Hunter Survey Available for Green Bay and Lake Michigan

Open Water Zone, Wisconsin

Hosted by the U.S. Geological Survey, the questionnaire will collect public feedback about waterfowl harvest and regulations for the Wisconsin Open Water Zone that will be effective for the 2021 through 2025 waterfowl hunting seasons. Input from hunters will help natural resource managers develop regulations for the Open Water Zone. The new Open Water Zone …

Read moreHunter Survey Available for Green Bay and Lake Michigan

USGS and Rio Tinto Partner to Survey for Critical Minerals in Southwest Montana

Cessna 180 Fixed-wing Aircraft

The USGS will fly airborne geophysical surveys in areas of interest with support from Rio Tinto during 2022 as part of its Earth Mapping Resources Initiative (Earth MRI). This is the first time the USGS has partnered with a resources company for the Earth MRI program, allowing it to double the area being surveyed in …

Read moreUSGS and Rio Tinto Partner to Survey for Critical Minerals in Southwest Montana

Comprehensive Study finds Widespread Mercury Contamination Across Western North America

Wetland habitats, such as the Great Salt Lake wetlands, provide critical feeding areas for many fish and wildlife species.

An international team of scientists led by the U.S. Geological Survey, recently documented widespread mercury contamination in air, soil, sediment, plants, fish, and wildlife at various levels across western North America. They evaluated potential risk from mercury to human, fish, and wildlife health, and examined resource management activities that influence this risk. Wetland habitats, such …

Read moreComprehensive Study finds Widespread Mercury Contamination Across Western North America

Water-Level Changes in Northeast Twin Cities Lakes Vary with Landscape Setting

The physical setting of lakes, which includes underlying geology, elevation and surrounding land use, is the most significant driver of lake-level changes in the Twin Cities, according to a U.S. Geological Survey study published today.  Scientists with the USGS analyzed 96 lakes in the northeast metropolitan area of Minneapolis and Saint Paul, Minnesota, to determine …

Read moreWater-Level Changes in Northeast Twin Cities Lakes Vary with Landscape Setting

In Orlando, USGS Science on the Health of the Environment is on Display

The health of the environment is a research priority for the U.S. Geological Survey, and some of the recent highlights of that research will be on display at the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry’s 2016 North American conference this Fall. For reporters interested in attending these presentations at the conference, or for following up …

Read moreIn Orlando, USGS Science on the Health of the Environment is on Display

Groundwater Pumping, Precipitation Can Affect Lake Levels in Twin Cities

White Bear Lake thumbnail

Both precipitation and groundwater withdrawals, among other factors, influence lake-water levels in the northeast Twin Cities metropolitan area, and the extent of these changes vary among lakes, according to a new U.S. Geological Survey study. Low water levels in White Bear Lake, Minnesota.(Credit: Perry Jones, USGS. Public domain.) Scientists with the USGS and partners studied …

Read moreGroundwater Pumping, Precipitation Can Affect Lake Levels in Twin Cities

Not All Arsenic Tests are Created Equal

In 2014-2016, the USGS and partners sampled study wells in northeast, northwest and central Minnesota—areas that commonly have elevated arsenic concentrations in well water—and examined the effects of various water-sampling methods for each of the wells. The researchers found that arsenic levels were most reliable when they were filtered, collected from household plumbing instead of …

Read moreNot All Arsenic Tests are Created Equal

Design of Private Wells Can Lead to Safer Drinking Water in Minnesota

Well characteristics

The study highlights a new and important finding: Controllable well construction choices, not just location and depth, influence arsenic concentrations in drinking water. “Chronic exposure to high levels of naturally occurring arsenic through drinking water can cause certain cancers, skin abnormalities and other adverse human health effects,” said Melinda Erickson, a USGS research hydrologist and …

Read moreDesign of Private Wells Can Lead to Safer Drinking Water in Minnesota

USGS Responds to Spring Flooding

What the USGS is Doing Crews are in the field to keep the USGS’s streamgage network of about 11,300 instruments working properly, perform on-site measurements of flooded rivers, and measure high-water marks as flood waters recede. In the coming days and weeks, USGS crews will continue to monitor streamgages, make flood measurements in the field to determine how much …

