Western Geographic Science Center

Western Geographic Science Center - News, Highlights (Archive: 2016 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010)


Sept. 28 - Oct. 2, 2015

Christopher Soulard13th Biennial Conference of Science and Management on the Colorado Plateau: On October 7th, WGSC research geographer Christopher Soulard will discuss ongoing work to create landscape change scenarios from long-term monitoring databases in the Southwestern United States. WGSC is developing a suite of land change scenario models in the Santa Cruz watershed, CO Plateau, and along US/Mexico borderlands based on established climate-vegetation relationships from plot-based measurements, satellite-based measurement of vegetation change, and historical land-use patterns. (Christopher Soulard, csoulard@usgs.gov, 650-329-4317)

September 8-11, 2015

USGS will host USDA Forest Service’s "Conservation Conversations" meeting September 14, 2015: On Monday (9/14/15), the USFS “Conservation Conversations” will be held at the USGS in Tucson. The forum consists of periodic meetings between individuals and representatives of environmental and stakeholder groups and Coronado National Forest personnel to identify and discuss issues and opportunities on the forest. The topic is "Climate Change and Adaptation" and will begin with an introduction to the new supervisor, Kerwin Dewberry. For more information, contact Laura Norman (lnorman@usgs.gov).

Laura NormanUSGS engaged in a Wild-Linkages Binational Partnership: The Western Geographic Science Center of the USGS will host the 1st Meeting of the Wild Linkages Binational Partnership on September 16th. Participants from both the US and Mexico will meet to discuss habitat corridors necessary to maintain wildlife biodiversity in the borderlands. Agency representation includes the Wildlands Network, Sky Island Alliance, the University of Arizona, Save the Scenic Santa Ritas, Cuenca Los Ojos, Friends of Sonoran the Desert National Monument, Northern Jaguar Project, and Conservation Science Partners.  For more information, contact Laura Norman (lnorman@usgs.gov).

Aug. 31 - Sept. 4, 2015

Christopher SoulardCongressional Tour - Drought in the West: WGSC representatives Chris Soulard and Kristin Byrd will serve as presenters to Congressional staffers touring California from 8/31 to 9/4. WGSC will highlight multi-agency projects focused on the impact of drought in meadows of the Sierra Nevada Mountains and rangelands of the Central Valley. For more information contact Chris Soulard (csoulard@usgs).

Cynthia SA WallaceThe 8th annual Phenology Research and Observation of Southwest Ecosystems (PROSE) Symposium will be held on Friday, October 16, 2015 on the University of Arizona campus in Tucson, Arizona. The symposium brings together scientists, students and the general public to share research set in the varied ecosystems of the American Southwest, with an emphasis on flora and fauna phenology studies. This year’s symposium will also serve as the kick-off for a week of activities comprising the 3rd annual Phenology Days Celebration, which will culminate in a family-friendly festival at the Mission Gardens of Tucson on October 24th. Provost Andrew Comrie will provide Opening Remarks. Jake Weltzin (executive Director of the USA-NPN) will provide the afternoon "kick-off" Keynote Address, "The USA National Phenology Network:  A national framework for phenological research, applications and education. "Prizes will be awarded for the top 3 student poster presentations. The symposium is co-sponsored by USA National Phenology Network (USA-NPN), the PACSW Region American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ASPRS), the UA Institute of Environment (IE), the UA School of Renewable Natural Resources (SNRE) and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). Register online at: https://www.usanpn.org/prose2015 (Contacts: Cynthia SA Wallace, cwallace@usgs.gov; Jessica Walker, jjwalker@usgs.gov, Joel Sankey, jsankey@usgs.gov)

