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Publications recently added to the Pubs Warehouse

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Hurricane Matthew: Predictions, observations, and an analysis of coastal change

Released October 16, 2019 17:40 EST

2019, Open-File Report 2019-1095

Justin J. Birchler, Kara S. Doran, Joseph W. Long, Hilary F. Stockdon

Hurricane Matthew, the strongest Atlantic hurricane of the 2016 hurricane season, made land-fall south of McClellanville, S.C., around 1500 Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) on October 8, 2016. Hurricane Matthew affected the States of Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina along the U.S. Atlantic coastline. Numerous barrier islands were breached, and the erosion of beaches and dunes occurred along most of the South Atlantic coast. The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) fore-casted potential coastal-change effects—including dune erosion and overwash that can threaten coastal resources and infrastructure—to assist with pre-storm management decisions. Following the storm, oblique aerial photography was collected, and lidar topographic survey missions were flown. These two datasets were used to document the changes that resulted from the storm and to validate coastal change forecasts. Comparisons of pre- and post-storm photographs were used to characterize the nature, extent, and spatial variability of hurricane-induced coastal changes. Analyses of pre- and post-storm lidar eleva-tions were used to quantify magnitudes of change in shoreline positions, dune elevations, and beach volumes. Erosion was observed along the coast from Florida to North Carolina; however, the coastal response exhibited extensive spatial variability, as would be expected over such a large region.

Geologic map of the Ferncliff and Louisa quadrangles, Louisa, Fluvanna, and Goochland Counties, Virginia

Released October 16, 2019 15:55 EST

2019, Scientific Investigations Map 3429

William C. Burton, Richard W. Harrison, Helen F. Malenda, Frank J. Pazzaglia, E. Allen Crider Jr.

The area encompassed by the geologic map of the Ferncliff and Louisa, Va., 7.5-minute quadrangles includes the hypothetical surface projection of the Quail fault, which is the subsurface fault that was responsible for the 2011 magnitude 5.8 (M5.8) Mineral, Va., earthquake. The mapping shows that the Quail fault appears to have reactivated the Harris Creek fault, a Paleozoic fault that has been mapped and named in the study area and marks the boundary between the Ellisville pluton neck and Chopawamsic Formation. The Harris Creek fault was also reactivated in the early Mesozoic. Another result of the mapping is a well-defined, southwest to northeast, narrow zone of metagraywacke and ultramafic rocks (both part of the informal Shores complex) that marks the closure of a small ocean basin and the accretion of the 468- to 460-Ma (mega-annum) Ordovician Chopawamsic volcanic arc (part of the Carolina terrane) onto Laurentia. The accretion zone is truncated by the Ordovician-Silurian (444 Ma) Ellisville pluton; the 444-Ma age of the pluton therefore represents the minimum age of the accretion zone and indicates likely closure of the ocean basin during the Taconic orogeny. Across the map area, the metamorphic grade ranges from lower-greenschist facies in the northwest to amphibolite facies in the southeast. 40Ar/39Ar age-dating across this metamorphic gradient indicates that Taconic metamorphism was overprinted by late-Paleozoic Alleghanian metamorphism that was accompanied by refolding and faulting of Taconic structures. Quaternary terraces mapped along the South Anna River record a long history of incision and downcutting. A continuing question is how much of this downcutting was a result of neotectonic uplift in the central Virginia seismic zone.

This report consists of a single geologic map sheet and an online geographic information systems database that includes bedrock geologic unit contacts and polygons, surficial geologic polygons, faults, and structural geologic information.

Economic valuation of landsat imagery

Released October 16, 2019 10:00 EST

2019, Open-File Report 2019-1112

Crista L. Straub, Stephen R. Koontz, John B. Loomis

Landsat satellites have been operating since 1972, providing a continuous global record of the Earth’s land surface. The imagery is currently available at no cost through the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). A previous USGS study estimated that Landsat imagery provided users an annual benefit of $2.19 billion in 2011, with U.S. users accounting for $1.79 billion of those benefits. That study, published in 2013, surveyed users in 2012 about Landsat imagery they retrieved in 2011. But since then, many changes have altered the demand for and supply of remotely sensed imagery and have made the analysis complex. This report updates these estimates, surveying users in 2018 about Landsat images they retrieved in 2017. The report discusses changes in the value per scene in 2017 when compared to 2011 and analyzes the potential consequences of charging fees. Landsat imagery has been available at no cost to the public since 2008, resulting in the distribution of millions of scenes each subsequent year. In addition, tens of thousands of Landsat users have registered with the USGS to access the data. Considering the number of Landsat data users worldwide and the broad range of Landsat data applications, it is difficult to quantify the cascading benefits to society provided by Landsat imagery. The value of Landsat imagery to these users was demonstrated by the substantial aggregated annual economic benefit from the imagery. Landsat imagery provided domestic and international users an estimated $3.45 billion in benefits in 2017 compared to $2.19 billion in 2011, with U.S. users accounting for $2.06 billion of those benefits. Much of the societal value of Landsat stems from the free and open data policy that allows users to access as much imagery as is necessary for their analysis at no cost. Charging even small fees would result in a loss of users and, most likely, a steep decline in the amount of imagery downloaded. It is reasonable that more than 50 percent of users will decline to pay. The consequences of charging for Landsat imagery would be felt by downstream users as well, through increased prices for value-added products as well as more intangible effects, such as reduced monitoring of environmental hazards.

Stormquakes

Released October 16, 2019 07:01 EST

2019, Geophysical Research Letters

Wenyuan Fan, Jeffrey McGuire, C. D. de Groot-Hedlin, M. A. H. Hedlin, S. Coats, J. W. Fiedler

Seismic signals from ocean-solid Earth interactions are ubiquitously recorded on our planet. However, these wavefields are typically incoherent in most frequency bands limiting their utilization for understanding ocean dynamics or solid Earth properties. In contrast, we find that during large storms such as hurricanes and Nor’easters the interaction of long-period ocean waves with shallow seafloor features located near the edge of continental shelfs, known as ocean banks, excites coherent transcontinental Rayleigh wave packets in the 20 to 50 s period band. These “stormquakes” migrate coincident with the storms, but are spatiotemporally focused seismic point sources with equivalent earthquake magnitudes that can be greater than 3.5. Stormquakes thus provide new coherent sources to investigate Earth structure in locations that typically lack both seismic instrumentation and earthquakes. Moreover, they provide a new geophysical observable with high spatial and temporal resolution with which to investigate ocean wave dynamics during large storms.

Map showing geology, oil and gas fields, and geologic provinces of Europe including Turkey

Released October 15, 2019 12:50 EST

1997, Open-File Report 97-470-I

Mark J. Pawlewicz, Douglas W. Steinshouer, Donald L. Gautier

Introduction

This digitally compiled map includes geology, geologic provinces, and oil and gas fields of Europe including Turkey. The maps are part of a worldwide series of maps on CD-ROM released by the U.S. Geological Survey's World Energy Project. The goal of the project is to assess the undiscovered, technically recoverable oil and gas resources of the world. For data management purposes the world was divided into eight energy regions corresponding approximately to the economic regions of of the world as defined by the U.S. Department of State. Europe (Region 4) includes Albania, Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Malta, Monaco, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, San Marino, Serbia and Montenegro, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom and Vatican. The depicted portion of Region 2 includes Turkey.

Plant and insect herbivore community variation across the Paleocene–Eocene boundary in the Hanna Basin, southeastern Wyoming

Released October 15, 2019 10:55 EST

2019, PeerJ

Lauren E Schmidt, Regan E Dunn, Jason J Mercer, Marieke Dechesne, Ellen D Currano

Ecosystem function and stability are highly affected by internal and external stressors. Utilizing paleobotanical data gives insight into the evolutionary processes an ecosystem undergoes across long periods of time, allowing for a more complete understanding of how plant and insect herbivore communities are affected by ecosystem imbalance. To study how plant and insect herbivore communities change during times of disturbance, we quantified community turnover across the Paleocene­–Eocene boundary in the Hanna Basin, southeastern Wyoming. This particular location is unlike other nearby Laramide basins because it has an abundance of late Paleocene and Eocene coal and carbonaceous shales and paucity of well-developed paleosols, suggesting perpetually high water availability. We sampled approximately 800 semi-intact dicot leaves from five stratigraphic levels, one of which occurs late in the Paleocene–Eocene thermal maximum (PETM). Field collections were supplemented with specimens at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science. Fossil leaves were classified into morphospecies and herbivore damage was documented for each leaf. We tested for changes in plant and insect herbivore damage diversity using rarefaction and community composition using non-metric multidimensional scaling ordinations. We also documented changes in depositional environment at each stratigraphic level to better contextualize the environment of the basin. Plant diversity was highest during the mid-late Paleocene and decreased into the Eocene, whereas damage diversity was highest at the sites with low plant diversity. Plant communities significantly changed during the late PETM and do not return to pre-PETM composition. Insect herbivore communities also changed during the PETM, but, unlike plant communities, rebound to their pre-PETM structure. These results suggest that insect herbivore communities responded more strongly to plant community composition than to the diversity of species present.

Escherichia coli in the Santa Cruz River in Tumacácori National Historical Park, Arizona

Released October 15, 2019 09:31 EST

2019, Fact Sheet 2019-3065

Nicholas V. Paretti

At Tumacácori National Historical Park in southern Arizona, resource managers are concerned about microbial pathogens in the Santa Cruz River that could pose a serious health risk to employees and visitors. The U.S. Geological Survey recently completed a comprehensive 3-year study of water quality in the Santa Cruz River watershed that investigated the possible sources of microbial contamination and how it relates to the amount of water and suspended sediment in the river. The results of this study help water managers and park administration better address this contamination and issue warnings to the public when the water is unsafe. 

Spatial and temporal distribution of bacterial indicators and microbial-source tracking within Tumacácori National Historical Park and the upper Santa Cruz River, southern Arizona and northern Mexico, 2015–2016

Released October 15, 2019 09:30 EST

2019, Scientific Investigations Report 2019-5108

Nicholas V. Paretti, Christopher M. Kephart, Thomas J. Porter, Edyth Hermosillo, Jay R. Cederberg, Justine P. Mayo, Bruce W. Gungle, Alissa L. Coes, Rachel S. Tucci, Laura M. Norman

Tumacácori National Historical Park (TUMA) in southern Arizona protects the culturally important Mission San José de Tumacácori, while also managing a part of the ecologically diverse riparian corridor of the Santa Cruz River. The quality of the water flowing through depends solely on upstream watershed activities, and among the water-quality issues concerning TUMA is the microbiological pathogens in the river introduced by human and animal sources that pose a significant human health risk to employees and visitors. The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) conducted a 3-year study to understand the sources, timing, and distribution of the fecal-indicator bacteria Escherichia coli (E. coli) within TUMA and the upstream watershed.

The information provided in this investigation is a result of a comprehensive approach to quantify the spatial and temporal variability of E. coli and suspended sediment in the Upper Santa Cruz River Watershed. Several types of flow were sampled from base flow to flood flow and at high frequency intervals (rise, peak, and recession) to determine daily variability, as well as seasonal variability. Hydrologic data collection and estimation techniques were used to establish a hydrologic relation with E. coli and suspended sediment. Furthermore, source tracking was used to describe the potential sources of E. coli. Models were developed that are expected to be useful for predicting E. coli concentrations to help TUMA managers understand instantaneous conditions to keep the public and staff informed about potentially harmful water-quality conditions. In addition, the concentration, flux, and source information will provide more accurate data for other surface-water modeling and can be useful in the development of total maximum daily load standards. This will help TUMA describe the water-quality conditions at the park and waters flowing through the park, as well as prioritize and help carry out future best-management actions to address these issues.

Maps showing geology, oil and gas fields, and geologic provinces of Iran

Released October 11, 2019 12:40 EST

1997, Open-File Report 97-470-G

R.M. Pollastro, F.M. Persits, D.W. Steinshouer

This digitally compiled map includes geology, oil and gas field centerpoints, geologic provinces, and major faults of Iran with some of these components extended into geographically adjacent areas. This digital compilation is an interim product of the U.S. Geological Survey's World Energy Project (WEP) and part of a series on CD-ROM. The goal of the WEP is to assess the undiscovered, technically recoverable oil and gas resources of the world and report the result of this assessment in the year 2000. For data management purposes, the world was divided into eight energy regions corresponding approximately to the economic regions of the world as defined by the U.S. Department of State.

Maps showing geology, oil and gas fields, and geologic provinces of the Asia Pacific region

Released October 11, 2019 12:10 EST

1999, Open-File Report 97-470-F

Douglas W. Steinshouer, Jin Qiang, Peter J. McCabe, Robert T. Ryder

This digitally compiled maps include geology, geologic provinces, and oil and gas fields of the Asia Pacific Region. The map is part of a worldwide series of maps on CD-ROM released by the U.S. Geological Survey's World Energy Project. The goal of the project is to assess the undiscovered, technically recoverable oil and gas resources of the world and report these results by the year 2000. For data management purposes, the world was divided into eight energy regions corresponding approximately to the economic regions of the world as defined by the U.S. Department of State. The Asia Pacific Region (Region 3) includes Australia, Brunei, Cambodia, The People's Republic of China, Fiji, Indonesia, Japan, North and South Korea, Laos, Malaysia, Mongolia, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Thailand, Vanuatu, and Vietnam.

Maps showing geology, oil and gas fields and geologic provinces of the former Soviet Union

Released October 11, 2019 11:15 EST

1997, Open-File Report 97-470-E

F.M. Persits, G.F. Ulmishek, D.W. Steinshouer

This digitally compiled map includes geology, geologic provinces, and oil and gas fields of the Former Soviet Union. The map is part of a worldwide series on CD-ROM by the World Energy Project released of the U.S. Geological Survey. The goal of the project is to assess the undiscovered, technically recoverable oil and gas resources of the world and report these results by the year 2000. For data management purposes the world was divided into eight energy regions corresponding approximately to the economic regions of the world as defined by the U.S. Department of State. The Former Soviet Union (Region 1) includes Armenia, Azerbaijan, Byelarus, Estonia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan. Each region was then further divided into geologic provinces on the basis of natural geologic entities and may include a dominant structural element or a number of contiguous elements. Some provinces contain multiple genetically related basins. Geologic province boundaries for the Former Soviet Union were delineated using data from a number of geologic maps and other tectonic and geographic data (see References). Offshore province boundaries were defined by the 2000 meter bathymetric contour from the map edited by Gabrielyants, 1990 (see References). Each province was assigned a unique number; the first digit is the region number; province numbers follow. An attempt was made to number the provinces in geographical groups; onshore, offshore, and combined on and offshore. The numbering starts in the west.

Comparison of U.S. Geological Survey and Bureau of Reclamation water-use reporting in the Colorado River Basin

Released October 11, 2019 10:45 EST

2018, Scientific Investigations Report 2018-5021

Breton Bruce, James Prairie, Molly A. Maupin, Jeremy Dodds, David Eckhardt, Tamara I. Ivahnenko, Paul Matuska, Eric Evenson, Alan Harrison

The use of water in the United States is arguably one of the most important factors determining water availability at any specific place and time. Numerous local, State, and Federal entities develop, compile, and report water-use data, which can lead to confusing or conflicting information. This report was authored jointly by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation) to compare and contrast the two agencies’ water-use information programs in the Colorado River Basin. The report also describes the legal drivers for each program, clarifies confusing terminology, compares the methods used, and contrasts the information reported by each agency. This detailed comparison demonstrates that these two Federal agencies have different missions, different programmatic drivers, and different user communities, all of which lead to different approaches to water-use data collection, analysis, and reporting. This report highlights those differences and explains why the USGS and Reclamation programs exist and how the data serve different user communities. Even though the two water-use programs are different by design and purpose, the program comparison presented in this report has identified opportunities for closer coordination and sharing of information between the USGS and Reclamation, as well as program components where agency collaboration can improve water-use estimate methodologies. This comparison effort emphasizes that it is incumbent upon each agency to clearly define the meaning of the terms used and the appropriate application of the reported information to avoid confusion or the accidental misuse of the information. An additional benefit of this comparison effort is the formation of a joint USGS/Reclamation water-use team that will continue to investigate opportunities to expand and coordinate future water-use data compilation and reporting.

Maps showing geology, oil and gas fields and geologic provinces of the South America region

Released October 11, 2019 10:15 EST

1999, Open-File Report 97-470-D

Christopher J. Schenk, Roland J. Viger, Christopher P. Anderson

This digitally compiled map includes geology, geologic provinces, and oil and gas fields of South America. The map is part of a worldwide series on CD-ROM by World Energy Project released of the U.S. Geological Survey . The goal of the project is to assess the undiscovered, technically recoverable oil and gas resources of the world and report these results by the year 2000. For data management purposes the world is divided into eight energy regions corresponding approximately to the economic regions of the world as defined by the U.S. Department of State. South America (Region 6) includes Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Columbia, Ecuador, Falkland Islands, French Guiana, Guyuna, Netherlands, Netherlands Antilles, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, Uruguay, and Venezuela.

sUAS-based remote sensing of river discharge using thermal particle image velocimetry and bathymetric lidar

Released October 11, 2019 08:55 EST

2019, Remote Sensing (11)

Paul J. Kinzel, Carl J. Legleiter

This paper describes a non-contact methodology for computing river discharge based on data collected from small Unmanned Aerial Systems (sUAS). The approach is complete in that both surface velocity and channel geometry are measured directly under field conditions. The technique does not require introducing artificial tracer particles for computing surface velocity, nor does it rely upon the presence of naturally occurring floating material. Moreover, no prior knowledge of river bathymetry is necessary. Due to the weight of the sensors and limited payload capacities of the commercially available sUAS used in the study, two sUAS were required. The first sUAS included mid-wave thermal infrared and visible cameras. For the field evaluation described herein, a thermal image time series was acquired and a particle image velocimetry (PIV) algorithm used to track the motion of structures expressed at the water surface as small differences in temperature. The ability to detect these thermal features was significant because the water surface lacked floating material (e.g., foam, debris) that could have been detected with a visible camera and used to perform conventional Large-Scale Particle Image Velocimetry (LSPIV). The second sUAS was devoted to measuring bathymetry with a novel scanning polarizing lidar. We collected field measurements along two channel transects to assess the accuracy of the remotely sensed velocities, depths, and discharges. Thermal PIV provided velocities that agreed closely (R^2 = 0.82 and 0.64) with in situ velocity measurements from an acoustic Doppler current profiler (ADCP). Depths inferred from the lidar closely matched those surveyed by wading in the shallower of the two cross sections (R^2 = 0.95) but the agreement was not as strong for the transect with greater depths (R^2 = 0.61). Incremental discharges computed with the remotely sensed velocities and depths were greater than corresponding ADCP measurements by 22% at the first cross section and < 1% at the second.

Tropical cyclones and the organization of mangrove forests: A review

Released October 11, 2019 07:00 EST

2019, Annals of Botany

Ken Krauss, Michael Osland

Background Many mangrove ecosystems are periodically exposed to high velocity winds and surge from tropical cyclones and often recover with time and continue to provide numerous societal benefits in the wake of storm events. Scope This review focuses on the drivers and disturbance mechanisms (visible and functional) that tropical cyclones of various intensities have on mangrove ecosystem properties from around the world, as well as the potential ecosystem services role offered by mangroves along storm-ravaged coastlines. When viewed together, studies describe repeatable types of impact and a variety of responses of mangroves that make them ecologically resilient to high velocity winds, and which have served to advance the notion that mangroves are disturbance-adapted ecosystems. Conclusions Studies have documented massive tree mortality and forest structural shifts as well as high variability of spatial effects associated with proximity and direction of tropical cyclone trajectory that influence biogeochemical processes, recovery of individual trees, and forest regeneration and succession. Mangroves provide coastal protection through surge and wind suppression during tropical cyclones, and yet are able to overcome wind effects and often recover unless some alternate environmental stress is at play (e.g., hydrologic alteration or sedimentation). Structural elements of mangroves are influenced by the legacies imposed by past tropical cyclone injury, which affect their current appearance, and presumably function of mangroves, at any point in time. However, much is yet to be discovered about the importance of tropical cyclones on these fascinating botanical ecosystems including the role of storm-based sediment subsidies, and much more effort will be needed to predict future recovery patterns as frequency and intensity of tropical cyclones potentially change.

Drought in the U.S. Caribbean: Impacts to freshwater ecosystems

Released October 11, 2019 06:53 EST

2019, Conference Paper

Bonnie Myers

Healthy and functioning freshwater ecosystems are needed for successful conservation and management of native fish and invertebrate species, and the services they provide to human communities, across the U.S. Caribbean. Yet streams, rivers, and reservoirs are vulnerable to the effects of extreme weather events, urbanization, energy and water development, and other environmental and human-caused disturbances (Neal et al., 2009). One major management concern is the impact of prolonged drought on freshwater ecosystems. Drought impacts streamflow, dissolved oxygen content, water quality, stream connectivity, available habitat, and other important freshwater habitat characteristics necessary for sustaining fish and invertebrate populations (Covich et al., 2006). These changes can impact species interactions, abundance, life history events, and the presence of native and non-native species (Larsen, 2000; Covich et al., 2006; Ramírez et al., 2018).

Drought impacts aquatic ecosystems and species both in the short-term and long-term, depending on the severity and duration of the event (e.g. Covich et al., 2006). In Puerto Rico, all native freshwater fish, shrimp, and snail species spend part of their lives in estuarine and marine ecosystems and depend on being able to move between these habitats to survive, so maintaining connectivity is key (e.g., Engman et al., 2017). Freshwater ecosystems also provide recreational, cultural, and ecological value to humans (Kwak et al., 2007; Neal et al., 2009). For example, some communities in Puerto Rico engage in artisanal shrimp and freshwater crab fishing (Neal et al., 2009). Artisanal fishing for postlarvae gobioids, known colloquially as “cetí” also occurs at the river mouths of large drainages and has strong cultural significance in parts of Puerto Rico, such as Arecibo (Kwak et al., 2016).

The U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI) is particularly sensitive to drought, because almost all streams are ephemeral and typically only flow after rainfall. These intermittent channels, known locally as “ghuts”, run down the surface of steep slopes, rather than through the ground, and are important sources of freshwater. Natural springs are often located in ghuts and can form pools of freshwater that serve as habitat for wetland and migratory birds, freshwater shrimp and fish, and amphibians (Nemeth and Platenburg, 2007; Gardner, 2008).

Flood-frequency estimates for Ohio streamgages based on data through water year 2015 and techniques for estimating flood-frequency characteristics of rural, unregulated Ohio streams

Released October 10, 2019 15:41 EST

2019, Scientific Investigations Report 2019-5018

G.F. Koltun

Estimates of the magnitudes of annual peak streamflows with annual exceedance probabilities of 0.5, 0.2, 0.1, 0.04, 0.02, 0.01, and 0.002 (equivalent to recurrence intervals of 2-, 5-, 10-, 25-, 50-, 100-, and 500-years, respectively) were computed for 391 streamgages in Ohio and adjacent states based on data collected through the 2015 water year. The flood-frequency estimates were computed following guidance outlined in Bulletin 17C, developed by the Advisory Committee on Water Information. The Bulletin 17C guidelines retain the basic statistical framework of the superseded Bulletin 17B guidelines; however, the Bulletin 17C guidelines add several enhancements including an improved method of moments approach for fitting the log-Pearson Type III (LPIII) distribution to the flood peaks (called the expected moments algorithm), a generalization of the Grubbs Beck low-outlier test (called the Multiple Grubbs Beck test) that permits identification of multiple potentially influential low floods, and new methods for estimating regional skew and uncertainty.

Equations for estimating flood-frequency characteristics at ungaged sites on rural, unregulated streams in Ohio were developed with a two-step process involving ordinary least-squares and generalized least-squares regression techniques. Data from 333 streamgages with 10 or more years of unregulated record were screened for redundancy and a regression dataset was selected that was composed of flood-frequency and basin-characteristic data for 275 streamgages in Ohio and adjacent states. Two sets of equations were developed—one set, referred to as the “simple model,” uses regression region and drainage area as regressor variables, and a second set, referred to as the “full model,” uses regression region, drainage area, main-channel slope, and the percentage of the watershed covered by water and wetlands as regressor variables.

The average standard errors of prediction ranged from about 40.5 to 46.5 percent for the simple-model equations and from about 37.2 to 40.3 percent for the full-model equations. For sites meeting the rural, unregulated criteria, flood-frequency estimates determined by means of LPIII analyses are reported along with weighted flood-frequency estimates, computed as a function of the LPIII estimates and the regression estimates. For sites with homogenous periods of regulation, flood-frequency estimates determined by means of LPIII analyses are reported. Ninety-five percent confidence limits are reported for all estimates.

Values of regressor variables were determined from digital spatial datasets by means of a geographic information system (GIS). The GIS datasets and the new full-model equations have been incorporated into Ohio’s StreamStats application, a web-based, GIS-backed system designed to facilitate the estimation of streamflow statistics at ungaged locations on streams.

Seasonal patterns in peak flows were assessed for 295 streamgages in Ohio. Annual peak flows occurred most frequently between January and April, with March having the highest frequency of occurrence. The month with the fewest number of annual peaks was October. Peak-of-record flows occurred most frequently in March, followed by January (months in which two of Ohio’s most severe widespread floods in recent history occurred). None of the peak-of-record flows occurred in October and only two occurred in November.

Temporal trend in annual peak flows were assessed for 133 streamgages on unregulated streams in Ohio with 30 or more years of systematic record. Trends were assessed by computing the rank correlation (as measured with the two-sided Kendall’s tau statistic) between time and annual peak flows. Weak but statistically significant trends were indicated at 15 of the 133 streamgages. Of the 15 streamgages with significant trend in annual peak flows, 12 had an upward trend (positive tau) and 3 had a downward trend (negative tau). All 12 streamgages with positive tau values were at latitudes north of 40°33', and streamgages with negative tau values were at latitudes south of 40°33'.

Catalog of microscopic organisms of the Everglades, part 2—The desmids of the Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge

Released October 10, 2019 14:28 EST

2019, Scientific Investigations Report 2019-5074

Barry H. Rosen, Katherine N. Stahlhut, John D. Hall

The Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge (refuge), Boynton Beach, Florida, contains approximately 147,000 acres southeast of Lake Okeechobee. Water quality in the interior portion of the refuge is strongly influenced by rainfall, resulting in slightly acidic waters with low dissolved ions. Desmids, a unique, ornate group of green algae loosely associated with submerged vascular plants, were photo-documented for the first time in samples from the refuge. The canal system surrounding the refuge contains a high level of ions from agricultural runoff, and intrusion of this water into the refuge interior during high canal water levels may have altered some of the desmid population. A transect from the canal to the interior was sampled every 3 months, and the species present were photographed, identified, and catalogued. Approximately 260 unique taxa from 29 genera were encountered. The interior of the refuge had the greatest diversity of desmids; however, the areas of the refuge adjacent to the canals still contained a rich population of desmids. We postulate that the diversity of desmids indicates that the pristine portions of the refuge may be an important refugium for desmids, particularly for those species restricted to the subtropical parts of the United States. This collection of taxa, identified to species with most specimens, will allow a more detailed examination of water quality issues when co-located water quality data are collected.