Read moreUSGS Responds to Spring Flooding

USGS Unveils Mobile Flood Tool for the Nation

USGS National Water Dashboard Example - Zeta Rate of Change

The new USGS National Water Dashboard, or NWD, provides critical information to decision-makers, emergency managers and the public during flood events, informing decisions that can help protect lives and property. “The National Water Dashboard is a much-needed advancement that will help keep communities across the country safe during extreme weather conditions,” said Tim Petty, Ph.D., …

Read moreUSGS Unveils Mobile Flood Tool for the Nation

15 Best Water Coolers

15 Best Water Coolers Guide & Tips While the water from all 50 states generally has less chromium, there is evidence indicating that the American tap water may contain an extraordinarily high amount of chromium-6. That doesn’t even take care of anything! There may be additional pollutants that include lead, arsenic, and mercury in the …

Read more15 Best Water Coolers

Greater Yellowstone Area Expected to Become Warmer, Drier

Research raft on Spider Lake, WY

This image shows a research raft on Spider Lake, Wind River Indian Reservation, Wind River Range, Wyoming. (Credit: Bryan Schuman, University of Wyoming) Scientists with the U.S. Geological Survey, Montana State University and the University of Wyoming studied climate change in the Greater Yellowstone Area (GYA) from 1950-2018. They evaluated how these changes could progress …

Read moreGreater Yellowstone Area Expected to Become Warmer, Drier

New Insight into Climate Change Impacts on Yellowstone

WHAT:   Scientists with the U.S. Geological Survey, Montana State University, the University of Wyoming, Greater Yellowstone Coalition and partners studied past climate change in the Greater Yellowstone Area and evaluated how those changes could progress by 2100. Coauthors of the forthcoming report and voices from the Greater Yellowstone Area will discuss the significance of the findings and answer media questions. This event is open to members of the …

Read moreNew Insight into Climate Change Impacts on Yellowstone

Piping Plovers Breed Less and Move More in the Northern Great Plains

Two banded piping plover adults stand near a nest with a small video camera pointed at it on a sandbar of the Missouri River.

Two banded piping plover adults stand near a nest with a video camera pointed at it on a sandbar in the the Missouri River. Video cameras were used to identify adults attending nests.  Piping plovers are small-bodied, short-distance migratory shorebirds. The Northern Great Plains population has been listed as a threatened species under the U.S. …

Read morePiping Plovers Breed Less and Move More in the Northern Great Plains

New Report Highlights Declining Sagebrush Ecosystem, Provides Foundation for Next Generation of Conservation and Management

Big sagebrush near Parawon, UT

A team of 94 scientists and specialists from 34 federal and state agencies, universities and non-governmental organizations contributed to the comprehensive assessment of the sagebrush ecosystem, which covers 14 western states and two Canadian provinces. The effort was coordinated by the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (WAFWA) with support from the U.S. Fish …

Read moreNew Report Highlights Declining Sagebrush Ecosystem, Provides Foundation for Next Generation of Conservation and Management

Low-flying Helicopter Will Survey Northeast Wisconsin for Geologic Study

Low-Flying Helicopter

Note to Editors: In the public interest and in accordance with Federal Aviation Administration regulations, the USGS is announcing this low-level airborne project. Your assistance in informing the local communities is appreciated. Starting on or around January 4 and lasting two to three weeks, a helicopter towing a large hoop from a cable will begin …

Read moreLow-flying Helicopter Will Survey Northeast Wisconsin for Geologic Study

President Proposes $971.2 Million FY 2021 Budget for USGS

Today, President Trump proposed a $971.2 million Fiscal Year 2021 budget for the U.S. Geological Survey that prioritizes scientific inquiry for effective stewardship of America’s natural resources and natural hazard monitoring and assessments. “President Trump’s 2021 budget request for the Department is about investing in our people and public lands and waters,” said Secretary of the …

