Targeted investments advance research on climate change and earth sciences to support community safety, health, and economic growth
The President's fiscal year (FY) 2015 budget request for the U.S. Geological Survey is $1.1 billion, an increase of $41.3 million above the FY 2014 enacted level. The FY 2015 Budget reflects the President's ongoing commitment to scientific discovery and innovation to support decision making in addressing critical societal needs and to support a robust economy, while protecting the health and environment of the Nation.
The Budget includes increases totaling $76.4 million to advance key research and development priorities in the sustainable stewardship of natural resources, as identified in the USGS Science Strategy and Department of the Interior and Administration initiatives. This includes robust funding for science to support the sustainable development of energy and mineral resources, water resources management; ecosystem restoration and management; wildlife and environmental health; and climate resilience.
"The USGS has a strong 135-year legacy of providing reliable and relevant scientific information to decision-makers," said Suzette Kimball, Acting USGS Director. "The President's proposed budget recognizes the USGS is uniquely positioned to support our Nation's needs through multi-disciplinary earth science research. This is key for understanding our land, its resources, and our changing climate." Key increases in the FY 2015 Budget are summarized below. For more detailed information on the President’s 2015 budget, visit the USGS Budget, Planning, and Integration website.Science Research, Monitoring, and Tools to Support Climate Preparedness and Resilience
The FY 2015 Budget includes $67.6 million for Climate Change Science for a Changing world, a program increase of $18.2 million above the FY 2014 enacted level. The budget provides funding to the USGS National Climate Change and Wildlife Science Center
/DOI Climate Science Centers Program
, the Climate Research and Development Program
, and the Biologic Carbon Sequestration Project
for research and the development of information and tools to help communities, States, Tribes, and the Federal government understand, plan for, and respond to the impacts of global change. Resilience in the face of a changing climate requires that the Nation prepare for an increasingly wide range in temperature and precipitation patterns, which could impact all sectors of society, infrastructure, and natural systems. Natural resource managers and infrastructure planners face complex challenges under changing conditions such as drought, wildfire, flooding, and sea level rise. The USGS provides science necessary to inform planning and resource management strategies to help mitigate and adapt to changing conditions. Restoring, Protecting, and Sustainably Managing Ecosystems
The FY 2015 Budget request includes a total of $52.9 million for Ecosystem Priorities, an increase of $12.4 million above the FY 2014 enacted level. Increases in FY 2015 provide support for research and development to advance ecosystem restoration in key landscapes, such as the California Bay-Delta and the Chesapeake Bay ($1.5 million each), the Puget Sound ($1.1 million), the Columbia River ($850,000) and the Upper Mississippi River ($200,000). These multi-disciplinary projects are designed to serve local ecosystem management needs and develop knowledge and approaches that are transferable to similar ecosystems across the nation.
Invasive plants and animals cause significant costs to society and impacts to the health of human and natural systems, including transmitting diseases, threatening fisheries, clogging waterways, increasing fire vulnerability, and adversely effecting ranchers and farmers. Increases of $4.5 million for invasive species research focus on brown tree snakes in Guam, invasive species in the Everglades, Asian carp in the Great Lakes and Upper Mississippi, and new and emerging invasive species of national concern.
