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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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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. …

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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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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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, …

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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

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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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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, …

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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 …

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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

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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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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