Read morePresident Proposes $971.2 Million FY 2021 Budget for USGS

Human Bacteria, Viruses from Sewage Found in Some Milwaukee Streams

Sample Locations in Menomonee River watershed

(Credit: USGS. Public domain.) “Leaky infrastructure and overflows from sanitary sewers can contaminate urban waterways, and the detection of human-associated bacteria and viruses indicates the presence of sewage, a potential health hazard,” said Peter Lenaker, a USGS scientist and the lead author of the study. “Results from our study can help Milwaukee-area water managers develop …

Read moreHuman Bacteria, Viruses from Sewage Found in Some Milwaukee Streams

Understanding the Mineral Resources of the Midcontinent Rift

Image shows a screenshot of the Mid-Continent Rift Story Map

Meet the Midcontinent Rift, one of the most geologically fascinating regions in the United States and Canada.(Public domain.) Now, you too can learn some of that history and see a small part of the mineral potential of the United States without leaving your comfortable chair! The USGS has just released a new interactive Story Map …

Read moreUnderstanding the Mineral Resources of the Midcontinent Rift

Majority of Prairie Dogs Are Consuming Plague Vaccine

Image: Sampling Prairie Dog Fur

A veterinarian takes hair samples from a prairie dog that’s under anesthesia before scientists release the animal back into the wild. Portions of hair from sylvatic plague-vaccinated animals turn the color of the vaccine-laiden bait under UV light. (Credit: Marisa Lubeck, USGS) Sylvatic plague can decimate prairie dog populations, which in turn affects the recovery of endangered black-footed …

Read moreMajority of Prairie Dogs Are Consuming Plague Vaccine

Groundwater Quality in the Midwest: The Cambrian-Ordovician Aquifer System

Constituent concentration pie chart for the Cambrian-Ordovician Aquifer System

The Cambrian-Ordovician aquifer system ranks ninth in the nation as a source of groundwater for public supply, providing 631 million gallons per day for this use. The aquifer underlies an area with a population of about 26 million people in parts of seven states and includes the metropolitan areas of Chicago, Illinois; Milwaukee, Wisconsin; and …

Read moreGroundwater Quality in the Midwest: The Cambrian-Ordovician Aquifer System

Scientists Home in on Causes of High Radium Levels in Key Midwestern Aquifer

Map showing where in the Cambrian-Ordovician aquifer groundwater was tested for radium and where levels were high

U.S. Geological Survey scientists have shed new light on processes that happen deep underground. These processes — which cause radium to leach from aquifer rocks into groundwater — are responsible for high concentrations of naturally occurring radium in groundwater from the Cambrian-Ordovician aquifer. This aquifer provides more than 630 million gallons of water a day …

Read moreScientists Home in on Causes of High Radium Levels in Key Midwestern Aquifer

Geologic Groundwork-How USGS Coal Assessments Assist EIA’s Coal Forecasts

Image shows coal being loaded into trucks at a coal mine

Coal is loaded into trucks at the Trapper Mine in northwest Colorado.(Credit: David C. Scott, USGS. Public domain.) For instance, in just one part of the energy sector—coal—the United States consumed just under 800 million short tons in 2015, which supplied a little over 30 percent of the Nation’s electricity. Those numbers come from the …

Read moreGeologic Groundwork-How USGS Coal Assessments Assist EIA’s Coal Forecasts

USGS Releases Selenium Modeling Framework for Montana and British Columbia’s Lake Koocanusa

Image shows a view of Libby Dam and Lake Koocanusa

This is thanks to a new modeling framework by the U.S. Geological Survey that lays out how to use available, site-specific data within a proven modeling approach to understand how selenium may move and build up in the Lake Koocanusa ecosystem. “I’m excited for the release of this modeling framework,” said USGS scientist Karen Jenni, …

Read moreUSGS Releases Selenium Modeling Framework for Montana and British Columbia’s Lake Koocanusa

Emerging Disease Further Jeopardizes North American Frogs

Tadpole with organ failure

This tadpole shows signs of severe Perkinsea infection, which causes organ failure. ​​​​​​​(Credit: William Barichivich, USGS) Frogs and salamanders are currently among the most threatened groups of animals on the planet. The two most common frog diseases, chytridiomycosis and ranavirus infection, are linked to frog population declines worldwide. The new study suggests that that SPI is the third …

Read moreEmerging Disease Further Jeopardizes North American Frogs

Increases in Wildfire-Caused Erosion Could Impact Water Supply and Quality in the West

Ash and sedimentation saturating a stream in Las Conchas, New Mexico.

