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Connections - Partnerships in Science

USGS Geological Research Activities with BIA

Hazards projects
(Earthquakes, Volcanoes, Landslides)

Coastal Watershed Restoration

This project has three objectives:

  1. Advise managers of other DOI agencies (including Bureau of Indian Affairs, Bureau of Reclamation, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, and National Park Service) on specific watershed issues related to human activities such as impact of dams or dam removal on downstream river, estuarine, and marine environments and habitats.
  2. Use dams, artificial floods, dredging operations, and other human activities to conduct large-scale sediment transport experiments to learn how to predict sediment transport more accurately at the interface between rivers, estuaries, and marine settings.
  3. To conduct research on problems of interests to managers other government agencies in settings along the river/sea/estuarine interface.

The locations of active work are: Elwha River, Colorado River, San Francisco Bay, Tomales Bay, and Matilija Creek/Ventura River.

David Rubin,

Geologic Framework of Rio Grande Basins

This project investigates the geologic framework of basins and adjoining mountain flanks along the Rio Grande Rift in different areas of the southwestern U.S. to provide information on critical groundwater aquifers, hazards and resources. Project activities include geologic and geophysical mapping for important basins of the Rio Grande Rift. Mapping is integrated with studies of stratigraphy, biostratigraphy, magnetostratigraphy, and hydrogeologic characteristics of basin-fill sequences, and structural geology with emphasis on major faults and their effects on groundwater. An improved understanding of the hydrologic framework of the aquifer systems will allow States (Colorado and New Mexico) to regulate groundwater withdrawals with greater validity and will foster improved long-range management of groundwater and linked surface water resources. Information provided by the project is aiding decision makers at various levels of government, including BLM, BOR, and BIA, manage groundwater resources in the basin.

Mark R. Hudson,


Geomagnetism program receives direct funding support from BIA and OIC for access to space at Fredericksburg facility.

Carol A.K. Finn,

Navajo Land Use Planning Project

The project’s objective is to provide a geologic framework to the Bureau of Indian Affairs and Navajo Nation for land-use planning and natural resource management. We will provide information for land use planning; native plants and invasive species; geologic controls on groundwater; geologic hazards - sand and dust storms, flash floods, and earthquakes; education on ecosystem and the role of native people; and a better understanding of ecosystem responses to land use and global warming.

Margaret M. Hiza,

Seismic monitoring: The Global Seismographic Network (GSN) and Advanced National Seismic System (ANSS) backbone

Earthquakes represent potential hazards to the visitors, staff, and infrastructure of many of the nation's parks and public lands. The tectonic forces that created so many of the parks' spectacular mountain ranges and volcanoes possess the capacity for tremendous destruction. Many National Park Service, Bureau of Indian Affairs, and Bureau of Land Management managed lands are located in the seismically active areas studied by the USGS. For instance, several park service units lie along the San Andreas Fault system. USGS science products for planning and emergency management agencies include information on earthquake probabilities, shaking hazard maps, and liquefaction hazards.

Lind S. Gee,

Resources projects

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Geologic and Geoenvironmental Studies of the Western Phosphate Field (aka: Western U.S. Phosphate)

U.S. Geological Survey scientists associated with this project, a response to Federal land management agencies (Bureau of Land Management and Bureau of Indian Affairs) needs, are studying the elemental, mineralogical, petrochemical, and stratigraphic character of phosphate mineralization within the Southeast Idaho Phosphate District and in selected portions of the Western Phosphate Field. Impacts on the environment associated with the presence and development of the Phosphoria Formation are also being examined. Concentrated initially in Southeast Idaho, this study is enhancing our ability to evaluate additional phosphate mineralization and to anticipate, assess, and mitigate environmental hazards, such as selenium toxicity, that are spatially associated with the existence and societal use (mining and reclamation) of the phosphate.

James R. Hein,

SIMWS-Sources of Industrial Minerals in Western States

This project will provide better understanding of selected industrial minerals in the western United States and will also provide better understanding of their potential for development. Assessment of these commodities will require development of improved methods to estimate industrial mineral resources and execution of these estimates for land managers, including Bureau of Land Management and Bureau of Indian Affairs, and policy makers. The fact that many industrial minerals have low in-place value requires that economics must be addressed at the beginning of any assessment and requires new and modified assessment methodology. Development of mega quarries for industrial minerals mining and production will significantly affect some industrial minerals cost and availability. Research emphases also need to be guided by societal needs together with environmental well being. Research needs to be integrated so that multiple issues are considered, and products are useful for multiple users and stakeholders.

Keith R. Long,

Tuba City Landfill

USGS was contracted by BIA to conduct geochemical and geophysical surveys to delineate the fluid plume leaching from the Tuba City Landfill, which serves the Navajo and Hopi Nations. USGS supports BIA as scientific/technical consultants for the project.

Robert J. Horton,

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Page Last Modified: Thursday, 13-Dec-2012 14:46:27 EST