The Budget provides a number of other increases to understand and manage ecological resources in priority areas, including $500,000 for managing and restoring landscapes after wildfires and $300,000 for research on pollinators critical to ecosystem health. The Budget provides $2.8 million for the development of critical ecosystem services tools to enable agencies to manage multiple sources of information into assessment products for land and resource management. Efforts to engage the next generation are illustrated with a requested increase of $2.7 million for the USGS’ Earth Scientists for Tomorrow initiative, which will be carried out in partnership with the Cooperative Research Units. Sustainable Development of Energy Resources
The 2015 Budget provides $40.7 million for USGS research on conventional and renewable energy. The Budget supports the responsible development of renewable and conventional energy resources, with increases of $1.3 million for geothermal energy resource assessments on Federal lands, $8.3 million for studies on hydraulic fracturing, and $500,000 on research on energy development in the Outer Continental Shelf. The Budget supports the safe and responsible production of natural gas and cleaner energy from fossil fuels, including research and development to enable safe and responsible natural gas production. A total of $18.6 million is provided for the USGS as part of a $48 million interagency R&D initiative aimed at understanding and minimizing potential environmental, health, and safety impacts of unconventional gas resource development and production through hydraulic fracturing. This research is being coordinated between the USGS, the Department of Energy, and the Environmental Protection Agency and focuses on timely, policy-relevant science to enable prudent development while protecting human health and the environment. The development of unconventional oil and gas resources through hydraulic fracturing plays an important and rapidly growing role in the domestic energy portfolio of the Nation, and the USGS has unique capability to provide critically needed science to inform decisions. Water Challenges
The FY 2015 Budget provides $210.4 million for the USGS Water Mission Area, $3.1million above 2014 enacted. The request includes $14.5 million for the WaterSMART program, which is an increase of $6.4 million above the 2014 enacted level. As competition for water resources grows for activities like farming and energy production, so does the need for information and tools to aid water and natural resource managers. The 2015 Budget includes an increase of $2.4 million for the groundwater-monitoring network and $2.0 million for grants to State water resource agencies to improve the availability and quality of water-use data they collect and to integrate those data with the USGS Water Census. The Budget also proposes increases of $1.2 million to fund more than 50 streamgages in the National Streamflow Information Program, $1.0 million to expand work related to water availability issues on tribal lands, $750,000 for national hydrologic modeling for groundwater sustainability, and $700,000 to develop and improve the next generation of streamflow measurement techniques. Earth Observations and Data to Support Global and Landscape Scale Understanding
The 2015 Budget invests in Earth observation systems, data, and tools to support understanding and management of lands and resources on a global and landscape scale. This includes continued funding for the operation of the Landsat satellite program, which is celebrating the anniversary of the successful launch of Landsat 8, continuing the program’s 41 year history of imaging the Earth’s surface. In 2015, the USGS will continue to work with NASA to analyze user requirements and implement a 20-year sustained land imaging program to provide for Landsat data continuity. Funding for the land imaging program is provided in the 2015 budget for NASA, which will be responsible for development of a sustained, space-based, global land imaging capability. Increases in FY 2015 for the USGS will support improving the accessibility and usability of Landsat data and products, particularly in resource decision making.
The Budget invests in numerous landscape scale earth observation and data efforts including the Federal Geospatial Platform, which provides the Nation with access to science, information, and geospatial frameworks for use in planning, natural resource management, and a myriad of other societal uses. Reflecting the multitude of societal benefits derived from Lidar elevation data, the Budget requests a $5.2 million increase for the 3D Elevation Program (3DEP) initiative as well as increased funding for collecting data and updating elevation maps in Alaska. A $2.0 million increase will support the Big Earth Data Initiative
, which is working to make scientific data collected by the Federal government easier to find and use. Environmental Health
The 2015 budget request proposes funding for research on the impacts of human activities that introduce chemical and pathogenic contaminants into the environment and threaten human, animal, and ecological health. Increases proposed include $3.2 million to study the environmental impacts of uranium mining on public lands in the area of the Grand Canyon and $1.5 million to support a national assessment of 800 common and emerging contaminants in stream systems.
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. –
An increase in the barred owl population is contributing to the decline of threatened Northern spotted owls, according to models developed by U.S. Geological Survey and U.S. Forest Service scientists.
The larger barred owl is considered to be a more aggressive competitor, with higher reproductive capacity as well as a more diverse diet and use of habitat. In the face of increasing barred owl populations and declining habitat, the medium size Northern spotted owl, which lives in old growth forests of northern California and the Pacific Northwest of the United States, is declining.