Baseline environmental monitoring of groundwater, surface water, and soil at the Ammonium Perchlorate Rocket Motor Destruction Facility at the Letterkenny Army Depot, Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, 2016

Released October 10, 2019 14:05 EST

2019, Open-File Report 2019-1094

Daniel G. Galeone

Letterkenny Army Depot in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, built an Ammonium Perchlorate Rocket Motor Destruction (ARMD) facility in 2016. The ARMD Facility was designed to centralize rocket motor destruction and contain or capture all waste during the destruction process. Ideally, there would be no contaminant transport to air, soil, or water from the facility, but the Code of Federal Regulations requires that any hazardous waste disposal facility have an environmental monitoring program in place. In a study by the U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with the Letterkenny Army Depot, baseline characterization of constituents in groundwater, surface water, and soil was conducted from September to December 2016 to document site conditions prior to the beginning of operations at the facility in January 2017. Groundwater wells, surface water, and soils were sampled monthly during the baseline characterization period. No sediment transport from the site occurred on days when samples were collected from surface-water sites, so no sediment was collected from the retention basin at the facility during the baseline period. Data collected during the baseline period can be compared to data collected in future years to determine whether there is any contaminant transport from the ARMD Facility to the surrounding environment.

During the baseline characterization period, monthly samples were collected from 4 groundwater wells and 9 soil sites near the ARMD Facility. The only surface-water site sampled monthly during the baseline period was upgradient from the facility. There was no streamflow at surface-water sites downgradient from the facility on days when surface-water samples were collected during the baseline characterization period.

Groundwater results for the four wells sampled near the ARMD Facility during the baseline period did not show any major water-quality issues. Mean specific conductance (SC) and pH in groundwater ranged from 220 to 771 microsiemens per centimeter at 25 degrees Celsius (μS/cm) and 6.45 to 6.98, respectively. No constituents in groundwater samples exceeded any U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL). Dissolved iron (Fe) was the only groundwater constituent that exceeded a Secondary Maximum Contaminant Level (SMCL) established by the EPA. The SMCL for Fe is 300 micrograms per liter (μg/L); samples from three wells had mean dissolved Fe concentrations ranging from 1,100 to 2,600 μg/L. The only volatile organic compounds (VOCs) detected in groundwater samples were bromomethane, acetone, and chloromethane. All VOC detections in groundwater samples were less than the Reporting Detection Levels (RDLs). These three compounds also were detected in blank samples submitted for groundwater samples. Perchlorate was not detected in any groundwater sample collected during the baseline period.

Surface-water data collected during the baseline period were strictly representative of a stream reach upgradient from the ARMD Facility. Stream discharge ranged from 0.03 to 0.08 cubic feet per second during sample collection. The mean SC and pH were 310 μS/cm and 7.6, respectively. No EPA established MCLs or SMCLs were exceeded for any constituents in samples collected from this upgradient stream. Some VOCs were detected in surface water at less than the RDLs. The VOCs detected in surface water were generally the same VOCs as those detected at less than the RDLs for groundwater. Perchlorate was detected in each sample collected from the stream; the mean concentration was 0.07 μg/L. All perchlorate results were less than the RDL of 0.2 μg/L.

Soil samples collected during the baseline period did not have any constituent concentrations that exceeded any medium-specific concentrations (MSC) or soil screening levels (SSL) established by either the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania or the EPA. The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania calculates MSCs based on either a function of acceptable concentrations in groundwater or based on health concerns if the soil is directly contacted. The EPA derives acceptable concentrations of constituents (SSLs) in soil based on standardized equations combining exposure information assumptions with EPA toxicity data. The EPA calculates SSLs for residential and industrial sites. Soil sites at the ARMD Facility were considered “industrial” for comparative purposes. There was at least one order of magnitude difference between any inorganic constituent concentration detected in soil and the MSC and (or) SSL for that constituent. Four VOCs were detected in soil samples collected during the baseline period. None of the VOCs detected in the soils were within three orders of magnitude of any established MSCs or SSLs. The VOCs detected in soil were dichloromethane (also known as methylene chloride), methyl tert-butyl ether (MTBE), tetrachloroethene, and acetone (only detected once). Dichloromethane was the only VOC detected at greater than the RDLs; concentrations in all soil samples were greater than the RDLs. Dichloromethane concentrations ranged from 1.9 to 50.1 micrograms per kilogram (μg/kg). MTBE was detected in 50 percent of samples collected but all results were less than the RDLs of 1.7 to 2.6 μg/kg. Tetrachloroethene was detected in 20 percent of soil samples collected, with a maximum estimated value of 1.5 μg/kg. Inorganic constituents with the highest concentrations in soil were Fe and aluminum (Al); mean Fe and Al concentrations ranged from 28,700 to 52,400 and 10,300 to 19,800 milligrams per kilogram (mg/kg), respectively. Data collected during the baseline period in 2016 can be compared to future data to determine whether concentrations in water and soils surrounding the facility have shown any changes that could be caused by the facility operation.

Flood-inundation maps for Nimishillen Creek near North Industry, Ohio, 2019

Released October 10, 2019 13:58 EST

2019, Scientific Investigations Report 2019-5083

Matthew T. Whitehead

Digital flood-inundation maps for a 4-mile reach of Nimishillen Creek near North Industry, Ohio, were created by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) in cooperation with the Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District, Ohio, and the Stark County Board of Commissioners. The flood-inundation maps, which can be accessed through the USGS Flood Inundation Mapping (FIM) Program website at https://water.usgs.gov/osw/flood_inundation/, depict estimates of the areal extent and depth of flooding corresponding to selected water levels (stages) at the USGS streamgage on Nimishillen Creek at North Industry, Ohio (station number 03118500). Near-real-time stages at this streamgage can be obtained on the internet from the USGS National Water Information System at https://waterdata.usgs.gov/ or the National Weather Service Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service at https://water.weather.gov/ahps/, which also forecasts flood hydrographs at this site.

Flood profiles were computed for the stream reach by means of a one-dimensional step-backwater model. The model was calibrated to the current stage-discharge relation at the streamgage on Nimishillen Creek at North Industry and documented high-water marks from the flood of January 12, 2017.

The hydraulic model was then used to compute seven water-surface profiles for flood stages at 1-foot (ft) intervals referenced to the streamgage datum and ranging from 8 to 14 ft, which is from “action stage” to above “major flood stage” as reported by the National Weather Service. The simulated water-surface profiles were then used in combination with a geographic information system (GIS) digital elevation model derived from light detection and ranging data to delineate the areas flooded at each water level.

The availability of these maps, along with internet information regarding current stage from the USGS streamgage and forecasted high-flow stages from the National Weather Service, will provide emergency management personnel and residents with information that is critical for flood response activities such as evacuations and road closures, as well as for postflood recovery efforts. Forecasts for the USGS streamgage on Nimishillen Creek at North Industry, Ohio are issued as needed during times of high water, but are not routinely available (National Weather Service, 2017).

Research Note: How old are the people who die in avalanches? A look into the ages of avalanche victims in the United States (1950-2018)

Released October 10, 2019 13:52 EST

2019, Journal of Outdoor Recreation and Tourism

Erich Peitzsch, Sara Boilen, Karl W. Birkeland, Spencer Logan

Since the winter of 1950-1951, 1084 individuals perished in snow avalanches in the United States. In this study, we analyze the ages of those killed (n=900) by applying non-parametric methods to annual median ages and for age groups and primary activity groups. Change point detection results suggest a significant change in 1990 in the median age of avalanche fatalities. Significant positive trends exist for both the 1950 to 2018 and 1990 to 2018 median age of victims. The median age of victims from 1950 to 1989 is 27 and 33 from 1990 to 2018. Since 1990, the 30-39 and 40-49 age groups are the only age category to exhibit a positive trend in the number of fatalities. There is no significant difference in median ages between snowmobilers and other categories. These results can be used to enhance avalanche education and forecasting efforts in the United States.

Integrating stream gage data and Landsat imagery to complete time-series of surface water extents in Central Valley, California

Released October 10, 2019 13:39 EST

2019, International Journal of Applied Earth Observation and Geoinformation (84)

Jessica J. Walker, Christopher E. Soulard, Roy E. Petrakis

Accurate monitoring of surface water location and extent is critical for the management of diverse water resource phenomena. The multi-decadal archive of Landsat satellite imagery is punctuated by missing data due to cloud cover during acquisition times, hindering the assembly of a continuous time series of inundation dynamics. This study investigated whether streamflow volume measurements could be integrated with satellite data to fill gaps in monthly surface water chronologies for the Central Valley region of California, USA, from 1984 to 2015. We aggregated measurements of maximum monthly water extent within each of the study area’s 50 8-digit hydrologic unit code [HUC] watersheds from two Landsat-derived datasets: the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC) Monthly Water History and the U.S. Geological Survey Dynamic Surface Water Extent (DSWE). We calculated Spearman rank correlation coefficients between water extent values in each HUC and streamflow discharge data. Linear regression fits of the water extent/streamflow data pairs with the highest correlations served as the basis for interpolation of missing imagery surface water values on a HUC-wise basis. Results show strong (ρ > 0.7) maximum correlations in 11 (22.4%) and 25 (51.0%) HUCs for the DSWE and JRC time series, respectively, when comparisons were restricted to imagery and gages co-located in each HUC. Strong maximum correlations occurred in 39 (79.6%; DSWE) and 42 (85.7%; JRC) HUCs when imagery was paired with discharge data from any study area gage, providing a solid basis for reconstruction of water extent values. We generated continuous time series of 30+ years in 35 HUCs, demonstrating that this technique can provide quantitative estimates of historical surface water extents and elucidate flooding or drought events over the period of data collection. Results of a non-parametric trend analysis of the long-term time series on an annual, seasonal, and monthly basis varied among HUCs, though most trends indicate an increase in surface water over the past 30 years.

Sampling across 20 years (1996–2017) reveals loss of diversity and genetic connectivity in the Coachella Valley fringe-toed lizard (Uma inornata)

Released October 10, 2019 12:18 EST

2019, Open-File Report 2019-1105

Amy G. Vandergast, Dustin A. Wood, Mark Fisher, Cameron W. Barrows, Anna Mitelberg, Julia G. Smith

The Coachella Valley fringe-toed lizard (Uma inornata) is a federally threatened, aeolian sand dune obligate, endemic to the Coachella Valley, California. Historically, U. inornata is thought to have formed a large interconnected metapopulation across the valley, with local dune habitat and population size fluctuations linked to stochastic droughts and flooding. Since the 1950s, aeolian habitat in Coachella Valley has declined by 91–95 percent. What remains is highly fragmented by highways and development in the urban communities of the Coachella Valley, raising concerns that fringe-toed lizard movement and gene flow among remaining habitat fragments is limited or nonexistent. We examined population genetic structure across three sample periods (1996, 2008, and 2017). Over that time, this species has shifted from a panmictic condition (1996) with little or no genetic structure between sites to the current (2017) condition where there are now genetically distinct populations. Two severe droughts (2000–04 and 2012–16) may have accelerated this shift through drought-related population declines and subsequent genetic bottlenecks. Using a combination of microsatellite loci and single nucleotide polymorphisms, we found patterns of decreasing genetic connectivity and diversity over time. These patterns are consistent with reduced fringe-toed lizard movement and gene flow among isolated sand dune systems. Low effective population sizes were recovered in some sites, suggesting genetic drift in smaller and fluctuating populations is likely responsible for loss of genetic diversity. A U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recovery objective for this species is to maintain genetic diversity; however, evidence of fragmentation suggests that genetic cohesiveness has been altered and that the diversity maintained in individual fragments is lower than in the total metapopulation. Management actions that increase genetic diversity could be implemented, including translocation. We modeled increasing gene flow between 1–10 percent, which showed that allelic richness could increase rapidly if translocated individuals can survive and reproduce. Establishing translocation protocols could help to avoid the high mortality that has occurred with other reptile translocations. Successful translocations could be a useful strategy to replenish lost genetic diversity after bottlenecks and could mitigate the loss of natural gene flow among populations.

Real-time assessments of water quality—A nowcast for Escherichia coli and cyanobacterial toxins

Released October 10, 2019 11:16 EST

2019, Fact Sheet 2019-3061

Donna S. Francy, Amie M. Brady, Tammy M. Zimmerman

Threats to our recreational and drinking waters include disease-causing (pathogenic) organisms from fecal contamination and toxins produced by some species of cyanobacteria (cyanotoxins) that can cause acute and (or) chronic illnesses. Because traditional laboratory methods for detecting these threats take too long for prompt public health protection, tools for real-time assessments are needed to protect public health. To address this need, the U.S. Geological Survey is collaborating with State and local partners to develop models that provide real-time estimates of Escherichia coli (E. coli) (for pathogens) and (or) microcystin (for freshwater cyanotoxins) levels at inland and Great Lakes beaches and drinking-water intakes. Model results are then used to inform the public of water-quality conditions in near-real time through the Great Lakes NowCast (https://ny.water.usgs.gov/maps/nowcast/). Behind the scenes, the NowCast provides speed and efficiency for managers by automating data management and standardizing methods among agencies.

Improving Darwin Core for research and management of alien species

Released October 10, 2019 11:11 EST

2019, Biodiversity Information Science and Standards 1-24

Quentin J. Groom, Peter Desmet, Lien Reyserhove, Tim Adriaens, Damiano Oldoni, Sonia Vanderhoeven, Steven J Baskauf, Arthur Chapman, Melodie McGeoch, Ramona Walls, John Wieczorek, John RU Wilson, Paula FF Zermoglio, Annie Simpson

To improve the suitability of the Darwin Core standard for the research and management of alien species, the standard needs to express the native status of organisms, how well established they are and how they came to occupy a location. To facilitate this, we propose: 1. To adopt a controlled vocabulary for the existing Darwin Core term dwc:establishmentMeans 2. To elevate the pathway term from the Invasive Species Pathways extension to become a new Darwin Core term dwc:pathway maintained as part of the Darwin Core standard 3. To adopt a new Darwin Core term dwc:degreeOfEstablishment with an associated controlled vocabulary These changes to the standard will allow users to clearly state whether an occurrence of a species is native to a location or not, how it got there (pathway), and to what extent the species has become a permanent feature of the location. By improving Darwin Core for capturing and sharing these data, we aim to improve the quality of occurrence and checklist data in general and to increase the number of potential uses of these data.

Maps showing geology, oil and gas fields and geologic provinces of South Asia

Released October 10, 2019 10:10 EST

1998, Open-File Report 97-470-C

Craig J. Wandrey, Ben E. Law

Introduction

This digitally compiled map includes petroleum geology, geologic provinces, and oil and gas fields of South Asia. The map is part of a worldwide series released by the U. S. Geological Survey World Energy Project. The goal of the project is to assess the undiscovered, technically recoverable oil and gas resources of the world and report these results by the year 2000. For data management purposes the world was divided into eight energy regions corresponding approximately to the economic regions of the world as defined by the U.S. Department of State. South Asia (Region 8) is represented on this CD-ROM (see Reference Map), and includes Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka.

Geology and assessment of undiscovered oil and gas resources of the East Greenland Rift Basins Province, 2008

Released October 10, 2019 10:01 EST

2019, Professional Paper 1824-K

Donald L. Gautier

Thomas E. Moore, Donald L. Gautier, editor(s)

In 2007 the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) completed an assessment of undiscovered, technically recoverable oil and gas resources in the East Greenland Rift Basins Province of Northeast Greenland. The province was selected as the prototype for the U.S. Geological Survey Circum-Arctic Resource Appraisal (CARA). In collaboration with the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland (GEUS), the province was subdivided into nine geologically distinctive areas. Seven of these were defined as Assessment Units (AUs), of which five were quantitatively assessed. These are: North Danmarkshavn Salt Basin, South Danmarkshavn Basin, Thetis Basin, Northeast Greenland Volcanic Province, and Liverpool Land Basin. Jameson Land Basin and the Jameson Land Basin Subvolcanic Extension were defined as AUs but were not quantitatively assessed. 

Onshore studies by GEUS and other organizations suggest that at least four stratigraphic intervals may contain potential source rocks for petroleum. The geological history of related areas in western Norway and burial history modeling suggest that Upper Jurassic strata are most likely to contain petroleum source rocks. A wide variety of possible trapping mechanisms are expected within the province. Potential traps in the North Danmarkshavn Salt Basin AU are dominated by structures formed through salt tectonics; those in the South Danmarkshavn Basin and the Northeast Greenland Volcanic Province are characterized by extensional structures and by stratigraphic traps in submarine fan complexes. Prospective inversion structures of Tertiary age are present along the western margin of South Danmarkshavn Basin AU, and the large horst block structures that separate the Danmarkshavn and Thetis Basins may provide numerous opportunities for traps in fault blocks and along various facies-related permeability barriers. Possible reservoirs include shallow marine to nonmarine sandstones of Middle Jurassic age, sandstones in Upper Jurassic synrift deposits, Cretaceous sandstones in submarine fan complexes, sandstones in Paleogene progradational sequences, and in Upper Carboniferous to Lower Permian warm-water carbonate sequences, especially in northern Danmarkshavn Basin. Marine shales are expected to provide the main sealing lithologies in most AUs. 

Most of the undiscovered oil, gas, and natural gas liquids are likely to be in the offshore areas of the province and are inferred to belong to an Upper Jurassic Composite Total Petroleum System. The USGS estimated that the East Greenland Rift Basins Province contains approximately (mean) 31,400 million barrels oil equivalent (MMBOE) of oil, natural gas, and natural gas liquids. Of the five assessed AUs, North Danmarkshavn Salt Basin and the South Danmarkshavn Basin are estimated to contain most of the undiscovered petroleum.

Managing sand along the Colorado River to protect cultural sites downstream of Glen Canyon Dam

Released October 10, 2019 09:43 EST

2019, Fact Sheet 2019-3054

Terri Cook, Amy East, Helen Fairley, Joel B. Sankey

The construction of Glen Canyon Dam in northern Arizona has greatly reduced the supply of sand to the Colorado River corridor through Glen Canyon National Recreation Area and Grand Canyon National Park, hereafter referred to as Glen Canyon and Grand Canyon, respectively. This deficit has strongly affected the natural sediment cycle in this iconic landscape and has lowered the availability of windblown (aeolian) river sand that previously shielded hundreds of unique prehistoric and historic cultural sites. U.S. Geological Survey scientists and their cooperators have conducted a range of studies to assess whether, and under what circumstances, river-derived sand can still reach and protect these sites under current dam operations. Results indicate that most cultural sites hosted in river-derived sand have an elevated risk of erosion that threatens their long-term preservation. However, repeated high-water releases from the dam following downstream tributary inputs of sand to the Colorado River, combined with riparian vegetation removal, could offset some of the erosion caused by wind and precipitation-driven hillslope runoff at some locales. These findings are helping managers conserve limited sand resources to preserve river-corridor cultural sites while still meeting the growing demands for hydropower and water in the Southwestern United States.

Maps showing geology, oil and gas fields and geologic provinces of the Arabian Peninsula

Released October 10, 2019 09:15 EST

1999, Open-File Report 97-470-B

Richard M. Pollastro, Amy S. Karshbaum, Roland J. Viger

Introduction

This digital map compilation, which includes geology, geologic provinces, and oil and gas fields of the Arabian Peninsula, is part of a map series of the world produced by the U.S. Geological Survey World Energy Project. The goal of the project is to produce a worldwide assessment of the undiscovered, technically recoverable oil and gas resources and report these results by the year 2000. To assess the world's petroleum, a sequence of steps is being undertaken proceeding from defining geologic provinces of the world at a comparable scale, allocating oil and gas fields to these provinces, defining petroleum systems within these provinces, and ultimately assessing the undiscovered petroleum potential of selected provinces of the world. A more in-depth discussion of the geologic provinces and their relative ranking in terms of total known petroleum volume is given in USGS Open File Report 97-463 (see Klett and others, 1997).

Changes in event‐based streamflow magnitude and timing after suburban development with infiltration‐based stormwater management

Released October 09, 2019 13:33 EST

2019, Hydrological Processes

Kristina G. Hopkins, Aditi S. Bhaskar, Sean Woznicki, Rosemary Fanelli

Green stormwater infrastructure implementation in urban watersheds has outpaced our understanding of practice effectiveness on streamflow response to precipitation events. Long‐term monitoring of experimental urban watersheds in Clarksburg, Maryland, USA, provided an opportunity to examine changes in event‐based streamflow metrics in two treatment watersheds that transitioned from agriculture to suburban development with a high density of infiltration‐focused stormwater control measures (SCMs). Urban Treatment 1 has predominantly single family detached housing with 33% impervious cover and 126 SCMs. Urban Treatment 2 has a mix of single family detached and attached housing with 44% impervious cover and 219 SCMs. Differences in streamflow‐event magnitude and timing were assessed using a before‐after‐control‐reference‐impact design to compare urban treatment watersheds to a forested control and an urban control with detention‐focused SCMs. Streamflow and precipitation events were identified from 14 years of sub‐daily monitoring data with an automated approach to characterize peak streamflow, runoff yield, runoff ratio, streamflow duration, time to peak, rise rate, and precipitation depth for each event. Results indicated that streamflow magnitude and timing were altered by urbanization in the urban treatment watersheds, even with SCMs treating 100% of the impervious area. The largest hydrologic changes were observed in streamflow magnitude metrics, with greater hydrologic change in Urban Treatment 2 compared to Urban Treatment 1. While streamflow changes were observed in both urban treatment watersheds, SCMs were able to mitigate peak flows and runoff volumes compared to the urban control. The urban control had similar impervious cover to Urban Treatment 2, but Urban Treatment 2 had more than twice the precipitation depth needed to initiate a flow response and lower median peak flow and runoff yield for events less than 20 mm. Differences in impervious cover between the Urban Treatment watersheds appeared to be a large driver of differences in streamflow response, rather than SCM density. Overall, use of infiltration‐focused SCMs implemented at a watershed‐scale did provide enhanced attenuation of peak flow and runoff volumes compared to centralized‐detention SCMs.

Maps showing geology, oil and gas fields and geological provinces of Africa

Released October 09, 2019 09:55 EST

1997, Open-File Report 97-470-A

F.M. Persits, Thomas S. Ahlbrandt, Michele L. Tuttle, Ronald R. Charpentier, Michael E. Brownfield, Kenneth I. Takahashi

The CD-ROM was compiled according to the methodology developed by the U.S. Geological Survey's World Energy Project . The goal of the project was to assess the undiscovered, technically recoverable oil and gas resources of the world and report these results by the year 2000. A worldwide series of geologic maps, published on CD-ROMs, was released by the U.S. Geological Survey's World Energy Project during 1997-2000.

Specific details of the data sources and map compilation are given in the metadata files on this CD-ROM.

These maps were compiled using Environmental Systems Research Institute Inc. (ESRI) ARC/INFO software. Political boundaries and cartographic representations on this map are shown (with permission) from ESRI's ArcWorld 1:3M digital coverage: they have no political significance and are displayed as general reference only. Portions of this database covering the coastline and country boundaries contain proprietary property of ESRI. (Copyright 1992 and 1996, Environmental Systems Research Institute Inc. All rights reserved.)

Prioritizing chemicals of ecological concern in Great Lakes tributaries using high-throughput screening data and adverse outcome pathways

Released October 09, 2019 08:01 EST

2019, Science of the Total Environment (686) 995-1009

Steven R. Corsi, Laura A. DeCicco, Daniel Villeneuve, Brett Blackwell, Kellie Fay, Gerald Ankley, Austin K. Baldwin

Chemical monitoring data were collected in surface waters from 57 Great Lakes tributaries from 2010-13 to identify chemicals of potential biological relevance and sites at which these chemicals occur. Traditional water-quality benchmarks for aquatic life based on in vivo toxicity data were available for 34 of 67 evaluated chemicals. To expand evaluation of potential biological effects, measured chemical concentrations were compared to chemical-specific biological activities determined in high-throughput (ToxCast) in vitro assays. Resulting exposure-activity ratios (EARs) were used to prioritize the chemicals of greatest potential concern: 4-nonylphenol, bisphenol A, metolachlor, atrazine, DEET, caffeine, tris(2-butoxyethyl) phosphate, tributyl phosphate, triphenyl phosphate, benzo(a)pyrene, fluoranthene, and benzophenone. Water-quality benchmarks were unavailable for five of these chemicals, but for the remaining seven, EAR-based prioritization was consistent with that based on toxicity quotients calculated from benchmarks. Water-quality benchmarks identified three additional PAHs (anthracene, phenanthrene, and pyrene) not prioritized using EARs. Through this analysis, an EAR of 10-3 was identified as a reasonable threshold above which a chemical might be of potential concern. To better understand apical hazards potentially associated with biological activities captured in ToxCast assays, in vitro bioactivity data were matched with available adverse outcome pathway (AOP) information. The 49 ToxCast assays prioritized via EAR analysis aligned with 23 potentially-relevant AOPs present in the AOP-Wiki. Mixture effects at monitored sites were estimated by summation of EAR values for multiple chemicals by individual assay or individual AOP. Commonly predicted adverse outcomes included impacts on reproduction and mitochondrial function. The EAR approach provided a screening-level assessment for evidence-based prioritization of chemicals and sites with potential for adverse biological effects. The approach aids prioritization of future monitoring activities and provides testable hypotheses to help focus those efforts. This also expands the fraction of detected chemicals for which biologically-based benchmark concentrations are available to help contextualize chemical monitoring results.

Withdrawal and consumption of water by thermoelectric power plants in the United States, 2015

Released October 08, 2019 14:05 EST

2019, Scientific Investigations Report 2019-5103

Melissa A. Harris, Timothy H. Diehl

The U.S. Geological Survey has developed models to estimate thermoelectric water use based on linked heat and water budgets. The models produced plant-level withdrawal and consumption estimates using consistent methods for 1,122 water-using, utility-scale thermoelectric power plants in the United States for 2015. Total estimated withdrawal for 2015 was about 103 billion gallons per day (Bgal/d), and total estimated consumption was about 2.7 Bgal/d. Model-estimated withdrawals decreased approximately 26 Bgal/d, or 20 percent, since 2010, and consumption decreased approximately 734 million gallons per day, or 21 percent. The decrease in thermoelectric water use between 2010 and 2015 can be attributed in part to a 7-percent decrease in total thermoelectric utility-scale electricity production, a combination of decreased electricity production and closure of coal-fired plants with once-through cooling systems, and the increase of electricity production at natural gas combined-cycle plants, which are more energy- and water-efficient than conventional thermoelectric plants.

Water for Long Island: Now and for the future

Released October 08, 2019 09:15 EST

2019, Fact Sheet 2019-3052

John Masterson, Robert Breault

Do you ever wonder where your water comes from? If you live in Nassau or Suffolk County, the answer is, groundwater. Groundwater is water that started out as precipitation (rain and snow melt) and seeped into the ground. This seepage recharges the freshwater stored underground, in the spaces between the grains of sand and gravel in what are referred to as aquifers. Long Island has three primary aquifers—the upper glacial, Magothy, and Lloyd—which are part of the Long Island aquifer system. Currently [2019], this aquifer system contains about 50 trillion gallons of freshwater.

Groundwater/surface-water interactions along Ellerbe Creek in Durham, North Carolina, 2016–18

Released October 08, 2019 09:15 EST

2019, Scientific Investigations Report 2019-5097

Dominick J. Antolino

An assessment of groundwater/surface-water interactions along Ellerbe Creek, a major tributary to upper Falls Lake in Durham County, North Carolina, was conducted from July 2016 to March 2018 to determine if groundwater is a likely source of elevated nitrate input to the stream. Groundwater/surface-water interactions were characterized by synoptic streamflow measurements, groundwater-level monitoring, hydrograph-separation methods, and a continuous streambed temperature survey to aid in the collection and interpretation of water-quality data. A streamflow gain-loss survey identified gaining and losing reaches within the stream and found that surface-water inflow, including that from a treated wastewater outfall, provided much of the streamflow gain within the study reach. Through the use of two hydrograph-separation methods, base flow for the Ellerbe Creek study reach was estimated to be between 14.0 and 17.7 cubic feet per second during the study period, contributing up to 57 percent of mean streamflow, with the remaining contributions coming from surface runoff to the stream. The effluent discharge accounted for most of the estimated base-flow contribution to the stream below the North Durham Water Reclamation Facility outfall. Hydraulic gradients within the groundwater were determined to flow upward and toward the stream during base-flow conditions and reverse during storm events. Nitrate concentrations ranged from below the method detection level to 2.69 milligrams per liter, with the highest concentrations just downstream from the wastewater outfall. Bank seeps and groundwater samples had lower nitrate concentrations than surface-water samples, ranging from below the method detection level to 1.04 milligrams per liter, with the highest concentration at the piezometer within the stream. Results indicate that groundwater is not a large component of streamflow within Ellerbe Creek nor a major source of nitrate within the study reach.

Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center—2018 annual report

Released October 07, 2019 15:15 EST

2019, Circular 1460

Sara Ernst

The 2018 annual report of the U.S. Geological Survey Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center summarizes the work of the center, as well as the work of each of its science groups, highlights accomplishments of 2018, and includes a list of publications published in 2018. This product allows readers to gain a general understanding of the focus areas of the center’s scientific research and learn more about specific projects and progress made throughout 2018, all while enjoying applicable photos taken in the field and of various models, maps, and web pages.

Hydrologic conditions in Kansas, water year 2018

Released October 07, 2019 14:46 EST

2019, Fact Sheet 2019-3042

Angela H. Unrein

The U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with Federal, State, and local agencies, maintains a long-term network of hydrologic monitoring stations in Kansas. In water year 2018, this network included 219 real-time streamgages. A water year is the 12-month period from October 1 through September 30 and is designated by the calendar year in which it ends. Real-time data are calibrated and validated by U.S. Geological Survey personnel throughout the year with regular measurements of streamflow, streamgage height, and lake levels. These data and accompanying analyses provide an overview of hydrologic conditions in Kansas and help advance the understanding of water resources in the State. Annual assessments of hydrologic conditions are made by comparing statistical analyses of current and past water year data for the period of record. Long-term monitoring of hydrologic conditions in Kansas provides imperative information for protecting human life and property, managing water supplies, forecasting floods, operating reservoirs, designing bridges and culverts, processing interstate and intrastate water rights claims, forecasting ecological conditions, and many other uses.

Geology of the Monte Blanco borate deposits, Furnace Creek Wash, Death Valley, California

Released October 07, 2019 14:03 EST

2019, Open-File Report 2019-1111

S.J. Muessig, W.M. Pennell, Jeffrey R. Knott, James P. Calzia

The Monte Blanco borate deposits are located along the southern margin of Death Valley’s Furnace Creek Wash, south of Twenty Mule Team Canyon road in California. Topographic and geologic mapping by S. Muessig and F.M. Byers, Jr., in 1954 documented these deposits’ geologic settings, geometries, mineralogies, and chemical characteristics. They estimated borate resources at the time to be in excess of 550,000 tons B2O3. 

The borate bodies are composed of predominantly ulexite and colemanite. They lie beneath Monte Blanco itself and along a northwest-trending series of conspicuous, white hills and mounds formed by northeasterly dipping, fine-grained sedimentary beds and basaltic volcanic rocks of the Miocene and Pliocene Furnace Creek Formation. 

Geologic data suggest that in Miocene and Pliocene time, fine-grained sediments, volcanic debris and flows, and volcanically associated, boron-rich fluids gradually filled a fairly flat playa-like environment. At times, thick beds of felty crystals of ulexite developed and were interlayered as lenses in a thick series of mudstones as is seen today at the Eagle Borax works. After burial, the exterior of the ulexite deposit was altered to massive colemanite by ground water, which produced the “shell” of colemanite that typically surrounds the presently outcropping ulexite bodies. 

The effects of management practices on grassland birds—Eastern Meadowlark (Sturnella magna)

Released October 07, 2019 13:52 EST

2019, Professional Paper 1842-MM

Scott D. Hull, Jill A. Shaffer, Lawrence D. Igl

The key to Eastern Meadowlark (Sturnella magna) management is providing large areas of contiguous grassland of moderate height with significant grass cover and moderate forb density. Eastern Meadowlarks have been reported to use habitats with 10–187 centimeters (cm) average vegetation height, 6–88 cm visual obstruction reading, 53–86 percent grass cover, 4–50 percent forb cover, less than or equal to (≤) 4 percent shrub cover, less than 38 percent bare ground, 6–23 percent litter cover, and ≤13 cm litter depth.

The effects of management practices on grassland birds—Ferruginous Hawk (Buteo regalis)

Released October 07, 2019 13:51 EST

2019, Professional Paper 1842-N

Jill A. Shaffer, Lawrence D. Igl, Douglas H. Johnson, Marriah L. Sondreal, Christopher M. Goldade, Amy L. Zimmerman, Jason P. Thiele, Betty R. Euliss

Keys to Ferruginous Hawk (Buteo regalis) management are providing suitable nest sites, protecting active nest areas from human disturbance, and providing suitable habitat for prey.

The effects of management practices on grassland birds—Northern Harrier (Circus hudsonius)

Released October 07, 2019 13:49 EST

2019, Professional Paper 1842-L

Jill A. Shaffer, Lawrence D. Igl, Douglas H. Johnson, Marriah L. Sondreal, Christopher M. Goldade, Jason P. Thiele, Betty R. Euliss

The key to Northern Harrier (Circus hudsonius) management is providing tall, dense vegetation in extensive mesic or xeric grasslands or in wetlands. Northern Harriers have been reported to use habitats with 15–106 centimeter (cm) average vegetation height, 28–75 cm visual obstruction reading, 24–53 percent grass cover, 18–25 percent forb cover, less than or equal to 2 percent shrub cover, 3–5 percent bare ground, 23–30 percent litter cover, and 2–6 cm litter depth.

The effects of management practices on grassland birds—Greater Sage-Grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus)

Released October 07, 2019 13:46 EST

2019, Professional Paper 1842-B

Mary M. Rowland

Keys to Greater Sage-Grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) management are maintenance of expansive stands of sagebrush (Artemisia species [spp.]), especially varieties of big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata) with abundant forbs in the understory, particularly during spring; undisturbed and somewhat open sites for leks; and healthy perennial grass and forb stands intermixed with sagebrush for brood rearing. Within suitable habitats, areas should have 15–25 percent canopy cover of sagebrush 30–80 centimeters (cm) tall for nesting and 10–25 percent canopy cover 40–80 cm tall for brood rearing. In winter habitats, shrubs should be exposed 25–35 cm above snow and have 10–30 percent canopy cover exposed above snow. In nesting and brood-rearing habitats, the understory should have at least 15 percent cover of grasses and at least 10 percent cover of forbs greater than or equal to 18 cm tall. Greater Sage-Grouse have been reported to use habitats with 5–110 cm average vegetation height, 5–160 cm visual obstruction reading, 3–51 percent grass cover, 3–20 percent forb cover, 3–69 percent shrub cover, 7–63 percent sagebrush cover, 14–51 percent bare ground, and 0–18 percent litter cover. Unless otherwise noted, this account refers to habitat requirements and environmental factors affecting Greater Sage-Grouse but not Gunnison Sage-Grouse (Centrocercus minimus). Habitats used by Gunnison Sage-Grouse are generally similar to habitats used by Greater Sage-Grouse, but some differences have been reported. The Greater Sage-Grouse is a game bird and is hunted throughout most of its current range. This account does not address harvest or its effects on populations; rather, this account focuses on the effects of habitat management.

Regression models for estimating sediment and nutrient concentrations and loads at the Iroquois River near Foresman, Indiana, March 2015 through July 2018

Released October 07, 2019 12:42 EST

2019, Scientific Investigations Report 2019-5087

Timothy R. Lathrop, Aubrey R. Bunch, Myles S. Downhour, Daniel M. Perkins

In 2015, the U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with the Iroquois River Conservancy District, deployed continuous water-quality monitors and began collecting representative discrete water-quality samples at the Iroquois River near Foresman, Indiana, streamflow-gaging station (U.S. Geological Survey station 05524500). By relating continuously monitored water-quality data and discrete water-quality samples collected from April 2015 through July 2018, regression models that estimate concentrations of suspended sediment, total nitrogen, and total phosphorus were developed. Developed regression models indicated a strong correlation between turbidity and streamflow with suspended-sediment concentration (adjusted coefficient of determination equals 0.84, predicted residual error sum of squares equals 0.493), nitrate plus nitrite and streamflow with total nitrogen (adjusted coefficient of determination equals 0.99, predicted residual error sum of squares equals 0.0202), and specific conductance and turbidity with total phosphorus (adjusted coefficient of determination equals 0.84, predicted residual error sum of squares equals 0.0935).

Daily loads of suspended sediment, total nitrogen, and total phosphorus were computed as the product of daily mean regression model concentrations and daily mean streamflow. During periods when regression model concentrations could not be computed, rloadest models, the R programming language version of the LOADEST FORTRAN program, were used to compute daily loads of each constituent. For 2016 and 2017, the estimated annual suspended-sediment loads were 25,000 and 32,100 tons; estimated total nitrogen loads were 4,260 and 5,780 tons; and estimated total phosphorus loads were 104 and 128 tons, respectively.

Standardizing a non-lethal method for characterizing the reproductive status and larval development of freshwater mussels (Bivalvia: Unionoida)

Released October 04, 2019 13:48 EST

2019, Journal of Visualized Experiments (152)

Caitlin Beaver, Susan Geda, Nathan Johnson

Actively monitoring the timing, development, and reproductive patterns of endangered species is critical when managing for population recovery. Freshwater mussels are among the most imperiled organisms in the world, but information about early larval (glochidial) development and brooding periods is still lacking for many species. Previous studies have focused on the complex life history stage when female mussels are ready to parasitize host fish, but few studies have focused on the brooding period and timing of larval development. The protocol described here allows researchers to non-lethally evaluate the state of gravidity for female mussels. The results of this study show that this method does not affect a female mussel’s ability to stay gravid or become gravid again after sampling has been performed. The advantage of this method may permit its use on federally threatened or endangered species or other populations of high conservation concern. This protocol can be adapted for use on both preserved or live individuals and was tested on a variety of mussel species. The database provided is a repository for a breadth of information on timing of reproductive habits and will facilitate future freshwater mussel research, conservation, and recovery efforts.

Decline of the North American avifauna

Released October 04, 2019 13:06 EST

2019, Science (366) 120-124

John R. Sauer, Kenneth V. Rosenberg, Adriaan M. Dokter, Peter J. Blancher, Adam C. Smith, Paul A. Smith, J.C. Stanton, Arvind O. Panjabi, Laura Helft, Michael J. Parr, Peter P. Marra

Species extinctions have defined the global biodiversity crisis, but extinction begins with loss in abundance of organisms that can result in extreme compositional and functional changes of ecosystems. Using multiple and independent monitoring networks, we report major population losses across much of the North American avifauna, including in once common species and from nearly every biome. Integration of trend and population size estimates indicates a net loss approaching three billion birds, or 29% of 1970 abundance. Continent-wide weather radar also reveals a comparable decline in biomass passage of migrating birds over a recent 10-year period. Our estimates of abundance and biodiversity loss signals an urgent need to address ongoing threats, in order to avert future avifaunal collapse and associated loss of ecosystem integrity and function.

Physiological and gene transcription assays to assess responses of mussels to environmental changes

Released October 04, 2019 07:53 EST

2019, Biodiversity and Conservation

Katrina Counihan, Lizabeth Bowen, Brenda Ballachey, Heather A. Coletti, Tuula Hollman, Benjamin Pister, Tammy L Wilson

Coastal regions worldwide face increasing management concerns due to natural and anthropogenic forces that have the potential to significantly degrade nearshore marine resources. The goal of our study was to develop and test a monitoring strategy for nearshore marine ecosystems in remote areas that are not readily accessible for sampling. Mussel species have been used extensively to assess ecosystem vulnerability to multiple, interacting stressors. We sampled bay mussels (Mytilus trossulus) in 2015 and 2016 from six intertidal sites in Lake Clark and Katmai National Parks and Preserves, in south-central Alaska. Reference ranges for physiological assays and gene transcription were determined for use in future assessment efforts. Both techniques identified differences among sites, suggesting influences of both large-scale and local environmental factors and underscoring the value of this combined approach to ecosystem health monitoring.

Modeling habitat of the desert tortoise (Gopherus agassizii) in the Mojave and parts of the Sonoran Deserts of California, Nevada, Utah, and Arizona

Released October 03, 2019 14:15 EST

2009, Open-File Report 2009-1102

Kenneth E. Nussear, Todd C. Esque, Richard D. Inman, Leila Gass, Kathryn A. Thomas, Cynthia S.A. Wallace, Joan B. Blainey, David M. Miller, Robert H. Webb

Habitat modeling is an important tool used to simulate the potential distribution of a species for a variety of basic and applied questions. The desert tortoise (Gopherus agassizii) is a federally listed threatened species in the Mojave Desert and parts of the Sonoran Desert of California, Nevada, Utah, and Arizona. Land managers in this region require reliable information about the potential distribution of desert tortoise habitat to plan conservation efforts, guide monitoring activities, monitor changes in the amount and quality of habitat available, minimize and mitigate disturbances, and ultimately to assess the status of the tortoise and its habitat toward recovery of the species. By applying information from the literature and our knowledge or assumptions of environmental variables that could potentially explain variability in the quality of desert tortoise habitat, we developed a quantitative habitat model for the desert tortoise using an extensive set of field-collected presence data. Sixteen environmental data layers were converted into a grid covering the study area and merged with the desert tortoise presence data that we gathered for input into the Maxent habitat-modeling algorithm. This model provides output of the statistical probability of habitat potential that can be used to map potential areas of desert tortoise habitat. This type of analysis, while robust in its predictions of habitat, does not account for anthropogenic changes that may have altered habitat with relatively high potential into areas with lower potential.

Documentation for the 2008 update of the United States National Seismic Hazard Maps

Released October 03, 2019 13:00 EST

2008, Open-File Report 2008-1128

Mark D. Petersen, Arthur D. Frankel, Stephen C. Harmsen, Charles S. Mueller, Kathleen M. Haller, Russell L. Wheeler, Robert L. Wesson, Yuehua Zeng, Oliver S. Boyd, David M. Perkins, Nicolas Luco, Edward H. Field, Chris J. Wills, Kenneth S. Rukstales

The 2008 U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) National Seismic Hazard Maps display earthquake ground motions for various probability levels across the United States and are applied in seismic provisions of building codes, insurance rate structures, risk assessments, and other public policy. This update of the maps incorporates new findings on earthquake ground shaking, faults, seismicity, and geodesy. The resulting maps are derived from seismic hazard curves calculated on a grid of sites across the United States that describe the frequency of exceeding a set of ground motions. The USGS National Seismic Hazard Mapping Project developed these maps by incorporating information on potential earthquakes and associated ground shaking obtained from interaction in science and engineering workshops involving hundreds of participants, review by several science organizations and State surveys, and advice from two expert panels. The new probabilistic hazard maps represent an update of the 2002 seismic hazard maps developed by Frankel and others (2002), which used the methodology developed for the 1996 version of the maps (Frankel and others, 1996). Algermissen and Perkins (1976) published the first probabilistic seismic hazard map of the United States which was updated in Algermissen and others (1990). The National Seismic Hazard Maps represent our assessment of the “best available science” in earthquake hazards estimation for the United States (maps of Alaska and Hawaii as well as further information on hazard across the United States are available on our Web site at http://earthquake.usgs.gov/research/hazmaps/).

Wildfire hazards—A national threat

Released October 03, 2019 12:10 EST

2006, Fact Sheet 2006-3015

U.S. Geological Survey

Wildfires are a growing natural hazard in most regions of the United States, posing a threat to life and property, particularly where native ecosystems meet developed areas.

However, because fire is a natural (and often beneficial) process, fire suppression can lead to more severe fires due to the buildup of vegetation, which creates more fuel.

In addition, the secondary effects of wildfires, including erosion, landslides, introduction of invasive species, and changes in water quality, are often more disastrous than the fire itself.

An assessment of volcanic threat and monitoring capabilities in the United States: Framework for a National Volcano Early Warning System

Released October 03, 2019 10:30 EST

2005, Open-File Report 2005-1164

John W. Ewert, Marianne Guffanti, Thomas L. Murray

Executive Summary

NVEWS – a National Volcano Early Warning System – is being formulated by the Consortium of U.S. Volcano Observatories (CUSVO) to establish a proactive, fully integrated, national-scale monitoring effort that ensures the most threatening volcanoes in the United States are properly monitored in advance of the onset of unrest and at levels commensurate with the threats posed. Volcanic threat is the combination of hazards (the destructive natural phenomena produced by a volcano) and exposure (people and property at risk from the hazards).

The United States has abundant volcanoes, and over the past 25 years the Nation has experienced a diverse range of the destructive phenomena that volcanoes can produce. Hazardous volcanic activity will continue to occur, and – because of increasing population, increasing development, and expanding national and international air traffic over volcanic regions – the exposure of human life and enterprise to volcano hazards is increasing. Fortunately, volcanoes exhibit precursory unrest that if detected and analyzed in time allows eruptions to be anticipated and communities at risk to be forewarned with reliable information in sufficient time to implement response plans and mitigation measures.

In the 25 years since the cataclysmic eruption of Mount St. Helens, scientific and technological advances in volcanology have been used to develop and test models of volcanic behavior and to make reliable forecasts of expected activity a reality. Until now, these technologies and methods have been applied on an ad hoc basis to volcanoes showing signs of activity. However, waiting to deploy a robust, modern monitoring effort until a hazardous volcano awakens and an unrest crisis begins is socially and scientifically unsatisfactory because it forces scientists, civil authorities, citizens, and businesses into “playing catch up” with the volcano, trying to get instruments and civil-defense measures in place before the unrest escalates and the situation worsens. Inevitably, this manner of response results in our missing crucial early stages of the volcanic unrest and hampers our ability to accurately forecast events. Restless volcanoes do not always progress to eruption; nevertheless, monitoring is necessary in such cases to minimize either over-reacting, which costs money, or under-reacting, which may cost lives.

Volcano monitoring in the U.S. is conducted by five volcano observatories, supported primarily by the USGS Volcano Hazards Program. Under the Stafford Act, the USGS is responsible for issuing timely warnings of potential volcanic disasters to the affected populace and civil authorities. To make maximum use of the Nation’s scientific resources, the USGS operates the observatories with the help of universities and other governmental agencies, through formal partnerships. At present, about half of the most threatening U.S. volcanoes are monitored at a basic level with real-time sensors (primarily seismic arrays), and a few are well monitored with a suite of modern instrument types and methods. However, monitoring capabilities at many hazardous volcanoes are known to be sparse or antiquated, and some hazardous volcanoes have no ground-based monitoring whatsoever.

Core Science Systems—Mission overview

Released October 03, 2019 10:05 EST

2012, Fact Sheet 2012-3009

Kevin T. Gallagher

The Core Science Systems Mission Area delivers nationally focused Earth systems and information science that provides fundamental research and data that underpins all Mission Areas of the USGS, the USGS Science Strategy, and Presidential, Secretarial, and societal priorities. —Kevin T. Gallagher, Associate Director, Core Science Systems

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Core Science Systems (CSS) Mission Area spans the Earth's "Critical Zone" (National Research Council, 2001). The Critical Zone is the near-surface interface that extends from the tops of the trees down to the base of the deepest groundwater.

CSS provides a foundation for all USGS Mission Areas, as well as for the mission of the Department of the Interior (DOI), in the following ways:

  • Conducts basic and applied science research and development
  • Fosters broad understanding and application of analyses and information
  • Provides a framework for data and information sharing
  • Creates new geospatially enabled data and information
  • Provides technical expertise in standards and methods
  • Builds and facilitates partnerships and innovation

Assessment of undiscovered continuous oil and gas resources in the Upper Ordovician Point Pleasant Formation and Utica Shale of the Appalachian Basin Province, 2019

Released October 03, 2019 10:00 EST

2019, Fact Sheet 2019-3044

Catherine B. Enomoto, Michael H. Trippi, Debra K. Higley, Ronald M. Drake II, Stephanie B. Gaswirth, Tracey J. Mercier, Michael E. Brownfield, Heidi M. Leathers-Miller, Phuong A. Le, Kristen R. Marra, Marilyn E. Tennyson, Cheryl A. Woodall, Christopher J. Schenk

Using a geology-based assessment methodology, the U.S. Geological Survey estimated undiscovered, technically recoverable continuous mean resources of 1.8 billion barrels of oil and 117.2 trillion cubic feet of gas in the Upper Ordovician Point Pleasant Formation and Utica Shale of the Appalachian Basin Province.

Assessment of undiscovered gas resources in the Middle Devonian Marcellus Shale of the Appalachian Basin Province, 2019

Released October 03, 2019 10:00 EST

2019, Fact Sheet 2019-3050

Debra K. Higley, Catherine E Enomoto, Heidi M. Leathers-Miller, Geoffrey S. Ellis, Tracey J. Mercier, Christopher J. Schenk, Michael H. Trippi, Phuong A. Le, Michael E. Brownfield, Cheryl A. Woodall, Kristen R. Marra, Marilyn E. Tennyson

Using a geology-based assessment methodology, the U.S. Geological Survey estimated undiscovered, technically recoverable continuous mean resources of 96.5 trillion cubic feet of gas in the Middle Devonian Marcellus Shale of the Appalachian Basin Province.

StreamStats: A water resources web application

Released October 03, 2019 09:45 EST

2008, Fact Sheet 2008-3067

Kernell G. Ries III, John D. Guthrie, Alan H. Rea, Peter A. Steeves, David W. Stewart

Streamflow statistics, such as the 1-percent flood, the mean flow, and the 7-day 10-year low flow, are used by engineers, land managers, biologists, and many others to help guide decisions in their everyday work. For example, estimates of the 1-percent flood (the flow that is exceeded, on average, once in 100 years and has a 1-percent chance of being exceeded in any year, sometimes referred to as the 100-year flood) are used to create flood-plain maps that form the basis for setting insurance rates and land-use zoning. This and other streamflow statistics also are used for dam, bridge, and culvert design; water-supply planning and management; water-use appropriations and permitting; wastewater and industrial discharge permitting; hydropower facility design and regulation; and the setting of minimum required streamflows to protect freshwater ecosystems. In addition, researchers, planners, regulators, and others often need to know the physical and climatic characteristics of the drainage basins (basin characteristics) and the influence of human activities, such as dams and water withdrawals, on streamflow upstream from locations of interest to understand the mechanisms that control water availability and quality at those locations. Knowledge of the streamflow network and downstream human activities also is necessary to adequately determine whether an upstream activity, such as a water withdrawal, can be allowed without adversely affecting downstream activities.

Streamflow statistics could be needed at any location along a stream. Most often, streamflow statistics are needed at ungaged sites, where no streamflow data are available to compute the statistics. At U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) streamflow data-collection stations, which include streamgaging stations, partial-record stations, and miscellaneous-measurement stations, streamflow statistics can be computed from available data for the stations. Streamflow data are collected continuously at streamgaging stations. Streamflow measurements are collected systematically over a period of years at partial-record stations to estimate peak-flow or low-flow statistics. Streamflow measurements usually are collected at miscellaneous-measurement stations for specific hydrologic studies with various objectives.

StreamStats is a Web-based Geographic Information System (GIS) application (fig. 1) that was created by the USGS, in cooperation with Environmental Systems Research Institute, Inc. (ESRI)1, to provide users with access to an assortment of analytical tools that are useful for water-resources planning and management. StreamStats functionality is based on ESRI's ArcHydro Data Model and Tools, described on the Web at http://support.esri.com/index.cfm?fa=downloads.dataModels.filteredGateway&dmid=15. StreamStats allows users to easily obtain streamflow statistics, basin characteristics, and descriptive information for USGS data-collection stations and user-selected ungaged sites. It also allows users to identify stream reaches that are upstream and downstream from user-selected sites, and to identify and obtain information for locations along the streams where activities that may affect streamflow conditions are occurring. This functionality can be accessed through a map-based user interface that appears in the user’s Web browser (fig. 1), or individual functions can be requested remotely as Web services by other Web or desktop computer applications. StreamStats can perform these analyses much faster than historically used manual techniques.

StreamStats was designed so that each state would be implemented as a separate application, with a reliance on local partnerships to fund the individual applications, and a goal of eventual full national implementation. Idaho became the first state to implement StreamStats in 2003. By mid-2008, 14 states had applications available to the public, and 18 other states were in various stages of implementation.

Data entry module and manuals for the Land Treatment Digital Library

Released October 03, 2019 08:55 EST

2013, Data Series 749

Justin L. Welty, David S. Pilliod

Across the country, public land managers make decisions each year that influence landscapes and ecosystems within their jurisdictions. Many of these decisions involve vegetation manipulations, which often are referred to as land treatments. These treatments include removal or alteration of plant biomass, seeding of burned areas, application of herbicides, and other activities. Data documenting these land treatments usually are stored at local management offices in various formats. Therefore, anyone interested in the types and effects of land treatments across multiple jurisdictions must first assemble the information, which can be difficult if data discovery and organization involve multiple local offices. A centralized system for storing and accessing the data helps inform land managers when making policy and management considerations and assists scientists in developing sampling designs and studies.

The Land Treatment Digital Library (LTDL) was created by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) as a comprehensive database incorporating tabular data, documentation, photographs, and spatial data about land treatments in a single system. It was developed over a period of several years and refined based on feedback from partner agencies and stakeholders. Currently, Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land treatment data are being entered by USGS personnel as part of a memorandum of understanding between the USGS and BLM. The LTDL has a website maintained by the USGS Forest and Rangeland Ecosystem Science Center where LTDL data can be viewed https://ltdl.wr.usgs.gov.

The resources and information provided in this data series allow other agencies, organizations, and individuals to download an empty, stand-alone LTDL database to individual or networked computers. Data entered in these databases may be submitted to the USGS for possible inclusion in the online LTDL.

Multiple computer programs are used to accomplish the objective of the LTDL. The support of an information-technology specialist or professionals familiar with Microsoft Access™, ESRI’s ArcGIS™, Python, Adobe Acrobat Professional™, and computer settings is essential when installing and operating the LTDL. After the program is operational, a critical element for successful data entry is an understanding of the difference between database tables and forms, and how to edit data in both formats. Complete instructions accompany the program, and they should be followed carefully to ensure the setup and operation of the database goes smoothly.

Reaffirmed occurrence of two vulnerable caddisfly species of conservation concern

Released October 03, 2019 08:20 EST

2019, Report

William Mabee, Andrea Schuhmann, Barry C. Poulton, Jennifer Girondo, Wes Swee, Tealetha Buckley, David Bowles, Beth Bowles, Russell Rhodes

Maramec Spring is home to two Ozark endemic caddisfly Species of Conservation Concern (SOCC). The Missouri Glyphospsyche Caddisfly, Glyphospsyche missouri, (Critically Imperiled; State Rank-S1; Global Rank-G1) is known from Maramec Spring and the receiving spring branch and nowhere else in the world. Similarly, the Artesian Agapetus Caddisfly, Agapetus artesus, (Vulnerable; State Rank-S3 and Global Rank-G3) is known to occur only at Maramec Spring, Greer Spring, and a single reach of the Eleven Point River. Both species are considered representative fauna of Caves/Karst (Springs) habitat systems described in the Missouri State Wildlife Action Plan. However, little is known about distribution, life history, environmental requirements, or tolerance to environmental stress of either species. Further, prior to this study, it had been 14 years since G. missouri was last recorded to occur at Maramec Spring or the receiving spring branch, and 29 years since A. artesus was last documented to occur at Maramec Spring. On 15 November 2017, a team conducted reconnaissance of Maramec Spring Branch and of the Meramec River immediately downstream from the confluence of the spring branch to document occurrence and characterize aquatic habitat of immature life-stages (larvae and/or pupae) of the species, if found. A second visit was made on 10, January 2018.

