Unified Interior Regions

Region 9: Columbia-Pacific Northwest

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Our scientists in the Columbia-Pacific Northwest Region conduct impartial, multi- and interdisciplinary research and monitoring on a large range of natural-resource issues that impact the quality of life of citizens of Idaho, Oregon, and Washington.

News

Date published: May 12, 2020

USGS Responds to Spring Flooding

U.S. Geological Survey field crews are measuring flooding across the country as spring weather is in full swing. Warming temperatures, increased precipitation and snowmelt have caused moderate to major flooding in the upper Midwest, East Coast, Central Plains and the Southeast portions of the country.

Date published: October 30, 2019

WaterWords-Aragonite

Keep up to speed with the latest USGS deep-sea research cruise with this seafloor syntax.

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Date published: June 5, 2020
Status: Active

EXPRESS: Expanding Pacific Research and Exploration of Submerged Systems

EXPRESS is a multi-year, multi-institution cooperative research campaign in deep sea areas of California, Oregon, and Washington, including the continental shelf and slope. EXPRESS data and information are intended to guide wise use of living marine resources and habitats, inform ocean energy and mineral resource decisions, and improve offshore hazard assessments. 

Date published: June 5, 2020
Status: Active

Coastal Habitats in Puget Sound

A Pacific Northwest icon, Puget Sound is the second-largest estuary in the United States. Its unique geology, climate, and nutrient-rich waters produce and sustain biologically productive coastal habitats. These same natural characteristics also contribute to a high quality of life that has led to growth in human population and urbanization. This growth has played a role in degrading the Sound...

Date published: June 2, 2020
Status: Active

PCMSC Marine Facility (Marfac)

Marfac is the operational arm of the Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center. The Marine Facility staff provides mechanical and electronics expertise for field operations along the coast, in the nearshore environment, and in the deeper waters of the ocean.

Contacts: Timothy Elfers
Date published: June 1, 2020
Status: Active

Coastal Storm Modeling System (CoSMoS)

The Coastal Storm Modeling System (CoSMoS) makes detailed predictions of storm-induced coastal flooding, erosion, and cliff failures over large geographic scales. CoSMoS was developed for hindcast studies, operational applications and future climate scenarios to provide emergency responders and coastal planners with critical storm-hazards information that can be used to increase public safety...

Date published: May 1, 2020
Status: Active

U.S. West Coast and Alaska Marine Geohazards

Marine geohazards are sudden and extreme events beneath the ocean that threaten coastal populations. Such underwater hazards include earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, landslides, and tsunamis.

Devastating earthquakes in Japan (2011) and Chile (2010) that spawned pan-oceanic tsunamis sent a sobering reminder that U.S. coastlines are also vulnerable to natural disasters that originate in...

Date published: February 25, 2020
Status: Active

Hazards: EXPRESS

Marine geohazards including earthquakes, landslides, and tsunamis lie offshore of densely populated areas of California, Oregon, and Washington. One goal of EXPRESS is to improve assessments of these hazards.

Date published: January 30, 2020
Status: Active

Using Video Imagery to Study Coastal Change: Whidbey Island

From May of 2018 through November of 2019, USGS scientists collected imagery from video cameras overlooking the coast along a beach on Whidbey Island, Island County at the northern boundary of Puget Sound in western Washington.

    Contacts: Eric Grossman
    Date published: January 29, 2020
    Status: Active

    Remote Sensing Coastal Change

    We use remote-sensing technologies—such as aerial photography, satellite imagery, and lidar (laser-based surveying)—to measure coastal change along U.S. shorelines.

    Date published: October 23, 2019
    Status: Active

    Drivers and Impacts of North Pacific Climate Variability

    Climate model forecasts indicate an increase in extreme hydrologic events, including floods and droughts, for California and the western U.S. in the future. To better understand what the consequences of this future change in climate may be, USGS scientists are studying the frequency, magnitude, and impacts of past hydroclimate variability and extremes in the region. This project produces well-...

    Date published: October 17, 2019
    Status: Active

    Ecosystems: EXPRESS

    The continental shelf and slope offshore California, Oregon, and Washington are home to deep-sea corals, chemosynthetic communities, and other sensitive habitats that could be impacted by the development of energy and mineral resources. The EXPRESS campaign will map and...

    Date published: October 17, 2019
    Status: Active

    Resources: EXPRESS

    Along the U.S. west coast, the Pacific Ocean, ocean floor, and winds above contain potentially vast energy and mineral resources. Developing these resources safely and wisely requires detailed information for each area of interest. One goal of EXPRESS is to inform ocean...

