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: 388
Date published: September 30, 2009
Status: Completed

Development of a fecal contamination monitoring and control strategy in upper Fountain Creek, Colorado

Fountain Creek is a high-gradient stream on the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains in Colorado. The headwaters of Fountain Creek drain Pikes Peak, a major destination for tourism. Fountain Creek is a drinking-water source for the City of Colorado Springs, Colorado, and is used for irrigation, recreation, and other purposes between Colorado Springs and the confluence with the Arkansas River at...

Contacts: David P Mau
Date published: June 21, 2009
Status: Completed

NAWQA High Plains Regional Groundwater Study

As part of the National Water Quality Assessment Program (NAWQA), the USGS has evaluated ground-water quality in the High Plains aquifer system. Beginning in 1999 and continuing for a period of 6 years, the High Plains Regional Groundwater Study intensively investigated the...

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

    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: 5,302
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    Year Published: 2020

    Origin and geochemistry of formation waters from the lower Eagle Ford Group, Gulf Coast Basin, south central Texas

    The lower Eagle Ford Group (LEFG) is one of the most productive continuous hydrocarbon plays in the United States but few associated produced waters data and minimal interpretation have been published. This effort focuses on results from compositional and isotopic data from 39 produced water samples collected from horizontal wells producing from...

    Engle, Mark A; Doolan, Colin A.; Pitman, Janet K.; Varonka, Matthew S.; Chenault, Jessica; Orem, William H.; McMahon, Peter B.; Jubb, Aaron M.

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    Year Published: 2020

    Conceptual framework and approach for conducting a geoenvironmental assessment of undiscovered uranium resources

    This report presents a novel conceptual framework and approach for conducting a geologically based environmental assessment, or geoenvironmental assessment, of undiscovered uranium resources within an area likely to contain uranium deposits. The framework is based on a source-to-receptor model that prioritizes the most likely contaminant sources,...

    Gallegos, Tanya J.; Walton-Day, Katherine; Seal, Robert R.
    Gallegos, T.J., Walton-Day, K., and Seal, R.R., II, 2020, Conceptual framework and approach for conducting a geoenvironmental assessment of undiscovered uranium resources: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2018–5104, 28 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/sir20185104.

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    Year Published: 2020

    Snow processes in mountain forests: Interception modeling for coarse-scale applications

    Snow interception by the forest canopy controls the spatial heterogeneity of subcanopy snow accumulation leading to significant differences between forested and nonforested areas at a variety of scales. Snow intercepted by the forest canopy can also drastically change the surface albedo. As such, accurately modeling snow interception is of...

    Helbig, N.; Moeser, C. David; Teich, M.; Vincent, L.; Lejeune, Y.; Sicart, J.-E.; Monnet, J.-M.

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    Year Published: 2020

    Baseline conditions and projected future hydro-climatic change in National Parks in the conterminous United States

    The National Park Service (NPS) manages hundreds of parks in the United States, and many contain important aquatic ecosystems and/or threatened and endangered aquatic species vulnerable to hydro-climatic change. Effective management of park resources under future hydro-climatic uncertainty requires information on both baseline conditions and the...

    Battaglin, William A.; Hay, Lauren; Lawrence, David J.; McCabe, Gregory J.; Norton, Parker A.

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    Year Published: 2020

    Influence of hydropower outflow characteristics affecting riverbank stability: The lower Osage River case (Missouri, USA)

    This research examined the influences of outflow characteristics affecting riverbank stability. The 130 km stretch of the lower Osage River downstream from Bagnell Dam (Missouri, USA) provided an excellent case study for this purpose. The integrated BSTEM model with the HEC-RAS model was accurately calibrated and validated with data from the U.S....

    Mohammed-Ali, Wesam; Mendoza, Cesar; Holmes, Robert R.

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    Year Published: 2020

    Quantifying the contribution of habitats and pathways to a spatially structured population facing environmental change

    The consequences of environmental disturbance and management are difficult to quantify for spatially structured populations because changes in one location carry through to other areas as a result of species movement. We develop a metric, G, for measuring the contribution of a habitat or pathway to network-wide population growth rate in the...

