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Connections - Partnerships in Science

USGS Geological Research Activities with BOR

Hazards projects
(Earthquakes, Volcanoes, Landslides)

Bureau of Reclamation Colorado Studies

Bureau of Reclamation provides funding for seismic station operational support for Paradox Basin.

Lind S. Gee,

Cascades Volcano Observatory

CVO provides real-time monitoring, conducts geological and geophysical studies on volcano histories and processes, and assesses volcano hazards for volcanoes in the Cascade Range from Mount Baker, Washington, to Lassen Peak, California. CVO interacts frequently with land managers, including National Park Service and Bureau of Reclamation, on cooperative programs to update monitoring networks and with Federal, State, and local officials and the public to prepare for the next eruption in the Cascades. Mount Rainier National Park, Crater Lake National Park, Lava Beds National Monument, and Lassen Volcanic National Pare are DOI entities dependent on this information to insure the safety of their visitors.

Cynthia A. Gardner,

Northern California Seismic Network

The project does earthquake monitoring, reporting, and data archiving surrounding BOR reservoirs in central and northern California. Benefits include documentation of occurrence or absence of reservoir induced seismicity, imaging of active faults near BOR dams, and rapid reports of observed and predicted earthquake motions at BOR dam sites for quakes above magnitude 3.5. Background seismicity provides input to updates of USGS National Hazard Maps of predicted ground motion which BOR uses to evaluate dam safety. ShakeMaps produced in the minutes following large quakes help guide which dams BOR need to inspect. Archived earthquake waveforms provide input for engineering analyses of BOR facilities.

David Oppenheimer,

Geologic landscape and coastal assessments projects
(National Cooperative Geologic Mapping, Coastal and Marine Geology)

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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,

The California Urban Ocean Project

Our objective is to provide information to Bureau of Reclamation and Minerals Management Service to improve understanding of coastal and marine sediment and contaminant transport processes that have a direct impact on the citizens of California. We follow these processes from source regions, through waterways to coastal estuaries, onto the beaches and continental shelf, and into submarine canyons and basin/fans. These processes include:

  1. inputs through rivers and industrial facilities into estuaries or directly into the sea;
  2. the record of coastal change and the processes that lead to the erosion of beaches;
  3. the overall spatial and temporal distribution of currents that can resuspend and transport contaminants and contaminated sediment;
  4. the distribution of contaminants and contaminated sediment (including natural contaminants) and the record of how this distribution has changed with time; and
  5. the processes that remove sediment and contaminants from the shelf, into canyons and out on to the basins.

Homa J. Lee,

Resources projects

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Aqueous Geochemistry Research and Development

Project objectives are to enhance, develop, and test emerging applications in aqueous geochemistry, and investigation of promising research topics in aqueous geochemistry. Research included uranium isotope research at Montezuma Well (NPS) and Tuba City Landfill (BIA). Also, geochemical research to help determine Tanner Crab movement in Glacier Bay National Park (NPS) was conducted. Sulfur in Mancos Shale leachage has led to a collaborative relationship with BOR scientists working on the Mancos Shale project, with results reported to BLM and BOR.

Kathleen S. Smith,

BOR Analyses

Project provides Bureau of Reclamation access to USGS geochemical expertise through laboratory analysis of soils, sediments, waters, and plants. If requested, project will provide assistance in the interpretation of laboratory results and planning of future field studies.

Stephen A. Wilson,

Mancos Shale Landscapes: Science and Management of Black Shale Terrains (a Regional Partnership Project)

A cooperative project with Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and other land-management agencies such as the Bureau of Reclamation, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and other stakeholders to better understand black shale terrains and aid in land-use management. Project activities are an outgrowth of the BLM-USGS cooperative project, "Developing Coordinated Science Activities in Support of Land Management in the Mancos Shale Badlands of the Gunnison Gorge National Conservation Area. "

Richard I. Grauch,

Research Chemistry

The Research Chemistry Project provides access to state-of-the-art chemical analysis hardware and software, as well as the expertise of highly experienced research scientists to help solve unusually difficult problems in the field of analytical geochemistry that cannot be addressed by the routine methods of even the best commercial laboratories. Techniques currently supported, or under development, include ultra-trace analyses (sub-ppb concentrations) of both solid and liquid samples for virtually every element in the periodic chart, as well as the quantitative determination of specific chemical species (e.g. As(III), As(V), metal cyanide complexes) and mode of occurrence of elements in minerals. These methods permit the USGS to participate in a broad spectrum of scientific studies ranging from petrology and mineralogy to ecology and geo-environmental issues. Long term efforts of this project include the development of new standard reference materials that are used by USGS analytical labs and projects to assure the highest analytical accuracy possible; in addition, these standards are used by more than 20 countries to monitor the quality of geochemical data produced by laboratories from around the globe. This project providesanalytical services to the Bureau of Reclamation.

Paul J. Lamothe,

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Page Last Modified: Thursday, 13-Dec-2012 14:47:21 EST