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.

USGS proudly releases report and website to Secretary of the Department of Interior, Sally Jewell on June 25, 2014. The report is titled, "Baseline and Projected Future Carbon Storage and Greenhouse-Gas Fluxes in Ecosystems of the Eastern United States"  By Zhiliang Zhu and Bradley C. Reed, editors.  www.LandCarbon.org

Pictured, left to right: Zhiliang Zhu, John Campbell, Sarah Ryker, Anne-Berry Wade, Suzette Kimball (Director of USGS), Sally Jewel (Secretary of the Department of Interior), Bradley Reed, Ben Sleeter, and Anne Caslte (Secretary of the Interior for Water and Science)

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
WGSC geophysicist interviewed about recent quake in Los Angeles

Fox Video

Scientists say Monday’s magnitude 4.4 earthquake in Southern California, and last week’s quakes near the North Coast were simply business as usual in seismically-active California.

“The pattern that we’re seeing now is no different than what we had two or three weeks ago,” said Dr. Gerald Bawden, a geophysicist with the US Geological Survey in Sacramento.  “It just happened to be some were a little bit larger…or happened to be a little bit shallower.”

A larger concern than the recent quake activity, is the lack of activity on major fault lines that have been quiet for many years.

According to Dr. Bawden, a magnitude 6.5 or larger quake is likely on the Hayward fault in the Bay Area within the next 25 years.

“One standard deviation says 65 percent chance,” Dr. Bawden said.

Dr. Gerald Bawden
Research Geophysicist
U.S. Geological Survey


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