Using 22 years of detection data from a 1000 square kilometer site in Oregon, researchers found that both species are more likely to abandon an area when the other species is present.
"While both species feel the effects of competition, spotted owls are far more sensitive," said Charles Yackulic, a USGS research statistician and lead author of the study. "As a result, spotted owls at this site, and in many other areas, are declining while barred owl numbers steadily increase."
The authors simulated future population dynamics and found that barred owls are likely to drive down spotted owls to low numbers over the next few decades.
"Scientists in other parts of the Pacific northwest have suggested that differences in the habitat preferences of the barred owl and spotted owl might allow them to coexist. While the two species showed different habitat preferences in this study site, there is still substantial overlap in habitat use," said Yackulic. "As a result, in recent years, barred owls have frequently excluded spotted owls from habitat that they would otherwise prefer."
Some of the spotted owls forced to leave a territory in response to barred owl invasions may establish territories in another area. However, the areas that are available for colonization often contain less suitable habitat and this may lead to a lowered probability of successfully producing young, further contributing to population decline. While habitat differences in this site are unlikely to allow for coexistence, it is unknown whether habitat preferences of barred and spotted owls at sites elsewhere in the spotted owl range are sufficiently different for barred owls and spotted owls to coexist.
"The results of the model show that should the barred owl population be reduced to about a quarter of its current size through management actions, it would minimize the costs associated with managing barred owl populations indefinitely, while also providing substantial benefits to the spotted owl population," said Yackulic.
Janice Reid, U.S. Forest Service wildlife biologist and study coauthor, commented on the importance of long term management. "It is important that long term management plans include protection of currently occupied and reproductively successful spotted owl territories from habitat degradation if we are to have any hope of slowing the spotted owl population decline in the face of the increasing barred owl population."
"The roles of competition and habit in the dynamics of populations and species distributions
" by C.B. Yackulic, J. Reid, J.D. Nichols, J.E. Hines, R. Davis and E. Forsman in the journal Ecology, is available online.
Scientists have successfully produced hybrid pups between a male western gray wolf and a female western coyote in captivity.
By artificially inseminating a female western coyote with western gray wolf sperm, U.S. Geological Survey scientists and partners from the St. Louis Zoo, University of California, Davis, and Wildlife Science Center recently demonstrated that coyotes are able to bear and nurture healthy hybrid offspring. The results contribute new information to an ongoing question about whether the eastern wolf of southeastern Canada (and formerly of the eastern U.S.) is a unique species that could be protected by the U. S. Endangered Species Act. The findings
are published in the journal PLOS ONE
"Our study adds one more piece to the ongoing controversy over whether the eastern wolf is a valid species," said David Mech, USGS scientist and the report's lead author.
During the 2012 and 2013 study, the scientists attempted to inseminate nine captive western coyotes with sperm from eight different gray wolves at the U.S. Department of Agriculture Wildlife Services National Wildlife Research Center Predator Research Facility in Logan, Utah. Three coyotes became pregnant, and one successfully birthed and nursed six live, healthy pups, currently housed at the Wildlife Science Center in Forest Lake, Minn., north of the Twin Cities.
Some geneticists have suggested recognizing the eastern wolf as a new species of wolf, and potentially adding it to the Endangered Species List. This proposal is based on mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA)—a type of DNA that can only be passed on to offspring by the mother—that has been found in wolves from Manitoba, Canada, through the Great Lakes into southeast Canada. Those wolves could have gotten their coyote-like mtDNA either from hybridization with coyotes or by hybridizing with the eastern wolf. The latter view is that of the geneticists who claim that the coyote-like mtDNA is from the eastern wolf, which is closely related to the coyote.
Scientists who propose that the coyote-like mtDNA came from female coyotes that bred with male, western wolves long ago believe that the eastern wolf is merely a smaller race of the wolf of the West.