As a number of previous peer-reviewed studies have shown, the area burned annually by wildfires has increased in recent decades and is expected to continue to increase this century. Many growing cities and towns rely on water from rivers and reservoirs that originates in watersheds where wildfire and sedimentation are projected to increase. Increased sedimentation could …

Read moreIncreases in Wildfire-Caused Erosion Could Impact Water Supply and Quality in the West

USGS La Crosse Science Center Opens Doors for Interactive Experience

2017 USGS UMESC Open House

Attendees will have the opportunity to meet face-to-face with USGS Upper Midwest Environmental Sciences Center scientists and learn about research conducted at the La Crosse, Wisconsin, facility. Fish and wildlife-oriented activities will be available for children, and refreshments, including popcorn and lemonade, will be provided. The event is an opportunity to learn about science careers …

Read moreUSGS La Crosse Science Center Opens Doors for Interactive Experience

Stitching Together the New Digital Geologic Quilt of the United States

Image shows a screenshot of the web viewer for the State Geologic Map Compilation

Fortunately, in an effort with needlepoint detail, the U.S. Geological Survey has stitched together geologic maps of the Lower 48 States, providing a seamless quilt of 48 State geologic maps that range from 1:50,000 to 1:1,000,000 scale. The new product, called the USGS State Geologic Map Compilation, is a database compilation based on the Preliminary …

Read moreStitching Together the New Digital Geologic Quilt of the United States

Lake Michigan Could Best Support Lake Trout and Steelhead

Chinook Salmon

Managers have reduced Lake Michigan stocking levels of Chinook salmon at least three times over the past decades in response to declining prey fish and the natural reproduction of Chinook salmon.  (Credit: Michael Humling, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Public domain.) Reduced stocking of Chinook salmon, however, would still support a substantial population of this highly desirable …

Read moreLake Michigan Could Best Support Lake Trout and Steelhead

Deadly Fungus Affecting Hibernating Bats Could Spread During Summer

Little Brown Bat with white-nose syndrome

This hibernating little brown bat shows signs of white-nose syndrome. (Credit: Alan Hicks, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. Public domain.) USGS scientists tested samples collected from bats, the environment and equipment at eight bat hibernation sites in Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio, Tennessee and Virginia. They found that bats occupying such sites in summer can …

Read moreDeadly Fungus Affecting Hibernating Bats Could Spread During Summer

Red Dye Study Will Examine Water Flow in Yellowstone River near Glendive, Montana

Photo of a red dye-tracer study in June 2016 on the Missouri River near Fort Peck Dam, Montana.

U.S. Geological Survey scientists will inject a harmless, bright red fluorescent dye into the Yellowstone River during the week of June 26, 2017, weather permitting. The study is being done in cooperation with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Bureau of Reclamation. The goal of the dye study is to understand how larval …

Read moreRed Dye Study Will Examine Water Flow in Yellowstone River near Glendive, Montana

Alabama Survey Finds First Southeastern Bat with White-Nose Syndrome

Southeastern Bat with P. destructans Fungus

This southeastern bat from Alabama shows signs of infection from the Pseudogymnoascus destructans fungus that causes white-nose syndrome. The USGS National Wildlife Health Center later confirmed WNS in this animal. (Credit: Dottie Brown, Ecological Solutions, Inc.) The diseased bat was found in Shelby County, Alabama, at Lake Purdy Corkscrew Cave, by surveyors from the Alabama Department of …