August 24-28, 2015

Laura NormanUSGS Scientists Establish Vegetation Plots to Monitor Changes at Restoration Sites: August 28 - 31: USGS Researchers will participate in the Sky Island Alliance "Botany Blitz", hosted by the USFS Coronado National Forest Douglas Ranger District, in the Chiricahua Mountains. Volunteers will assist USGS develop protocol and establish monitoring plots to quantify change associated with restoration. Focus for scientists will be at watersheds receiving extensive rock-structure restoration treatment this summer to address erosion and down-cutting pre and post fire. Botanical observations at these locations will be used to guide decisions regarding native plant installation as part of the restoration, as well as inform range management decisions. For more information, contact Natalie Wilson (nrwilson@usgs.gov) or Laura Norman (lnorman@usgs.gov)

August 3-7, 2015

Jason KreitlerClimate Change, Conservation Planning, and Renewable Energy Development in the Mojave Desert: Renewable energy development in the desert southwest has raised concerns about potential impacts to sensitive biological resources. This research developed analytical approaches, decision support tools, and geospatial data to aid conservation planning for renewable energy development in the California deserts. As a part of the study, a hierarchical logic model was created to map the relative degree of compatibility of new solar energy projects with current biological conservation values. Additionally, species distribution models were produced for 65 animal and plant species of potential conservation significance to the Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan process. At the upcoming ESA annual meeting in Baltimore, MD, research geographer Jason Kreitler will highlight how these models were applied to map both historical and projected future habitat suitability. The data and models created in this project support conservation decision-making for offset siting and the potential cumulative impacts of multiple solar energy projects given background climate and land use change. For more information, please contact Jason Kreitler, (208) 426-5217 (jkreitler@usgs.gov).

July 6-10, 2015

Christopher SoulardMapping Extent and Change in Surface Mines within the United States for 2001 to 2006: Until recently, a spatially explicit dataset illustrating the 21st century mining footprint for the conterminous United States did not exist. Through collaboration between the USGS Western Geographic Science Center, USGS Eros Data Center, and SUNY Department of Forest and Natural Resources Management, surface mines within the United States have now been mapped for 2001 and 2006. These maps present a more complete picture of mining in the United States, and can contribute to research concerning the environmental consequences of land use throughout the country. The process is documented in Land Degradation and Development (http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/ldr.2412/abstract). Supplemental spatial data are hosted by USGS (http://landcovertrends.usgs.gov/download/mining.html).  (Christopher Soulard, csoulard@usgs.gov, 650-329-4317).

Gerald BawdenUSGS scientists participates in the Surface Water Ocean Topography Mission Science Team Meeting in Toulouse, France: Western Geographic Science Center scientist Gerald Bawden, who is on detail to NASA HQ, is participating in the joint NASA and CNES (Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales) SWOT mission meeting.  SWOT that will measure the water levels of the all of the worlds rivers 100 meters in width and larger, lake levels for any lake larger than 1 hectare, and measure sea surface heights every 21 days.   The USGS Water Mission Area is an active participant in helping to develop this mission.  (Contact: Gerald Bawden, Washington D.C., 202-316-6974).

June 29-July 2, 2015

Miguel VillarrealUSGS presentation on transboundary wildfire patterns at the 9th Annual International Association for Landscape Ecology (IALE) World Congress: Western Geographic Science Center researcher Miguel Villarreal will present research conducted in partnership with researchers at Instituto Politécnico Nacional in Durango, Mexico that examines recent patterns of wildfire severity in 39 mountain ranges separated by the US-Mexico border and managed under contrasting fire policies. Results show that mountains in the US had more fires, more burned area, and increasing severity over time when compared to mountain ranges in Mexico. The information from this research can be used to guide forest restoration and fire management strategies in both countries. The presentation is part of the IALE fire ecology symposium "Opportunities and constraints in the restoration and management of frequent-fire forest landscapes." The conference is being held in Portland, OR, July 5-10, 2015. Contact: Miguel Villarreal (mvillarreal@usgs.gov).