Reducing wet ammonium deposition in Rocky Mountain National Park: The development and evaluation of a pilot early warning system for agricultural operations in eastern Colorado

Released October 03, 2019 06:56 EST

2019, Environmental Management

Aaron Pena, Russ Schumacher, Scott Denning, William Faulkner, Jill S. Baron, Jay Ham, Dennis S. Ojima, Jeffrey Collett

Agricultural emissions are the primary source of ammonia (NH3) deposition in Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP), a Class I area, that is granted special air quality protections under the Clean Air Act. Between 2014 and 2016, the pilot phase of the Colorado agricultural nitrogen early warning system (CANEWS) was developed for agricultural producers to voluntarily and temporarily minimize emissions of NH3 during periods of upslope winds. The CANEWS was created using trajectory analyses driven by outputs from an ensemble of numerical weather forecasts together with the climatological expertise of human forecasters. Here, we discuss the methods for the CANEWS and offer preliminary analyses of 33 months of the CANEWS based on atmospheric deposition data from two sites in RMNP as well as responses from agricultural producers after warnings were issued. Results showed that the CANEWS accurately predicted 6 of 9 high N deposition weeks at a lower-elevation observation site, but only 4 of 11 high N deposition weeks at a higher-elevation site. Sixty agricultural producers from 39 of Colorado’s agricultural operations volunteered for the CANEWS, and a two-way line of communication between agricultural producers and scientists was formed. For each warning issued, an average of 23 producers responded to a post-warning survey. Over 75% of responding CANEWS participants altered their practices after an alert. While the current effort was insufficient to reduce atmospheric deposition, we were encouraged by the collaborative spirit between agricultural, scientific, and resource management communities. Solving a broad and complex social-ecological problem requires both a technological approach, such as the CANEWS, and collaboration and trust from all participants, including agricultural producers, land managers, university researchers, and environmental agencies.

Streamflow—Water year 2018

Released October 02, 2019 16:22 EST

2019, Fact Sheet 2019-3063

Xiaodong Jian, David M. Wolock, Steven J. Brady, Harry F. Lins

The maps and graphs in this summary describe national streamflow conditions for water year 2018 (October 1, 2017, to September 30, 2018) in the context of streamflow ranks relative to the 89-year period of water years 1930–2018. The illustrations are based on observed data from the U.S. Geological Survey National Streamflow Network. Annual runoff in the Nation’s rivers and streams during water year 2018 was higher than the long-term (water years 1930–2018) mean annual runoff of 9.33 inches. Nationwide, the 2018 streamflow ranked 33d highest out of the 89 years.

Potential interaction of groundwater and surface water including autonomous underwater vehicle reconnaissance at Nolin River Lake, Kentucky, 2016

Released October 02, 2019 13:12 EST

2019, Scientific Investigations Report 2019-5075

Angela S. Crain, Justin A. Boldt, E. Randall Bayless, Aubrey R. Bunch, Jade L. Young, Jennifer C. Thomason, Zachary L. Wolf

The U.S. Geological Survey collaborated with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Louisville District, on a synoptic study of water quality at Nolin River Lake during August 2016. The purpose of the study was to develop a better understanding of the potential for interaction between groundwater and surface water at Nolin River Lake, Kentucky. Groundwater can have properties that are measurably different from those in adjacent surface water, and inflows and outflows can be an important component of water quality and quantity. An improved understanding of potential interaction of groundwater and surface water at Nolin River Lake may be used to refine lake-management strategies. This study (1) compiled and interpreted existing information to characterize the hydrogeological setting and implications for potential interaction of groundwater and surface water in the Nolin River Lake watershed; (2) collected transects of onsite water-quality parameters using an autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) in areas with potential for interaction of groundwater and surface water, including five sites on Nolin River Lake and one site on the Nolin River; and (3) collected discrete water-quality and phytoplankton community data at the same six sites.

A review of existing hydrogeologic information did not indicate the presence of karst features adjacent to or beneath Nolin River Lake that would facilitate groundwater interaction with the reservoir. Observations leading to this conclusion include (1) limestone that is adjacent to the shoreline and perhaps beneath the lake, is overlain with siliciclastic rocks and fine-grained sediment that inhibits infiltration and development of karst features that encourage rapid groundwater flow; (2) the geologic deposits surrounding the reservoir are described as having limited or no potential for development of karst features, some exceptions may exist in tributary valleys; (3) very few karst features were mapped within 1 mile of the reservoir or in the area currently occupied by the reservoir; and (4) faults that intersect the reservoir but may not possess hydraulic properties that cause the faults to be conduits for groundwater flow. Groundwater interaction with reservoir tributaries is likely more common in areas of the watershed upstream from Nolin River Lake where karst hydrogeology is prevalent.

Results of water-quality surveys using an AUV from August 15 to 19, 2016, did not identify areas of anomalous values that might indicate groundwater inflows through preferential flow zones. Spatial distributions of water-quality parameters were generally uniform within each constant-depth layer. The constant-depth layers were selected to be above, within, and below the thermocline and ranged from the water surface to 25 feet. Surveys near the bottom of the reservoir that might have been more sensitive to groundwater inflows were not done because presurvey data were not available to indicate locations of obstacles that could ensnare the AUV. Water-quality data collected with the AUV did identify water-quality anomalies where stream tributaries were discharging to the reservoir.

The discrete water-quality samples indicated uniformity among the five reservoir sites. The riverine site that is immediately upstream from Nolin River Lake, however, had some unique water-quality characteristics relative to sites on the reservoir. The highest concentrations of nitrate plus nitrite as nitrogen (0.145 milligrams per liter [mg/L]), total phosphorous (0.07 mg/L), chlorophyll a (36.1 micrograms per liter), and pheophytin a (10.2 micrograms per liter) were measured at the Nolin River Lake riverine site (site 2NRR20034). The concentrations of nutrients and chlorophyll a at the riverine site did exceed the 25th percentile of median concentrations measured by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) at other lakes and reservoirs in EPA level IV ecoregion 71a. Concentrations of most nutrients and chlorophyll a at the five reservoir sites also exceeded the 25th percentile of median concentrations in EPA level IV ecoregion 72h. The exception was the concentrations of total phosphorus as phosphorus at the reservoir sites that were at or below the 25th percentile of median concentrations measured by EPA (0.03 mg/L). Concentrations of orthophosphate as phosphorus were less than the method detection limit of 0.004 mg/L at all sites. The phytoplankton community in Nolin River Lake was almost exclusively (greater than 90 percent of total phytoplankton abundance) cyanobacteria, also known as blue-green algae. A species of Cylindrospermopsis dominated the cyanobacterial community at the five reservoir sites, while Chroococcus microscopicus was most abundant at the riverine site. Cyanobacterial cell densities ranged from 10,000 to 198,067,460 cells per liter in five areas in the reservoir and from 4,800 to 73,751,253 cells per liter at the riverine site.

Multiple potential sources of water to Nolin River Lake include direct precipitation, overland flow, interflow, groundwater, and surface water. Understanding the exact contribution of each of these components to the water budget at Nolin River Lake may help the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers manage the water quality, water quantity, and biological communities in the reservoir. Additional hydrogeologic and water-quality data that builds on the results of this study may refine the inferences of this study; for example, deeper AUV surveys that target the largest fault zones might further the understanding of the potential for groundwater flow through those features. A complete understanding of the reservoir hydrology, however, may require the use of scientific methods intended for water bodies as large as Nolin River Lake, such as aerial infrared photography and imagery; water mass, chemical, and isotopic balance studies; geophysical measurements; and numerical simulations.

Prediction and inference of flow-duration curves using multi-output neural networks

Released October 02, 2019 12:06 EST

2019, Water Resources Research (55) 6850-6868

Scott C. Worland, Scott Steinschneider, William H. Asquith, Rodney Knight, Michael Wieczorek

We develop multi-output neural network models (MNNs) to predict flow-duration curves (FDCs) in 9,203 ungaged locations in the Southeastern United States for six decades between 1950-2009. The model architecture contains multiple response variables in the output layer that correspond to individual quantiles along the FDC. During training, predictions are made for each quantile, and a combined loss function is used for back propagation and parameter updating. The loss function accounts for the covariance between the quantiles and generates physically consistent outputs (i.e., monotonically increasing quantiles with increasing nonexceedance probabilities). We use neural-network dropout to generate posterior-predictive distributions for FDCs, and test model performance under cross validation. Finally, we demonstrate how local surrgotate models, via the Local Interpretable Model-agnostic Explanations (LIME) method, can be used to infer the relation between basin characteristics and the predicted FDCs. Results suggest that MNNs can learn the monotonic relations between adjacent quantiles on an FDC, they result in better predictions than single output neural-network models that predict each quantile independently, and basin characteristics are most useful for predicting smaller quantiles, whereas bias terms from neighboring quantiles are most informative for predicting higher quantiles.

Applying the ecology of aquatic–terrestrial linkages to freshwater and riparian management

Released October 02, 2019 11:51 EST

2019, Freshwater Science

Johanna M. Kraus

Global stressors such as climate change, invasive species, urbanization, agricultural practices, and pollution can alter aquatic resource subsidies to terrestrial consumers. The effects of these stressors on timing, quality, and quantity of aquatic subsidies, such as adult aquatic insects, to birds, herpetofauna, and mammals, have large implications for wildlife management (Baxter et al. 2004, Saunders and Fausch 2007, Walters et al. 2008, Sullivan and Rodewald 2012, Morrissey et al. 2015, Kraus et al. 2016, Larsen et al. 2016, Sullivan et al. 2019). For example, insect-mediated contaminant transport from polluted rivers expose song bird nestlings and other protected birds to potentially toxic levels of persistent organic contaminants and pharmaceuticals (Walters et al. 2010, Richmond et al. 2018). Recent declines in aquatic insect production caused by pollution and changes in land use have been tied to global declines in terrestrial insectivores such as birds and bats (Hallmann et al. 2014, Morrissey et al. 2015, Raby et al. 2018). These natural-resource impacts from aquatic–terrestrial exposure and loss of resource subsidies are leading to changes in monitoring protocols and how management agencies evaluate the effectiveness of corrective remedies (Muehlbauer et al. 2019). For researchers interested in the application of resource subsidy research, a logical next step is to help practitioners anticipate effects of global stressors on aquatic-terrestrial linkages and incorporate these principles into decision making.

Land Treatment Digital Library

Released October 02, 2019 11:35 EST

2013, Data Series 806

David S. Pilliod, Justin L. Welty

The Land Treatment Digital Library (LTDL) was created by the U.S. Geological Survey to catalog legacy land treatment information on Bureau of Land Management lands in the western United States. The LTDL can be used by federal managers and scientists for compiling information for data-calls, producing maps, generating reports, and conducting analyses at varying spatial and temporal scales. The LTDL currently houses thousands of treatments from BLM lands across 10 states. Users can browse a map to find information on individual treatments, perform more complex queries to identify a set of treatments, and view graphs of treatment summary statistics. 

A multidisciplinary coastal vulnerability assessment for local government focused on ecosystems, Santa Barbara area, California

Released October 02, 2019 11:26 EST

2019, Ocean and Coastal Management

Monique Myers, Patrick L. Barnard, Edward Beighley, Daniel R. Cayan, Jenifer E. Dugan, Dongmei Feng, Samuel F. Iacobellis, John M. Melack, Henry M. Page

Incorporating coastal ecosystems in climate adaptation planning is needed to maintain the well-being of both natural and human systems. Our vulnerability study uses a multidisciplinary approach to evaluate climate change vulnerability of an urbanized coastal community that could serve as a model approach for communities worldwide, particularly in similar Mediterranean climates. We synthesize projected changes in climate, coastal erosion and flooding, watershed runoff and impacts to two important coastal ecosystems, sandy beaches and coastal salt marshes. Using downscaled climate models along with other regional models, we find that temperature, extreme heat events, and sea level are expected to increase in the future, along with more intense rainfall events, despite a negligible change in annual rainfall. Consequently, more droughts are expected but the magnitude of larger flood events will increase. Associated with the continuing rise of mean sea level, extreme coastal water levels will occur with increasingly greater magnitudes and frequency. Severe flooding will occur for both natural (wetlands, beaches) and built environments (airport, harbor, freeway, and residential areas). Adaptation actions can reduce the impact of rising sea level, which will cause losses of sandy beach zones and salt marsh habitats that support the highest biodiversity in these ecosystems, including regionally rare and endangered species, with substantial impacts occurring by 2050. Providing for inland transgression of coastal habitats, effective sediment management, reduced beach grooming and removal of shoreline armoring are adaptations that would help maintain coastal ecosystems and the beneficial services they provide.

A spatio-contextual probabilistic model for extracting linear features in hilly terrain from high-resolution DEM data

Released October 02, 2019 11:26 EST

2019, International Journal of Geographical Information Science (33) 666-686

Xiran Zhou, Wenwen Li, Samantha Arundel

This paper introduces our research in developing a probabilistic model to extract linear terrain features from high resolution DEM (Digital Elevation Model) data. The proposed model takes full advantage of spatio-contextual information to characterize terrain changes. It first derives a quantifiable measure of spatio-contextual patterns of linear terrain feature, such as ridgelines, valley lines and crater boundaries, and then adopts multiple neighborhood analysis and a probability model to address data uncertainty in terrain surface modeling. Different from traditional approaches, the proposed model has the ability to achieve near-automated processing, and to support effective extraction of terrain features in both smooth and rough surfaces. Through a series of experiments, we demonstrate that the proposed approach outperforms existing techniques, including: thresholding, stream/drainage network analysis, visual descriptor, object-based image analysis and edge detection. We hope this work contributes to both the geospatial data science and geomorphology communities with a new way of utilizing high-resolution imagery in terrain analysis.

Modeling sediment bypassing around idealized rocky headlands

Released October 02, 2019 11:19 EST

2019, Journal of Marine Science and Engineering (7)

Douglas A. George, John L. Largier, Greg B. Pasternack, Patrick L. Barnard, Curt D. Storlazzi, Li H. Erikson

Alongshore sediment bypassing rocky headlands remains understudied despite the importance of characterizing littoral processes for erosion abatement, beach management, and climate change adaptation. To address this gap, a numerical model sediment transport study was developed to identify controlling factors and mechanisms for sediment headland bypassing potential. Four idealized headlands were designed to investigate sediment flux around the headlands using the process-based hydrodynamic model Delft-3D and spectral wave model SWAN. The 120 simulations explored morphologies, substrate compositions, sediment grain sizes, and physical forcings (i.e., tides, currents, and waves) commonly observed in natural settings. A generalized analytical framework based on flow disruption and sediment volume was used to refine which factors and conditions were more useful to address sediment bypassing. A bypassing parameter was developed for alongshore sediment flux between upstream and downstream cross-shore transects to determine the degree of blockage by a headland. The shape of the headland heavily influenced the fate of the sediment by changing the local angle between the shore and the incident waves, with oblique large waves generating the most flux. All headlands may allow sediment flux, although larger ones blocked sediment more effectively, promoting their ability to be littoral cell boundaries. The controlling factors on sediment bypassing were determined to be wave angle, size, and shape of the headland, and sediment grain size.

Regionalization of groundwater residence time using metamodeling

Released October 02, 2019 11:00 EST

2019, Water Resources Research (54) 6357-6373

J. Jeffrey Starn, Kenneth Belitz

Groundwater residence-time distributions (RTDs) are critical for assessing susceptibility of water resources to degradation. A novel combination of numerical modeling and statistical methods allows estimation of regional RTDs with unprecedented speed. In this method, particle RTDs are generated in 30 type locales in the northeastern glaciated U.S using automated generalized finite-difference groundwater flow and advective transport models. Targets for statistical learning were created from particle RTDs by fitting Weibull, gamma, and inverse Gaussian distributions. Whole-basin flux-weighted RTDs were well fit by one-component Weibull distributions. Flux-weighted RTDs at stressed receptors such as wells often produced more complicated RTDs that required a two-component mixture to fit. A Multitask Lasso regression was trained on the parametric RTDs using hydrogeographic features of the modeled areas as explanatory features. In this way, RTDs are regionalized using mappable physical features such as recharge and aquifer volume. The shape, location, and scale parameters of the parametric RTDs are strongly related to the mean exponential age. The shape parameter of the distribution, which controls deviation from exponential, is additionally a function of aquifer heterogeneity and hydrologic features. Regionalized RTDs provide useful metrics with respect to groundwater lag times and solute loading to streams. The lag time between input and output contained in the RTD is critical to understanding the relation between the land surface and human and ecological receptors.

Anthropogenic and geologic causes of anomalously high uranium concentrations in groundwater used for drinking water supply in the southeastern San Joaquin Valley, CA

Released October 01, 2019 14:50 EST

2019, Journal of Hydrology (577) 1-14

Michael R. Rosen, Karen R. Burow, Miranda Fram

Concentrations of uranium (U) >30 µg/L in groundwater are relatively uncommon in drinking water in the United States but can be of concern in those areas where complex interactions of aquifer materials and anthropogenic alterations of the natural flow regime mobilize uranium. High concentrations (>30 µg/L) of U in the southeastern San Joaquin Valley, California, USA, have been detected in 24 percent of 257 domestic, irrigation, and public-supply wells sampled across an approximately 110,000 km2 area. The location of high concentrations depends on the interactions of U sources from fluvial fans that originate in the Sierra Nevada to the east and seepage of irrigation water that contains high concentrations of HCO3 that leaches U from the sediments. In addition, interactions with phosphate (PO4) from fertilized irrigated fields may sequester U in the aquifer. Principal component analysis of the data demonstrates that HCO3 and ions associated with high total dissolved solids in the aquifer and the percentage of agriculture near the well sampled are associated with high U concentrations. Nitrate concentrations do not appear to control release of U to the aquifer. Age dating of the groundwater and generally increasing U concentrations of the past 25 years in resampled wells where irrigation is prevalent suggests that high U concentrations are associated with younger water, indicating that irrigation of fields over the past 100 years has significantly contributed to increasing concentrations and mobilizing U. In some places, the groundwater is supersaturated with uranyl-containing minerals, as would be expected in roll front deposits. In general, the interaction of natural geological sources high in U, the anthropogenically driven addition of HCO3 and possibly phosphate fertilizer, control the location and concentration of U in each individual fluvial fan, but the addition of nitrate in fertilizer does not appear control the location of high U. These geochemical interactions can be used to determine controls on anomalously high U in alluvial aquifers

U.S. Geological Survey environmental health science strategy—Providing environmental health science for a changing world

Released October 01, 2019 14:15 EST

2013, Circular 1383-E

Patricia R. Bright, Herbert T. Buxton, Laurie S. Balistrieri, Larry B. Barber, Francis H. Chapelle, Paul C. Cross, David P. Krabbenhoft, Geoffrey S. Plumlee, Jonathan M. Sleeman, Donald E. Tillitt, Patricia L. Toccalino, James R. Winton

Executive Summary

America has an abundance of natural resources. We have bountiful clean water, fertile soil, and unrivaled national parks, wildlife refuges, and public lands. These resources enrich our lives and preserve our health and wellbeing. These resources have been maintained because of our history of respect for their value and an enduring commitment to their vigilant protection. Awareness of the social, economic, and personal value of the health of our environment is increasing. The emergence of environmentally driven diseases caused by exposure to contaminants and pathogens is a growing concern worldwide. New health threats and patterns of established threats are affected by both natural and anthropogenic changes to the environment. Human activities are key drivers of emerging (new and re-emerging) health threats. Societal demands for land and natural resources, quality of life, and economic prosperity lead to environmental change. Natural earth processes, climate trends, and related climatic events will compound the environmental impact of human activities. These environmental drivers will influence exposure to disease agents, including viral, bacterial, prion, and fungal pathogens, parasites, synthetic chemicals and substances, natural earth materials, toxins, and other biogenic compounds.

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) defines environmental health science broadly as the interdisciplinary study of relations among the quality of the physical environment, the health of the living environment, and human health. The interactions among these three spheres are driven by human activities, ecological processes, and natural earth processes; the interactions affect exposure to contaminants and pathogens and the severity of environmentally driven diseases in animals and people. This definition provides USGS with a framework for synthesizing natural science information from across the Bureau and providing it to environmental, natural resource, agricultural, and public health managers.

USGS specializes in science at the environment-health interface, by characterizing the processes that affect the interaction among the physical environment, the living environment, and people, and the resulting factors that affect ecological and human exposure to disease agents. The USGS is a Federal science agency with a broad range of natural science expertise relevant to environmental health. USGS provides scientific information and tools as a scientific basis for management and policy decisionmaking.

This report describes a 10-year strategy that encompasses the portfolio of USGS environmental health science. It summarizes national environmental health priorities that USGS is best suited to address, and will serve as a strategic framework for USGS environmental health science goals, actions, and outcomes for the next decade. Implementation of this strategy is intended to aid coordination of USGS environmental health activities and to provide a focal point for disseminating information to stakeholders.

The “One Health” paradigm advocated by the World Health Organization (WHO; World Health Organization, 2011), and the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA; American Veterinary Medical Association, 2008), among others, is based on a general recognition that the health of humans, animals, and the environment are inextricably linked. Thus, successful efforts to protect that health will require increased interdisciplinary research and increased communication and collaboration among the broader scientific and health community. This strategy is built upon that paradigm.

U.S. Geological Survey natural hazards science strategy— Promoting the safety, security, and economic well-being of the Nation

Released October 01, 2019 14:15 EST

2013, Circular 1383-F

Robert R. Holmes Jr., Lucile M. Jones, Jeffery C. Eidenshink, Jonathan W. Godt, Stephen H. Kirby, Jeffrey J. Love, Christina A. Neal, Nathaniel G. Plant, Michael L. Plunkett, Craig S. Weaver, Anne Wein, Suzanne C. Perry

Executive Summary

The mission of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) in natural hazards is to develop and apply hazard science to help protect the safety, security, and economic well-being of the Nation. The costs and consequences of natural hazards can be enormous, and each year more people and infrastructure are at risk. USGS scientific research—founded on detailed observations and improved understanding of the responsible physical processes—can help to understand and reduce natural hazard risks and to make and effectively communicate reliable statements about hazard characteristics, such as frequency, magnitude, extent, onset, consequences, and where possible, the time of future events.

To accomplish its broad hazard mission, the USGS maintains an expert workforce of scientists and technicians in the earth sciences, hydrology, biology, geography, social and behavioral sciences, and other fields, and engages cooperatively with numerous agencies, research institutions, and organizations in the public and private sectors, across the Nation and around the world. The scientific expertise required to accomplish the USGS mission in natural hazards includes a wide range of disciplines that this report refers to, in aggregate, as hazard science.

In October 2010, the Natural Hazards Science Strategy Planning Team (H–SSPT) was charged with developing a long-term (10-year) Science Strategy for the USGS mission in natural hazards. This report fulfills that charge, with a document hereinafter referred to as the Strategy, to provide scientific observations, analyses, and research that are critical for the Nation to become more resilient to natural hazards. Science provides the information that decisionmakers need to determine whether risk management activities are worthwhile. Moreover, as the agency with the perspective of geologic time, the USGS is uniquely positioned to extend the collective experience of society to prepare for events outside current memory. The USGS has critical statutory and nonstatutory roles regarding floods, earthquakes, tsunamis, landslides, coastal erosion, volcanic eruptions, wildfires, and magnetic storms—the hazards considered in this plan. There are numerous other hazards of societal importance that are considered either only peripherally or not at all in this Strategy because they are either in another of the USGS strategic science plans (such as drought) or not in the overall mission of the USGS (such as tornados).

Facing tomorrow’s challenges—U.S. Geological Survey science in the decade 2007–2017

Released October 01, 2019 14:10 EST

2007, Circular 1309

U.S. Geological Survey

Executive Summary

In order for the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) to respond to evolving national and global priorities, it must periodically reflect on, and optimize, its strategic directions. This report is the first comprehensive science strategy since the early 1990s to examine critically major USGS science goals and priorities.

The development of this science strategy comes at a time of global trends and rapidly evolving societal needs that pose important natural-science challenges. The emergence of a global economy affects the demand for all resources. The last decade has witnessed the emergence of a new model for managing Federal lands—ecosystem-based management. The U.S. Climate Change Science Program predicts that the next few decades will see rapid changes in the Nation’s and the Earth’s environment. Finally, the natural environment continues to pose risks to society in the form of volcanoes, earthquakes, wildland fires, floods, droughts, invasive species, variable and changing climate, and natural and anthropogenic toxins, as well as animal-borne diseases that affect humans. The use of, and competition for, natural resources on the global scale, and natural threats to those resources, has the potential to impact the Nation’s ability to sustain its economy, national security, quality of life, and natural environment.

Responding to these national priorities and global trends requires a science strategy that not only builds on existing USGS strengths and partnerships but also demands the innovation made possible by integrating the full breadth and depth of USGS capabilities. The USGS chooses to go forward in the science directions proposed here because the societal issues addressed by these science directions represent major challenges for the Nation’s future and for the stewards of Federal lands, both onshore and offshore.

The six science directions proposed in this science strategy are summarized in the following paragraphs. The ecosystems strategy is listed first because it has a dual nature. It is itself an essential direction for the USGS to pursue to meet a pressing national and global need, but ecosystem-based approaches are also an underpinning of the other five directions, which all require ecosystem perspectives and tools for their execution. The remaining strategic directions are listed in alphabetical order.

Coastal Salinity Index along the southeastern Atlantic coast and the Gulf of Mexico, 1983 to 2018

Released October 01, 2019 14:05 EST

2019, Open-File Report 2019-1090

Matthew D. Petkewich, Kirsten Lackstrom, Bryan J. McCloskey, Lauren F. Rouen, Paul A. Conrads

Coastal droughts have a different dynamic than upland droughts, which are typically characterized by agricultural, hydrologic, meteorological, and (or) socioeconomic effects. Drought uniquely affects coastal ecosystems because of changes in the salinity conditions of estuarine creeks and rivers. The location of the freshwater-saltwater interface in surface-water bodies is an important factor in the ecological and socioeconomic dynamics of coastal communities. To address the data and information gap for characterizing coastal drought, the Coastal Salinity Index (CSI) was developed by using salinity data. The CSI uses a computational approach similar to the Standardized Precipitation Index. The CSI can be computed for unique time intervals (for example 1-, 6-, 12-, and 24-month intervals) to characterize short- and long-term drought (saline) conditions, as well as wet (high freshwater inflow) conditions.

To encourage the use of the CSI in current and future research endeavors, this investigation addressed three activities to enhance the use and application of the CSI. First, a software package was developed for the consistent computation of the CSI that includes preprocessing of salinity data, filling missing data, computing the CSI, post-processing, and generating the supporting metadata. This software package is available for download from the U.S. Geological Survey GitHub repository. Second, the CSI has been computed at sites along the southeastern Atlantic coast (Florida to North Carolina) and the Gulf of Mexico (Texas to Florida) to increase the opportunity for linking the CSI to ecological response data. Third, using telemetered salinity data, the real-time computation of the CSI has been prototyped and disseminated on the web.