The new USGS study shows that it is at least possible for western wolf sperm to fertilize western coyote eggs and that the mother coyote can bear and raise the hybrids.
"Our findings leave the eastern wolf debate open by adding further merit to the hybrid theory rather than disproving it," Mech said. "However, the findings are applicable to captive animals and are not necessarily true under natural conditions, so the counter-hybrid theory is not disproved either."
For more information on USGS wolf research, please visit the USGS Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center website
HELENA, Mont. — Three sites on the Powder River show a difference in water quality between the time prior to coalbed methane development and during the production period, according to a new U.S. Geological Survey report. However, thirteen other sites, including mainstem and tributaries to the Tongue and Powder Rivers in northeastern Wyoming and southeastern Montana, showed few substantial differences in water quality between the two time periods.
The USGS, in cooperation with the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation, Water Management Bureau, analyzed data collected between 1980 and 2010 at 16 sites in the Tongue and Powder River Basins. Eleven water-quality constituents and properties were selected for trend analyses in the report to determine if there were water quality changes.
The three sites on the Powder River with a difference were all downstream of Arvada, Wyo., having increases in sodium, alkalinity (an indicator of bicarbonate), and sodium adsorption ratio during the time period of coalbed methane extraction activities. The site on the Powder River upstream of the coalbed methane activity did not show corresponding increases in these or other evaluated constituents and properties.
"It's important to understand that the hydrology and water quality of streams in the Tongue and Powder River Basins are complex. Assessing potential impacts of CBM activities using advanced statistical methods was a large undertaking," said Steve Sando, USGS hydrologist and lead author of the report.
Streams in both the Powder and Tongue River Basins can naturally have high levels of many water-quality constituents and properties, making it challenging to determine if changes are occurring, and what the causes of the changes are. An increase of water-quality constituents and properties, regardless of the cause, might be a concern if it affects how the water can be used. For example, irrigating with water that has high sodium-adsorption ratio values can result in soil swelling, reduced infiltration rates, and increased soil erosion. Water that has very high bicarbonate can have adverse effects on aquatic life. However, while the report has general descriptions of water quality at each site, the primary purpose of the report was to determine if changes were occurring, not to determine the usability of the water.
Copies of "Trends in Major-Ion Constituents and Properties for Selected Sampling Sites in the Tongue and Powder River Watersheds, Montana and Wyoming, Based on Data Collected During Water Years 1980–2010
" are available online.
Concentrations of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in runoff from pavement with coal-tar-based sealcoat remain elevated for months following sealcoat application, according to a new study by the U.S. Geological Survey.
PAHs are an environmental health concern because they are toxic to fish and other aquatic life. A 2012 human health-risk analysis found
that people living near pavement sealed with coal-tar-based products have an elevated risk of cancer.
USGS scientists evaluated concentrations of PAHs and azaarenes (chemicals similar in structure to PAHs but containing a nitrogen atom in the place of a carbon atom) in runoff from test plots sealed with either coal-tar-based or asphalt-based sealcoat starting five hours after sealcoat application and continuing for as long as three months after application. The full report, published in the journal Environmental Pollution, is available online
Concentrations of PAHs and azaarenes in runoff from the coal-tar-sealcoated pavement were about 20 times higher than in runoff from the asphalt-sealcoated pavement, and about 40 times higher than in runoff from unsealed asphalt. Concentrations and assemblages of PAHs indicated that the asphalt-based sealcoat might have contained a small amount (5-10%) of coal-tar-based sealcoat.
Although the total concentration of PAHs varied relatively little over the three months following application, the concentration of high molecular weight (large) PAHs increased and the concentration of low molecular weight (small) PAHs decreased. The low molecular weight PAHs are acutely toxic to aquatic life, but the high molecular weight PAHs are more likely to cause mutations, birth defects, and cancer. The high molecular weight PAHs in the runoff were mostly in the form of particles.