    Date published: September 27, 2019
    Status: Active

    USGS science supporting the Elwha River Restoration Project

    The Elwha River Restoration Project...

    ... has reconnected the water, salmon, and sediment of a pristine river and coast of the Olympic Peninsula of Washington. Coordinated by the National Park Service, restoration of the Elwha River included the removal of two large dams that had blocked salmon and sediment passage for almost 100 years. The largest dam removal in U.S. history began in...

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    Date published: October 1, 2019

    Reanalysis of Selected Archived NURE-HSSR Sediment and Soil Samples from Arizona, California, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, and Utah

    Beginning in November of 2015, a project was undertaken to reanalyze approximately 60,000 archived sample splits collected as part of the National Uranium Resource Evaluation (NURE) Hydrogeochemical and Stream Sediment Reconnaissance (HSSR) project from selected areas in Arizona, California, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, and Utah. A small amount (approximately 0.25

    Date published: September 26, 2019

    Data for assessing the susceptibility of groundwater used for drinking water supply from selected principal aquifers of the Western United States, 2004-2018

    Groundwater age distribution and susceptibility to natural and anthropogenic contaminants were assessed for selected principal aquifers of the Western United States: the Central Valley aquifer system (CVAL), the Basin and Range basin-fill aquifers (BNRF), the Rio Grande aquifer system (RIOG), the High Plains aquifer (HPAQ), the Columbia Plateau basaltic-rock aquifers (

    Date published: September 6, 2019

    Drainage basins and characteristics for selected streamgages within the Southern Rockies Landscape Conservation Cooperative domain

    Streamflow and basin-characteristic data are needed for a variety of scientific applications including estimation of flow in ungaged basins and hydro-ecological classification of rivers. The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), in cooperation with the Bureau of Reclamation and the Southern Rockies Landscape Conservation Cooperative (SRLCC), selected a subset of streamgages across the SRLC

    Date published: September 5, 2019

    Geodetic Data for USGS Benchmark Glaciers: Orthophotos, Digital Elevation Models, and Glacier Boundaries

    Since the late 1950s, the USGS has maintained a long-term glacier mass-balance program at three North American glaciers. Measurements began on South Cascade Glacier, WA in 1958, expanding to Gulkana and Wolverine glaciers, AK in 1966, and later Sperry Glacier, MT in 2005. Additional measurements have been made on Lemon Creek Glacier, AK to compliment data collected by the Juneau Ice

    Date published: July 16, 2019

    High Altitude Weather Station Data at USGS Benchmark Glaciers

    Since the late 1950s, the USGS has maintained a long-term glacier mass-balance program at three North American glaciers. Measurements began on South Cascade Glacier, WA in 1958, expanding to Gulkana and Wolverine glaciers, AK in 1966, and later Sperry Glacier, MT in 2005. Additional measurements have been made on Lemon Creek Glacier, AK to compliment data collected by the Juneau Ice

    Date published: June 10, 2019

    Beach topography and nearshore bathymetry of the Columbia River littoral cell, Washington and Oregon

    This data release presents beach topography and nearshore bathymetry data from repeated surveys performed by a team of scientists from the USGS, Washington State Department of Ecology, and Oregon State University in the Columbia River littoral cell (CRLC), Washington and Oregon. The CRLC extends approximately 165 kilometers between Point Grenville, WA, and Tillamook, OR.

    Date published: April 19, 2019

    Puget Sound Real-Time Water-Level Data

    The chart shows the most recent 7 days of data at all Puget Sound water level sites with available data. Use mouse scroll wheel to zoom and drag to pan. Sites include Bellingham, Oak Harbor, Edmonds, Lofall, Steilacoom, and Olympia.

    Date published: January 1, 2019

    Nearshore bathymetry data from the Elwha River delta, Washington, July 2017, collected from personal watercraft

    This part of the data release presents bathymetry data from the Elwha River delta collected in July 2017 using two personal watercraft (PWCs). The PWCs were equipped with single beam echosounders and survey-grade global navigation satellite system (GNSS) receivers.

    Date published: January 1, 2019

    Topography data from the Elwha River delta, Washington, July 2017

    This part of the data release presents topography data from the Elwha River delta collected in July 2017. Topography data were collected on foot with global navigation satellite system (GNSS) receivers mounted on backpacks.

