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: July 1, 2016
Status: Active

Surveillance for the Presence of White-Nose Syndrome in the Bat Community at El Malpais National Monument, New Mexico

In 1999 and 2000, FORT conducted a survey of bats at El Malpais National Monument and adjacent lands. During this study, several species of bats were documented, including some that are known to use caves or lava-tube formations as roosts. In the winter of 2006–2007, the fungus-caused disease known as “white-nose syndrome” (WNS) began devastating populations of hibernating bat species that use...

Date published: July 1, 2016
Status: Active

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
Status: Archived


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...

Date published: June 27, 2016
Status: Active


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 core research on linked open data, vocabularies, repository services, security, code management, and handling of large datasets. ScienceBase addresses not only data integration...

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.

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

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: 279
Date published: December 21, 2016

Groundwater Data for Colorado

The USGS annually monitors groundwater levels in thousands of wells in the United States. Groundwater level data are collected and stored as either discrete field-water-level measurements or as continuous time-series data from automated recorders.

Date published: November 21, 2016

Magnetotelluric sounding locations, stations 1 to 22, Southern San Luis Valley, Colorado, 2006

This dataset includes the locations of magnetotelluric (MT) stations collected in 2006 in the Southern San Luis Valley, Colorado. The U.S. Geological Survey conducted a series of multidisciplinary studies, including MT surveys, in the San Luis Valley to improve understanding of the hydrogeology of the Santa Fe Group and the nature of the sedimentary deposits comprising the principal gro

Date published: October 26, 2016

Sagebrush Mineral Resource Assessment Data Sources

List of USGS information resources used in carrying out the Sagebrush Mineral Resource Assessment in 2016. Portal to an interactive map and OGC WMS service.

Date published: October 26, 2016

Locatable Mineral Assessment Tracts for the U.S. Geological Survey Sagebrush Mineral-Resource Assessment Project

The polygon (vector) feature class represents locatable mineral resource assessment tracts (tracts of land) associated with the Department of the Interior (DOI) Sagebrush Focal Areas (SFAs) in Montana, Wyoming and Utah, central Idaho, and the Oregon-Nevada-Idaho border area. The mineral-resources tracts are geographic areas that were assessed by the USGS and were determined

Date published: September 28, 2016

USMIN Mineral-Resource Data for the U.S. Geological Survey Sagebrush Mineral-Resource Assessment Project

The point and polygon layers within this geodatabase represent locations of mineral occurrences, mines, mining and mineral districts and sites of active mineral exploration within or near the Department of the Interior (DOI) Sagebrush Focal Areas in Montana, Wyoming and Utah, central Idaho, and the Oregon-Nevada-Idaho border area. The data were compiled by the U.S. Geological Survey

Date published: August 4, 2016

Prospect- and Mine-Related Features from U.S. Geological Survey 7.5- and 15-Minute Topographic Quadrangle Maps of the Western United States

These data are part of a larger USGS project to develop an updated geospatial database of mines, mineral deposits and mineral regions in the United States. Mine and prospect-related symbols, such as those used to represent prospect pits, mines, adits, dumps, tailings, etc., hereafter referred to as “mine” symbols or features, are currently being digitized on a st

Date published: July 29, 2016

Bureau of Land Management's Land and Mineral Legacy Rehost System (LR2000) mineral use cases for the Sagebrush Mineral-Resource Assessment, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, and Wyoming

In 2015, approximately 10 million acres of Federal lands across six western states were proposed for withdrawal from mineral entry by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in order to conserve habitat critical for the greater sage-grouse. As a result, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) launched the Sagebrush Mineral-Resource Assessment (SaMiRA) project in late-2015 to provide BLM wit

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...

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: 5,264
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Year Published: 2020

Sediment record of mining legacy and water quality from a drinking-water reservoir, Aztec, New Mexico, USA

The record of mining legacy and water quality was investigated in sediments collected in 2018 from four trenches in the Aztec, New Mexico, drinking-water reservoir #1. Bulk chemical analysis of sediments with depth in the reservoir revealed variable trace-element (uranium, vanadium, arsenic, copper, sulfur, silver, lead, and zinc) concentrations,...

Blake, Johanna M.; Brown, Jeb E.; Ferguson, Christina Lynn; Bixby, Rebecca J.; Delay, Naomi T.

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Year Published: 2020

Assessment of dissolved-selenium concentrations and loads in the Lower Gunnison River Basin, Colorado, as part of the Selenium Management Program, 2011–17

The Gunnison Basin Selenium Management Program implemented a water-quality monitoring network in 2011 to measure concentrations of selenium in the lower Gunnison River Basin in Colorado. Selenium is a trace element that bioaccumulates in aquatic food chains. Selenium is essential for life, but elevated amounts can cause reproductive failure,...