This study is the first to investigate concentrations of azaarenes associated with sealcoat runoff. Sources of azaarenes include coal-tar and oil-shale processing, wood preserving, and chemical manufacturing. In samples of runoff collected just hours after sealcoat application, concentrations of the azaarene carbazole exceeded those of any other PAH or azaarene measured. Azaarenes have a large range of ecotoxicological effects, including acute toxicity, but have been less well studied than PAHs.
Sealcoat products are widely used in the United States, both commercially and by homeowners. The products are commonly applied to commercial parking lots (including strip malls, schools, churches and shopping centers), residential driveways, apartment complexes and playgrounds.
To learn more, visit the USGS National Water Quality Assessment Program
website on PAHs and sealcoat
Digital Surface Watersheds along the U.S. and Candian International Boundary.
Clearer views of waters along the U.S. and Canadian border are now possible with new seamless digital maps. These maps make it easier to solve complex water issues that require a thorough understanding of drainage systems on both sides of the International Boundary.
"In the past, cross-border maps were not always accurate, but now these new digital maps are fully linked across the entire U.S. and Canadian border," said Peter Steeves, physical scientist with the USGS. "This cooperative project allows scientists on either side to look at the water just as nature does, irrespective of the artificial line separating the two nations."Developed cooperatively by both countries
, the digital maps make tackling difficult issues more effective. For example, levels of phosphorous flowing from Lake Champlain in Vermont into Quebec can now be better understood; flooding in the Red River Valley (which flows north from Minnesota and the Dakotas into Manitoba) can be traced; salmon fisheries in the Columbia River Basin in the Pacific Northwest can be efficiently restored; and understanding localized water use and water availability all along the border is now improved.
"The USA/Canada coordinated mapping efforts along the International Border have opened doors to joint scientific analysis that rely on hydrography integration", said David Harvey, National Manager with the Environment Service of Canada. "Water quality and quantity modelling are already being developed on top of this enriched database."
The advent of Geographic Information Systems (GIS
) over the past 20 years has allowed for advancements in the analysis potential of digitally mapped water features to a degree hardly imagined when the USGS started mapping in the 19th century. As technology improves in the years to come, even more progress will be made, such as in the use of lasers to map the earth, new techniques to analyze information, and faster computers to process the data.
For more than 125 years, the USGS has provided accurate maps of the nation's surface waters. During the last two decades this mapping has become digital, using computers and new technologies to provide unprecedented knowledge of water resources. This data is stored in the National Hydrography Dataset (NHD) and Watershed Boundary Dataset (WBD)
The principle agencies involved in this effort are the USGS and Natural Resources Canada (NRCan
), with oversight by the International Joint Commission (IJC
). The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Agricultural Foods Canada, Environment Canada along with many provincial and in-state partners participated throughout the process.
Additional information on the NHD and WBD can be found at http://nhd.usgs.gov/
U.S. and Canadian harmonized international sub-basins displaying Canadian 5-digit and U.S. 8-digit hydrologic unit codes; now available within the Watershed Boundary Dataset.
Newly released US Topo maps
for Washington now feature segments of the Pacific Crest
and Pacific Northwest
National Scenic Trails. Several of the 1,446 new US Topo quadrangles for the state now display parts of the Trails along with other improved layers.
These trails are two of 11 National Scenic Trails
in the U.S.
"Recreationists love maps and the Washington State US Topo maps will provide great planning and navigation tools for hikers and equestrians using the PCT," said Beth Boyst, U.S. Forest Service Pacific Crest Trail Program Manager. "'Plan ahead and prepare' for the trip is the corner stone of 'Leave No Trace' principles of backcountry travel."
The Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail is a treasured pathway through some of the most scenic terrain in the nation. Beginning in southern California at the Mexican border, the PCT travels a total distance of 2,650 miles through California
, and Washington
until reaching the Canadian border. The PCT is one of the original National Scenic Trails established by Congress in the 1968 National Trails System Act
and fifty-four percent of the trail lies within designated wilderness.
