The northern Gulf of Mexico is a dynamic environment, serving as critical habitat for marine bird species and supporting substantial yet spatially variable oil and gas activity. Under-monitoring of marine birds in the region has constrained the ability to mitigate, anticipate, and respond to potential stressors such as oil spills, pollution events, or tropical storms.
Over two-thirds of all land birds and over half of the migratory species in North America move long distances to areas in Mexico, Central and South America, and the Caribbean islands. For birds crossing the Gulf of Mexico, habitats along the northern coast provide the last possible stopover before autumn migrants make a nonstop flight.
The USGS Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center uses Very High Frequency (VHF) and Global Positioning System (GPS) radio collars to study white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) and gray wolf (Canis lupus) movements, ecology, and populations in the Superior National Forest (SNF) of northeastern Minnesota.
Freshwater algal blooms are estimated to cost the United States economy up to $4.6 billion annually in disruptions to tourism, recreation, drinking water supply, and aquatic food production. Yet knowledge of where and when these blooms occur still often depends on public reporting.
Cyanobacterial blooms in eutrophic inland waters are a worldwide concern. Blooms are exacerbated by high nutrient inputs and warmer waters and have been appearing with increasing frequency in water bodies used for drinking water or recreation. This problem will likely worsen as the climate warms.
Mercury is a contaminant of concern in the San Francisco Bay and the Sacramento–San Joaquin Delta (Bay-Delta) estuary and watershed.
Cyanobacterial blooms are a global concern because they pose a threat to human and aquatic ecosystem health and cause economic damage. Cyanobacteria can produce toxins potent enough to adversely affect the health of humans, pets, livestock, and wildlife. The USGS is collaborating with the U.S.
The estimation and mapping of evapotranspiration (ET) is an active area of applied USGS research in the fields of agriculture and water resources. Specifically, combining remote sensing data along with climate and other weather information in a cloud-based compute framework has illustrated the value of next-generation ET mapping for nationwide water use information.
In 2020, the USGS released new image data products for monitoring land surface change from 1985 to 2017 across the conterminous United States.
The presence of water in streams can serve as an indicator for potential droughts. The National Hydrography Dataset (NHD) is the most comprehensive dataset of surface waters in the United States and supports a broad range of applications. The streams mapped in the NHD are classified by streamflow permanence into classes of perennial, intermittent, or ephemeral.