    Date published: January 1, 2019

    Wave observations from bottom-mounted pressure sensors in Bellingham Bay, Washington from Dec 2017 to Jan 2018

    RBRduo pressure and temperature sensors (early 2015 generation), mounted on aluminum frames, were moored in shallow (< 6 m) water depths in Bellingham Bay, Washington, to capture wave heights and periods. Continuous pressure fluctuations are transformed into surface-wave observations of wave heights, periods, and frequency spectra at 30-minute intervals.

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    CITE
    January 10, 2018

    Scientists at WERC's Dixon Field station have fitted Cinnamon Teal with GPS backpacks. Using R, the telemetry locations are displayed on an image every two weeks.

    CITE
    January 10, 2018

    Scientists at WERC's Dixon Field station have fitted Cinnamon Teal with GPS backpacks. Using R, the telemetry locations are displayed on an image every two weeks.

    CITE
    January 10, 2018

    Scientists at WERC's Dixon Field station have fitted Cinnamon Teal with GPS backpacks. Using R, the telemetry locations are displayed on an image every two weeks.

    Digital Elevation Model in the Atchafalaya Basin, LA
    April 19, 2016

    The 3DEP products and services available through The National Map consist of 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.

    Klamath lake landsat
    February 1, 2010

    The image is a mosaic of nine scenes from Landsat 5 at a resolution of 30 meters on 07/22/2005, 08/26/2006, 06/17/2007, 07/05/2007, 08/18/2009, 08/27/2009, and 09/26/2009.

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    multicolored map of Ocean Shores, Washington
    April 13, 2017

    The Pedestrian Evacuation Analyst is an ArcGIS extension that estimates how long it would take for someone to travel on foot out of a hazardous area that was threatened by a sudden event such as a tsunami, flash flood, or volcanic lahar. It takes into account the elevation changes and the different types of landcover that a person would encounter along the way.

    Hailey, Idaho
    August 22, 2016

    The R package wrv is for processing the groundwater-flow model of the Wood River Valley (WRV) aquifer system, south-central Idaho. The groundwater-flow model is described in the associated model report and model archive. Included in the package is MODFLOW-USG version 1.3, a U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) computer code that solves the groundwater-flow equation.

    Upper Klamath Lake
    April 3, 2013

    The Shoreline Management Tool—An ArcMap Tool for Analyzing Water Depth, Inundated Area, Volume, and Selected Habitats, with an Example for the Lower Wood River Valley, Oregon

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    Verifying Bridge Scour Sonar Accuracy
    May 21, 2020

    Verifying Bridge Scour Sonar Accuracy

    Hydrologic technician Russ Miller navigates a remote-controlled acoustic Doppler current profiler into position to measure streeambed elevation at a highway bridge over the Payette River near Letha, Idaho. Technicians from the USGS Idaho Water Science Center used the ADCP measurements to verify the accuracy of two sonar devices installed on the bridge that transmit real-

    ...
    January 2, 2020

    Yellowstone Volcano Observatory Monthly Update: January 2, 2020

    Mike Poland, Scientist-in-Charge of the Yellowstone Volcano Observatory, gives an overview of activity at Yellowstone during 2019, with an emphasis on the month of December.

    Map showing ice cover in the Yellowstone region
    December 31, 2019

    Map showing ice cover in the Yellowstone region

    Map showing ice cover in the Yellowstone region. Light shaded areas bounded by black and red lines indicate areas covered during the Pinedale (about 20,000-15,000 years ago) and Bull Lake (about 150,000 years ago) glaciations, respectively. Blue lines are contours in thousands of feet on the maximum reconstructed Pinedale glacier surface. The circled numbers schematically

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    December 23, 2019

    Image of the Week - Festive Fields in North Carolina

    The smell of a fresh cut Christmas tree can evoke visions of majestic evergreen forests teeming with winter wildlife. In truth, more than half of U.S. Christmas trees come from farms in Oregon, North Carolina, or Michigan. Cut Christmas Trees area commodity, tracked by the U.S. Department of Agriculture just like corn or soybeans. These USDA aerial images show tree harvest

    Depth of earthquakes at Mount Rainier 2010 to 2019
    December 19, 2019

    Mount Rainier: Earthquakes in the Hydrothermal System

    Earthquakes at Mount Rainier from 2010 to 2019. As shown in the graphic, fluids from the magmatic system beneath the volcano rise through existing cracks and weaknesses in the crust. Along with rainwater and ice/snow melt, these fluids combine to create a hydrothermal system within the volcano. When pressurized fluids move along faults in the shallow subsurface, they

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    rattlesnake held up in the air by snake tongs
    September 21, 2019