"The Pacific Northwest Trail travels through rugged, remote wilderness areas and downtown Main Streets in gateway communities," says Matt McGrath, the Pacific Northwest Trail Program Manager for the U.S. Forest Service. "These new maps will improve recreational experiences by better connecting visitors to the varied opportunities available along the PNT."
The Pacific Northwest Trail begins near the Continental Divide in Glacier National Park and travels more than 1,200 miles through Montana, Idaho, and Washington before reaching its western terminus at the Pacific Ocean near Cape Alava. The Trail was designated by Congress as a NST in the Omnibus Public Lands Management Act of 2009
The USGS partnered with the National Forest Service
to incorporate the two trails onto the Washington US Topo maps. These two NST's join the Ice Age National Scenic Trail in Wisconsin as being featured on the new Topo maps
. The USGS hopes to eventually include all National Scenic Trails in The National Map
These new maps replace the first edition US Topo maps for Washington and are available for free download from The National Map
and the USGS Map Locator & Downloader website
As with all US Topo map updates, the replaced maps will be added to the USGS Historical Topographic Map Collection
and are also available for download.
To download US Topo maps: http://nationalmap.gov/ustopo/
The National Trails System was established by Act of Congress in 1968
. The Act grants the Secretary of Interior and the Secretary of Agriculture authority over the National Trails System. The Act defines four types of trails. Two of these types, the National Historic Trails and National Scenic Trails, can only be designated by Act of Congress. National scenic trails are extended trails located as to provide for maximum outdoor recreation potential and for the conservation and enjoyment of nationally significant scenic, historic, natural, and cultural qualities of the area through which such trails may pass.
There are 11 National Scenic Trails:
- Appalachian National Scenic Trail
- Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail
- Continental Divide National Scenic Trail
- North Country National Scenic Trail
- Ice Age National Scenic Trail
- Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail
- Natchez Trace National Scenic Trail
- Florida National Scenic Trail
- Arizona National Scenic Trail
- New England National Scenic Trail
- Pacific Northwest National Scenic Trail
TACOMA, Wash. — As the largest dam-removal project in history moves into its third year, scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey released a new report that documents the movement of sediment down the Elwha River in Washington State.
"During last winter's high flows, we set a record for the largest concentration of sediment thus far measured on the Elwha River," said USGS hydrologist, Chris Curran. "We expect more high flows this season and are interested to see how much of the sediment remaining behind the former dam sites is flushed toward Puget Sound."
In the lower Elwha River, a suite of sediment-detection instruments and samplers operate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to track the downstream flux of sediment. Periodic measurement of sediment concentration in the river allows scientists to calibrate the sediment-detection instruments and calculate the total load of sediment carried by the river.
The release of millions of tons of sediment from the former reservoir areas is restoring the natural function of the downstream river, estuarine, and marine ecosystems. Understanding the timing and magnitude of mobilized sediment provides a foundation for cross-disciplinary basic research in the Elwha River with benefits far beyond dam-removal projects.
"Deposition patterns on the floodplain, estuary, and beaches are all influenced by the timing and caliber of arriving sediment," says USGS’s Jon Warrick. "The pre-removal models gave us a rough approximation of system response, and now we get to document the fascinating details of change in the downstream river channel, floodplain, and marine delta. This includes the massive growth of a new delta along a shoreline that historically eroded at rapid rates."
Calculations of suspended-sediment concentration in the lower Elwha River, recently updated to include the first two years of the restoration project, are available in a USGS document, "Suspended-Sediment Concentrations during Dam Decommissioning in the Elwha River, Washington
This research and monitoring was funded by the USGS, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the National Park Service.
Evaluations of water nutrient ratios suggest that concentrations of a class of cyanobacteria toxins (cyanotoxins), called microcystins, tended to decrease as the total nitrogen to total phosphorus (TN:TP) ratio increased.