Prasad ThenkabailDr. Prasad S. Thenkabail, Research Geographer, U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) is an invited participant at the Big Data in the Water Cycle experts meeting at Google @ the Google Headquarters in Mountain View, CA held on June 30th and July 1st, 2015. Invitation states: “The overall goal of the meeting is to bring you all together to think big and brainstorm possibilities for better leveraging emerging sensors, massive-scale data, and advanced computational platforms, with an eye toward identifying the tools, products, and operational systems that will best be able to drive impactful change on the ground”. For further information, please contact Dr. Prasad Thenkabail (pthenkabail@usgs.gov) or 928-556-7221.

Dr. Prasad S. Thenkabail, Research Geographer, U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) attended the Google Earth Engine Summit on June 29th and 30th @ the Google Campus, Mountain View, CA. For further information, please contact Dr. Prasad Thenkabail (pthenkabail@usgs.gov) or 928-556-7221.

Tamara WilsonUSGS scientists to present latest methods for modeling land use and land cover change and potential resource impacts: Human use and alteration of earth’s land surface, combined with global climate changes, pose considerable challenges to biodiversity resilience and resource availability. The USGS has developed spatially explicit models of future land use and land cover (LULC) driven by historical LULC change data to explore plausible land use futures and potential mitigation strategies. Scenarios of future LULC are useful for visualizing alternative futures, examining potential management approaches, and enabling more informed decision-making. We will present our latest modeling results on July 8 at the International Association of Landscape Ecology meeting in Portland, OR.  For more information, contact Tamara S. Wilson, Western Geographic Science Center, Menlo Park, CA 94025, USA tswilson@usgs.gov

June 15-19, 2015

Jeff PetersUSGS scientist briefs California Tsunami Steering Committee on evacuation modeling research: On July 18, USGS geographer Jeff Peters will give an invited presentation at a statewide tsunami meeting being held at San Francisco Airport. The committee includes representatives from various local and county emergency management agencies, California Geological Survey, California Office of Emergency Services, FEMA, NOAA, and the National Weather Service. He was asked to brief the committee on pedestrian evacuation modeling efforts currently underway in California, describe the recently published GIS-based Pedestrian Evacuation Analyst Tool and promote upcoming training for the tool. For more information, contact Jeff at jpeters@usgs.gov or Nathan Wood at nwood@usgs.gov.

Laura Norman Third meeting of the Sky Island Restoration Cooperative (SIRC): On June 23-24, partners from the USGS, USFS, BoR, NPS, BLM, ADEQ, AZGS, AZ Game and Fish, Pima County, Tucson Audubon, Bat Conservation International, Borderlands Restoration, Cuenca los Ojos, Gila Watershed Partnership, Cienega Watershed Partnership, Desert Botanical Garden, The Nature Conservancy, and Sky Island Alliance will convene for the third meeting of the Sky Island Restoration Cooperative (SIRC) at El Coronado Ranch in Pearce, Arizona. The meeting will include a tour of erosion control work involving multiple partners and the Borderlands Earth Care Youth (BECY) Institute, discussions of other new SIRC research and projects, introduction of a spring restoration guidebook, and the nomination of Sky Island Region for a Desert Landscape Conservation Cooperative priority area. For more information, contact Laura Norman lnorman@usgs.gov.

June 8-12, 2015

Laura NormanOn Monday, June 1st, USGS Researchers working with Sky Island Alliance, a science-based conservation organization in Tucson, Arizona, spoke with youths participating in a summer internship program, called the Borderlands Earth Care Youth Institute (BECY), at the Barboot allotment of the Coronado National Forest. Scientists discussed the importance of watershed restoration as part of a larger restoration and monitoring effort in southeastern Arizona. For more information, contact Natalie Wilson (nrwilson@usgs.gov) or Laura Norman (lnorman@usgs.gov).

On June 6th, USGS scientist, Laura Norman, will provide an invited talk at the Science on the Sonoita Plain 2015 Symposium near Elgin, Arizona.  This event is hosted by the Cienega Watershed Partnership and usually attracts 70-90 people. Dr. Norman will present, "Harnessing Runoff on the Sonoita Plains; a Primer for Watershed Resilience" and discuss how sensitivity to runoff and erosion varies in relation to drought effects, vegetation cover, and storm types. For more information contact Laura Norman (lnorman@usgs.gov) or James Callegary (jcallega@usgs.gov).