Wetland biomass and productivity in Coastal Louisiana: Base line data (1976-2015) and knowledge gaps for the development of spatially explicit models for ecosystem restoration and rehabilitation initiatives

Released October 01, 2019 13:21 EST

2019, Water (11)

Victor H. Rivera-Monroy, Courtney Elliton, Siddhartha Narra, Ehab Meselhe, Xiaochen Zhao, Eric White, Charles E. Sasser, Jenneke M. Visser, X. Meng, Hongqing Wang, Zuo Xue, Fernando Jaramillo

Coastal Louisiana host 37% of the coastal wetland area in the conterminous US, including one of the deltaic coastal regions more susceptible to the synergy of human and natural impacts causing wetland loss. As a result of the construction of flood protection infrastructure, dredging of channels across wetlands for oil/gas exploration and maritime transport activities, coastal Coastal Louisiana hosts 37% of the coastal wetland area in the conterminous US, including one of the deltaic coastal regions more susceptible to the synergy of human and natural impacts causing wetland loss. As a result of the construction of flood protection infrastructure, dredging of channels across wetlands for oil/gas exploration and maritime transport activities, coastal Louisiana has lost approximately 4900 km2 of wetland area since the early 1930s. Despite the economic relevance of both wetland biomass and net primary productivity (NPP) as ecosystem services, there is a lack of vegetation simulation models to forecast the trends of those functional attributes at the landscape level as hydrological restoration projects are implemented. Here, we review the availability of peer-reviewed biomass and NPP wetland data (below and aboveground) published during the period 1976–2015 for use in the development, calibration and validation of high spatial resolution (<200 m × 200 m) vegetation process-based ecological models. We discuss and list the knowledge gaps for those species that represent vegetation community associations of ecological importance, including the long-term research issues associated to limited number of paired belowground biomass and productivity studies across hydrological basins currently undergoing different freshwater diversions management regimes and hydrological restoration priorities.

U.S. Geological Survey water science strategy—Observing, understanding, predicting, and delivering water science to the Nation

Released October 01, 2019 12:50 EST

2013, Circular 1383-G

Eric J. Evenson, Randall C. Orndorff, Charles D. Blome, John Karl Böhlke, Paul K. Hershberger, Victoria E. Langenheim, Gregory J. McCabe, Scott E. Morlock, Howard W. Reeves, James P. Verdin, Holly S. Weyers, Tamara M. Wood

Executive Summary

This report expands the Water Science Strategy that began with the USGS Science Strategy, “Facing Tomorrow’s Challenges—U.S. Geological Survey Science in the Decade 2007–2017” (U.S. Geological Survey, 2007). This report looks at the relevant issues facing society and develops a strategy built around observing, understanding, predicting, and delivering water science for the next 5 to 10 years by building new capabilities, tools, and delivery systems to meet the Nation’s water-resource needs. This report begins by presenting the vision of water science for the USGS and the societal issues that are influenced by, and in turn influence, the water resources of our Nation. The essence of the Water Science Strategy is built on the concept of “water availability,” defined as spatial and temporal distribution of water quantity and quality, as related to human and ecosystem needs, as affected by human and natural influences. The report also describes the core capabilities of the USGS in water science—the strengths, partnerships, and science integrity that the USGS has built over its 134-year history.

U.S. Geological Survey Energy and Minerals science strategy: A resource lifecycle approach

Released October 01, 2019 12:05 EST

2013, Circular 1383-D

Richard C. Ferrero, Jonathan J. Kolak, Donald J. Bills, Zachary H. Bowen, Daniel J. Cordier, Tanya J. Gallegos, James R. Hein, Karen D. Kelley, Philip H. Nelson, Vito F. Nuccio, Jeanine M. Schmidt, Robert R. Seal II

Executive Summary

The economy, national security, and standard of living of the United States depend heavily on adequate and reliable supplies of energy and mineral resources. Based on population and consumption trends, the Nation’s use of energy and minerals can be expected to grow, driving the demand for ever broader scientific understanding of resource formation, location, and availability. In addition, the increasing importance of environmental stewardship, human health, and sustainable growth places further emphasis on energy and mineral resources research and understanding. Collectively, these trends in resource demand and the interconnectedness among resources will lead to new challenges and, in turn, require cutting-edge science for the next generation of societal decisions.

The long and continuing history of U.S. Geological Survey contributions to energy and mineral resources science provide a solid foundation of core capabilities upon which new research directions can grow. This science strategy provides a framework for the coming decade that capitalizes on the growth of core capabilities and leverages their application toward new or emerging challenges in energy and mineral resources research, as reflected in five interrelated goals.

  • Goal 1.—Understand fundamental Earth processes that form energy and mineral resources
  • Goal 2.—Understand the environmental behavior of energy and mineral resources and their waste products
  • Goal 3.—Provide inventories and assessments of energy and mineral resources
  • Goal 4.—Understand the effects of energy and mineral development on natural resources and society
  • Goal 5.—Understand the reliability and availability of energy and mineral supplies

Within each goal, multiple actions are identified. The level of specificity and complexity of these actions varies, consistent with the reality that even a modest refocus can yield large payoffs in the near term whereas more ambitious plans may take years to reach fruition. As such, implementation of these actions is largely dependent on available resources and the sequencing of prerequisite steps. This science strategy places an emphasis on interdisciplinary collaboration and leveraging of expertise across the U.S. Geological Survey and with external partners.

U.S. Geological Survey ecosystems science strategy—Advancing discovery and application through collaboration

Released October 01, 2019 11:45 EST

2013, Circular 1383-C

Byron K. Williams, G. Lynn Wingard, Gary Brewer, James E. Cloern, Guy Gelfenbaum, Robert B. Jacobson, Jeffrey L. Kershner, Anthony D. McGuire, James D. Nichols, Carl D. Shapiro, Charles van Riper III, Robin P. White

Executive Summary

Ecosystem science is critical to making informed decisions about natural resources that can sustain our Nation’s economic and environmental well-being. Resource managers and policymakers are faced with countless decisions each year at local, regional, and national levels on issues as diverse as renewable and nonrenewable energy development, agriculture, forestry, water supply, and resource allocations at the urban-rural interface. The urgency for sound decisionmaking is increasing dramatically as the world is being transformed at an unprecedented pace and in uncertain directions. Environmental changes are associated with natural hazards, greenhouse gas emissions, and increasing demands for water, land, food, energy, mineral, and living resources. At risk is the Nation’s environmental capital, the goods and services provided by resilient ecosystems that are vital to the health and wellbeing of human societies. Ecosystem science—the study of systems of organisms interacting with their environment and the consequences of natural and human-induced change on these systems—is necessary to inform decisionmakers as they develop policies to adapt to these changes.

This Ecosystems Science Strategy is built on a framework that includes basic and applied science. It highlights the critical roles that U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) scientists and partners can play in building scientific understanding and providing timely information to decisionmakers. The strategy underscores the connection between scientific discoveries and the application of new knowledge, and it integrates ecosystem science and decisionmaking, producing new scientific outcomes to assist resource managers and providing public benefits. We envision the USGS as a leader in integrating scientific information into decisionmaking processes that affect the Nation’s natural resources and human well-being.

The USGS is uniquely positioned to play a pivotal role in ecosystem science. With its wide range of expertise, the Bureau can bring holistic, cross-scale, interdisciplinary capabilities to the design and conduct of monitoring, research, and modeling and to new technologies for data collection, management, and visualization. Collectively, these capabilities can be used to reveal ecological patterns and processes, explain how and why ecosystems change, and forecast change over different spatial and temporal scales. USGS science can provide managers with options and decision-support tools to use resources sustainably. The USGS has long-standing, collaborative relationships with the Department of the Interior (DOI) and other partners in the natural sciences, in both conducting science and applying the results. The USGS engages these partners in cooperative investigations that otherwise would lack the necessary support or be too expensive for a single bureau to conduct.

The heart of this strategy is a framework for USGS ecosystems science that focuses on five long-term goals, which are seen as interconnected components that reinforce our vision of the USGS providing science that is at the forefront of decisionmaking:

  • Improve understanding of ecosystem structure, function, and processes. The focus for this goal is an understanding of how ecosystems work, including the dynamics of species, their populations, interactions, and genetics, and how they change across spatial and temporal scales.
  • Advance understanding of how drivers influence ecosystem change. The challenges here are explaining the drivers of ecosystem change, their spatio-temporal patterns, their uncertainties and interactions, and their influence on ecosystem processes and dynamics.
  • Improve understanding of the services that ecosystems provide to society. Here the emphasis is on the measurement of environmental capital and ecosystem services, and the identification of sources and patterns of change in space and time.
  • Develop tools, technologies, and capacities to inform decisionmaking about ecosystems. This includes developing new technologies and approaches for conducting applications-oriented ecosystem science. A principal challenge will be how to quantify uncertainty and incorporate it in decision analysis.
  • Apply science to enhance strategies for management, conservation, and restoration of ecosystems. These challenges include development of novel approaches to monitoring, assessment, and restoration of ecosystems; new methods to address species of concern and communities at risk; and innovations in decision analysis and support to address imminent ecosystem changes or those that are underway.

Closely integrated with the five goals are four strategic approaches that provide the path forward for the USGS Ecosystems Mission Area. These approaches cross-cut all of the goals and are seen as essential to the implementation of this strategy:

  • Assess information needs for ecosystem science through enhanced partnerships. Work with the DOI and other agencies and institutions to identify, design, and implement priority decision-driven ecological research.
  • Promote the use of interdisciplinary ecosystem science. Design and conduct interdisciplinary process-oriented research in ecosystem science.
  • Enhance modeling and forecasting. Build models to forecast ecosystem change, assess future management scenarios, and reduce uncertainties through an adaptive learning process.
  • Support decisionmaking. Use quantitative approaches to assess the vulnerabilities of ecosystems, habitats, and species, and evaluate strategies for adaptation, restoration, and sustainable management.

Following the four strategic approaches are a set of proposed actions that represent a sampling of specific USGS activities that align with this strategy and that address the Nation’s most pressing environmental needs.

The strategy emphasizes coordination of activities across the USGS mission areas pursuant to these goals. Ecosystem science is inherently interdisciplinary and requires a broad perspective that incorporates the biological and physical sciences, climate science, information technology, and scientific capacity in mission areas across the Bureau. With its emphasis on coordination, this strategy can provide a critical underpinning for integrated science efforts with scientists from multiple mission areas of the USGS working together. Of course, the USGS will continue to conduct discipline-specific and interdisciplinary investigations, and both will continue to be vital parts of the ecosystem science portfolio.

Finally, the strategy stresses the importance of coordination with other Federal agencies and organizations in the natural resources community. The USGS collaborates with resource agencies in the DOI and other organizations throughout the world to meet societal needs for species and ecosystem management. Working with these agencies and organizations, the USGS will play a key role in guiding sound decisionmaking during the next decade by advancing the scientific foundation for sustaining the natural resources that diverse, productive, resilient ecosystems provide.

U.S. Geological Survey core science systems strategy: characterizing, synthesizing, and understanding the critical zone through a modular science framework

Released October 01, 2019 11:20 EST

2013, Circular 1383-B

R. Sky Bristol, Ned H. Euliss Jr., Nathaniel L. Booth, Nina Burkardt, Jay E. Diffendorfer, Dean B. Gesch, Brian E. McCallum, David M. Miller, Suzette A. Morman, Barbara S. Poore, Richard P. Signell, Roland J. Viger

Executive Summary

Core Science Systems is a new mission of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) that resulted from the 2007 Science Strategy, “Facing Tomorrow’s Challenges: U.S. Geological Survey Science in the Decade 2007–2017.” This report describes the Core Science Systems vision and outlines a strategy to facilitate integrated characterization and understanding of the complex Earth system. The vision and suggested actions are bold and far-reaching, describing a conceptual model and framework to enhance the ability of the USGS to bring its core strengths to bear on pressing societal problems through data integration and scientific synthesis across the breadth of science.

The context of this report is inspired by a direction set forth in the 2007 Science Strategy. Specifically, ecosystem-based approaches provide the underpinnings for essentially all science themes that define the USGS. Every point on Earth falls within a specific ecosystem where data, other information assets, and the expertise of USGS and its many partners can be employed to quantitatively understand how that ecosystem functions and how it responds to natural and anthropogenic disturbances. Every benefit society obtains from the planet— food, water, raw materials to build infrastructure, homes and automobiles, fuel to heat homes and cities, and many others— are derived from or affect ecosystems.

The vision for Core Science Systems builds on core strengths of the USGS in characterizing and understanding complex Earth and biological systems through research, modeling, mapping, and the production of high quality data on the Nation’s natural resource infrastructure. Together, these research activities provide a foundation for ecosystem-based approaches through geologic mapping, topographic mapping, and biodiversity mapping. The vision describes a framework founded on these core mapping strengths that makes it easier for USGS scientists to discover critical information, share and publish results, and identify potential collaborations that transcend all USGS missions. The framework is designed to improve the efficiency of scientific work within USGS by establishing a means to preserve and recall data for future applications, organizing existing scientific knowledge and data to facilitate new use of older information, and establishing a future workflow that naturally integrates new data, applications, and other science products to make interdisciplinary research easier and more efficient. Given the increasing need for integrated data and interdisciplinary approaches to solve modern problems, leadership by the Core Science Systems mission will facilitate problem solving by all USGS missions in ways not formerly possible.

The report lays out a strategy to achieve this vision through three goals with accompanying objectives and actions. The first goal builds on and enhances the strengths of the Core Science Systems mission in characterizing and understanding the Earth system from the geologic framework to the topographic characteristics of the land surface and biodiversity across the Nation. The second goal enhances and develops new strengths in computer and information science to make it easier for USGS scientists to discover data and models, share and publish results, and discover connections between scientific information and knowledge. The third goal brings additional focus to research and development methods to address complex issues affecting society that require integration of knowledge and new methods for synthesizing scientific information. Collectively, the report lays out a strategy to create a seamless connection between all USGS activities to accelerate and make USGS science more efficient by fully integrating disciplinary expertise within a new and evolving science paradigm for a changing world in the 21st century.

Discrete Zr and REE mineralization of the Baerzhe rare-metal deposit, China

Released October 01, 2019 07:49 EST

2019, American Mineralogist (104) 1487-1502

Kunfeng Qiu, Haocheng Yu, Mingqian Wu, Jianzhen Geng, Xiangkun Ge, Zongyang Gou, Ryan Taylor

Although REE (lanthanides + Y) mineralization in alkaline silicate systems is commonly accompanied with Zr mineralization worldwide, our understanding of the relationship between Zr and REE mineralization is still incomplete (e.g. Škoda and Novák, 2007; Linnen et al., 2014; Petrella et al., 2014; Möller and Williams-Jones, 2016; Wu et al., 2018). The Baerzhe deposit in NE China is a source of Zr, REE, and Nb linked to the formation of an early Cretaceous, silica-saturated, alkaline intrusive complex. In-situ laser ablation–inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (LA-ICP-MS) analyses of zircon and monazite crystals constrain the relationship between Zr and REE mineralization at Baerzhe. Three populations of zircon are identified and are differentiated based upon textural observations and compositional characteristics. Type I zircon display well-developed oscillatory zoning are are typically found as inclusions within sodic amphibole. Type II zircons are darker than Type I zircons in CL images, can overgrow Type I zircon, and have more irregular zoning and resorption features. Type III zircons contain irregular but translucent cores and rims with oscillatory zoning that are murky brown in color and grow in aggregates. Textural features and compositional data suggest that Types I and II zircon crystallized at the magmatic stage, with Type 1 being least altered and Type II being strongly altered, and Type III precipitated during the magmatic to magmatic-hydrothermal transition. Whereas the magnitude of the Eu anomaly is moderate in the barren alkaline granite, all three populations of zircon exhibit pronounced negative anomalies. Such features are difficult to explain exclusively by feldspar fractionation and could indicate the presence of fluid modification of the rocks. Monazite crystals occur mostly through replacement of zircon and sodic amphibole; monazite clusters are also present. Textural and compositional evidence suggests that monazite at Baerzhe is hydrothermal. Least and strongly altered magmatic zircon yield 207Pb-corrected 206Pb/238U ages of 127.3±1.2 Ma and 125.67±0.76 Ma, respectively. Deuteric zircon precipitated at 125.11±0.69 Ma. The chronological data suggest that the magmatic stage of the highly-evolved Baerzhe alkaline granite lasted less than two million years. Hydrothermal monazite records REE mineralization at 123.41±0.63 Ma, approximately 1 or 2 million years later than Zr mineralization. We therefore propose a model in which parental magmas underwent extensive magmatic differentiation while residual melts interacted with aqueous hydrothermal fluids. Deuteric zircon precipitated from a hydrosilicate liquid, and subsequent REE mineralization, exemplified by hydrothermal monazite, correlates with the metasomatic alteration from external fluid sources. Such interplay between magmatic and hydrothermal processes resulted in the formation of discrete Zr and REE mineralization at Baerzhe.

Analytical framework to estimate water use associated with continuous oil and gas development

Released September 30, 2019 20:57 EST

2019, Scientific Investigations Report 2019-5100

Joshua F. Valder, Ryan R. McShane, Theodore B. Barnhart, Spencer L. Wheeling, Janet M. Carter, Kathleen M. Macek-Rowland, Gregory C. Delzer, Joanna N. Thamke

An analytical framework was designed to estimate water use associated with continuous oil and gas (COG) development in support of the U.S. Geological Survey Water Availability and Use Science Program. This framework was developed to better understand the relation between the production of COG resources for energy and the amount of water needed to sustain this type of energy development in the United States. The total mean undiscovered, technically recoverable volume of COG has increased, highlighting the continued need to develop approaches to better characterize water use associated with COG development.

The analytical framework can be used to estimate water use associated with COG development for three water-use components—direct, indirect, and ancillary water use—that are related to the life cycle of COG development. Direct water use is defined as water used in a wellbore to complete a well, including the water used for drilling, cementing, stimulating, and maintaining the well during production. Indirect water use is the water used at or near the well site, including water used for dust abatement, for cleaning equipment, and for crew and staff use. Ancillary water use is all other water used during the life cycle of COG development that is not categorized as direct or indirect, such as additional local or regional water use resulting from a change (for example, population) related to COG development. The analytical framework includes the data inputs, the processes involved in estimating the water-use coefficients and analyzing their uncertainties, and the outputs. The analytical framework was developed as an R script, which contains the statistical models used to estimate water-use components.

The availability of data across COG reservoirs in the United States is variable and presents challenges for estimating water use for extracting COG from their reservoirs; thus, the R script can be modified for the types of data available within a COG reservoir, the extent and resolution of data available for each water-use component, and the desired output of the water-use assessment. The script was written so that the units of the data in the script were standardized. Water-use estimates were simulated for the mean and 10th, 50th, and 90th percentiles of the data distributions. Uncertainties were quantified with confidence intervals for the estimated coefficients. Uncertainty for estimated or simulated data can be calculated with the R script by providing a range of representative values that are within the appropriate confidence intervals of the mean of the data.

U.S. Geological Survey Climate and Land Use Change Science Strategy—A Framework for Understanding and Responding to Global Change

Released September 30, 2019 17:35 EST

2013, Circular 1383-A

Virginia R. Burkett, David A. Kirtland, Ione L. Taylor, Jayne Belnap, Thomas M. Cronin, Michael D. Dettinger, Eldrich L. Frazier, John W. Haines, Thomas R. Loveland, Paul C.D. Milly, Robin O'Malley, Robert S. Thompson, Alec G. Maule, Gerard McMahon, Robert G. Striegl

Executive Summary

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), a nonregulatory Federal science agency with national scope and responsibilities, is uniquely positioned to serve the Nation’s needs in understanding and responding to global change, including changes in climate, water availability, sea level, land use and land cover, ecosystems, and global biogeochemical cycles. Global change is among the most challenging and formidable issues confronting our Nation and society. Scientists agree that global environmental changes during this century will have far-reaching societal implications (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, 2007; U.S. Global Change Research Program, 2009). In the face of these challenges, the Nation can benefit greatly by using natural science information in decisionmaking.

Since the passage of the U.S. Global Change Research Act of 1990, the USGS has made substantial scientific contributions to understanding the interactive living and nonliving components of the Earth system. USGS natural science activities have led to fundamental advances in observing and understanding climate and land-cover change and the effects these changes have on ecosystems, natural-resource availability, and societal sustainability. Most of these major advances were pursued in partnership with other organizations within and outside the Department of the Interior. The inherent value of partnerships with other U.S. Global Change Research Program agencies and natural-resource managers is emphasized in all aspects of the planning and implementation of this Science Strategy for the coming decade.

Over the next 10 years, the USGS will make substantial contributions to understanding how Earth systems interact, respond to, and cause global change. The USGS will work with science partners, decisionmakers, and resource managers at local to international levels (including Native American tribes) to improve understanding of past and present change; develop relevant forecasts; and identify those lands, resources, and communities most vulnerable to global change processes. Science will play an essential role in helping communities and land and resource managers understand local to global implications, anticipate effects, prepare for changes, and reduce the risks associated with decisionmaking in a changing environment. USGS partners and stakeholders will benefit from the data, predictive models, and decision-support products and services resulting from the implementation of this strategy.

This Science Strategy recognizes core USGS strengths that are applied to key societal problems. It establishes seven goals for USGS global change science and strategic actions that may be implemented in the short term (1–5 years) and the longer term (5–10 years) to improve our understanding of the following areas of inquiry:

  1. Rates, causes, and impacts of past global changes;
  2. The global carbon cycle;
  3. Biogeochemical cycles and their coupled interactions;
  4. Land-use and land-cover change rates, causes, and consequences;
  5. Droughts, floods, and water availability under changing land-use and climatic conditions;
  6. Coastal response to sea-level rise, climatic change, and human development; and
  7. Biological responses to global change.

In addition to the seven thematic goals, we address the central role of monitoring in accordance with the USGS Science Strategy recommendation that global change research should rely on existing “…decades of observational data and long-term records to interpret consequences of climate variability and change to the Nation’s biological populations, ecosystems, and land and water resources” (U.S. Geological Survey, 2007, p. 19). We also briefly describe specific needs and opportunities for coordinating USGS global change science among USGS Mission Areas and address the need for a comprehensive and sustained communications strategy.

Assessment of continuous oil and gas resources in the niobrara interval of the Cody Shale, Bighorn Basin Province, Wyoming and Montana, 2019

Released September 30, 2019 17:10 EST

2019, Fact Sheet 2019-3045

Thomas M. Finn, Christopher J. Schenk, Tracey J. Mercier, Marilyn E. Tennyson, Phuong A. Le, Michael E. Brownfield, Kristen R. Marra, Heidi M. Leathers-Miller, Ronald M. Drake II, Cheryl A. Woodall, Janet K. Pitman, Geoffrey S. Ellis, Scott A. Kinney

Using a geology-based assessment methodology, the U.S. Geological Survey estimated means of 534 million barrels of oil and 939 billion cubic feet of gas in the Niobrara interval of the Cody Shale in the Bighorn Basin Province, Wyoming and Montana.

Anderson Ranch wetlands hydrologic characterization in Taos County, New Mexico

Released September 30, 2019 15:57 EST

2019, Open-File Report 2019-1100

Amy E. Galanter, Zachary M. Shephard, Pamela Herrera-Olivas

The Anderson Ranch property (study area), located in Taos County, north-central New Mexico, was transferred from Chevron Mining, Inc. (CMI) to the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) as part of a Natural Resource Damage Assessment and Restoration (NRDAR) court-ordered settlement. The study area supports freshwater emergent wetlands and freshwater ponds. The settlement states that CMI will provide the land and a monetary settlement to support the restoration of the wetlands on the property. To best manage the study area, the BLM requires an understanding of potential effects of climate variability and groundwater withdrawals on the wetland function. This study, completed by the U.S. Geological Survey in cooperation with the BLM, provides an initial hydrologic characterization of the study area, which included literature review, collection of groundwater-level and aqueous-chemistry data, completion of a vegetation survey, and preliminary data analysis. The data compiled, collected, and analyzed as part of this study indicate that the wetlands within the study area are groundwater fed and that the water maintaining the wetlands is modern. Surface-water levels in the pond and groundwater levels in the surrounding wetland fluctuate seasonally. The hydraulic gradient in the study area is from northeast to southwest. Evapotranspiration is a main driver of water demand within the study area.

Estimated use of water in Georgia for 2015 and water-use trends, 1985–2015

Released September 30, 2019 15:30 EST

2019, Open-File Report 2019-1086

Jaime A. Painter

Water-withdrawal, water-use, and water-return information have been collected and compiled for each county in Georgia every 5 years since 1980 using data obtained from various Federal, State, and private agencies, as well as additional online sources. For 2015, water use, water withdrawal, and water returns were estimated for each county, water-planning region, major river basin, and principal aquifer in Georgia. Offstream water use in 2015 is estimated for the categories of domestic, commercial, industrial processing, mining, irrigation (subdivided into crop and golf course irrigation), livestock, aquaculture, and thermoelectric power cooling.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, approximately 10.2 million people in Georgia needed water resources to meet their personal, commercial, and recreational needs in 2015. Public water suppliers provided water to about 85 percent of the population of Georgia. Estimated total water withdrawals from both surface-water and groundwater sources were about 3,384 million gallons per day (Mgal/d) in 2015, which is a 27-percent reduction from 2010, a 48.1-percent reduction from 2000, and a 49.7-percent reduction from 1980. In 2015, surface-water withdrawals were greatest for thermoelectric power cooling (839.8 Mgal/d), and groundwater withdrawals were greatest for irrigating crops (547.9 Mgal/d). Water needs in northern Georgia are typically met by withdrawing a larger percentage of water from surface-water than groundwater sources; conversely, counties in southern Georgia withdraw more water from groundwater sources. About 1,571 Mgal/d of water were returned to Georgia streams and lakes in 2015, which represents about 46 percent of the total water withdrawn from all sources in 2015.

Water users in the Apalachicola River Basin, in 2015, withdrew the highest percentage of water (35 percent) and returned the highest percentage of water to surface-water bodies (almost 40 percent) compared to other major river basins in Georgia. Withdrawals in the Apalachicola River Basin are primarily extracted by public-supply systems (43 percent) and irrigation (34 percent). The aquifer from which 68 percent of statewide groundwater withdrawals were extracted was the Floridan aquifer system, and the majority of the water was used for irrigation (57 percent).

Historically, statewide water use in Georgia was highest in 1980 (6,735 Mgal/d), decreased to 5,353 Mgal/d in 1990, peaked at 6,531 Mgal/d in 2000, and has been declining since that time. The reduction in water use between 2000 and 2015 came primarily from surface-water withdrawals (90 percent of total reduction) and thermoelectric power cooling use (78 percent of total reduction). Water use for livestock and aquaculture increased between 1985 and 2015, and this increase correlates with the growth of agriculture in Georgia during that period. The driving forces behind the observed water-use changes include (1) shifts in population numbers and locations, (2) five periods of major drought, (3) water conservation efforts and education programs initiated by State and local governments and water utilities, and (4) changing water needs for thermoelectric power cooling, industry, and agricultural activities.

Integration of eDNA-based biological monitoring within the US Geological Survey’s national streamgage network

Released September 30, 2019 14:14 EST

2019, Journal of the American Water Resources Association

David Pilliod, Matthew Laramie, Dorene McCoy, Scott Maclean

This study explores the feasibility and utility of integrating environmental DNA (eDNA) assessments of species occurrences into the US Geological Survey’s national streamgage network. We used an existing network of five gages in southwest Idaho to explore the type of information that could be gained as well as the associated costs and limitations. Hydrologic technicians were trained in eDNA sampling protocols and they collected samples during routine monthly visits to streamgages over an entire water year (2016). We analyzed the eDNA in the filtered water samples to determine the presence of two fish species: bull trout Salvelinus confluentus and rainbow trout Oncorhynchus mykiss. We then modeled the spatiotemporal distribution of each species using discharge and temperature data. To assess the influence of the spatial distribution of the gages on the biological information obtained, we also collected eDNA samples from locations between the gages three times during the water year. We found that eDNA monitoring at the five gages provided meaningful information about the distribution of both species, especially when detection probabilities accounted for variations in temperature and discharge. Sampling between the gages provided additional information about bull trout distribution – a rare species at the southernmost edge of its distribution. Our study suggests that the integration of eDNA sampling into a streamgage network is feasible and could provide a novel and powerful source of biological information for riverine ecosystems in the US.