Read moreAlabama Survey Finds First Southeastern Bat with White-Nose Syndrome

Asian Carp Would Have Adequate Food to Survive in Lake Michigan

Jumping Silver Carp

This information is critical in helping resource managers mitigate effects of an Asian carp invasion. Great Lakes fisheries generate economic activity of approximately $7 billion annually in the United States alone. Due to the introduction or invasion of many non-native species, Lake Michigan’s ecosystem has already undergone broad and rapid change in fish and other …

Read moreAsian Carp Would Have Adequate Food to Survive in Lake Michigan

Deadly Deer Disease Expected to Grow Rapidly and Spread in Wisconsin

Deer with Chronic Wasting Disease

This deer shows visible signs of chronic wasting disease. (Credit: Terry Kreeger, Wyoming Game and Fish and Chronic Wasting Disease Alliance.) Scientists with the USGS and partners developed a novel scientific model to forecast the growth and spread of chronic wasting disease, or CWD, in white-tailed deer in southwestern Wisconsin. The model showed that CWD prevalence …

Read moreDeadly Deer Disease Expected to Grow Rapidly and Spread in Wisconsin

Wells Affect Water Flows in the Central Sands Region

Little Plover River Wells

Both irrigation wells and municipal wells affect water levels in the Little Plover River, Wisconsin. (Credit: Ken Bradbury, Wisconsin Geological and Natural History Survey) The Wisconsin Geological and Natural History Survey and the U.S. Geological Survey have released the results of a three-year project to develop a groundwater flow model for an area around the Little …

Read moreWells Affect Water Flows in the Central Sands Region

Human, Cattle Viruses Detected in Some Great Lakes Tributaries

Viruses Great Lakes Streams

Scientists with the USGS and U.S. Department of Agriculture tested 290 water samples from eight rivers in the Great Lakes Basin from February 2011 to June 2013. The two most frequently detected pathogens were human adenovirus C, D and F in nine percent of samples, which can cause minor respiratory illnesses in people, and bovine …

Read moreHuman, Cattle Viruses Detected in Some Great Lakes Tributaries

new science-based tools support Bureau of Land Management’s landscape approach

Landscape intactness for the western conterminous U.S.

FORT COLLINS, Colo. – The U.S. Geological Survey and the Bureau of Land Management today released a collaborative report with new information and tools to support effective management of millions of acres of BLM public lands.  The report underscores the value of a landscape approach to management, and shows that the BLM manages some of …

Read morenew science-based tools support Bureau of Land Management’s landscape approach

Coal-Tar-Sealant a Major Source of PAH Contamination in Milwaukee Streams

Image: Residential Driveways With Coal-Tar-Based Sealcoat

Driveways in a residential subdivision are coated with black coal-tar-based sealcoat, contrasting with the white cement sidewalk. (Public domain) Runoff from pavement with coal-tar-based sealant is the primary source of toxic polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, or PAHs, to streambed sediments in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, according to a U.S. Geological Survey and Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District study published today. …

Read moreCoal-Tar-Sealant a Major Source of PAH Contamination in Milwaukee Streams

What’s Causing Seabird Die-Offs in Alaska?

Tufted Puffin, the species most affected by a recent seabird die-off in the Pribilof Islands, AK

A tufted puffin, the species most affected by a recent seabird die-off in the Pribilof Islands, Alaska. (Credit: Sarah Schoen, USGS) A beach littered with bird carcasses is a sobering sight. Since mid-October, hundreds of dead seabirds have washed ashore the north and east sides of St. Paul Island, Alaska, an otherwise serene volcanic island landscape in the …

Read moreWhat’s Causing Seabird Die-Offs in Alaska?

Schmidt is New Deputy Director of USGS Idaho Water Science Center

Christian Schmidt

Christian Schmidt is the Deputy Director of the Idaho Water Science Center (Public domain.) BOISE, Idaho — The U.S. Geological Survey has selected Christian Schmidt as the Deputy Director of its Idaho Water Science Center, headquartered in Boise. Schmidt comes to Idaho from Helena, Montana, where he served as the Water Quality Division Administrator for the …

Read moreSchmidt is New Deputy Director of USGS Idaho Water Science Center

Removal of Fallen Leaves Can Improve Urban Water Quality

Autumn leaf cleanup

The timely removal of leaf litter can reduce harmful phosphorus concentrations in stormwater by over 80 percent in Madison, Wisconsin. (USGS) The timely removal of leaf litter can reduce harmful phosphorus concentrations in stormwater by over 80 percent in Madison, Wisconsin, according to a recent U.S. Geological Survey study. Autumn leaf litter contributes a significant …

Read moreRemoval of Fallen Leaves Can Improve Urban Water Quality

Small Alpine Insects are Big Messengers of Climate Change

Sampling for alpine insects above the stream in Glacier National Park.

