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USGS Activities in Nevada

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USGS Science

As the Nation's largest water, earth, and biological science and civilian mapping agency, the USGS collects, monitors, analyzes, and provides scientific understanding about natural resource conditions, issues, and problems.  The diversity of our scientific expertise enables us to carry out large-scale, multi-disciplinary investigations and provide impartial scientific information to resource managers, planners, and other customers.

The links below provide futher information on current USGS scientific studies. A complete list of science topics can be browsed at


Western Ecological Research Center Las Vegas Field Office
desert tortoise
Lead scientists and staff conduct research in desert ecosystems, provide technical assistance to federal and state agencies pertaining to threatened species, and collaborate with biologists, geologists, cartographers, and hydrologists within USGS; the USDA Agricultural Research Service; the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and Reno; the University of California, Riverside and Berkeley, and Denver University.
Western Fisheries Resource Center Reno Field Office
The Laboratory's expertise is in field research and analysis of fish population viability. Reno biologists determine the influence of water manipulation, habitat modification, and non-indigenous fish introduction on native fish populations. To that end, the Laboratory research focus has been on population dynamics, basic life history, interspecific interactions between native and introduced species, and status and trends of threatened and endangered fishes.


Western Mineral Resources Reno Field Office
gold deposit
The USGS Mineral Resources Program (MRP) provides scientific information for objective resource assessments and unbiased research results on mineral potential, production, consumption, and environmental effects. The MRP is the sole Federal source for this information. The MRP funds research to address two major program functions: 1) Research and assessment and 2) Data collection, analysis, and dissemination (more arrow).
Geologic Information about Nevada
USGS scientists
We hope you enjoy exploring Nevada through the resources offered here, whether you live in Nevada, are planning a trip to Nevada, or are simply interested in the natural resources Nevada has to offer. Use these resources to explore geology studies that are underway and how they contribute to diverse problems such as understanding earthquake shaking, finding minerals, and evaluating environmental stability.
Nevada Earthquake Information
peak acceleration map
The USGS has the lead Federal responsibility for issuing alerts about earthquakes. These effective forecasts and warnings, which are based on the best possible scientific information, are intended to enhance public safety and reduce losses (more arrow).
Nevada Geologic Mapping Projects
landsat map
Geologic maps constitute a fundamental and objective scientific foundation on which land-use, water-use, and resource-use decisions are based. A geologic map records the distribution of rock and soil materials at and near the land surface, and is the best science product to display the information that decision makers need to identify and protect valuable resources, avoid risks from natural hazards, and make wise use of our land (more arrow).


Lake Tahoe Data Clearinghouse
Lake Tahoe
The primary goal of this clearinghouse is to facilitate the coordination of research, monitoring, and environmental-management activities in the Lake Tahoe Basin and to ensure the widest possible access to data and information resulting from such activities. The site is designed to ensure that all interested parties -- scientists, engineers, resource managers, developers, and the public -- have quick and easy access to Lake Tahoe data and information (more arrow).
Western Region Geographic Science Center
level 3 ecoregions
Western Region Geography conducts science projects that provide information and analyses to help people and policymakers make informed decisions about issues that have roots in the interactions people have with their environment. As geographers, we analyze these issues spatially and at appropriate scales. Our work is collaborative, involving many partners and relying on multiple disciplines like economics, physical sciences, biology, and information science. We rely on spatial data from The National Map and other sources to develop better understanding of human-environment interactions, assessments of current conditions and past trends, and decision-support tools that people can use to assess potential impacts of policy choices (more arrow).
Mojave Desert Ecosystem
mohave desert
The Mojave Desert provides critical habitat for many sensitive animal and plant species, but rapid human population growth has resulted in habitat loss, degradation of air quality, and depletion of water resources. Geologic and hydrologic studies are underway that contribute to a fundamental understanding of desert ecosystems by establishing the role of surface materials in making moisture available for plants. Soil moisture is the most important limiter in desert ecosystems, and it is controlled by texture and structure of surficial deposits, properties that can be understood by combining of knowledge about sedimentary and soil forming processes. These mappable properties, which can be extrapolated through the desert by geologic mapping, are studied by evaluating response of typical deposits and soils to infiltration tests and by instrumenting deposits to follow natural infiltration events (more arrow).
Great Basin Integrated Landscape Monitoring (GBILM) Program
great basin area
Determining the impacts of human actions on natural processes and predicting their effects is critical to ensuring a sustainable future for all, both economically and ecologically. Patterns of change observed on the landscape result from both natural processes and policy, regulatory and management decisions of individual Federal, State, county, and private organizations. Monitoring change at the landscape level provides a window to view ecosystem responses that could not be detected at the small site scale. The USGS GBILM project harnesses the talents of scientists of from all the USGS disciplines to better understand and respond to ecosystem change.


Nevada Water Science Center
Gage house
The USGS has been collecting water-resources data in Nevada since 1889. Since that time, the USGS Water Science Center in Nevada has been responsible for providing reliable, impartial, and timely information needed to understand Nevada's water resources.

National Streamflow Information Program (NSIP)
Carson River
The U.S. Geological Survey operates and maintains approximately 7,300 streamgages nationwide which provide long-term, accurate, and unbiased information that meets the needs of many diverse users. Streamgaging under the National Streamflow Information Program (NSIP) provides the Nation with streamflow information to help protect life and property and manage our water resources. Streamgages are the monitoring tools used to track the flux of water and associated components in streams and rivers (more arrow).
National Water-Quality Assessment Program (NAWQA)
USGS scientists
The National Water-Quality Assessment Program provides an understanding of water-quality conditions and how those conditions may vary locally, regionally, and nationally; whether conditions are getting better or worse over time; and how natural features and human activities affect those conditions (more arrow).

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Page Last Modified: February 11, 2014