On June 8th, USGS scientists will lead a tour for the US Forest Service, who is funding their study of Hydrology and Water Chemistry in Patagonia, Arizona. The field trip will focus on abandoned mines, geology, and remediation activities in the watersheds of study and highlight cooperative work between the two agencies. For more information contact Laura Norman (lnorman@usgs.gov) or Floyd Gray (fgray@usgs.gov).

May 18-22, 2015

Meeting with Tyto LIDAR LLC: Andy Michael continued to lead the work updating and issuing aftershock advisories for Nepal.  Morgan Page, Jeanne Hardebeck, Nicholas van der Elst, Anne Wein, and others  are also important contributors to these advisories.  Contact:  Andy Michael    michael@usgs.gov

May 11-15, 2015

Chris SoulardThe USGS National Land Cover Trends Project has the largest repository of field photos at the USGS (over 33,000 photos). On May 12, USGS geographers Christopher Soulard and Jason Sherba will present a poster describing a recently funded CDI effort to add geotags and keywords to the digital copies of each photo and make the entire collection searchable and downloadable via the Internet. The poster will be presented at the 2015 CDI workshop in Lakewood, Colorado (Christopher Soulard, 650-329-4317, csoulard@usgs.gov).

April 27-May 1st, 2015

Nathan WoodOn April 24, Nathan Wood briefed Representative Suzanne Bonamici (1st District, Oregon) at her Oregon office on a recent publication of his in the Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences that summarizes pedestrian evacuation modeling and community vulnerability clusters for tsunami hazards in the Pacific Northwest. From April 13-20, he was also interviewed for primary stories written by the Seattle Times, the Associated Press, Oregon Public Broadcasting, CBS News.com, Reuters, and the Newport New Times (Oregon). These stories were picked up and run by other outlets, such as the New York Times, Washington Post, Beijing Bulletin, and Japan Times. He did radio interviews with CBS News Radio (Seattle), KOMO News Radio (Seattle), KEX 1190 AM (Portland), and Jefferson Public Radio (southern Oregon).  Contact: Nate Wood, nwood@usgs.gov

Jason KreitlerConservation planning for climate change resilience: Research co-authored by WGSC CAWSC scientists tests new theory for climate change adaptation and protected area planning.   The scientists propose conservation networks designed to capture the full range of climatic diversity in a region will improve the resilience of biotic communities to climate change. In a study of protected areas in the California Bay Area, they test the climate stability of networks using downscaled climate-hydrology projections and new protected area planning methods to assess the overlap between present and future climate conditions. Findings illustrate the heterogeneity of climate stability across the landscape and by planning objective, and suggest new conservation priorities for the region.  Contact: Jason Kreitler, WGSC, (208) 426-5217, jkreitler@usgs.gov

April 20-24th, 2015

Dennis DyeUSGS Scientist Reports on Amazon Forest Research at DOE Science Meeting: Research Geographer Dr. Dennis Dye of the USGS Western Geographic Science Center will participate in  the Department of Energy’s 2015 Environmental System Science Meeting in Potomac, Maryland  on April 28-29.  He will present results from his team’s research to improve understanding of what controls the response of tropical forests to seasonal climate variations. This question, despite its apparent simplicity, is the subject of an ongoing scientific puzzle that has so far been remarkably difficult to solve with confidence.  The project, “Understanding the Response of Photosynthetic Metabolism in Tropical Forests to Seasonal Climate Variation” is a collaboration of the USGS, the University of Michigan, the University of Arizona, and several Brazilian research organizations.  It is sponsored by the DOE Terrestrial Ecosystem Science program under the Green Ocean Amazon (GOAmazon) research initiative, with in-kind support from the USGS Land Change Science (LCS) program.  For more information, contact Dennis Dye at 928-556-7029 or ddye@usgs.gov.