A scientist is working to collect alpine insects by picking through moss below tiny, cold, alpine streams. This spot was below a small seep on a slope above a tributary to the Dry Fork, North of the Two Medicine area in Glacier National Park. Public domain The 20-year study provides the first comprehensive evaluation of the current status, distribution …

Read moreSmall Alpine Insects are Big Messengers of Climate Change

Study to Uncover Yellowstone’s Subsurface Mysteries

SkyTEM electromagnetic and magnetic survey flying over Spirit Lake, near Mt. St. Helens, Washington

A new study providing an unprecedented regional view of the earth’s crust beneath Yellowstone National Park will begin with a helicopter electromagnetic and magnetic (HEM) survey on November 7, 2016. Scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey, University of Wyoming and Aarhus University in Denmark hope to distinguish zones of cold fresh water, hot saline water, …

Read moreStudy to Uncover Yellowstone’s Subsurface Mysteries

Common Insecticide Identified in Midwestern Streams

Map of Bifenthrin Study Area

A common insecticide used in urban and agricultural areas, bifenthrin, is harmful to aquatic ecosystems at levels that were previously considered safe, according to a new study by the U.S. Geological Survey. The insecticide was measured in several streams in the Midwest at levels that caused harm to artificial aquatic ecosystems. Bifenthrin is used to …

Read moreCommon Insecticide Identified in Midwestern Streams

USGS Assesses Mineral Potential for Sagebrush Habitats in Six Western States

Image shows a map illustration with sagebrush focal areas marked in different colors

USGS has completed a comprehensive assessment and inventory of potential mineral resources covering approximately 10 million acres of Federal and adjacent lands in Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah and Wyoming. The assessment, conducted at the request of the Bureau of Land Management, ranked the mineral potential in select areas of these states along a gradient …

Read moreUSGS Assesses Mineral Potential for Sagebrush Habitats in Six Western States

Widespread Plastic Pollution Found in Great Lakes Tributaries

Microplastics in Jar

Tiny pieces of harmful plastic, called microplastics, are prevalent in many rivers that flow into the Great Lakes, according to a study published today in the journal Environmental Science & Technology. Results are also illustrated on a new USGS microplastics website. Microplastics fall off decomposing bottles and bags, wear off of synthetic clothing and are manufactured …

Read moreWidespread Plastic Pollution Found in Great Lakes Tributaries

High Rate of Tumors Found on white sucker in some Wisconsin Rivers

Lip tumor diagnosed as a papilloma on a white sucker fish

There is an elevated incidence of skin and liver tumors among White Suckers caught in certain Wisconsin rivers that flow into Lake Michigan according to a U.S. Geological Survey study recently published in the Journal of Fish Diseases. The three-year study looked at White Sucker tumor prevalence in the Sheboygan River and Milwaukee Estuary, which …

Read moreHigh Rate of Tumors Found on white sucker in some Wisconsin Rivers

Deadly Bat Fungus in Washington State Likely Originated in Eastern U.S.

Image: Bat with White-nose Syndrome

A hibernating little brown bat with a white muzzle typical of white-nose syndrome. (Greg Turner, Pennsylvania Game Commission, public domain) The bat-killing fungus recently detected for the first time in western North America is genetically similar to strains found in the eastern United States and did not likely originate in Eurasia, according to a study …

Read moreDeadly Bat Fungus in Washington State Likely Originated in Eastern U.S.