Water resources on Guam—Potential impacts of and adaptive response to climate change

Released September 30, 2019 12:48 EST

2019, Scientific Investigations Report 2019-5095

Stephen B. Gingerich, Adam G. Johnson, Sarah N. Rosa, Mathieu D. Marineau, Scott A. Wright, Lauren E. Hay, Matthew J. Widlansky, John W. Jenson, Corinne I. Wong, Jay L. Banner, Melissa L. Finucane, Victoria W. Keener

The goals of this joint U.S. Geological Survey, University of Hawaiʻi, University of Guam, University of Texas, and East-West Center study were to (1) provide basic understanding about water resources for U.S. Department of Defense installations on Guam and (2) assess the resulting effect of sea-level rise and a changing climate on freshwater availability, on the basis of historic information, sea-level rise projections, and global-climate model temperature and rainfall projections. Downscaled regional climate models, informed by a multimodel ensemble of global climate models provided projections of future climate conditions for Guam. These projected climate conditions provided input to surface-water and groundwater models developed for Guam’s hydrology. Guam’s water resources in a future climate condition (2080–99) are projected to diminish relative to the recent climate condition. Projected average temperature increases, and average rainfall decreases will lead to reduced streamflow in southern Guam and reduced groundwater recharge to the Northern Guam Lens Aquifer (NGLA). Projected average temperatures in southern Guam will increase about 5.8 °F (3.22 °C), overall rainfall will decrease about 7 percent, and streamflow will consequently decrease 18 percent in important areas of southern Guam. Similarly, across the NGLA, future groundwater recharge will be 19 percent less than estimated recharge from 2012. Reduced future streamflow will decrease water availability from the Fena Valley Reservoir; however, the reservoir is expected to be able to supply water at recent demand rates without lowering the reservoir level to the elevation of the water-supply intakes throughout the simulated period of a future climate. A twelve-year simulation indicates that the reservoir can supply about twice the 2018 demand without lowering the reservoir level to the water-supply intakes. By following mitigation strategies to increase reservoir water availability, the withdrawal rate can be increased by 1.7 percent if the water-supply intakes are lowered 5 ft, by 3.5 percent if the spillway height is raised 5 ft, and by 5.3 percent if both strategies are combined. Higher sea level and reduced future recharge will decrease water availability from the NGLA. An index of composite chloride concentration from production wells increases to 300 milligrams per liter (mg/L) for future climate conditions and at 2010 withdrawal rates, compared with 130 mg/L under historic climate conditions. Most of this increase is due to reduced recharge as higher (+3.2 ft) sea level only has a small role in increasing withdrawn water salinity. A redistributed withdrawal scenario in which the composite chloride concentration is 290 mg/L offers only slight improvement. Should future droughts reduce recharge proportionally to the decreases observed during historic droughts, the composite concentration would be about 900 mg/L, and more than 70 percent of Guam’s production wells would produce water with a composite concentration greater than 500 mg/L. Potential mitigation strategies for increasing the potable yield of the NGLA in a future climate include reducing depths of deep production wells and reducing the withdrawal rates in selected wells projected to have higher chloride concentrations. Simulations show both strategies are effective in lowering the composite concentration of the withdrawn water.

A fuzzy logic approach for estimating recovery factors of miscible CO2-EOR projects in the United States

Released September 30, 2019 12:34 EST

2019, Journal of Petroleum Science and Engineering (184)

Cevat (Ozgen) Karacan

"Recovery factor (RF) is one of the most fundamental parameters that define engineering and economical success of any operational phase in oil and gas production. The effectiveness of the operation, e.g. CO2-EOR (enhanced oil recovery with carbon dioxide injection), is usually defined by multiplying the resultant recovery factor by the original oil in place. Moreover, investment decisions for such engineering projects are also performed based on predicted recovery factors. Despite its importance, though, it is not easy to predict recovery factors as they are affected by many factors including the type of the recovery process, reservoir type, fluid properties, reservoir heterogeneity, depth, thickness, to name a few. The usual method of estimating recovery factors is laboratory experiments or numerical modeling, each of which has their own limitations due to data requirements, boundary conditions and scale effects. In this work, a fuzzy inference system approach has been adopted to predict miscible CO2-EOR recovery factors of the major field applications in the United States with the premise that it can be used as a guidance tool for making decisions based on different inputs. The fuzzy system was build using a Mamdani-type fuzzy logic inference engine, and by using reservoir data compiled from different sources as inputs and recovery factors gathered from a literature survey. Due to the limited number of field cases that could be used for this purpose, 24 sets of applications were included in the study. Selected input variables were water saturation after waterflood (Sorw), well spacing, porosity, permeability, depth, net pay thickness, initial pressure, API gravity of oil, hydrocarbon pore volume CO2 injected, and reservoir lithology. The type of membership functions were decided based on the system’s predictive performance. The model showed reasonable predictive capability for the field observations of recovery factor despite the complexity of this parameter. In addition, since the fuzzy solution was multi-dimensional due to multiple inputs, system behavior was used to demonstrate response of miscible CO2-EOR recovery factor to different inputs. "

Hemidactylus parvimaculatus (Sri Lankan spotted house gecko)

Released September 30, 2019 11:25 EST

2019, Herpetological Review (50) 525-526

C. M. Pellacchia, Brad M. Glorioso, R. W. Mendyk, C. A. Collen, V. C. Montross, W. McGighan, K. Macedo, B. R. Maldonado, I. N. Morenc

USA: LOUISIANA: PLAQUEMINES PARISH: 0.15 km S of the intersection of LA-23 and Jump  road, Venice (29.266630°N, 89.35570°W; WGS 84). 2 May 2019. V. C. Montross and W. McGighan. Verified by Aaron M. Bauer. Florida Museum of Natural History (UF 189238; photo voucher). New parish record. On 2 May 2019, three Hemidactylus parvimaculatus were observed after lifting an abandoned door left on the side of Jump Basin Road. An adult specimen was photographed. This record extends the known distribution of this species in Louisiana south of all previously recorded parishes and is 105 km SW of the species’ first recorded location in the state at Audubon Zoo, Orleans Parish (Heckard et al. 2013. IRCF Reptil. Amphib. 20:192–196). Four additional parishes in southeastern Louisiana have since been added to its known distribution including Jefferson (Borgardt 2015. Herpetol. Rev. 46:217), St. Tammany (Glorioso 2016. Herpetol. Rev. 47:81), St. John (Borgardt 2016. Herpetol. Rev. 47:258), and Tangipahoa (Erdman 2017. Herpetol. Rev. 48:125), as well as Chambers and Orange counties in east Texas (Davis and LaDuc 2019. Herpetol. Rev. 50:102). 

Status of groundwater-level altitudes and long-term groundwater-level changes in the Chicot, Evangeline, and Jasper aquifers, Houston-Galveston region, Texas, 2019

Released September 30, 2019 11:08 EST

2019, Scientific Investigations Report 2019-5089

Christopher L. Braun, Jason K. Ramage, Sachin D. Shah

Since the early 1900s, most of the groundwater withdrawals in the Houston-Galveston region, Texas, have been from the three primary aquifers that compose the Gulf Coast aquifer system—the Chicot, Evangeline, and Jasper aquifers. Withdrawals from these aquifers are used for municipal supply, commercial and industrial use, and irrigation. This report, prepared by the U.S. Geological Survey in cooperation with the Harris-Galveston Subsidence District, City of Houston, Fort Bend Subsidence District, Lone Star Groundwater Conservation District, and Brazoria County Groundwater Conservation District, is one in an annual series of reports depicting the status of groundwater-level altitudes and long-term groundwater-level changes in the Chicot, Evangeline, and Jasper aquifers in the Houston-Galveston region. This report contains regional-scale maps depicting approximate 2019 groundwater-level altitudes (represented by measurements made during December 2018 through March 2019) and long-term groundwater-level changes in the Chicot, Evangeline, and Jasper aquifers.

In 2019, groundwater-level-altitude contours for the Chicot aquifer ranged from 200 feet (ft) below the North American Vertical Datum of 1988 (hereinafter referred to as “datum”) to 200 ft above datum. The 1977–2019 groundwater-level-change contours for the Chicot aquifer depict a large area of decline in groundwater-level altitudes (100 ft) in northwestern Harris County. The largest rise in groundwater-level altitudes in the Chicot aquifer from 1977 to 2019 (200 ft) was in southeastern Harris County.

In 2019, groundwater-level-altitude contours for the Evangeline aquifer ranged from 300 ft below datum to 200 ft above datum. The 1977–2019 groundwater-level-change contours for the Evangeline aquifer depict broad areas where groundwater-level altitudes either declined or rose. The largest decline in groundwater-level altitudes (280 ft) was in southern Montgomery and northern Harris Counties. The largest rise in groundwater-level altitudes in the Evangeline aquifer from 1977 to 2019 (240 ft) was in southeastern Harris County.

In 2019, groundwater-level-altitude contours for the Jasper aquifer ranged from 200 ft below datum to 250 ft above datum. The 2000–19 groundwater-level-change contours for the Jasper aquifer depict groundwater-level declines throughout most of the study area where groundwater-level-altitude data from the Jasper aquifer were collected, with the largest decline (200 ft) in southern Montgomery County.

Using the stream salmonid simulator (S3) to assess juvenile Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) production under historical and proposed action flows in the Klamath River, California

Released September 30, 2019 11:00 EST

2019, Open-File Report 2019-1099

John M. Plumb, Russell W. Perry, Nicholas A. Som, Julie Alexander, Nicholas J. Hetrick

Executive Summary

The production of Klamath River fall Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) in northern California and southern Oregon is thought to be limited by poor survival during freshwater juvenile life stages, in part a result of Ceratonova shasta—a highly infectious disease that can lead to high fish mortality. Higher flushing river flows are thought to affect the concentration of C. shasta spores, and in turn, juvenile salmon infection and mortality. The Stream Salmonid Simulator (S3) model was built to simulate the spatiotemporal dynamics of the growth, movement, and survival of juvenile salmon from spawning through migration to the Pacific Ocean in response to river flow, habitat availability, water temperature, and C. shasta spore concentrations. The S3 model has been calibrated to juvenile fall Chinook salmon abundances at a trap site within the Klamath River, and was specifically designed to provide objective predictions of juvenile salmon abundance and survival in relation to proposed flow management alternatives and resulting fish infection and mortality by C. shasta. Infection by C. shasta in the Klamath River is location specific, occurring in a “disease zone” with high spore concentrations. The spatial extent of this disease zone (from river kilometer 289.6 to 212.9) has been incorporated in the S3 model for the Klamath River, enabling the assessment of disease effects on fish at specific spatial locations such as the trap sampling sites, and for fish that were or were not exposed to the disease zone as they emigrate the Klamath River to the Pacific Ocean.

Given the information gained from field observations on spore concentrations in relation to river flow, deliberations by resource managers resulted in the incorporation of springtime flushing flows in a Proposed Action (PA) scenario developed in part to lower spore concentrations within the disease zone. A Historical (HI) scenario based on the observed flows, temperatures, and spore concentrations from 2004 to 2016 was used to compare and contrast the potential benefits to juvenile salmon from PA flows in relation to the HI conditions.

Application of the Stream Salmonid Simulator (S3) to Klamath River fall Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha), California—Parameterization and calibration

Released September 30, 2019 09:06 EST

2019, Open-File Report 2019-1107

Russell W. Perry, John M. Plumb, Edward C. Jones, Nicholas A. Som, Thomas B. Hardy, Nicholas J. Hetrick

Executive Summary

In this report, we describe application of the Stream Salmonid Simulator (S3) to Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) in the Klamath River between Keno Dam in southern Oregon and the ocean in northern California. S3 is a deterministic life-stage-structured population model that tracks daily growth, movement, and survival of juvenile salmon. It can track different source populations or species, such as major tributary populations that enter a river like the Klamath River. A key theme of the model is that river flow affects habitat availability and capacity, which in turn drives density-dependent population dynamics. To explicitly link population dynamics to habitat quality and quantity, the river environment is constructed as a one-dimensional series of linked habitat units, each of which has an associated daily time series of discharge, water temperature, and useable habitat area or carrying capacity. In turn, the physical characteristics of each habitat unit and the number of fish occupying each unit affect survival and growth within each habitat unit and movement of fish among habitat units.

The physical template of the Klamath River was formed by classifying the river into 2,635 mesohabitat units composed of runs, riffles, and pools. This template enabled modeling of the unimpounded Klamath River between the Keno Dam (the uppermost of four dams) and Iron Gate Dam (the lowermost dam) to address dam-removal scenarios. However, in this report, our focus was on parameterizing and calibrating the model under existing conditions, which included 1,706 discrete habitat units over the 312-kilometer (km) section of river between Iron Gate Dam and the ocean. For each habitat unit, we developed a time series of daily flow, water temperature, and amount of available habitat (weighted usable habitat area [WUA]) for spawners, fry, and parr. WUA time series were constructed using habitat suitability criteria for Chinook salmon applied to eight two-dimensional (2-D) hydrodynamic models that represented the geomorphic variability in habitat across the Klamath River. Results from the 2-D models were then extrapolated to unmodeled habitat units by scaling WUA curves for changes in habitat unit length and width. These variables were then used to drive population dynamics such as egg development and survival and juvenile movement, growth, and survival.

Scenarios of climate adaptation potential on protected working lands from management of soils

Released September 30, 2019 07:39 EST

2019, Environmental Research Letters (14)

Kristin B. Byrd, P. Alvarez, Benjamin Sleeter, Lorraine E. Flint, D. Richard Cameron, J. Creque

Management of protected lands may enhance ecosystem services that conservation programs were designed to protect. Practices that build soil organic matter (SOM) on agricultural lands also increase soil water holding capacity, potentially reducing climatic water deficit (CWD), increasing actual evapotranspiration (AET) and increasing groundwater recharge (RCH). We developed nine spatially-explicit land use and conservation scenarios (2001 - 2100) in the LUCAS land use change model to address two questions for California working lands (cropland and rangeland): How does land use change limit opportunities to manage soils for hydrologic climate adaptation benefits? To what extent and where can soil management practices increase climate adaptation on protected working lands? Hydrologic benefits [∑(∆CWD, ∆AET, ∆RCH)] due to soil management were simulated in the Basin Characterization Model (a state-wide water balance model) for two Representative Concentration Pathway 8.5 climate models. LUCAS simulated land conversion and new conservation easements with potential for maximum hydrologic benefits. Climate drove differences in lost potential for water benefits due to urbanization (33.9 - 87.6 m3 x 106) in 2050. Conflict between development pressure and potential hydrologic benefits occurred most in Santa Clara County in the San Francisco Bay Area and Shasta County in Northern Sacramento Valley. Hydrologic benefits on easements were similar in magnitude to losses from development. Water savings from management of California Land Conservation (a.k.a. Williamson) Act contract lands were an order of magnitude greater, totaling over 460 m3 x106 annually in a drier climate by 2050. Few counties provide most benefits because of soil properties, climate and land area protected. The increase in hydrologic benefits varies by agricultural practice and adoption rate, land use type and configuration, and terms of conservation agreements. The effectiveness of programs designed to improve climate adaptation at county to state scales will likely increase by taking this variability into consideration.

Characterization and load estimation of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) from selected Rio Grande tributary stormwater channels in the Albuquerque urbanized area, New Mexico, 2017–18

Released September 27, 2019 17:45 EST

2019, Open-File Report 2019-1106

Zachary M. Shephard, Kathleen E. Conn, Kimberly R. Beisner, Alanna D. Jornigan, Christina F. Bryant

In cooperation with the New Mexico County of Bernalillo, the U.S. Geological Survey characterized potential polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) concentration and estimated loading into the Rio Grande from watersheds that are under the county’s jurisdiction. Water and sediment samples were collected in 2017–18 from six sites within four stormwater drainage basins in the Albuquerque, New Mexico, urbanized area for the analysis of PCB congeners and other water-quality constituents during dry and wet seasons. Also, the rainfall-runoff model Arid Lands Hydrologic Model (AHYMO) was used to estimate stormwater discharge at the two sample collection sites not affected by pump station operation. Along with the PCB analysis, the discharge data were used to estimate total PCB stormflow event loads for eight events in these urban Rio Grande tributaries. PCBs were detected in 34 of 36 water samples at concentrations as high as 65.8 nanograms per liter and in 12 of 13 sediment samples at concentrations as high as 163,000 nanograms per kilogram dry weight. Six of the 36 water samples exceeded the New Mexico surface-water quality standard for protection of wildlife habitat and aquatic life of 14 nanograms per liter for PCBs. None of the water samples exceeded the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit level limit of 200 nanograms per liter for PCBs in stormwater systems discharging into the Rio Grande. PCB concentrations in water samples in this study were not linearly related to antecedent precipitation or measured water-quality parameters, but PCB concentrations had a statistically significant positive Kendall’s tau correlation with total suspended solids for water samples and with total organic carbon for sediment samples. The PCB congener profiles indicate that sources to stormwater drainage basins in Bernalillo County originate both from legacy sources, such as Aroclors (for example, in landfills and old building materials), and from current-use sources, such as yellow pigments (for example, in printed materials and packaging in urban litter or refuse). Total PCB stormflow event loads were calculated with average potential minimum and maximum event loads of 0.73 and 4.32 milligrams per storm event, respectively, at the Adobe Acres pump station site and 56.78 and 315.13 milligrams per storm event at the Sanchez Farms inflow at Albuquerque, N. Mex., site.

Generalized potentiometric-surface map and groundwater flow directions in the Madison aquifer near Jewel Cave National Monument, South Dakota

Released September 27, 2019 15:23 EST

2019, Scientific Investigations Report 2019-5098

Todd M. Anderson, William G. Eldridge, Joshua F. Valder, Michael Wiles

A generalized potentiometric-surface map of the Madison aquifer near Jewel Cave National Monument was constructed using water levels measured from calendar years 1988 to 2019 in 24 groundwater wells and 4 subterranean cave lakes interpreted to be in hydraulic connection with the aquifer. The map indicated that groundwater near Jewel Cave National Monument originates from recharge sources to the Madison aquifer in the higher elevations in the north-central area of the map, flows west to south-southwest through the Jewel Cave network, then southeast.

Hydrographs were constructed using water levels from four observation wells and one subterranean lake (Hourglass Lake) in the Jewel Cave network to evaluate historical and current groundwater recharge to the Madison aquifer in the study area. Hydrographs from 1992 through 2018 indicated water levels were lowest from the early to mid-1990s, increased through the late 1990s, peaked in the early 2000s, decreased until 2010, and then increased to the highest levels during 2016–18. A visual comparison of the Hourglass Lake hydrograph with cumulative precipitation, and quantitative (statistical) comparison of lake-water levels with cumulative precipitation, indicated that lake-water levels increased as cumulative precipitation increased, most likely due to some degree of precipitation recharge to hydraulically connected Madison Limestone outcrops.

Comparing the potentiometric-surface map constructed for this study, with a map by Strobel and others (2000) of the same region and aquifer, indicated similarity and, therefore, provided some validation of map construction. The potentiometric-surface map constructed for this study could be used by park managers and others as a tool to evaluate the hydrogeologic characteristics of the Madison aquifer in the study area.

Preliminary GIS representation of deep coal areas for carbon dioxide storage in the contiguous United States and Alaska

Released September 27, 2019 14:35 EST

2019, Open-File Report 2018-1178

Kevin B. Jones, Laura E. Barnhart, Peter D. Warwick, Margo D. Corum

This report and its accompanying geospatial data outline many areas of coal in the United States beneath more than 3,000 ft of overburden. Based on depth, these areas may be targets for injection and storage of supercritical carbon dioxide. Additional areas where coal exists beneath more than 1,000 ft of overburden are also outlined; these may be targets for geologic storage of carbon dioxide in conjunction with enhanced coalbed methane production. These areas of deep coal were compiled as polygons into a shapefile for use in a geographic information system (GIS). The coal-bearing formation names, coal basin or field names, geographic provinces, coal ranks, coal geologic ages, and estimated individual coalbed thicknesses (if known) of the coal-bearing formations were included. An additional point shapefile, coal_co2_projects.shp, contains the locations of pilot projects for carbon dioxide injection into coalbeds. This report is not a comprehensive study of deep coal in the United States. Some areas of deep coal were excluded based on geologic or data-quality criteria, while others may be absent from the literature and still others may have been overlooked by the authors.

The long-term effects of Hurricanes Wilma and Irma on soil elevation change in Everglades mangrove forests

Released September 27, 2019 13:00 EST

2019, Ecosystems

Laura Feher, Michael Osland, Gordon Anderson, William Vervaeke, Ken Krauss, Kevin R. T. Whelan, Karen M. Balentine, Ginger Tiling-Range, 3663, Donald Cahoon

Mangrove forests in the Florida Everglades (USA) are frequently affected by hurricanes that produce high-velocity winds, storm surge, and extreme rainfall, but also provide sediment subsidies that help mangroves adjust to sea-level rise. The long-term influence of hurricane sediment inputs on soil elevation dynamics in mangrove forests are not well understood. Here, we assessed the effects of sediment deposition during Hurricanes Wilma (2005) and Irma (2017) on soil elevation change at two mangrove forests located along the Shark and Lostmans Rivers in Everglades National Park. We used surface elevation change data from a sixteen-year period (2002-2018), measured with the surface elevation table-marker horizon (SET-MH) approach. At the Shark River mangrove forest, we used marker horizons and a combination of deep, shallow, and original SETs to quantify the contributions of four soil zones to net soil elevation change. Rates of elevation change were greatly influenced by storm sediments. Abrupt increases in elevation due to sediment inputs and subsurface expansion during Hurricane Wilma were followed by: (1) an initial post-hurricane period of elevation loss due to erosion of hurricane sediments and subsurface contraction; (2) a secondary period of elevation gain due primarily to accretion; and (3) an abrupt elevation gain due to new sediment inputs during Hurricane Irma. Our findings suggest that elevation change in hurricane-affected mangrove forests can be cyclical or include disjunct phases, which is critical information for advancing the understanding of wetland responses to accelerated sea-level rise given the expectation of increasing storm intensity due to climate change.

Rabies outbreak in captive big brown bats (Eptesicus fuscus) used in white-nose syndrome vaccine trial

Released September 27, 2019 12:20 EST

2019, Journal of Wildlife Diseases

Rachel C. Abbott, L.G. Saindon, Elizabeth Falendysz, Lauren Greenberg, L.A. Orciari, Panayampalli Subbian Satheshkumar, Tonie E. Rocke

An outbreak of rabies occurred in a captive colony of wild-caught big brown bats (Eptesicus fuscus). Five of 27 bats exhibited signs of rabies virus infection 22–51 d after capture or 18–22 d after contact with the index case. Rabid bats showed weight loss, aggression, increased vocalization, hypersalivation, and refusal of food. Antigenic typing and virus sequencing confirmed that all five bats were infected with an identical rabies virus variant that circulates in E. fuscus in the United States. Two bats with no signs of rabies virus infection were seropositive for rabies virus-neutralizing antibodies; the brains of these bats had no detectable viral proteins by the direct fluorescence antibody test. We suspect bat-to-bat transmission of rabies virus occurred among our bats because all rabies-infected bats were confined to the cage housing the index case and were infected with viruses having identical sequences of the entire rabies nucleoprotein gene. This outbreak illustrated the risk of rabies virus infection in captive bats and highlights the need for researchers using bats to assume that all wild bats could be infected with rabies virus

Snakehead fishes (Channa spp.) in the United States of America

Released September 27, 2019 11:51 EST

2019, Conference Paper, Proceedings of the First International Snakehead Symposium, American Fisheries Society Symposium 89

Amy Benson

The introduction of snakeheads from their origins in Asia is relatively recent to the conterminous United States with the first of many collections beginning in the late 1990s. For decades they have been commercially fished and aquacultured around the world for human food and, to a lesser degree, for the aquarium trade. Over a dozen snakehead species known to be of economic importance outside the US, five have been introduced into the United States. Three of the four species collected in open waters have successfully established reproducing populations. The most widespread is a temperate species, Northern Snakehead Channa argus, primarily found in the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States. The other two snakehead species that established populations are the Bullseye Snakehead Channa marulius in the state of Florida and Blotched Snakehead Channa maculata in the state of Hawai’i. A fifth species, Chevron Snakehead Channa striata, is also present in Hawai’i, but only in aquaculture, not in open waters. Introductions of snakehead fishes into the United States were most likely the result of the popularity of this group of fishes in Asia.

Management opportunities and research priorities for Great Plains grasslands

Released September 27, 2019 11:14 EST

2019, General Technical Report 398

Deborah M Finch, Carolyn Baldwin, David P Brown, Katelyn P. Driscoll, Erica Fleishman, Paulette L. Ford, Brice Hanberry, Amy Symstad, Bill Van Pelt, Richard Zabel

The Great Plains Grassland Summit: Challenges and Opportunities from North to South was held April 10-11, 2018 in Denver, Colorado. The geographical focus for the summit was the entire Great Plains. The summit was designed to provide syntheses of information about key grassland topics of interest in the Great Plains; networking and learning channels for managers, researchers and stakeholders; and working sessions for sharing input and ideas about challenges and future research and management opportunities. The summit was convened to better understand Great Plains stressors and resource demands and how to manage them, and to discuss methods for improved collaboration among natural resource managers, scientists, and stakeholders. Over 200 stakeholders, who collectively were affiliated with all of the Great Plains states, attended the summit. Attendees included university researchers, government scientists, and individuals affiliated with federal and state agencies, tribes, the private sector, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs). Plenary speakers provided syntheses of current knowledge on key topics to help stage working sessions on working lands, native plants and pollinators, native wildlife and biological diversity, invasive species, wildland and prescribed fire, energy development, and weather, water, and climate. The summit steering committee designed one suite of questions that were asked of participants in each working session. This report is a digest of the input from those who attended the seven working sessions and responded to the structured questions.

Discoveries and novel insights in ecology using structural equation modeling

Released September 27, 2019 11:01 EST

2019, Ecology and Evolution (12) 28-34

Daniel C. Laughlin, James Grace

As we enter the era of data science (Lortie 2018), quantitative analysis methodologies are proliferating rapidly, leaving ecologists with the task of choosing among many alternatives. The use of structural equation modeling (SEM) by ecologists has increased in recent years, prompting us to ask users a number of questions about their experience with the methodology. Responses indicate an enthusiastic endorsement of SEM. Two major elements of respondent’s experiences seem to contribute to their positive response, (1) a sense that they are obtaining more accurate explanatory understanding through the use of SEM and (2) excitement generated by the discovery of novel insights into their systems. We elaborate here on the detection of indirect effects, offsetting effects, and suppressed effects, and demonstrate how discovering these effects can advance ecology.