Henneberg, Mark F.
Henneberg, M.F., 2020, Assessment of dissolved-selenium concentrations and loads in the Lower Gunnison River Basin, Colorado, as part of the Selenium Management Program, 2011–17: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2020–1078, 21 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/ofr20201078

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Year Published: 2020

Reducing water scarcity by improving water productivity in the United States

Nearly one-sixth of U.S. river basins are unable to consistently meet societal water demands while also providing sufficient water for the environment. Water scarcity is expected to intensify and spread as populations increase, new water demands emerge, and climate changes. Improving water productivity by meeting realistic benchmarks for all water...

Marston, Landon; Lamsal, Gambhir; Ancona, Zachary H.; Caldwell, Peter V; Richter, Brian; Ruddell, Benjamin; Rushforth, Richard; Davis, Kyle F.

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Year Published: 2020

Measuring basal force fluctuations of debris flows using seismic recordings and empirical green's functions

We present a novel method for measuring the fluctuating basal normal and shear stresses of debris flows by using along‐channel seismic recordings. Our method couples a simple parameterization of a debris flow as a seismic source with direct measurements of seismic path effects using empirical Green's functions generated with a force hammer. We...

Allstadt, Kate; Farin, Maxime; Iverson, Richard M.; Obryk, Maciej; Kean, Jason W.; Tsai, Victor C.; Rapstine, Thomas D; Logan, Matthew

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Year Published: 2020

Hydrothermal alteration on composite volcanoes: Mineralogy, hyperspectral imaging and aeromagnetic study of Mt Ruapehu, New Zealand

Prolonged volcanic activity can induce surface weathering and hydrothermal alteration that is a primary control on edifice instability, posing a complex hazard with its challenges to accurately forecast and mitigate. This study uses a frequently active composite volcano, Mt Ruapehu, New Zealand, to develop a conceptual model of surface weathering...

Kereszturi, Gabor; Schaefer, Lauren Nicole; Miller, Craig A.; Mead, Stuart

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Year Published: 2020

The recurrence interval of post-fire debris-flow generating rainfall in the southwestern United States

In the southwestern United States, post-fire debris flows commonly initiate during short bursts of intense rainfall. To date, the frequency of the rainfall rates has not been quantified. Here, we combine an existing database of debris-flow occurrences and corresponding peak storm intensities with a geospatial library of rainfall recurrence...

Staley, Dennis M.; Kean, Jason W.; Rengers, Francis K.

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Year Published: 2020

Groundwater levels in the Denver Basin bedrock aquifers of Douglas County, Colorado, 2011–19

Municipal and domestic water users in Douglas County, Colorado, rely on groundwater from the bedrock aquifers in the Denver Basin aquifer system as part of their water supply. The four principal Denver Basin bedrock aquifers are, from shallowest to deepest, the Dawson aquifer (divided administratively into “upper” and “lower” Dawson aquifers in...

Malenda, Helen F.; Penn, Colin A.
Malenda, H.F., and Penn, C.A., 2020, Groundwater levels in the Denver Basin bedrock aquifers of Douglas County, Colorado, 2011–19: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2020–5076, 44 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/sir20205076.

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Year Published: 2020

Hillslopes in humid-tropical climates aren’t always wet: Implications for hydrologic response and landslide initiation in Puerto Rico, USA

The devastating impacts of the widespread flooding and landsliding in Puerto Rico following the September 2017 landfall of Hurricane Maria highlight the increasingly extreme atmospheric disturbances and enhanced hazard potential in mountainous humid‐tropical climate zones. Long‐standing conceptual models for hydrologically driven hazards in Puerto...

Thomas, Matthew A.; Mirus, Benjamin B.; Smith, Joel B.

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Year Published: 2020

EMD Gas Hydrates Committee annual report

Global research on the potential commercial viability of gas extraction from gas hydrates is continuing, predominantly in Asia and in the United States, where recent efforts have focused on the exploration and characterization of gas hydrate petroleum systems and conducting controlled production tests of gas hydrate deposits hosted in mostly sand-...

Collett, Timothy

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Year Published: 2020

Constraining central Himalayan (Nepal) fault geometry through integrated thermochronology and thermokinematic modeling

Constraining the subsurface structural geometry of the central Himalaya continues to prove difficult, even after the 2015 Gorkha earthquake and the resulting insights into the trajectory of the Main Himalayan thrust (MHT). To this end, we apply a thermokinematic model to evaluate four possible balanced cross section geometries based on three...