    Great Basin rattlesnake held by snake tongs

    Great Basin rattlesnake (Crotalus oreganus lutosus) held by snake tongs. The Great Basin rattlesnake is the only venomous snake in Idaho.

    woman using a syringe to collect blood from a rattlesnake
    September 21, 2019

    Collecting a blood sample from a rattlesnake

    Boise State University Master’s student Kristina Parker uses a syringe to collect blood from a Great Basin rattlesnake (Crotalus oreganus lutosus). The blood’s ribonucleic acid, or RNA will be analyzed to track genetic change in the snake from habitat disturbances. RNA, along with deoxyribonucleic acid – or DNA, are the molecules that carry genetic information.

    two women use snake tongs to hold down a rattlesnake
    September 21, 2019

    Catching a rattlesnake with snake tongs

    Boise State University Master’s student Kristina Parker and a volunteer use snake tongs to catch and hold down a rattlesnake.

    Woman carries a rattlesnake with its head in a tube in one hand and snake tongs in the other
    September 21, 2019

    Carrying a tubed rattlesnake

    Boise State University Master’s student Kristina Parker carries a Great Basin rattlesnake (Crotalus oreganus lutosus). The snake’s head is enclosed in a plastic tube to allow her to safely handle it during the biological sample collection process.

    rattlesnake held by snake tongs with head in a plastic tube
    September 21, 2019

    Tubing a rattlesnake

    A Great Basin rattlesnake (Crotalus oreganus lutosus) is coaxed into a plastic tube. This plastic tube allows researchers to safely handle the rattlesnake during biological sample collection.

    Alex Hatem and Borah Peak
    September 18, 2019

    Alex stands in front of two flavors of Borah Peak

    Alex Hatem stands in front of 1983 Borah Peak rupture with actual Borah Peak in the background. 

    August 26, 2019

    “Science is amazing”: GeoGirls explore Mount St. Helens

    During Aug. 4-8, 2019, U.S. Geological Survey women scientists, university researchers and Mount St. Helens Institute staff led 25 middle-school girls from Washington and Oregon in the fifth annual “GeoGirls” outdoor volcano science program at Mount St. Helens, Washington.
     

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    A USGS field team measures spring floodwaters at Chesapeake bay's largest tributary.
    May 12, 2020

    U.S. Geological Survey field crews are measuring flooding across the country as spring weather is in full swing. Warming temperatures, increased precipitation and snowmelt have caused moderate to major flooding in the upper Midwest, East Coast, Central Plains and the Southeast portions of the country.

    USGS scientist Nancy Prouty collects deep-sea water samples as part of the EXPRESS 2019 expedition
    October 30, 2019

    Keep up to speed with the latest USGS deep-sea research cruise with this seafloor syntax.

    Deep-sea organisms
    October 16, 2019

    Keep up to speed with the latest USGS deep-sea research cruise with this seafloor syntax.

    Mount Hood, Oregon in early Summer....
    September 18, 2019

    New sensor network will help safeguard lives and property, and because of the relatively small footprint, there will be very little disturbance to the environment and wildlife in the area.

    Girls standing in a large circle around a volcano monitoring station
    September 11, 2019

    Twenty-five middle school-age GeoGirls spent five days conducting hands-on research and interacting with female scientists, educators and older students, all while learning about active volcanoes, natural hazards and modern scientific monitoring technologies below the summit of Mount St. Helens.

    headshot of Sue Phillips
    September 9, 2019

    CORVALLIS, Ore. — The U.S. Geological Survey has selected Sue Phillips as the new center director of the Forest and Rangeland Ecosystem Science Center. FRESC is headquartered in Corvallis, Oregon, with research offices in Corvallis; Boise, Idaho; Seattle, Washington; and Olympic National Park in Port Angeles, Washington.

    Group of girls look at river
    July 29, 2019

    VANCOUVER, Wash. — Twenty-five middle school girls from Washington and Oregon are participating in the fifth annual GeoGirls outdoor volcano science program at Mount St. Helens, jointly organized by the U.S. Geological Survey and the Mount St. Helens Institute.

    SR530 OSO Landslide Sediment Transport
    March 20, 2019

    The Oso (SR 530) Landslide in Washington - Five Years Later 

    The following is an updated version of a story first published in March of 2015.

    two teenage girls facing camera, one flashing peace sign. Outdoors
    October 15, 2018

    Mount St. Helens volcano loomed in the distance as 25 middle-school “GeoGirls” signed in, received a name tag, dropped their overnight gear and gathered in a grassy open space to meet camp staff, women scientists and volunteers.

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