The hydrologic system of the south Florida peninsula—Development and application of the Biscayne and Southern Everglades Coastal Transport (BISECT) model

Released September 26, 2019 15:40 EST

2019, Scientific Investigations Report 2019-5045

Eric D. Swain, Melinda A. Lohmann, Carl R. Goodwin

The Biscayne and Southern Everglades Coastal Transport (BISECT) model was developed by the U.S. Geological Survey under the Greater Everglades Priority Ecosystem Studies Initiative to evaluate, both separately and in conjunction, the likely effects on surface-water stages and flows, hydroperiod, and groundwater levels and salinity in south Florida of (1) a vertical Biscayne aquifer barrier to maintain higher wetland levels, (2) possible future changes to current water-management practices, and (3) sea-level rise. The BISECT model is a combination of the Tides and Inflows to the Mangrove Everglades (TIME) and Biscayne models of the western and eastern parts of south Florida including Everglades National Park, the southern Miami-Dade urban area, and the Biscayne Bay coast and simulates hydrodynamic surface-water flow and three-dimensional groundwater conditions dynamically for the period 1996–2004 by using the Flow and Transport in a Linked Overland/Aquifer Density-Dependent System (FTLOADDS) simulator. BISECT includes a number of parameter and algorithmic refinements that improve simulation results relative to the TIME and Biscayne models and represents the hydrologic system more explicitly, including (1) improved topographic representations, (2) refined Manning’s friction coefficients, (3) improved evapotranspiration computation through spatially variable albedo, (4) increased vertical aquifer discretization, and (5) extension of the western boundary farther offshore.

Sensitivity analyses demonstrate that simulated flows into Long Sound have a different pattern of response to tidal amplitude, wind, and frictional resistance changes than do other coastal streams in the model; flows at Broad River and Lostmans River are most sensitive to tidal amplitude, wind, and frictional resistance changes; and flow to the Everglades coastal streams is substantially affected by surface-water/groundwater interactions in the eastern urban areas. Insight into the hydrologic system came from scenario simulations that represent proposed management actions, such as grouting of the aquifer to prevent seepage from the wetlands and changes to water deliveries proposed by the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP), and projected sea-level rise. These scenario management changes are considered separately to isolate their specific effects and also in conjunction with sea-level rise. Scenario simulations show that (1) attempts to prevent seepage from the wetlands by grouting the aquifer along the L 31N levee produce minimal effects on surface-water levels; (2) the increased water deliveries proposed in the CERP redistribute flow to the northwestern coastal part of the study area with a minimal reduction to the southeast and a more substantial reduction in flows in the intervening coastal zones, mitigating some sea-level rise effects; (3) sea-level rise has a larger effect on the hydrology (water levels, flow, and salinity) than does CERP restoration; and (4) support for ecological models and hydrologic studies can be provided by applying BISECT to scenarios influenced by climatic and anthropogenic changes or by meteorological variability, such as extreme wet or dry periods.

The importance of turtle populations to wetland restoration in the upper Mississippi embayment of the Mississippi Alluvial Valley

Released September 26, 2019 12:41 EST

2019, Wetlands Ecology and Management

Nickerson. Max A, Joseph C. Mitchell, Brad Glorioso

The Upper Mississippi Embayment (UME) ecoregion covers approximately 141,895 km2 and historically supported 9,712,455 ha of bottomland deciduous forests, swamps, bayous, and rivers. Only about 500 ha (< 0.01%) of pre-settlement bottomland hardwood forest habitat in the Mississippi Alluvial Valley (MAV) in the UME remained by the 1940s because the timber was clearcut and the wetlands drained for agriculture. By 1983 only a few scattered cypress-tupelo swamps remained. We studied the freshwater turtle community in Allred Lake, Missouri, a rare remnant of this ecosystem and compared these results to those from two other study sites in the MAV, Big Oak Tree State Park (BOTSP), Missouri, and Coldwater River National Wildlife Refuge (CRNWR), Mississippi. Species richness included six species commonly found throughout the MAV. One species (Red-eared Slider, Trachemys scripta elegans) dominated density and biomass in all three assemblages. The occurrence of the six species we studied in man-made restored wetlands such as those in BOTSP and CRNWR indicate these turtles would adapt to restored wetlands in the MAV in southeastern Missouri and elsewhere in the ecosystem. We provide information on habitat features that could be included in restoration design and construction that would benefit turtles. Given the ongoing worldwide decline of turtles, consideration of turtle ecology and behavior in wetland restoration projects in the MAV may be warranted.

Climate-driven shifts in soil temperature and moisture regimes suggest opportunities to enhance assessments of dryland resilience and resistance

Released September 26, 2019 10:50 EST

2019, Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution (7)

John Bradford, Daniel R. Schlaepfer, William K. Lauenroth, Kyle A. Palmquist, Jeanne C. Chambers, Jeremy D. Maestas, Steven B. Campbell

Assessing landscape patterns in climate vulnerability, as well as resilience and resistance to drought, disturbance, and invasive species, requires appropriate metrics of relevant environmental conditions. In dryland systems of western North America, soil temperature and moisture regimes have been widely utilized as an indicator of resilience to disturbance and resistance to invasive plant species by providing integrative indicators of long-term site aridity, which relates to ecosystem recovery potential and climatic suitability to invaders. However, the impact of climate change on these regimes, and the suitability of the indicator for estimating resistance and resilience in the context of climate change have not been assessed. Here we utilized a daily time-step, process-based, ecosystem water balance model to characterize current and future patterns in soil temperature and moisture conditions in dryland areas of western North America, and evaluate the impact of these changes on estimation of resilience and resistance. Soil temperature increases in the twenty-first century are substantial, relatively uniform geographically, and robust across climate models. Higher temperatures will expand the areas of mesic and thermic soil temperature regimes while decreasing the area of cryic and frigid temperature conditions. Projections for future precipitation are more variable both geographically and among climate models. Nevertheless, future soil moisture conditions are relatively consistent across climate models for much of the region. Projections of drier soils are expected in most of Arizona and New Mexico, as well as the central and southern U.S. Great Plains. By contrast, areas with projections of increasing soil moisture include northeastern Montana, southern Alberta and Saskatchewan, and many areas dominated by big sagebrush, particularly the Central and Northern Basin and Range and the Wyoming Basin ecoregions. In addition, many areas dominated by big sagebrush are expected to experience pronounced shifts toward cool season moisture, which will create more area with xeric moisture conditions and less area with ustic conditions. In addition to indicating widespread geographic shifts in the distribution of soil temperature and moisture regimes, our results suggest opportunities for enhancing the integration of these conditions into a quantitative framework for assessing climate change impacts on dryland ecosystem resilience and resistance that is responsive to long-term projections.

Comparison of physical to numerical mixing with different tracer advection schemes in estuarine environments

Released September 26, 2019 09:18 EST

2019, Journal of Marine Science and Engineering (10)

Tarandeep S. Kalra, Xiangyu Li, John C. Warner, W. R. Geyer, Hui Wu

The numerical simulation of estuarine dynamics requires accurate prediction for the transport of tracers such as temperature and salinity. During the simulation of these processes, all numerical models introduce two kinds of tracer mixing: 1) by parameterizing the tracer eddy diffusivity through turbulence models leading to a source of physical mixing and 2) discretization of the tracer advection term that leads to numerical mixing. Both physical and numerical mixing vary with the choice of horizontal advection schemes, grid resolution, and time step. By simulating four idealized cases, this study compares physical and numerical mixing for three different tracer advection schemes. Idealized domains involving only physical and numerical mixing are used to verify the implementation of mixing terms by equating them to total tracer variance. Among the three horizontal advection schemes, the scheme that causes the least numerical mixing while maintaining a sharp front also results in larger physical mixing. Instantaneous spatial comparison of mixing components shows that physical mixing is dominant in regions of large vertical gradients while numerical mixing dominates at sharp fronts that contain large horizontal tracer gradients. In the case of estuaries, numerical mixing may dominate locally over physical mixing; however, the amount of volume integrated numerical mixing through the domain compared to integrated physical mixing remains relatively small for this particular modeling system.

Clustered BSRs: Evidence for gas hydrate-bearing turbidite complexes in folded regions, example from the Perdido Fold Belt, northern Gulf of Mexico

Released September 26, 2019 08:41 EST

2019, Earth and Planetary Science Letters (528)

Alexy Portnov, Ann Cook, Derek E. Sawyer, Chen Yang, Jess Hillman, William F. Waite

We describe previously undocumented but extensive gas hydrate accumulations in the mouth of Perdido Canyon in the northern Gulf of Mexico. The accumulations are located within central parts of structural domes (four-way closures) and are characterized by stacked, high-amplitude bottom simulating reflections (BSRs) that we call clustered BSRs. Seismic data from Perdido Canyon show two clustered BSRs associated with turbidite sequences within two dome folds formed from tectonic folding and salt diapir rise. The northwestern (NW) and southeastern (SE) clustered BSRs have aerial extents of ~25 km2 and 50 km2, respectively. Well log data confirm gas hydrate occurs above the NW clustered BSR, within a 225 m-thick consistently high-resistivity interval that we interpret as gas hydrate in near-vertical fractures and turbidite sands. The SE dome is only drilled at the edge of the BSR; nevertheless, the well log data indicate that a 30 m-thick gas hydrate accumulation is present. Gas chromatographic logs in both domes suggest a gradual transition from predominantly microbial gas below the BSR (500–1000 meters below seafloor (mbsf)) to thermogenic gas at 1000–2000 mbsf. Based on the well log data and seismic stratigraphic analysis, we find gas hydrate is concentrated in fractures in marine mud, as well as in the pores of submarine fan turbidities, where saturations reach as high as 75%. An estimate of the total gas hydrate-bound gas volume at standard temperature and pressure is between 0.04 and 0.17 trillion cubic meters (TCM) assuming average hydrate saturation of 5-20% in a ~45 m thick turbidite sand unit above the Perdido Canyon BSR area. Measured BSR extent and gas volume estimates indicate that the NW and SE reservoirs are among the largest gas hydrate occurrences known in the Gulf of Mexico.

Stormwater-quality performance of line permeable pavement systems

Released September 26, 2019 08:24 EST

2019, Journal of Environmental Management (251)

William R. Selbig, Nicolas Buer, Mari Danz

Three permeable pavements were evaluated for their ability to improve the quality of stormwater runoff over a 22-month period in Madison, Wisconsin. Using a lined system with no internal water storage, permeable interlocking concrete pavers (PICP), pervious concrete (PC), and porous asphalt (PA) were able to significantly remove sediment and sediment-bound pollutant loads from runoff originating from an asphalt parking lot five times larger than the receiving permeable pavement area. Reductions in total suspended solids were similar for all three surfaces at approximately 60 percent. Clogging occurred after approximately one year, primarily due to winter sand application that led to high sediment load in spring runoff. Winter road salt application resulted in high chloride load that was initially attenuated in all three permeable pavements but later released during subsequent spring runoff events. Total phosphorus load was reduced by nearly 20 percent for PICP and PA, and 43 percent for PC. These values were likely tempered by the export of dissolved phosphorus observed in PICP and PA, but not PC. Average removal efficiencies for metals were 40, 42, and 49 percent in PA, PICP, and PC, respectively. A median pH of 10.2 in PC effluent could explain elevated removal efficiency of phosphorus and select metals in PC over PICP and PA (median = 7.5 and 7.8, respectfully) through enhanced precipitation. Elevated pH values in PC may also have led to higher removal efficiencies for select metals than PICP or PA. The environmental benefits as well as potential unintended consequences of stormwater practices like permeable pavement that utilize infiltration as a form of treatment warrant consideration in management of urban runoff.

Map of the approximate inland extent of saltwater at the base of the Biscayne aquifer in Miami-Dade County, Florida, 2018

Released September 25, 2019 14:58 EST

2019, Scientific Investigations Map 3438

Scott T. Prinos

The inland extent of saltwater at the base of the Biscayne aquifer in eastern Miami-Dade County, Florida, was mapped in 2011, and it was mapped in the Model Land Area in 2016. The saltwater interface has continued to move inland in some areas and is now near several active well fields. An updated approximation of the inland extent of saltwater has been created by using data collected during March 8–December 13, 2018, from 111 monitoring wells open to the Biscayne aquifer near its base. Chloride concentrations in water samples from the monitoring wells and bulk conductivity from geophysical logs and measurements of the specific conductance of groundwater were used to approximate the position of the isochlor representing a chloride concentration of 1,000 milligrams per liter (mg/L) at the base of the Biscayne aquifer.

An average rate of saltwater interface movement of about 102 meters per year in the Model Land Area along SW 360 Street was estimated from the approximated dates of arrival of the 250-, 500-, and 1,000-mg/L isochlors at wells TPGW-7L (2013–2014) and ACI-MW-05-FS (2017–2018). This estimate assumes that the interface is traveling in a path parallel to an imaginary line connecting the two monitoring wells.

Of the 111 wells from which data were used, 80 wells have open intervals of ≤ 4 meters, 20 of the wells have open intervals that range from 4.3 to 39.6 meters, and the lengths of the open intervals could not be determined in 11 wells. Studies have shown that long open intervals might allow water from various depths to mix under ambient or pumped conditions, which in turn could alter the maximum chloride concentration sampled in the well, or it might change the depth at which the maximum specific conductance is measured within a well, relative to its depth in the aquifer. The approximation of the inland extent of the saltwater interface and the estimated rate of movement of the interface are dependent on the quality of existing data. Improved estimates could be obtained by installing uniformly designed monitoring wells in systematic transects extending landward of the advancing saltwater interface. To achieve this goal, Miami-Dade County and some other organizations are routinely adding new monitoring wells with short open intervals and replacing poorly designed or positioned monitoring wells to improve spatial coverage of the network.

An evaluation of methods for computing annual water-quality loads

Released September 25, 2019 14:23 EST

2019, Scientific Investigations Report 2019-5084

Casey J. Lee, Robert M. Hirsch, Charles G. Crawford

The U.S. Geological Survey publishes information on the mass, or load, of water-quality constituents transported through rivers and streams sampled as part of the operation of the National Water Quality Network (NWQN). This study evaluates methods for computing annual water-quality loads, specifically with respect to procedures currently (2019) used at sites in the NWQN. Near-daily datasets of chloride, total nitrogen, nitrate plus nitrite, total phosphorus, and suspended sediment were subset to determine the accuracy of various load-estimation methods, including linear interpolation, ratio estimators, and linear and weighted-regression methods. Water-quality loads are computed under different sampling strategies and at multiple sampling sites to provide a more complete evaluation of load-estimation methods.

Estimation methods were less accurate when computing loads at annual rather than decadal time steps. Depending on the water-quality constituent, annual loads were within comparable accuracy thresholds 21 to 64 percent of the time relative to decadal loads. The accuracy of annual load estimates varied among water-quality constituents, sampling strategies, sampling sites, and estimation methods. Methods were most accurate when estimating chloride and decreased in accuracy when estimating total nitrogen, nitrate plus nitrite, total phosphorus, and suspended-sediment loads. Estimation methods were most likely to compute accurate annual loads when samples were collected frequently (26 samples per year) and when sampling strategies targeted high-flow conditions. For a given water-quality constituent, estimation accuracy differed substantially among sampling sites; estimates were more likely to be accurate at large rivers with less variability in concentration and (or) discharge conditions and were less likely to be accurate at smaller stream sites with more variable streamflow and (or) water-quality concentrations.

The Weighted Regressions on Time, Discharge, and Season method with Kalman filtering (WRTDS_K) generally produced the most accurate annual load estimates among sampling sites and water-quality constituents. Although WRTDS_K was the most accurate generally, every estimation method evaluated had the potential to produce accurate (and inaccurate) load estimates depending on the site, constituent, and water year. Linear interpolation and ratio estimators that used samples exclusively from the year being estimated were among the best performing methods for total nitrogen and nitrate plus nitrite loads but were among the least accurate when estimating annual total phosphorus and suspended-sediment loads. Ratio estimation that considered samples from previous years and stratified based on streamflow conditions produced among the most accurate total phosphorus estimates but was among the least accurate for other constituents. Regression-based methods that assumed linear or quadratic relations among the logarithm of water-quality concentrations and streamflow conditions were among the least accurate methods generally, whereas regression-based methods that considered cubic relations among the logarithm of concentration and streamflow and the Weighted Regressions on Time, Discharge, and Season (WRTDS) method were typically more accurate. Methods that adjusted daily estimates computed from regression or weighted-regression methods based on departures from sampled values, such as WRTDS_K and the composite method, improved estimate accuracy for most sites and constituents, but especially for chloride, total nitrogen, nitrate plus nitrite, and suspended-sediment estimates.

Investigation of the underlying causes of estimation method bias indicated that sites and years with more variability in concentration and loading conditions, higher slopes in the relation of the logarithm of concentration and discharge, and sampling plans that underrepresented high-flow conditions generally led to less accurate load estimates. Finally, because all methods indicated the capacity to produce biased load estimates, additional work is needed to identify the capacity of new technologies, such as continuous water-quality sensors, to improve the accuracy of annual or shorter term load estimates. Based on findings in this report, the NWQN will continue to publish water-quality loads using LOADEST-based methods that consider multiple transformations of streamflow, as well as season, time, and variables indicative of historical streamflow conditions to maintain consistent methods for stakeholders. However, the NWQN also plans to begin publishing annual load estimates using the WRTDS_K method in 2020 because this method was determined to be the most accurate for a given site, constituent, and water year.

Designing multi-scale hierarchical monitoring frameworks for wildlife to support management: A sage-grouse case study

Released September 25, 2019 08:20 EST

2019, Ecosphere (10)

Michael S. O'Donnell, David R. Edmunds, Cameron L. Aldridge, Julie Heinrichs, Peter S. Coates, Brian G. Prochazka, Steven E. Hanser

Population monitoring is integral to the conservation and management of wildlife; yet, analyses of population demographic data rarely consider processes occurring across spatial scales, potentially limiting the effectiveness of adaptive management. Therefore, we developed a method to identify hierarchical levels of organization (i.e., populations) to define multiple spatial scales, specifically intended to help guide appropriate conservation and management actions. This approach can support mobile species with high site fidelity where surveys occur on birthing/breeding grounds or migratory stopovers. Our approach used a graphbased clustering algorithm (Spatial K’luster Analysis by Tree Edge Removal) that explicitly included habitat selection information at multiple scales and further refined with constraint-based rules. We applied these concepts to greater sage-grouse leks (breeding grounds), a species of conservation concern, in two different ecological contexts (Nevada and Wyoming, USA). The constraint-based rules accounted for inter-lek movement distances based on literature and field studies in Nevada from 2012 to 2016, included methods to support a spatially balanced monitoring design, and identified barriers to movements among leks based on resistance surfaces. We evaluated the performance of our hierarchical clusters in Nevada using independent data from radio-marked sage-grouse, and we found the finest-scaled cluster level captured ~90% of sagegrouse movements and mid-level scales captured ~97–99% of movements. We expected comparable performance for Wyoming, where we lacked radio-marked sage-grouse for an evaluation, because genetic studies estimate similar dispersal distances to our ~15 km inter-lek movement distance in Nevada. For sage-grouse and other mobile species with high site fidelity, our approach to defining these frameworks could prove valuable for conservation and management applications, such as improving estimation of scale-dependent population trends and guiding the prescription of management actions at spatial scales that align with identified threats. Specific to sage-grouse, our analysis sets the stage for designing a monitoring framework that relies on comparison of short- and long-term population trends across our defined spatial scales and identifies and disentangles factors driving local (e.g., habitat quality) and regional (e.g., climate) population changes, thereby supporting scale-dependent management and research needs for adaptive management practices.

Status of Pacific martens (Martes caurina) on the Olympic Peninsula, Washington

Released September 25, 2019 07:35 EST

2019, Northwest Science (93) 122-139

K. M. Moriarty, K. B. Aubry

C. N. Morozumi, B. L. Howell, P. J. Happe, Kurt J. Jenkins, K. L. Pilgrim, M. K. Schwartz, editor(s)

Pacific martens (Martes caurina) remain common in montane regions of the Pacific states, yet their distribution and status on the Olympic Peninsula, Washington, is uncertain. Between 1968– 2008, six reliable marten detections exist; a dead juvenile female (2008) indicates martens were reproducing on the Peninsula within the last decade. To assess the status of martens, we describe carnivore surveys conducted from 1991–2008 (n = 223 stations). Additionally, we present results from three survey efforts we conducted from 2013–2016 (n = 748 stations).

Estimated use of water in the Cumberland River watershed in 2010 and projections of public-supply water use to 2040

Released September 24, 2019 15:58 EST

2019, Scientific Investigations Report 2018-5130

John A. Robinson

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), Nashville District, is conducting ongoing water-supply analyses of USACE reservoirs in the Cumberland River watershed to identify areas where potential water-resources issues may arise in the future. To assist the USACE in their efforts, the U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with the USACE, collected and analyzed water-use data to estimate public-supply, self-supplied industrial, irrigation, and thermoelectric water use for 2010 and to project water demand to 2040 for the Cumberland River watershed area.

Estimates of water use for public supply were projected in 10-year increments through 2040 and were based on 2010 public water-supply data and population projections for 2020 to 2040. Additionally, estimates of consumptive use, wastewater releases, and thermoelectric power and industrial return flows were calculated. All estimates are presented for the entire watershed and for the 10 reservoir catchment areas (RCAs) within the watershed.

Estimated water withdrawals in the Cumberland River watershed during 2010 averaged 3,456.23 million gallons per day (Mgal/d) of freshwater for offstream use. Return flow was estimated to be 3,370.08 Mgal/d, or 98 percent of the water withdrawn during 2010. Total consumptive use accounts for the remaining 2 percent, or 86.2 Mgal/d. Estimates of water withdrawals by source indicate that withdrawals from surface water during 2010 accounted for more than 99 percent of the total withdrawals, or 3,437.90 Mgal/d. Total groundwater withdrawals during 2010 were 18.33 Mgal/d, or less than 1 percent of the total withdrawals.

During 2010, withdrawals by category were estimated as follows: thermoelectric power, 3,051.12 Mgal/d; public supply, 360.00 Mgal/d; industrial, 31.5 Mgal/d; and irrigation, 13.6 Mgal/d. Return flows were estimated as thermoelectric power, 3,051.06 Mgal/d, and industrial and public supply, 319.02 Mgal/d. Consumptive use was estimated as thermoelectric power, 0.06 Mgal/d; industrial and public supply, 72.5 Mgal/d; and irrigation, 13.6 Mgal/d.

By 2040, the public supply of raw and (or) finished water to meet demand for the 10 RCAs is projected to increase 48 percent to 532.51 Mgal/d. This projected increase includes an increase from 51.5 to 72.5 Mgal/d, or 41 percent, in the Barkley RCA. The combined total water demand for the Cheatham, J. Percy Priest, and Old Hickory RCAs is projected to increase from 224.08 to 359.58 Mgal/d, or 61 percent. The combined total water demand for the Center Hill, Cordell Hull, and Dale Hollow RCAs is projected to increase from 31.7 to 43.0 Mgal/d, or 36 percent. The combined total water demand for the Martins Fork, Laurel, and Wolf Creek RCAs is projected to increase from 52.8 to 57.4 Mgal/d, or 9 percent. The only RCA in the watershed with a projected decrease in water demand is Martins Fork.

Regional-scale associations between indicators of biological integrity and indicators of streamflow modification

Released September 24, 2019 11:55 EST

2019, Open-File Report 2019-1088

Daren M. Carlisle, Theodore E. Grantham, Ken Eng, David M. Wolock

Although streamflow is widely recognized as a controlling factor in stream health, empirical relations between indicators of anthropogenic modification of streamflow and ecological indicators have been elusive. The objective of this report is to build upon specific findings reported in recent publications by providing a library of empirical models that describe the relations between streamflow modification and indicators of biological integrity. Biological monitoring data from 812 streams and rivers across the United States were matched with sites where daily streamflow was also monitored by the U.S. Geological Survey. Of these sites, 118 were sampled by the U.S. Geological Survey along gradients of streamflow modification within 3 regional focus studies. The integrity of invertebrate and fish communities was expressed as a binary variable, “impaired” or “unimpaired,” signifying whether or not the composition and structure of the biological community was statistically reduced relative to regional reference sites. Streamflow modification at each gaged site was quantified with 509 streamflow statistics scaled to express the ratio of observed streamflow conditions to site-specific expected conditions in the absence of human influences on watershed hydrology. For each region, generalized additive modeling was used to examine relations between each indicator of streamflow modification and indicators of biological integrity (response variable). In every region examined, statistically defensible and ecologically realistic relations were found between indicators of streamflow modification and indicators of biological integrity. These findings can aid practitioners and managers seeking to (1) propose empirically based hypotheses about the specific components of streamflow regimes that are critical to aquatic communities, which can subsequently be explored in detail in a region or river basin of interest; and (2) predict biological responses to anthropogenic modification of specific components of the streamflow regime.

California sea otter (Enhydra lutris nereis) census results, spring 2019

Released September 24, 2019 09:07 EST

2019, Data Series 1118

Brian B. Hatfield, Julie L. Yee, Michael C. Kenner, Joseph A. Tomoleoni

The 2019 census of southern sea otters (Enhydra lutris nereis), also known as California sea otters, was conducted from early May to early July along the mainland coast of central California and in April at San Nicolas Island in southern California. The range-wide index, defined as the 3-year average of combined counts from the mainland range and San Nicolas Island, was 2,962, a decrease of 166 sea otters from the index for the previous year. The 5-year average trend in the range-wide index, including both the mainland range and San Nicolas Island populations, was flat at 0.12 percent growth per year. The northern range boundary was not calculated because of limitations in survey resources required to survey areas north of the range from the previous year (2018); however, the southern range boundary expanded slightly by 0.5 kilometer, where a negligible trend in sea otter counts (0.55 percent growth per year) corresponded to the lack of meaningful population range expansion at the southern periphery.

Ethical guidelines for publication of fisheries research

Released September 23, 2019 14:34 EST

2019, Fisheries (44) 445-448

Patrick Kocovsky, Patricia S Gaunt, Brandon K. Peoples, Emmanuel A Frimpong

In 2000, the Governing Board of the American Fisheries Society (AFS) approved the first Guidelines for Authorship (GFA) in AFS publications, developed by the AFS Publications Overview Committee (POC) chaired by Mary Fabrizio. This version of the GFA document provided guidance for fisheries science publications for nearly two decades. The 2015 AFS President Donna Parish charged the POC to revise the document to improve the quality of AFS publications. With guidance from Mary Fabrizio and the AFS staff, the POC and chair Emmanuel Frimpong revised, updated, and clarified the GFA document. This revised fisheries research publication document provides guidance for all persons involved in the publication process including authors, reviewers, and editors. This version of the GFA document is not a guide for style or content in AFS publications, but rather provides substantial changes including clarification on what constitutes authorship versus acknowledgment and determining authorship order, including deceased authors. This version was adopted by the AFS Governing Board and is presented verbatim as it appears in the AFS Procedures Manual.

Contaminants in linked aquatic–terrestrial ecosystems: Predicting effects of aquatic pollution on adult aquatic insects and terrestrial insectivores

Released September 23, 2019 11:58 EST

2019, Freshwater Science

Johanna M. Kraus

Organisms that move across ecosystem boundaries connect food webs in apparently disparate locations. As part of their life cycle, aquatic insects transition from aquatic larvae to terrestrial adults, thereby linking freshwater ecosystem processes and terrestrial insectivore dynamics. These linkages are strongly affected by contamination of freshwater ecosystems, which can reduce production of adult aquatic insects (i.e., emergence), increase contaminant concentrations in adult insect tissues, and alter contaminant flux to terrestrial ecosystems. Despite the potential impact of contaminants on adult aquatic insects, little is known about predicting these effects. Here, I develop a heuristic model based on contaminant properties and ecotoxicological principles to predict the effects of various classes of aquatic contaminants on adult aquatic insects and discuss implications for terrestrial insectivores living near contaminated freshwaters. The main finding is that contaminant classes vary greatly in how their biologically-mediated effects on aquatic insects affect terrestrial insectivores. Highly bioaccumulative contaminants that are well retained during metamorphosis, like polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), are often non-toxic to aquatic insect larvae at concentrations commonly found in the environment. Such contaminants flux from aquatic ecosystems in large quantities in the bodies of emerging adult aquatic insects and expose terrestrial insectivores to toxic levels of pollution. On the other hand, contaminants that are less bioaccumulative, excreted during metamorphosis, and more toxic to insects, like trace metals, tend to affect terrestrial insectivores by reducing production of adult aquatic insects on which they prey. Management applications of this model illustrate type and severity of risk of aquatic contaminants to consumers of adult aquatic insects.