Ghoshal, Surydoy; McQuarrie, Nadine; Robinson, Delores; Adhikari, D.P.; Morgan, Leah E.; Ehlers, Todd A.

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Year Published: 2020

Now trending … Earthquake information

The U.S. Geological Survey Earthquake Hazards Program has overall successfully fulfilled its mission of providing timely earthquake information via web applications and other methods. Imagine a single month of earthquake data delivery, serving 3.6 billion total data requests, including 29 million pageviews by 7.1 million users, 606 million...

Leith, William S.; Fee, Jeremy; Martinez, Eric M.; Lastowka, Lynda A.

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Year Published: 2020

Financial risk innovation: Development of earthquake parametric triggers for contingent credit instruments

The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) has developed financial risk management strategies for natural disasters focusing primarily on the emergency phase of the catastrophes where financial support is more cost-efficient and certainly most needed. The main IDB financial instrument to provide liquidity in the aftermath of catastrophic events is...

Collich, Guillermo; Rosillo, Rafael; Martinez, Juan; Wald, David J.; Durante, Juan José

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
February 23, 2016

Culvert trap and bait

Biologists use road-killed ungulates such as deer, elk, or bison as bait in the traps. 

February 23, 2016

At the capture site

At capture sites with road access, biologists drive to a trap with a bear inside to set up for collecting biological data. 

February 23, 2016

An immobilized bear.

Biologists use a syringe pole to immobilize the captured grizzly bear.  It takes approximately 10 minutes for a bear to become immobilized.  

February 23, 2016

Ready to remove from the trap

Biologists have immobilized the bear and prepare to lift it out of the trap and onto the tarp for data collection.  Once on the tarp the bear is easier to move. 

February 23, 2016

Preparing for collection of samples

A biologist prepares to collect biological information from the bear they have captured.  Biologists collect hair samples for genetic analysis, weigh the bear,  and gather numerous measurements of the body, such as the head, paws, claws, teeth, etc.  Overall condition of the bear is assessed as well, including a body fat measurement.

February 23, 2016

Getting the bear's weight

One of the first measurements taken is the bear’s weight using a quadpod and electronic scale. 

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


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 science for a changing world logo
April 2, 2009

The U.S. Geological Survey has updated its assessment of in-place oil shale resources in the Piceance Basin in western Colorado.
Development of oil shale has significant technological and environmental challenges and no economic extraction method is currently available in the U.S. Therefore it is unknown how much of the assessed in-place (total amount present) resource is recoverable.

USGS science for a changing world logo
February 17, 2009

Dr. Stanley L. Ponce has been named Regional Director for the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Central Region based in Denver.

USGS science for a changing world logo
February 2, 2009

Striking new glacier retreat photographs created by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) visually illustrate the effects of climate change on Glacier National Park.
The glacier images reveal dramatic glacial decline over a century and are in line with predictions that all of the glaciers in Glacier National Park will disappear by 2030.

USGS science for a changing world logo
December 18, 2008

Dr. Julio Betancourt, a U.S. Geological Survey senior scientist, was recently awarded a prestigious 2008 Presidential Rank Award. Betancourt, who has conducted groundbreaking research in how climate variability affects ecosystems, is also an adjunct professor at the University of Arizona, where he received his graduate degrees.


December 2, 2008

The Map Store @ USGS is offering free maps to customers for use as holiday wrapping paper.

October 23, 2008

Citizens should not be alarmed if they witness a peculiar low-flying helicopter, with a large beam extending from its nose, flying over Poncha Springs in the next couple of weeks.

October 9, 2008

Local planetary geologist Chris Okubo is on a mission to understand the past roles of groundwater and faulting on Mars by studying similar locations on Earth.  Okubo works in the Astrogeology Research Program for the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) in Flagstaff.

September 30, 2008

Do you ever wonder what has happened beneath your feet? Curious about what might occur in years to come?

June 17, 2008

Long-term trends in landscape conditions have significantly reduced sagebrush habitat and populations of greater sage-grouse, according to a new study examining the bird's chances of survival.

May 30, 2008

New research suggests that how often Old Faithful and other Yellowstone geysers erupt may depend on annual rainfall patterns.

April 21, 2008

The Animas River Stakeholders Group was recognized with the Department of the Interior's Cooperative Conservation Award today for significant improvements to water quality and aquatic habitat in Colorado's Animas River watershed.

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.

Filter Total Items: 324