April 13-17th, 2015

Prasad ThenkabailDr. Prasad S. Thenkabail, Research Geographer, WGSC, will deliver a Colloquium presentation entitled: "Remote Sensing of Global Croplands for Food Security" the students, faculty, and staff of Space Studies Department, of the University of  North Dakota, Grand Forks, ND on April 21, 2015.  For further information, please contact Dr. Prasad Thenkabail (pthenkabail@usgs.gov) or 928-556-7221.

Dr. Prasad S. Thenkabail, Research Geographer, WGSC, will give a lecture entitled: "Hyperspectral remote sensing of agriculture and vegetation: knowledge   gains and knowledge gaps after 40 years of research" to the students of Space Studies Department, of the University of  North Dakota, Grand Forks, ND on April 21, 2015.  For further information, please contact Dr. Prasad Thenkabail (pthenkabail@usgs.gov) or 928-556-7221.

April 6-10th, 2015

Laura Norman USGS Scientist invited to present hydrologic impacts of check dams to Regional Foresters: The Water, Soil, Air Program Manager at Coronado National Forest, Supervisor's Office, has arranged for the Regional Soils Scientist and Botanist, and local Rangers, for a field day presentation of the results of research conducted by USGS Physical Scientist, Laura Norman and others, on the hydrology of treated and untreated watersheds. The field trip, scheduled for April 9th, 2015, will allow the foresters to visualize in person the study that was done, as the USFS is migrating land management policy to embrace check dam installation. For more information, contact Laura Norman (lnorman@usgs.gov) or download the publication available online at (http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/rra.2895/full).

USGS Scientist meeting with San Xavier District of the Tohono O'odham Nation to discuss Ecological Restoration: On April 7th, Laura Norman, USGS Physical Scientist, will be meeting with colleagues from the San Xavier District of the Tohono O’odham Nation and Borderlands Restoration to discuss environmental restoration and recharge projects. The meeting will consist of an introductory  meeting, and tour of the Arroyos, and Hikdan projects with the Chairman, Vice Chairman, Administration Department Director, and their Natural Resources Department manager and hydrologist. For more information, contact Laura Norman (lnorman@usgs.gov).

Dr. Prasad S. Thenkabail, Research Geographer, U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) is now one of the Task Force Members of the South Asia Regional Initiative (SARI), A response to regional needs in Land Cover/Land Use Change (LCLUC) Science and Education supported by NASA. This is just funded by NASA for three years and is lead by Dr. Krishna Vadreau of University of Maryland. For further information, please contact Dr. Prasad Thenkabail (pthenkabail@usgs.gov) or 928-556-7221.

March 30-April 3rd, 2015

Prasad Thenkabail2015 ERDAS Award for Best Scientific Paper in Remote Sensing presented by the American Society of Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ASPRS): Dr. Michael Marshall, former USGS Mendenhall Post Doctoral Researcher with the Western Geographic Science Center and Dr. Prasad S. Thenkabail, Research Geographer, U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) are the first place recipients of the 2015 ERDAS Award for Best Scientific Paper in Remote Sensing for their paper entitled: “Biomass Modeling of Four Leading World Crops Using Hyperspectral Narrowbands in Support of  HyspIRI Mission.” PE&RS, 80 (8), 757-772. The award presentation will take place during the ASPRS 2015 Annual Conference in Tampa, Florida at The Tampa Marriott Florida Hotel on Thursday, May 7th at the 26th Annual Awards Presentation and Memorial Address from 1:15pm to 2:45pm. For further information, please contact Dr. Michael Marshall (m.marshall@cgiar.org) and\or Dr. Prasad Thenkabail (pthenkabail@usgs.gov) or 928-556-7221.

March 23-27, 2015

Miguel VillarrealUSGS Research Physical Scientist, Laura Norman, has been invited to speak at the Santa Cruz River Research Days VII on March 26 – 27, in Tucson, Arizona. Norman will provide an overview of her research in the watershed, done with Dr. Miguel Villarreal, demonstrating a need to consider vulnerable populations, economic viability, and ecosystem services to preserve the biodiversity of the Desert Riparian Forest, a conservation keystone in arid lands. For more information, contact Laura Norman (lnorman@usgs.gov) or Miguel Villarreal (mvillarreal@usgs.gov).