Nitrogen addition and phosphorus removal treatments were used to control nutrient ratios in confined experimental chambers in Willow Creek Reservoir, Ore., over two consecutive summers.
Two scientific articles on this research, recently published in the scholarly journal Lake and Reservoir Management, were completed as a joint partnership between the University of Idaho and the U.S. Geological Survey. The study supports previous work done on nutrient ratios and microcystins. The articles, entitled "Experimental manipulation of TN:TP ratios suppress cyanobacterial biovolume and microcystin concentration in large-scale in situ mesocosms
," and "Experimental additions of aluminum sulfate and ammonium nitrate to in situ mesocosms to reduce cyanobacterial biovolume and microcystin concentration
," are available online.
"This does not necessarily mean that increasing nitrogen in a lake will decrease cyanotoxins," said USGS scientist Ted Harris. "This was a study done in one location, and warrants further research."
This case study suggested that a TN:TP ratio of 75:1 or larger resulted in the growth of green algae instead of toxic cyanobacteria. Toxic cyanobacteria can produce toxins such as microcystins which can be harmful to aquatic life, terrestrial animals, and humans. Cyanotoxin exposure has led to illness in wildlife, livestock, and humans and can result in death in severe exposure cases.
Results from this research could help manage cyanobacteria toxin production; however these approaches need to be studied more extensively in whole-lake settings to fully understand the implications of using these approaches to control cyanobacteria toxin production balanced against other potential environmental harm and socio-economic conditions.
For more information:
Featuring the Public Land Survey System, are now available online for free download
The USGS, in cooperation with other Federal agencies, has posted new Idaho US Topo
quadrangles (1,193) and New Mexico quads (1,980 maps) which include Public Land Survey System (PLSS)
. These are added to the growing list of states west of the Mississippi River to have PLSS data added to US Topo maps.
"It is a privilege to support production of the US Topo maps, as I am an extensive user of these products,” said Kristin Fishburn, a geographer with the USGS. “The capability to turn layers on and off combined with the continuous enhancements in content makes the maps particularly useful for a recreational user. I'm excited to peruse the new Idaho and New Mexico maps."
The PLSS is a way of subdividing and describing land in the United States. All lands in the public domain are subject to subdivision by this rectangular system of surveys, which is regulated by the U.S. Department of the Interior. Other selected states will begin getting PLSS map data during the next respective revision cycle
The new design for US Topo maps
improves readability of maps for online and printed use, while retaining the look and feel of the traditional USGS topo map. Map symbols are easy to read when the digital aerial photograph layer imagery is turned on.
Other re-design enhancements and new features:
- New shaded relief layer for enhanced view of the terrain
- Military installation boundaries, post offices and cemeteries
- New road classification
- A slight screening (transparency) has been applied to some features to enhance visibility of multiple competing layers
- New PDF legend attachment
- Metadata formatted to support multiple browsers
US Topo maps are created from geographic datasets in The National Map,
and deliver visible content such as high-resolution aerial photography, which was not available on older paper-based topographic maps. The new US Topo maps provide modern technical advantages that support wider and faster public distribution and on-screen geographic analysis tools for users.
The new digital topographic maps are PDF documents with geospatial extensions (GeoPDF®) image software format and may be viewed using Adobe Reader
, available as a no-cost download.
These new quads replace the first edition US Topo maps for Idaho and New Mexico. The replaced maps will be added to the USGSHistorical Topographic Map Collection
which are also available for free download from The National Map
and the USGS Map Locator & Downloader website
US Topo maps are updated every three years
. The initial round of the 48 conterminous state coverage was completed in September of 2012
. Hawaii and Puerto Rico maps have recently been added. More than 400 new US Topo maps for Alaska
have been added to the USGS Map Locator & Downloader, but will take several years to complete.
For more information, go to: http://nationalmap.gov/ustopo/