Western Geographic Science Center

Our Science Links

Fact Sheets:

Future Scenarios of Impacts to Ecosystem Services on California Rangelands 2013-3003

What is the Economic Value of Satellite Imagery? 2014-3019

Decision-Support Systems for Natural-Hazards and Land-Management Issues 2012-3001

Climatic Changes and the Effect on Wild Sheep Habitat 2012-3060

Mapping Perennial Vegetation Cover in the Mojave Desert 2011-3077

WGSC Overview - Understanding Risk and Resilience to Natural Hazards 2011-3008

USGS Geographic Science for Public and Tribal Lands 2011-3059

Regional Planning for Nearshore Ecosystem Services 2011-3067

Using Terrestrial Light Detection and Ranging (Lidar) Technology for Land-Surface Analysis in the Southwest 2011-3017

Future of Land Change Research at the U.S. Geological Survey 2011-3080

The Border Environmental Health Initiative: Investigation of the Transboundary Santa Cruz Watershed" 2010-3097


The Western Geographic Science Center conducts research to help communities make decisions about the interaction between people and their environment. We conduct geographic research on the environmental and societal consequences of a changing landscape.

Our projects analyze human / environmental interactions spatially and temporally. Our work is collaborative, involving many partners and linking many different natural science and social science disciplines. Our work is concentrated in the 9 states of the USGS Western Region and is conducted on local and regional scales.

Find out more about our science by following the links on the left.

A Change to the Team

Gerald Bwden

USGS geophysicist Gerald Bawden, is beginning a two-year detail with NASA. Serving as a USGS-NASA liaison during his time there, Gerald will also be a program officer in both the Earth Surface and Interior, and the Water and Energy Cycle focus areas, and his contribution to the design of two new satellites will include SWOT: the Surface Water and Ocean Topography mission that will make for the first comprehensive survey of the world’s surface water. The other satellite he’ll be working on is the NI-SAR: the Synthetic Aperture Radar mission that studies natural hazards, the cryosphere, and ecosystems.

Featured Science

Future Scenarios of Impacts to Ecosystem Services on California Rangelands

The 18 million acres of rangelands in the Central Valley of California provide multiple benefits or “ecosystem services” to people—including wildlife habitat, water supply, open space, recreation, and cultural resources. Most of this land is privately owned and managed for livestock production. These rangelands are vulnerable to land-use conversion and climate change. To help resource managers assess the impacts of land-use change and climate change, U.S. Geological Survey scientists and their cooperators developed scenarios to quantify and map changes to three main rangeland ecosystem services—wildlife habitat, water supply, and carbon sequestration. Project results will help prioritize strategies to conserve these rangelands and the ecosystem services that they provide. http://pubs.usgs.gov/fs/2014/3019/

Contact lead author Kristin Byrd kbyrd@usgs.gov

In the News
USGS develops new mapping tool for tsunami evacuation:

pedestrian evacuation map

Western Geographic Science Center researchers Jeanne Jones, Peter Ng, and Nathan Wood have developed the Pedestrian Evacuation Analyst, a GIS tool for use by researchers and emergency managers to estimate how long it would take for someone to travel on foot out of a tsunami-hazard zone.  It can be used to create maps showing travel times out of hazard zones and to determine the number of people that may or may not have enough time to evacuate.  Maps can be used to identify where to focus evacuation training or where vertical evacuation structures may be warranted.  The software and the user’s guide (http://pubs.usgs.gov/tm/11/c09/) are available here.

For more information contact:
Jeanne Jones, jmjones@usgs.gov
Nathan Wood, nwood@usgs.gov  


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