Tamara WilsonState-and-transition simulation modeling of potential land use threats to protected areas in Mediterranean: The Western Geographic Science Center will be presenting new research on the potential effects of projected human land use on California’s existing protected areas and unprotected priority habitat at the Science for Parks, Parks for Science meeting on Thursday, March 26 at U.C. Berkeley. State-and-transition simulation modeling (STSM) was used to simulate spatially-explicit (1 km2) historical and future land-use change from 1992-2060 for the Mediterranean California ecoregion. Spatial model results show the Oak Woodlands with nearly 7,000 km2 of land area within 10 km2 of a protected area boundary threatened by future land use, second only to the California Central Valley with over 2,600 km2. Overall it is estimated that over 18,000 km2 of unprotected yet essential areas for habitat linkages may be threatened by human land use by 2060. Exploring a range of alternative, yet plausible, land-use futures can help guide resource management and mitigation strategies and identify conservation priorities.  For more information, contact Tamara S. Wilson, Western Geographic Science Center, Menlo Park, CA 94025, USA tswilson@usgs.gov.

March 16-20, 2015

Dennis Dye USGS Geographer Recognized for Service to San Carlos Apache Tribe: Barry Middleton, Geographer with the USGS Western Geographic Science Center (WGSC), has been recognized for his exemplary service in assisting the San Carlos Apache Tribe meet the challenges of managing natural resources on their 1.8 million acre reservation in east-central Arizona.  In a letter dated March 10, 2015, Tribal Chairman Terry Rambler expressed appreciation for Barry’s “dedication and commitment to providing science-based training and data” in support of the Tribe and their Forest Resources Program.  Chairman Rambler further noted that Barry’s work “demonstrates the U.S. Geological Survey’s commitment to provide science-based information for the management of Tribal Trust Resources”, and expressed the Tribe’s desire for “continuing our relationship with [Barry] and the USGS”.   Barry’s contributions have been integral to the success of the decade-long WGSC-San Carlos Apache partnership, which is centered on research and training in remote sensing for land resource mapping, assessment, and management.  These activities have been sponsored by the USGS Land Change Science (LCS) program, the USGS Land Remote Sensing (LRS) program, the USGS TEchnical training in Support of Native America Relations (TESNAR) program, and the USGS Student Interns in Support of Native America Relations (SISNAR) program.  For more information, contact Dennis Dye (ddye@usgs.gov, 928-556-7029).

March 9-13, 2015

Nathan WoodUSGS scientist briefs occupational safety and health professionals at governor’s conference: On March 10, USGS Research Geographer Nathan Wood will give an invited presentation at the Oregon Governor’s Occupational Safety and Health (GOSH) Conference in Portland, Oregon. The session will provide an overview of the earthquake and tsunami threat in the region, on-going research to better understand community vulnerability to these threats, and current efforts to reduce and manage societal risks. Conference attendees include safety and health professionals, safety committee members, line supervisors, manufacturers, and distributors looking to improve their occupational safety and health programs. For more information, contact Nathan Wood at nwood@usgs.gov or 503-251-3291.

March 2-6, 2015

Jeff PetersUSGS working with Alameda emergency managers to discuss ongoing tsunami evacuation research:  Jeff Peters, Western Geographic Science Center Geographer, is currently conducting a pedestrian and multimodal evacuation analyses to help Alameda planners decide whether it is better to evacuate certain areas of Alameda by foot or by vehicle. The meeting included representatives from the California Geological Survey, California Office of Emergency Services and Alameda's Fire Chiefs to discuss preliminary results and various options for the evacuation model and how those models might play out in a real event. (Contact Jeff Peters, jpeters@usgs.gov with questions)

