Low-lying island environments, such as the Majuro Atoll in the Republic of the Marshall Islands, are particularly vulnerable to coastal flooding (inundation) whether the increased water levels are from episodic events (storm surge, wave run-up, king tides) or from chronic conditions (long-term sea-level rise). Land elevation is the primary environmental variable that determines exposure to inundation in coastal settings.
Elevation data are critical for assessments of sea-level rise and coastal flooding exposure. Previous research has demonstrated that the quality of data used in elevation-based assessments must be well understood and applied to properly model potential impacts.
Beech bark disease (BBD) was first detected at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore (PIRO) in the early 2000s and is infecting and killing American beech (Fagus grandidentata) trees, producing gaps in the forest canopy. Many wildlife species rely not only on the connectivity of the forest canopy but also on the mast produced by the beech trees, which provide food.
Palmyra Atoll is a former World War II U.S. Naval air station that is now a wildlife refuge jointly managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and The Nature Conservancy.
As part of the U.S. Department of the Interior’s (DOI) commitment to provide technical assistance to the Kenyan Northern Rangelands Trust (NRT), the USGS created a high spatial and time-sensitive live vegetation monitoring system in collaboration with the DOI International Technical Assistance Program and the U.S. Agency for International Development’s (USAID’s) regional mission in East Africa.
The USGS Upper Midwest Environmental Sciences Center is working with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to identify forest canopy gaps in riparian forests along the Mississippi and Illinois Rivers. The goal is to help understand the factors affecting floodplain forest regeneration and how these factors might be managed.
Ecosystems - Restoration
During the spring of 2014, about 105,000 acre-feet (130 million cubic meters) of water were released from the Morelos Dam in the United States into the delta of the lower Colorado River in Mexico, allowing water to reach not only the Colorado River’s delta but also the Gulf of California for the first time in 13 years.
Ecosystems - Wildlife
To evaluate the health and status of wolf populations in east-central Superior National Forest (SNF) of northeastern Minnesota, the USGS Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center monitors their movements and population dynamics. Since 1968, researchers have used Very High Frequency (VHF) and/or Global Positioning System (GPS) radiocollars to locate and monitor individual wolves.
Ecosystems – Birds
Data suggest that long-tailed duck populations are in decline. As a result, efforts have been made to better understand their population distributions through satellite telemetry studies. In previous studies, radiomarked tracking of long-tailed ducks suggested little use of Lake Michigan, even though aerial surveys indicate that large concentrations of this species overwinter there.
When nightly migration starts or ends, birds transition vertically through the airspace where there is the potential for collision with anthropogenic structures.