    Sample, Christine; Bieri, Joanna A.; Allen, Benjamin L. ; Dementieva, Yulia; Carson, Alyssa; Higgins, Connor; Piatt, Sadie; Qiu, Shirley; Stafford, Summer; Mattsson, Brady J.; Semmens, Darius J.; Diffendorfer, James E.; Thogmartin, Wayne E.

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    Year Published: 2020

    Modified GIC estimation using 3-D Earth conductivity

    Geomagnetically induced currents (GICs) are quasi-direct current (DC) electric currents that flow in technological conductors during geomagnetic storms. Extreme GICs are hazardous to man-made infrastructure. GICs enter and exit the technological systems, such as the electric power grid, at grounding points, and their magnitudes depend on the...

    Kelbert, Anna; Lucas, Greg M.

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    Year Published: 2020

    A global hybrid VS30 map with a topographic slope–based default and regional map insets

    Time-averaged shear wave velocity over the upper 30 m of the earth’s surface (VS30) is a key parameter for estimating ground motion amplification as both a predictive and a diagnostic tool for earthquake hazards. The first-order approximation of VS30 is commonly obtained through a topographic slope–based or terrain proxy due to the...

    Heath, David C.; Wald, David J.; Worden, C. Bruce; Thompson, Eric M.; Smoczyk, Gregory M.

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    Year Published: 2020

    Characterizing the diverse hydrogeology underlying rivers and estuaries using new floating transient electromagnetic methodology

    The hydrogeology below large surface water features such as rivers and estuaries is universally under-informed at the long reach to basin scales (tens of km+). This challenge inhibits the accurate modeling of fresh/saline groundwater interfaces and groundwater/surface water exchange patterns at management-relevant spatial extents. Here we...

    Lane, John W.; Briggs, Martin; Maurya, PK; White, Eric A.; Pedersen, JB; Auken, Esben; Terry, Neil; Minsley, Burke J; Kress, Wade; LeBlanc, Denis R.; Adams, Ryan F.; Johnson, Carole D.

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    Year Published: 2020

    Changes in climate and land cover affect seasonal streamflow forecasts in the Rio Grande headwaters

    Seasonal streamflow forecast bias, changes in climate, snowpack, and land cover, and the effects of these changes on relations between basin‐wide snowpack, SNOw TELemetry (SNOTEL) station snowpack, and seasonal streamflow were evaluated in the headwaters of the Rio Grande, Colorado. Results indicate that shifts in the seasonality of precipitation...

    Penn, Colin A.; Clow, David W.; Sexstone, Graham A.; Murphy, Sheila F.

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    Year Published: 2020

    The impact of sediment supply on the initiation and magnitude of runoff-generated debris flows

    Rainfall intensity‐duration (ID) thresholds are commonly used to assess the potential for runoff‐generated debris flows, but the sensitivity of these thresholds to sediment supply, which can change rapidly with time, is relatively unexplored. Furthermore, debris flows often self‐organize into distinct surges, but the factors controlling the...

    Tang, Hui; McGuire, Luke A.; Kean, Jason W.; Smith, Joel B.

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    Year Published: 2020

    Repeatable source, path, and site effects from the 2019 Ridgecrest M7.1 earthquake sequence

    We use a large instrumental dataset from the 2019 Ridgecrest earthquake sequence (Rekoske et al., 2019, 2020) to examine repeatable source‐, path‐, and site‐specific ground motions. A mixed‐effects analysis is used to partition total residuals relative to the Boore et al. (2014; hereafter, BSSA14) ground‐motion...

    Parker, Grace Alexandra; Baltay, Annemarie S.; Rekoske, John; Thompson, Eric M.

    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: 524
    Photo of an active oil and gas pad on Bureau of Land Management lands near Canyonlands National Park, Utah.
    November 30, 2014

    Active oil and gas pad near Canyonlands National Park

    Active oil and gas pad on Bureau of Land Management lands near Canyonlands National Park, Utah.