February 17-20, 2015

Kristin ByrdNew Journal Article Released on Potential Future Impacts to California Rangeland Ecosystem Services: Wildlife habitat, soil carbon, and water supply: Rangeland areas in California’s Central Valley could decline by as much as 37 percent by 2100 due to changes in land use and climate, according to new projections by the U.S. Geological Survey. In a study to better understand the potential impacts of changes in land use and climate on rangeland ecosystems in California, USGS scientists from the Western Geographic Science Center, California Water Science Center and the Science and Decisions Center developed six climate, land use, and hydrological change scenarios for the Central Valley and surrounding foothills. Results show that in addition to habitat loss, increased development of rangelands for urban use increases watershed runoff and, combined with periods of drought, reduces the opportunity for groundwater recharge. The complete research paper, “Integrated climate and land use change scenarios for California rangeland ecosystem services: wildlife habitat, soil carbon, and water supply,” by Kristin Byrd and others was recently released online in the journal Landscape Ecology. A news release is planned for the week of February 23. For more information, contact Kristin Byrd, kbyrd@usgs.gov, 650-329-4279.

Jeanne JonesUSGS tsunami evacuation tool highlighted in Washington State GIS newsletter:  Western Geographic Science Center researchers Jeanne Jones, Nathan Wood, and Peter Ng were invited to submit an article on their new ArcGIS modeling tool to the Washington State URISA online newsletter.  The article explains the use of the Pedestrian Evacuation Analyst tool to Washington’s GIS community, and illustrates modeling work already done in partnership with the Washington State Military Department, Emergency Management Division, to create evacuation travel time maps and to evaluate potential benefits of vertical evacuation structures along the Washington coast.  The article is available at http://waurisa.org/thesummit/TheSummit_Issue37.pdf.  For more information, contact Jeanne Jones, jmjones@usgs.gov.

Miguel Villarreal USGS Geographer to Lead Land Cover Change and Ecosystem Services Workshop at MIT: On February 26 and 27, Western Geographic Science Center Research Geographer Miguel Villarreal will lead a workshop on land cover mapping, change detection, and ecosystem services modeling at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The workshop is part of an interdisciplinary graduate seminar in the School of Architecture and Planning focusing on environmental and land use planning issues surrounding the rapid development of the Kalinga Nagar steel complex in Odisha, India. The lecture and hands-on workshop will cover current techniques for land cover mapping and change detection using satellite imagery, and use of these data for developing spatial models of ecosystem services. For more information contact Miguel Villarreal (mvillarreal@usgs.gov).

January 26-30, 2015

Nathan WoodUSGS scientists brief California Tsunami Steering Committee on evacuation modeling research: On January 28 and 29, USGS geographers Nathan Wood and Jeff Peters will give invited presentations at a statewide tsunami meeting being held in Huntington Beach. The committee includes representatives from various local and county emergency management agencies, California Geological Survey, California Office of Emergency Services, FEMA, NOAA, and the National Weather Service. They were asked to brief the committee on the range of pedestrian evacuation modeling efforts currently underway in California and on the recently published GIS-based Pedestrian Evacuation Analyst tool. For more information, contact Nathan Wood at nwood@usgs.gov or 503-251-3291.

January 20-23, 2015

Newly published article about calibrating a hydrological model, the Soil Water Assessment Tool (Available online 10 January 2015)
You can download the article at 

Niraula, R., Meixner, T., & Norman, L. M. (2015). Determining the importance of model calibration for forecasting absolute/relative changes in streamflow from LULC and climate changes. Journal of Hydrology, 522, 439–451. doi:10.1016/j.jhydrol.2015.01.007

January 12-16, 2015

Dennis DyeUSGS and The Nature Conservancy Partner to Study Vegetation-Climate Interactions in Northern Arizona: The USGS Western Geographic Science Center and The Nature Conservancy have established a Collaborative Agreement for conducting field research at the Hart Prairie Preserve near Flagstaff, Arizona.  The agreement supports an investigation of how Southwestern forests and grasslands are responding to a variable and changing climate, as part of the WGSC project “Remote Sensing Studies of Phenology-Carbon-Climate Relations”.  The research at the Hart Prairie site involves monitoring and analysis of changes in the seasonality of vegetation growth, and uses a USGS-developed instrument for ground-based remote sensing, the High Dynamic Range Land Vegetation Imaging System (HDR-LVIS).  The research is sponsored by the USGS Land Change Science Program.   For more information, contact Dennis Dye (ddye@usgs.gov, 928-556-7029).