U.S. Geological Survey energy and wildlife research annual report for 2019

Released September 23, 2019 10:55 EST

2019, Circular 1458

Mona Khalil, editor(s)

Access to affordable and reliable energy remains a critical need for people and the economy. To satisfy society’s demand for energy, the United States is expanding access to vast natural resources to produce electricity as well as petroleum and natural gas products. Development of our Nation’s energy resources, however, often conflicts directly with the equally vast fish and wildlife resources, which contribute billions of dollars to the economy through harvest, recreation, and services to humans and agriculture. The effects of energy development on living resources include fragmentation of populations, degradation or loss of habitat, and mortality of birds, bats, fish, and other wildlife interacting with energy generation facilities. Thus, an expanding energy infrastructure results in new requirements for land and ocean conversion for project siting and operational decisions to minimize risk to fish and wildlife resources. U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) scientists partner with more than 150 Federal, State, and local government agencies; Tribal nations; academic institutions; and nongovernmental organizations to deliver timely and relevant information on pressing resource management issues. This report summarizes ongoing USGS research projects and publications related to the impacts of energy development on fish and wildlife resources, tools to assess those impacts, and solutions to avoid or minimize risk. This information helps decision makers balance development with stewardship of the Nation’s fish and wildlife heritage.

Growth drivers of Bakken oil well productivity

Released September 23, 2019 10:26 EST

2019, Natural Resources Research

Emil D. Attanasi, Philip A. Freeman

This paper identifies the drivers of the phenomenal growth in productivity in hydraulically fractured horizontal oil wells producing from the middle member of the Bakken Formation in North Dakota. The data show a strong underlying spatial component and somewhat weaker temporal component. Drivers of the spatial component are favorable reservoir conditions. The temporal component of well productivity growth is driven by increasing the number of fracture treatments and by increasing the volume of proppant and injection fluids used on a per fracture treatment basis. Random Forest, a non-parametric modeling procedure often applied in the context of machine learning, is used to identify the relative importance of geologic and well-completion factors that have driven the growth in Bakken well productivity. The findings of this study suggest that a significant part of the well productivity increases during the period from 2010 to 2015 have been the result of improved well-site selection. For the more recent period, that is from 2015 through 2017, part of the improved well productivity has resulted from substantial increases in the proppant and injection fluids used per stage and per well.

U.S. Geological Survey sagebrush ecosystem research annual report for 2019

Released September 23, 2019 08:05 EST

2019, Circular 1459

Steven E. Hanser, editor(s)

The sagebrush (Artemisia spp.) ecosystem extends across a large portion of the Western United States. Affected by multiple stressors, including interactions among fire, exotic plant invasions, and human land uses, this ecosystem has experienced significant loss, fragmentation, and degradation of landscapes once dominated by sagebrush. In turn, wildlife populations have declined following these deleterious conditions. Federal, State, local, and Tribal agencies, nongovernmental organizations, and industry have been galvanized by declining wildlife populations to implement management actions to confront the impacts of these stressors and insure the long-term availability of the sagebrush ecosystem for the broad range of uses critical to stakeholders in the Western United States.

The sagebrush ecosystem provides habitat for over 350 species of plants and animals that are dependent on sagebrush for all or part of their annual life history. The greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) stands out as the iconic species. Sage-grouse populations occur in 11 States and require relatively large expanses of sagebrush-dominated habitat to meet all their seasonal habitat needs. Recent management actions to conserve and maintain the sagebrush ecosystem have focused on the protection and restoration of sage-grouse habitat. However, each of the 350 species has a unique life history and differing area requirements (for example, large areas for Mule deer [Odocoileus hemionus] and small areas for pygmy rabbit [Brachylagus idahoensis]), and some species, such as migratory birds, only rely the sagebrush ecosystem for part of the year (for example, Brewer’s sparrow [Spizella breweri]).

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) has a broad research program focused on the sagebrush ecosystem and these species and their response to stressors and management actions. The research is tailored specifically to inform and improve strategies for maintaining existing areas of intact sagebrush and restoring degraded landscapes. By providing the science to inform these strategies, the USGS is assisting land and resource managers at the Federal, State, Tribal, and local levels working towards sustainable wildlife populations and restored landscapes.

The USGS provides a foundation of scientific information for use in major land and resource management decisions in the sagebrush ecosystem. These have included such actions as the preclusion of the need to list the greater sage-grouse under the Endangered Species Act and recent revisions to Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service resource management plans. The USGS continues to build on that foundation to inform science-based decisions within the U.S. Department of the Interior and other Federal, State, and local agencies and their continued conservation, management, and restoration of the sagebrush ecosystem to help support local economies.

U.S. Geological Survey energy and wildlife research annual report for 2019 postcard

Released September 23, 2019 07:55 EST

2019, General Information Product 193

Mona Khalil

This postcard provides details about the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Energy and Wildlife Research Annual Report for 2019, which highlights new research on the interactions of energy development with wildlife. Encompassing investigations of conventional and renewable energy development across the United States, from the Arctic Coastal Plain of Alaska to the balmy waters of Florida, the report features progress made by USGS scientists and partners in developing methods to minimize the impacts of energy infrastructure on wildlife. The report is available at https://doi.org/10.3133/cir1458.

Nanoscale molecular fractionation of organic matter within unconventional petroleum source beds

Released September 20, 2019 11:03 EST

2019, Energy and Fuels

Aaron M. Jubb, Paul C. Hackley, Javin J. Hatcherian, Jing Qu, Timothy O Nesheim

Fractionation of petroleum during migration through sedimentary rock matrices has been observed across lengths of meters to kilometers. Selective adsorption of specific chemical moieties at mineral surfaces and/or the phase behavior of petroleum during pressure changes typically are invoked to explain this behavior. Such phenomena are of interest as they impact both the quality and recoverability of petroleum resources. Given the current emphasis on unconventional (continuous) resources, there is a need to understand petroleum fractionation occurring during expulsion and migration at the nanometer to micron scale, due to the fine-grained nature of petroliferous mudrocks. Here, organic matter compositional differences observed within kukersites (petroleum source beds containing acritarch Gloeocapsomorpha prisca) and the overlying carbonate reservoir layer from the Ordovician Stonewall Formation are explored using a suite of spectroscopic methods, primarily through atomic force microscopy based infrared spectroscopy (AFM-IR). AFM-IR is capable of providing spatial resolutions approaching 50 nm and allows for assessment of the molecular fingerprint of kukersite organic matter across transition zones from organic-rich ‘source’ layers into neighboring carbonate ‘reservoir’ layers ~150 μm away. Results indicate that organic matter composition begins to vary immediately following expulsion from source layers, with loss of carbonyl groups and a concomitant decrease in alkyl chain-length, as migration distance increases. These chemical transitions correlate with a decrease in fluorescence intensity, increase in solid bitumen reflectance, and increase in Raman aromaticity proxies (D-G band separation) in the organic matter. Our findings are consistent with the retention of polar compounds onto mineral grains during expulsion and migration, following primary cracking and bituminization of the Gloeocapsomorpha prisca kerogen.

Contaminant concentrations in sediments, aquatic invertebrates, and fish in proximity to rail tracks used for coal transport in the Pacific Northwest: A baseline assessment

Released September 19, 2019 14:37 EST

2019, Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology

Whitney B Hapke, Robert W. Black, Collin A. Eagles-Smith, Cassandra Smith, Lyndal Johnson, Gina M Ylitalo, Daryle Boyd, Jay W Davis, Sara L. Eldridge, Elena Nilsen

Railway transport of coal poses an environmental risk because coal dust contains polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), mercury (Hg), and other trace metals. In the Pacific Northwest, proposed infrastructure projects could result in an increase in coal transport by train through the Columbia River corridor. Baseline information is needed on current distributions, levels, and spatial patterns of coal dust-derived contaminants in habitats and organisms adjacent to existing coal transport lines. To that end, we collected aquatic surface sediments, aquatic insects, and juvenile fish in 2014 and 2015 from Horsethief Lake State Park and Steigerwald National Wildlife Refuge (NWR), both located close to the rail line and within the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area. Two subsites in each area were selected: one close to the rail line and one far from the rail line. Detected PAH concentrations were relatively low compared to those measured at more urbanized areas. Some contaminants were measured at higher concentrations at the subsites close to the rail line, but it was not possible to link the contaminants to a definitive source. Trace metal concentrations were only slightly higher than background concentrations, but a few of the more sensitive benchmarks were exceeded, including those for As, Pb, and Se in fish tissue and fluoranthene, Cd, Cu, Mn, Ni, Zn, Fe, and As in sediments. At Horsethief Lake, Chinook salmon and yellow perch showed lower total mercury body burdens than other species, but PAH body burdens did not differ significantly among species. Differences in the species caught among subsites and the low number of invertebrate samples rendered food web comparisons difficult, but these data show that the PAHs and trace metals, including mercury, are accumulating in these wetland sites and in some resident organisms.

Historical trend in the ratio of solid to total precipitation

Released September 19, 2019 10:30 EST

2004, Conference Paper, Proceedings of the 60th Annual Eastern Snow Conference : June 4-6, 2003, Sherbrooke, Quebec, Canada

Thomas G Huntington, Glenn A. Hodgkins, B.D. Keim, Robert W. Dudley

No abstract available

Quantifying hydrologic controls on local- and landscape-scale indicators of coastal wetland loss

Released September 18, 2019 17:02 EST

2019, Annals of Botany

Camille Stagg, Michael Osland, Jena A. Moon, Courtney Hall, Laura Feher, William R. Jones, Brady Couvillion, Stephen B. Hartley, William Vervaeke

Background and Aims

Coastal wetlands have evolved to withstand stressful abiotic conditions through the maintenance of hydrologic feedbacks among vegetation production and flooding. However, disruption of these feedbacks can lead to ecosystem collapse, or a regime shift from vegetated wetland to open water. To prevent the loss of critical coastal wetland habitat, we must improve understanding of the abiotic-biotic linkages among flooding and wetland stability. The aim of this research was to identify characteristic landscape patterns and thresholds of wetland degradation that can be used to identify areas of vulnerability, reduce flooding threats, and improve habitat quality.

Methods

We measured local- and landscape-scale responses of coastal wetland vegetation to flooding stress in healthy and degrading coastal wetlands. We hypothesized that conversion of Spartina patens wetlands to open water could be defined by a distinct change in landscape configuration pattern, and that this change would occur at a discrete elevation threshold.

Key Results

Despite similarities in total land and water cover, we observed differences in the landscape configuration of vegetated and open water pixels in healthy and degrading wetlands. Healthy wetlands were more aggregated, and degrading wetlands were more fragmented. Generally, greater aggregation was associated with higher wetland elevation and better drainage, compared to fragmented wetlands, which had lower elevation and poor drainage. The relationship between vegetation cover and elevation was non-linear, and the conversion from vegetated wetland to open water occurred beyond an elevation threshold of hydrologic stress.

Conclusions

The elevation threshold defined a transition zone where healthy, aggregated, wetland converted to a degrading, fragmented, wetland beyond an elevation threshold of 0.09 m NAVD88 (0.27 m MSL), and complete conversion to open water occurred beyond 0.03 m NAVD88 (0.21 m MSL). This work illustrates that changes in landscape configuration can be used as an indicator of wetland loss, with specific elevation thresholds to inform restoration and conservation planning to maximize wetland stability in anticipation of flooding threats.

Physicochemical controls on zones of higher coral stress where Black Band Disease occurs at Mākua Reef, Kauaʻi, Hawaiʻi

Released September 18, 2019 13:20 EST

2019, Frontiers in Marine Science (6)

Ferdinand Oberle, Curt D. Storlazzi, Olivia Cheriton, Renee K. Takesue, Daniel J. Hoover, Joshua B. Logan, Christina M. Runyon, Christina A. Kellogg, Cordell Johnson, Peter W. Swarzenski

Pervasive and sustained coral diseases contribute to the systemic degradation of reef ecosystems, however, to date an understanding of the physicochemical controls on a coral disease event is still largely lacking. Water circulation and residence times and submarine groundwater discharge all determine the degree to which reef organisms are exposed to the variable chemistry of overlying waters; understanding these physical controls is thus necessary to interpret spatial patterns in coral health. The recent discovery of coral Black Band Disease at Mākua Reef on Kauaʻi, Hawaiʻi prompted an investigation into the physicochemical drivers and geomorphic controls of reef water circulation, and the temporally variable nutrient fluxes derived from submarine groundwater discharge. Results reveal localized stagnant water parcels at Mākua Reef where groundwater-derived high nutrient loading and low salinities act in concert as stressors to coralline health – and where Black Band Disease was uniquely identified. The observed high nutrient levels during low tide conditions are likely associated with nearby upstream cesspools and drain fields. Information obtained using such a multidisciplinary approach has direct value for successful management of coastal aquifers and the health and sustainability of adjacent nearshore coral reef ecosystems.

Geologic cross section A–A′ through the Appalachian basin from the southern margin of the Ontario Lowlands province, Genesee County, western New York, to the Valley and Ridge province, Lycoming County, north-central Pennsylvania

Released September 18, 2019 12:00 EST

2019, Scientific Investigations Map 3425

Michael H. Trippi, Robert T. Ryder, Catherine B. Enomoto

Introduction

Geologic cross section A–A′  is the fifth in a series of cross sections constructed by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) to document and improve understand­ing of the geologic framework and petroleum systems of the Appalachian basin. Cross section A–A′ provides a regional view of the structural and stratigraphic frame­work of the Appalachian basin from the southern mar­gin of the Ontario Lowlands province in western New York, across the Allegheny Plateau province of central New York and north-central Pennsylvania, to the Valley and Ridge province in north-central Pennsylvania, a dis­tance of approximately 176 miles. This cross section is a companion to cross sections E–E′, D–D′, C–C′, and I–I′  that are located approximately 100 to 500 miles to the southwest. Cross section A–A′ complements earlier geologic or strati­graphic cross sections through the central New York and north-central Pennsylvania part of the Appalachian basin. Although some of these other cross sections show more structural and stratigraphic detail, they are of more limited extent geographically and stratigraphically.

Cross section A–A′ contains much information that is useful for evaluating energy resources in the Appalachian basin. Although the Appalachian basin petroleum systems are not shown on the cross section, many of their key elements (such as source rocks, reservoir rocks, seals, and traps) can be inferred from lithologic units, unconformities, and geologic structures shown on the cross section. Important oil- and gas-bearing formations like the Oriskany Sandstone, Medina Group sandstones, Tuscarora Sandstone, and the Marcellus and Utica Shales are present on cross-section A–A′.

Water priorities for the nation—The U.S. Geological Survey next generation water observing system

Released September 18, 2019 08:45 EST

2019, Fact Sheet 2019-3046

Sandra M. Eberts, Chad R. Wagner, Michael D. Woodside

The challenges of providing safe and sustainable water supplies for human and ecological uses and protecting lives and property during water emergencies are well recognized. The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) plays an essential role in meeting these challenges through its observational networks and renowned water science and research activities (National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine, 2018). Substantial advances in water science, together with emerging breakthroughs in technical and computational capabilities, have led the USGS to develop a Next Generation Water Observing System (NGWOS). The NGWOS will provide real-time data on water quantity and quality in more affordable and rapid ways than previously possible, and in more locations. The data will be served through a modernized USGS National Water Information System that will be coupled to advanced modeling tools to inform daily water operations, decision-making during water emergencies (like floods, droughts, and contaminant spills), assessments of past trends in water quantity and quality, and forecasts of future water availability.

A framework for quantifying resilience to forest disturbance

Released September 18, 2019 08:36 EST

2019, Frontiers in Forests and Global Change (2)

Timothy Bryant, Kristen Waring, Meador Sánchez, John B. Bradford

(Bradford) The concept of ecological resilience is an invaluable tool to assess the risk of state transitions and predict the impact of management on an ecosystem’s response to future disturbances. However, resilience is difficult to quantify and the factors contributing to resilience are often unknown in systems subject to multiple disturbances. We present a framework to assess the possibility of ponderosa pine and dry mixed conifer forests to be resilient to future disturbance by combining indicators of resistance to fire, insect, and drought disturbances using data from the Rio Tusas-Lower San Antonio landscape in northern New Mexico. On average, the dry mixed conifer forests received a higher score for potential resilience than the ponderosa pine (5.24 and 4.07, respectively, out of nine possible points). Canopy bulk density was the most important driver of the overall score in the dry mixed conifer type. In the ponderosa pine type, overall basal area and canopy bulk density were the strongest drivers of the overall score. These indicators have the greatest impact on the resilience score and provide the most effective targets for management to increase the possibility of resilience in these forest types. We validated the model in both forest types by comparing individual stands to an ‘ideal’ score for a stand that is within the historic range of variation (HRV) and confirmed that stands outside of HRV had a low possibility of resilience and stands that had received restoration-based treatments were more likely to be resilient. Our results provide evidence that the changes to forest structure and species composition that have occurred since the onset of fire exclusion have degraded the potential of these forest types to be resilient to future fire, insect, and drought-related disturbances. By modifying disturbances and resilience indicator thresholds this model can be applied to assess resilience across various regions and ecosystem types.

Water resources of Lincoln Parish, Louisiana

Released September 17, 2019 14:56 EST

2019, Fact Sheet 2019-3019

Vincent E. White

Information concerning the availability, use, and quality of water in Lincoln Parish, Louisiana, is critical for proper water-supply management. The purpose of this fact sheet is to present information that can be used by water managers, parish residents, and others for stewardship of this vital resource. In 2014, about 7.76 million gallons per day (Mgal/d) of water were withdrawn in Lincoln Parish: 7.69 Mgal/d from groundwater sources and 0.07 Mgal/d from surface-water sources. Withdrawals for public-supply use accounted for about 89 percent (6.88 Mgal/d) of the total water withdrawn. Other categories of use included industrial, general irrigation, livestock, and rural domestic. Water-use data collected at 5-year intervals from 1960 to 2010 and again in 2014 indicate that water withdrawals peaked in 2000 at 11.01 Mgal/d.

Water resources of Winn Parish, Louisiana

Released September 17, 2019 14:55 EST

2019, Fact Sheet 2019-3022

Vincent E. White

Information concerning the availability, use, and quality of water in Winn Parish, Louisiana, is critical for proper water-supply management. The purpose of this fact sheet is to present information that can be used by water managers, parish residents, and others for stewardship of this vital resource. In 2014, about 2.74 million gallons per day (Mgal/d) of water were withdrawn in Winn Parish: 2.69 Mgal/d from groundwater sources and 0.05 Mgal/d from surface-water sources. Withdrawals for public supply accounted for about 71 percent (1.95 Mgal/d) of the total water withdrawn, and industrial use accounted for about 19 percent (0.51 Mgal/d). Other categories of use included rural domestic, livestock, and general irrigation. Water-use data collected at 5-year intervals from 1960 to 2010 and again in 2014 indicated that water withdrawals peaked in 2000 at about 3.81 Mgal/d.

Water resources of Franklin Parish, Louisiana

Released September 17, 2019 14:54 EST

2019, Fact Sheet 2019-3021

Vincent E. White

Information concerning the availability, use, and quality of water in Franklin Parish, Louisiana, is critical for proper water-supply management. The purpose of this fact sheet is to present information that can be used by water managers, parish residents, and others for stewardship of this vital resource. In 2014, about 41.79 million gallons per day (Mgal/d) of water were withdrawn in Franklin Parish: 37.73 Mgal/d from groundwater sources and 4.06 Mgal/d from surface-water sources. Withdrawals for agricultural use—composed of general irrigation, rice irrigation, aquaculture, and livestock—accounted for about 89 percent (37.16 Mgal/d) of the total water withdrawn. Public-supply use accounted for about 3 percent (1.07 Mgal/d); industry accounted for about 7 percent (2.92 Mgal/d); and rural domestic use accounted for about 2 percent (0.64 Mgal/d). Water-use data collected at 5-year intervals from 1960 to 2010 and again in 2014 indicated that water withdrawals peaked in 2005 at more than 50 Mgal/d.

Water resources of Madison Parish, Louisiana

Released September 17, 2019 14:53 EST

2019, Fact Sheet 2019-3018

Vincent E. White

Information concerning the availability, use, and quality of water in Madison Parish, Louisiana, is critical for proper water-supply management. The purpose of this fact sheet is to present information that can be used by water managers, parish residents, and others for stewardship of this vital resource. In 2014, 50.66 million gallons per day (Mgal/d) of water were withdrawn in Madison Parish: 44.37 Mgal/d from groundwater sources and 6.30 Mgal/d from surface-water sources. Withdrawals for agricultural use—composed of general irrigation, rice irrigation, livestock, and aquaculture—accounted for about 96 percent (48.86 Mgal/d) of the total water withdrawn. Other categories of use included public supply and rural domestic. Water-use data collected at 5-year intervals from 1960 to 2010 and again in 2014 indicated that water withdrawals peaked in 2014. The relatively large increase in water use from 2005 to 2010 is largely attributable to a change in the methods used for estimation of general irrigation land usage. General irrigation withdrawals from groundwater increased from 11.13 Mgal/d in 2005 to 28.28 Mgal/d in 2010.

Winter climate change and the poleward range expansion of a tropical invasive tree (Brazilian pepper ‐ Shinus terebinthifolius)

Released September 17, 2019 11:52 EST

2019, Global Change Biology

Michael Osland, Laura Feher

Winter climate change is expected to lead to the tropicalization of temperate ecosystems, where tropical species expand poleward in response to a decrease in the intensity and duration of winter temperature extremes (i.e., freeze events). In the southeastern United States, freezing temperatures control the northern range limits of many invasive non‐native species. Here, we examine the influence of freezing temperatures and winter climate change on the northern range limits of an invasive non‐native tree — Schinus terebenthifolius (Brazilian pepper). Since introduction in the 1800s, Brazilian pepper has invaded ecosystems throughout south and central Florida to become the state's most widespread non‐native plant species. Although Brazilian pepper is sensitive to freezing temperatures, temperature controls on its northern distribution have not been adequately quantified. We used temperature and plant occurrence data to quantify the sensitivity of Brazilian pepper to freezing temperatures. Then, we examined the potential for range expansion under three alternative future climate scenarios (+2°C, +4°C, and +6°C). Our analyses identify a strong nonlinear sigmoidal relationship between minimum temperature and Brazilian pepper presence, with a discrete threshold temperature occurring near ‐11°C. Our future scenario analyses indicate that, in response to warming winter temperatures, Brazilian pepper is expected to expand northward and transform ecosystems in north Florida and across much of the Gulf of Mexico and south Atlantic coasts of the United States. These results underscore the importance of early detection and rapid response efforts to identify and manage the northward invasion of Brazilian pepper in response to climate change. Looking more broadly, our work highlights the need to anticipate and prepare for the tropicalization of temperate ecosystems by tropical invasive species.

Anticoagulant rodenticides in Strix owls indicate widespread exposure in west coast forests

Released September 17, 2019 08:47 EST

2019, Biological Conservation (238)

David Wiens, Krista E. Dilione, Collin A. Eagles-Smith, Garth Herring, Damon B. Lesmeister, Mourad W. Gabriel, Greta Wengert, David C. Simon

Exposure of nontarget wildlife to anticoagulant rodenticides (AR) is a global conservation concern typically centered around urban or agricultural areas. Recently, however, the illegal use of ARs in remote forests of California, USA, has exposed sensitive predators, including the federally threatened northern spotted owl (Strix occidentalis caurina). We used congeneric barred owls (S. varia) as a sentinel species to investigate whether ARs pose a threat to spotted owls and other old-forest wildlife in northern regions of the Pacific Northwest. We analyzed the liver tissue from 40 barred owls collected in Oregon and Washington and confirmed exposure to ≥1 AR compounds in 48% of the owls examined. Brodifacoum, an extremely toxic second-generation AR, was the most common compound detected (89% of positive cases), followed by bromadiolone (11%), difethialone (11%), and warfarin (5%). Brodifacoum was also detected in one barred owl and one spotted owl opportunistically found dead (liver concentrations were 0.091 and 0.049 µg/g, respectively). We found no evidence that exposure varied with proximity to developed and agricultural areas, or among different study areas, age-classes, and sexes. Rather, exposure was ubiquitous, and the rates we observed in our study (38 – 64%) were similar to or greater than that reported previously for barred owls in California (40%). Together these studies indicate widespread contamination in forested landscapes used by spotted owls and other wildlife of conservation concern. Owls collected in older forests may have been exposed via illegal use of ARs, highlighting a mounting challenge for land managers and policy makers.

Sediment and organic carbon transport and deposition driven by internal tides along Monterey Canyon, offshore California

Released September 17, 2019 08:43 EST

2019, Deep-Sea Research Part I: Oceanographic Research Papers

Katherine L. Maier, Kurt J. Rosenberger, Charles K. Paull, Roberto Gwiazda, Jenny Gales, Thomas Lorenson, James P. Barry, Peter J. Talling, Mary McGann, Jingping Xu, Eve M. Lundsten, Krystle Anderson, Steven Litvin, Daniel Parsons, Michael Clare, Stephen Simmons, Esther J Sumner, Matthieu J.B. Cartigny

Submarine canyons provide globally important conduits for sediment and organic carbon transport into the deep-sea. Using a novel dataset from Monterey Canyon, offshore central California, that includes an extensive array of water column sampling devices, we address how fine-grained sediment and organic carbon are transported, mixed, fractionated, and buried along a submarine canyon. Anderson-type sediment traps were deployed 10 to 300 meters above the seafloor on moorings anchored between 278–1849 m water depths along the axial channel of Monterey Canyon during three consecutive 6-month deployments (2015–2017). Tidal currents within the canyon suspended and transported fine-grained sediment and organic carbon that were captured in sediment traps, which show apparent patterns and composition of sediment and organic carbon transport along the canyon. High sediment accumulation rates in traps increased up-canyon and near the seafloor with fine-scale (<1 cm) layering that was increasingly distinctive in CT scans. There was no along-canyon trend in the organic carbon composition (percent modern carbon and isotopic signatures) among trap locations, suggesting mixing. Organic carbon content (weight percent total organic carbon) and excess 210Pb activities (dpm/g) increased down-canyon, reflecting reduced flux of sediment and organic carbon into traps. Differing organic carbon signatures in traps compared with previous measurements of seabed deposits along Monterey Canyon suggest that canyon deposits may not reflect organic carbon available to organisms and transported through the canyon with internal tides. Organic carbon burial efficiency estimates from comparing core and trap samples are low (~26% or much less), suggesting that the modern upper Monterey Canyon may not be an effective sink for carbon in biogeochemical and CO2 cycling. Organic carbon isotopic signatures appear more marine in traps that sample from the water column than in cores that sample seafloor deposits, likely owing to the influence of sediment density flow events on deposits and preferential consumption of relatively fresh marine organic carbon on the seafloor that was largely prevented in preserved traps. Along-canyon sediment and organic carbon transport by internal tides likely occurs in many modern global submarine canyons, but canyon deposits and remaining organic carbon appear to preferentially reflect episodic sediment density flow events unrelated to internal tides. This study provides a quantified example and conceptual schematic for internal-tide-related sediment and organic carbon transport, mixing, and burial trends along a submarine canyon that are likely to have common global aspects.