Claudia Regan Takes the Helm as Director of the U.S. Geological Survey’s Northern Rocky Mountain Science Center in Bozeman

Claudia Regan

Claudia Regan begins work this week as Director of the U.S. Geological Survey’s Northern Rocky Mountain Water Science Center, headquartered in Bozeman.Claudia Regan, USGS, Public domain. BOZEMAN, Mont. — Claudia Regan begins work this week as Director of the U.S. Geological Survey’s Northern Rocky Mountain Science Center, headquartered in Bozeman. “Please join me in welcoming Claudia …

Read moreClaudia Regan Takes the Helm as Director of the U.S. Geological Survey’s Northern Rocky Mountain Science Center in Bozeman

Low Levels of Contaminants Found in Great Lakes Tree Swallow Eggs

Image: Household Products Could Harm Tree Swallows

While exposure was low at most sites, USGS scientists found high concentrations of dioxins and furans in tree swallow eggs from Midland, Michigan, and from the Saginaw River and Bay.​​​​​​​ (Thomas W. Custer, USGS) Birds at most study sites in the Great Lakes basin were minimally exposed to most environmental contaminants, with the exception of high …

Read moreLow Levels of Contaminants Found in Great Lakes Tree Swallow Eggs

Moving Barges Have Potential to Transport Invasive Fish

Photo of USGS and FWS scientists studying the interaction of moving barges and small fish on the Illinois Waterway.

Results of the study indicate the potential for small fish to be transported through the electric dispersal barrier, which was built to keep invasive species such as Asian carp from passing between the Mississippi River and Great Lakes Basins. However, there is no evidence to date that Asian carp have crossed the Electric Dispersal Barrier …

Read moreMoving Barges Have Potential to Transport Invasive Fish

Rainfall Following Drought Linked to Historic Nitrate Levels in Some Midwest Streams in 2013

Photo showing a small stream flowing through corn fields in northern Indiana.

Drought periods followed by rainfall caused nitrate levels to increase to the highest ever measured in some Midwest streams during a 2013 study, according to a U.S. Geological Survey report published today in the Journal of Environmental Quality. Nitrate, a form of nitrogen, is a common pollutant in U.S. streams and groundwater. Excessive concentrations in …

Read moreRainfall Following Drought Linked to Historic Nitrate Levels in Some Midwest Streams in 2013

New Science Challenges Old Assumptions about Harmful Algal Blooms

Map of the 48 contiguous states showing cylindrospermopsin concentrations

The first-ever National Lakes Assessment of toxins from harmful algal blooms challenges several long-held assumptions, including the extent, distribution and make-up of toxins from harmful algal blooms. The assessment, conducted by the U.S. Geological Survey and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, sampled 1161 inland lakes and reservoirs throughout the United States. Harmful algal blooms can be …

Read moreNew Science Challenges Old Assumptions about Harmful Algal Blooms

Second Round of USGS Studies Begin to Define What Minerals Lie Beneath Portions of the Upper Midwest

U.S. Geological Survey scientists will conduct a high-resolution airborne survey to study the rock layers under a region of the south-central Upper Peninsula, Michigan, and parts of northeastern Wisconsin, starting in early April and lasting until as late as August. When the data analysis is complete, resulting geologic maps will help USGS researchers improve an …

Read moreSecond Round of USGS Studies Begin to Define What Minerals Lie Beneath Portions of the Upper Midwest

Study Shows Cold and Windy Nights Physically Drain Mangy Wolves

Image: Warmth From the Sun

Note the bright red patch on the wolf’s hindquarters in this thermal image of a captive wolf at the Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center in West Yellowstone. This is where fur was shaved to replicate the loss of fur associated with sarcoptic mange. The fur will eventually grow back. USGS scientists are examining thermal imagery …

Read moreStudy Shows Cold and Windy Nights Physically Drain Mangy Wolves

USGS Goes Airborne to Define What Minerals Lie Beneath the Upper Midwest

Map of upcoming USGS AEM study area in relation to state and county borders.