Laura NormanUSGS scientists working in Sky Island Restoration Cooperative (SIRC) release annual report: SIRC is an international coalition of restoration practitioners, scientists, land managers, and private citizens working together to restore ecological processes and systems of the Sky Island mountain ranges in the Madrean Archipelago of the U.S.-Mexico borderlands. The newly released report includes detailed synopses of 16 projects from 2014 that collectively accounted for over $2 million dollars in restoration work at shared project sites across the Madrean Archipelago. The full report can be downloaded at either: http://www.skyislandalliance.org/ or http://borderlandsrestoration.org/info-news/publications/2014-sirc-annual-report/. Contact Laura Norman (lnorman@usgs.gov).

USGS Geographers Join NOAA Workshop on Southwest Drought: Geographers Dennis Dye and Barry Middleton of the Western Geographic Science Center participated in the NOAA-sponsored “Workshop on Water Resources and Drought Information in the Southwest U.S.” in Phoenix, Arizona on January 8, 2015. The workshop focused on applications of data, science, and forecasts for resources managers and decision makers to improve resiliency to drought in the southwestern United States.  As an invited discussion-group leader, Dr. Dye facilitated dialogue between the NOAA providers of drought-related information products and data users from across multiple sectors, including federal, state and local government, academia and the research community.  For more information, contact Dennis Dye (ddye@usgs.gov, 928-556-7029).

Tamara WisonGathering of state-and-transition simulation modeling experts highlighted in Ecological Society of America’s Bulletin: The Ecological Society of America’s Bulletin is publishing a meeting report for the U.S. Geological Survey’s 2nd State-and-Transition Simulation Modeling (STSM) Conference, co-hosted by the The Nature Conservancy, Apex Resource Management Solutions, and AIMS Environmental Science. Conference attendees represented more than 50 ecosystem, land change, reclamation, and conservation scientists from both the United States and Canada discussing recent STSM findings, techniques, and potential uses. This was only the second time STSM developers and users have gathered to share their collective knowledge of STSM capabilities and applications for natural resource management and landscape monitoring. The meeting report is available here: http://www.esajournals.org/doi/full/10.1890/0012-9623-96.1.174.   For more information, contact Tamara S. Wilson, Western Geographic Science Center,  Menlo Park, CA 94025, USA tswilson@usgs.gov

Nathan WoodUSGS scientist briefs emergency managers for 2016 FEMA Cascadia Rising scenario: On January 15 and 20, USGS Research Geographer Nathan Wood will present during a FEMA webinar series to discuss community variations in population vulnerability to tsunami hazards associated with a magnitude 9.0 Cascadia Subduction Zone (CSZ) earthquake and tsunami scenario. The webinars will be based upon the Cascadia Rising 2016 Scenario Document and will provide a foundation for exercise design, ramp-up activities, workshops, and conduct. For more information, contact Nathan Wood at nwood@usgs.gov or 503-251-3291.

Understanding model sensitivity for tsunami evacuation potential in Alaska – A new article in Applied Geography by Mathew Schmidtlein at Sacramento State University and USGS geographer Nathan Wood summarizes efforts to examine sensitivity of tsunami evacuation modeling due to land cover assumptions. The coastal community of Seward, Alaska, was used to demonstrate the work. Results suggest that some caution is warranted in interpreting results with higher evacuation times or areas where there is wetland or shoreland because of the inherent model uncertainty. For more information, contact Nathan Wood at nwood@usgs.gov or 503-251-3291. The article is available online from Applied Geography at http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0143622814002690.



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