    View into Green River Basin from Wyoming Range, Dry Piney Basin
    November 11, 2014

    View into Green River Basin from Wyoming Range, Dry Piney Basin

    View into Green River Basin from Wyoming Range, Dry Piney Basin

    A managed wildfire burns in a Ponderosa pine stand, New Mexico
    October 8, 2014

    A managed wildfire burns in a Ponderosa pine stand, New Mexico

    A managed wildfire burns in a Ponderosa pine stand, New Mexico

    Earth As Art image of Utah, Arizona
    October 4, 2014

    Cloud Lightning

    What looks like lightning arcing through an ominous cloud is actually a dry landscape of rocky buttes in southern Utah and northeastern Arizona. River channels flow north from Arizona into the San Juan River. The light vertical feature at the top of the image is referred to as Comb Ridge, a jagged fold in the Earth's crust called a monocline.

    • Collection: Earth
    ...
    An archaeologist and fire scientist looking at the burned ground of a forest to assess impacts of wildfires on archaeological si
    September 30, 2014

    Assessing impacts to archaeological sites through collaboration

    Archaeologists and fire scientists collaborate to assess impacts of wildfires on archaeological sites in the Jemez Mountains, New Mexico

    hand holding a sherd, a fragment of an ancient vessel
    September 30, 2014

    How fire research can help reduce cultural resource fire damage

    Pre- and post-fire measurements of fire effects can help archaeologists and fire scientists determine how wildfires and prescribed fires impact cultural resources, and how management actions may reduce likelihood of damage

    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

    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: 362
    USGS
    December 7, 2000

    Neither a tree-dweller nor a night bird, and roughly the size of a chicken, the Gunnison sage-grouse is not a particularly secretive bird yet just recently has it been identified as a new species of bird.

    USGS
    November 1, 2000

    Native resident fish species, such as the Sacramento sucker and tule perch, are still commonly found in streams of the Sacramento River Basin in Northern California according to a recent U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) report. 

    USGS
    May 26, 2000

    New maps that combine the image characteristics of an aerial photograph with the geometric qualities of a map got a workout during recent efforts to contain wildfires in New Mexico.

    USGS
    March 29, 2000

    Recent deaths of endangered boreal toads in Rocky Mountain National Park have been linked to a chytrid fungus and are the second such diagnosis in Colorado, according to scientists with the U.S. Geological Survey.

    USGS
    October 27, 1999

    Dr. Mary Lou Zoback, a geophysicist with the U.S. Geological Survey and chief of that agency’s earthquake hazards program in Menlo Park, Calif., became the new president of the Geological Society of America (GSA), Wednesday, October 27, during the organization’s annual meeting at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver, Colo.

    USGS
    September 10, 1999

    Recent deaths of endangered boreal toads in one of the largest remaining populations in the southern Rocky Mountains have been linked to a chytrid fungus identified last year as being responsible for amphibian die-offs in Central America and Australia, according to pathologists at the USGS National Wildlife Health Center in Madison, Wis.

    USGS
    August 18, 1999

    Have you ever wondered about those rocks in your yard? Have you been curious about the dinosaurs that used to roam Colorado? Are you curious about how maps are made, what grizzly bears eat or how water is tested? 

    USGS
    July 28, 1999

    A new screening method, based on geology and climatology, has been shown to be a reliable means for predicting where lands in irrigated areas are susceptible to contamination from selenium, according to a report by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), in cooperation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Reclamation, and Bureau of Indian Affairs.

    USGS
    May 3, 1999

    Retired U.S. Geological Survey geologist E. Bartlett "Bart" Ekren of Ft. Collins, Colo. was awarded the Dibblee Medal by the Dibblee Geological Foundation, on Friday, April 30 at the annual Pacific Section Meeting of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists for his innovative, high quality, and societally important contributions to understanding the geology of the Western United States.

    USGS
    April 6, 1999

    Even the most complex household move would pale in comparison to the daunting task that faced the U.S. Geological Survey last week. Its National Water Quality Laboratory moved from Arvada, Colo. to the Denver Federal Center and a new facility which is leased by the USGS from the General Services Administration.

    USGS
    March 22, 1999

    Wendy Romney Hassibe, recently retired leader and manager with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) in Denver, Colo., died suddenly after suffering a stroke on March 11 in Salt Lake City, Utah.

    USGS
    May 28, 1998

    BOSTON--The carbon balance of wetlands in the southern Rocky Mountains may be very sensitive to small changes in local climate, according to recent research conducted by the U.S. Geological Survey.

    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.