Beginning in early April and continuing for approximately two weeks, the U.S. Geological Survey will conduct an aerial survey designed to scan the upper part of the earth’s crust. As part of this survey, a helicopter will be flying low to the ground towing equipment shaped like a giant hula-hoop beneath it. The flight region …

Read moreUSGS Goes Airborne to Define What Minerals Lie Beneath the Upper Midwest

New Method for Ranking Global Copper Deposits Saves Time and Money

Figure showing the top three ranked areas.

A new approach to ranking copper resources could result in identifying future supplies of copper while saving both time and money, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. This technique has been used to evaluate 10 areas of the world where undiscovered copper resources in sedimentary rock could be found. The areas are in addition to five, higher …

Read moreNew Method for Ranking Global Copper Deposits Saves Time and Money

Restoration Handbook for Sagebrush Steppe Ecosystems, Part 2

Image:  Big Sagebrush Re-establishing 15 Years Post-wildfire Along the Boise Front Mountains

CORVALLIS, Ore. — Ecosystem restoration is complex and requires an understanding of how the land, plants, and animals all interact with each other over large areas and over time. Today, the U.S. Geological Survey published part two of a three-part handbook addressing restoration of sagebrush ecosystems from the landscape to the site level. “Land managers do not …

Read moreRestoration Handbook for Sagebrush Steppe Ecosystems, Part 2

New Remote Sensing Handbook Published

A newly published, three-volume “Remote Sensing Handbook” is a comprehensive coverage of all remote sensing topics written by over 300 leading global experts. With 82 chapters, and more than 2000 pages, the handbook is a reference for every remote sensing student, professor, scientist, professional practitioner and expert. The technical handbook includes up-to-date examples of successful projects …

Read moreNew Remote Sensing Handbook Published

Genetic Study Confirms Growth of Yellowstone Grizzly Bear Population

A female grizzly with a cub.  Adult females are considered the most important segment of the grizzly population and consequently

BOZEMAN, Mont. – Genetic data show the grizzly bear population in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem has grown since the 1980s with no loss in genetic diversity, according to a report by the Interagency Grizzly Bear Study Team. Results indicate that the effective population size of Yellowstone grizzly bears, or the number of individuals that contribute offspring …

Read moreGenetic Study Confirms Growth of Yellowstone Grizzly Bear Population

Oil Development Can Affect Critical Habitat

Many grassland bird species in the Bakken shale region, including some seriously declining populations, are displaced from their habitats as a result of oil and gas development, according to new U.S. Geological Survey research. During 2012-2014, USGS and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service scientists studied Bakken grassland sites in northern North Dakota containing oil well pads, which …

Read moreOil Development Can Affect Critical Habitat

EarthWord: Crepuscular

USGS scientists prepare to launch the Raven-A sUAS at the start of civil twilight. Credit: USGS Fort Collins Science Center

The term crepuscular describes events relating to, resembling, or occurring during twilight, meaning morning and evening hours. An animal described as crepuscular is active during twilight. EarthWords is an on-going series in which we shed some light on the complicated, often difficult-to-pronounce language of science. Think of us as your terminology tour-guides, and meet us …

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New Evidence Shows Endangered Pallid Sturgeon Spawned in Lower Missouri River

Image: Pallid Sturgeon Free Embryo

Three tiny fish larvae that were captured by U.S. Geological Survey scientists in May 2014 have just been confirmed to be pallid sturgeon. These new genetic identifications add to mounting evidence that critically endangered pallid sturgeon spawned successfully in the Lower Missouri River downstream of Gavins Point Dam, South Dakota.   Although successful spawning by the endangered fish …

Read moreNew Evidence Shows Endangered Pallid Sturgeon Spawned in Lower Missouri River

Drainage of Prairie Pothole Wetlands Can Increase Flooding and Degrade Ecosystems

The drainage of small wetlands can decrease wildlife habitat and may contribute to flooding in the Prairie Pothole Region (PPR), according to a recent U.S. Geological Survey study.    USGS scientists analyzed data on 141 large PPR wetlands in North Dakota from the 1930s through 2010, and found that they have increased significantly in size. Most …

Read moreDrainage of Prairie Pothole Wetlands Can Increase Flooding and Degrade Ecosystems