handling period. 

February 23, 2016

Close up

The kerchief over the grizzly bear’s eyes protects it from dust and debris and reduces visual stimulation. The small tubing in its nose, known as a nasal cannula, delivers oxygen to the animal while it is tranquilized.  

February 23, 2016

Assessing body fat percentage of grizzly bear

Field personnel use bioelectrical impedance to assess body fat percentage of captured bears.  The procedure is similar to how body fat is measured in humans and is based on the resistance of body tissues to the flow of a small, harmless electrical signal.  The electrical current is impeded more by fat tissues compared with tissues that are composed mostly of water, thus

February 23, 2016

Fitting a radio collar

Biologists with IGBST and the National Park Service fit a grizzly bear with a radio collar.  Once a bear is radio collared, biologists can track its movements with telemetry.

February 23, 2016

Telemetry by air

Once a grizzly bear is radio collared, biologists can track its movements with telemetry via airplane.  The IGBST also used the latest telemetry technologies, which allows downloading of GPS data from the radio collar via satellites.

February 23, 2016

Telemetry by foot

Once a grizzly bear is radio collared, biologists can track its movements with telemetry on foot.   

Rio Grande from New Mexico State Road 359 near Mesilla, N. Mex.
February 11, 2016

Rio Grande from New Mexico State Road 359, New Mex.

North-oriented view of the Rio Grande from New Mexico State Road 359 near Mesilla, N. Mex., February 11, 2016 (photograph by Nicholas R. Glaser, U.S. Geological Survey).

SIR 2016–5011

Rio Grande at New Mexico State Road 359 near Mesilla, N. Mex.
February 11, 2016

Rio Grande at New Mex. State Road 359

North-oriented view of the Rio Grande at New Mexico State Road 359 near Mesilla, N. Mex., February 11, 2016 (photograph by Nicholas R. Glaser, U.S. Geological Survey).

SIR 2016–5011

January 29, 2016

Precipitation Runoff Modeling System (PRMS) Summary Modules

Presents descriptions of the USGS Precipitation Runoff Modeling System (PRMS) Summary modules.

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: 340
June 25, 2007

Watch history in action as U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) scientists share the secrets of sampling for metals in water with the Indian Tribes from Oklahoma, New Mexico, Louisiana, Texas, and Arkansas U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA), Region VI.

June 1, 2007

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) today released for public comment the draft summary report of the Basin and Range carbonate-rock aquifer system (BARCAS) study. The BARCAS study was directed by Congress in the Lincoln County Conservation, Recreation, and Development Act of 2004 (PL 108-424), and was done in collaboration with the Desert Research Institute (DRI) and the Utah Department of

May 15, 2007

More than 140 researchers, resource managers, policy makers, and citizens from Wyoming and beyond are expected in Laramie on May 15-17, 2007, for the Wyoming Landscape Conservation Initiative (WLCI) Science Workshop.

March 2, 2007

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) will co-host a workshop on ground water in the Española basin in Santa Fe, N.M. on March 6-7, 2007. The workshop includes a day of talks and posters and a full-day field trip highlighting fault zones and the Cerros del Rio Volcanic Field.

September 27, 2006

A team of 45 U.S. Geological Survey scientists has received a 2006 Service to America Medal for their search and rescue work in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

The scientists, led by Thomas Casadevall, USGS regional director in Denver, Colo., are from the USGS National Wetlands Research Center in Lafayette, La., and the USGS Louisiana Water Science Center in Baton Rouge, La.

July 13, 2006

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) today announced plans to allow the mapping centers located in Denver, Colorado, and Rolla, Missouri, to compete for the consolidated site of the National Geospatial Technical Operations Center (NGTOC). 

June 12, 2006

On a crisp day in late April near Great Salt Lake, Utah, two scientists witness the maiden voyage of a technology that will aid in the conservation of migratory birds by generating a new level of understanding about their movements.

June 5, 2006

Today, June 5, 2006, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) announces the recipients of the third year of the Mineral Resources External Research Program, a grant and/or cooperative agreement opportunity designed to support minerals research. 

May 4, 2006

One of every four fishes in streams of 12 western states is non-native, according to a U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) study published in November 2005 in the North American Journal of Fisheries Management. And, researchers found, it´s not just that there are a lot of non-native fishes but they are also widespread...

USGS science for a changing world logo
May 4, 2006

One of every four fishes in streams of 12 western states is non-native, according to a U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) study published in November 2005 in the North American Journal of Fisheries Management. 

March 23, 2006

If recent news about what chemical compounds have been found in streams and lakes today prompts thoughts that water quality was better way back when, think again.

USGS science for a changing world logo
March 23, 2006

A newly released study by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), prepared in cooperation with the City of Boulder, Colorado, provides an overview of water quality in the Boulder Creek Watershed today, and how it has changed over 160 years.

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.

USGS Science Centers in Region 7-Upper Colorado Basin conduct a large number of cooperative, co-funded science and monitoring projects with many other Federal, Tribal, State, and local agencies. Please scroll below to see the agencies with which those Science Centers currently have cooperative agreements.

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