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Food for Billions: Inland Fisheries and World Food Security

USGS Newsroom - Tue, 02/09/2016 - 08:00
Summary: Reporters: A video abstract is available here.

Contact Information:

Abigail Lynch, USGS ( Phone: 703-268-3913 ); Steven  Reid, Carleton University ( Phone: 613-520-3660 ); Sue  Nichols, MSU ( Phone: 517-432-0206 );



Reporters: A video abstract is available here.

Fisherman on the Mekong River, Lao PDR Vientiane fish market, Lao PDR Artisanal Fishing in Lao PDR Pond cultured Pangasius catfish, Lao PDR

 

Reston, VA – Inland capture fisheries are much more crucial to global food security than realized, according to the first global review of the value of inland fish and fisheries.

The article, published today in Environmental Reviews, showed that although aquaculture and inland capture fisheries contribute more than 40 percent of the world’s reported finfish production, their harvest is greatly under-reported and value is often-ignored.

Inland waters, which comprise about 0.01 percent of the earth’s water, are lakes, rivers, streams, canals, reservoirs and other land-locked waters.

Topping the list of the value of inland fish and fisheries is food and economic security: these fisheries provide food for billions of people and livelihoods for millions worldwide. They are a primary animal protein consumed by many of the world’s rural poor, especially those in developing countries.

“Inland capture fisheries and aquaculture are fundamental to food security globally,” said Abigail Lynch, a fisheries research biologist with the USGS National Climate Change and Wildlife Science Center.  “In many areas of the world, these fisheries are a last resort when primary income sources fail due to, for instance, economic shifts, war, natural disasters and water development projects.”

Inland fisheries, the review showed, support at least 21 million fishers, many of whom live in low-income countries and rely on these fisheries for both subsistence and their livelihood.

Other important benefits that inland fisheries and aquaculture provide include recreation, cultural and even spiritual values, and their contribution to species’ and ecosystem diversity. Because sustainable inland aquaculture is more efficient, it is also often “greener” than raising poultry, pigs or cows.

The authors cautioned, however, that inland fisheries are more important than current research is able to document because harvest amounts are vastly underestimated, particularly in remote areas and in developing countries. For example, only one-third of countries with inland fisheries submit catch statistics to the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization.

“The limitations to valuing the benefits that inland fish and fisheries provide make it difficult to incorporate them into resource planning on a national or global scale, author Carleton University’s Steve Cooke noted. “What is of great concern is that more than half of the inland fisheries’ habitat is moderately or highly threatened, so populations may be lost even before they are documented.”

The article, “The social, economic, and environmental importance of inland fish and fisheries,” was authored by Abigail Lynch, USGS; Steven Cooke, Carleton University; Andrew Deines, Michigan State University, and others. 

 

Conceptual diagram of the importance of inland fishes and fisheries to the individual, society, and the environment. Proportional contribution of global finfish production from marine capture fisheries, marine aquaculture, inland capture fisheries, and inland aquaculture in 2012 (excluding plants, mammals, crustaceans, and mollusks; FAO-FIGIS 2014) with the global proportion of salt and fresh water (note only 0.01% of water is habitable for inland fish; Stiassny 1996).

USGS Increases Public Access to Scientific Research

USGS Newsroom - Mon, 02/08/2016 - 06:43
Summary: The U.S. Geological Survey is implementing new measures that will improve public access to USGS-funded science as detailed in its new public access plan. The plan enables the USGS to expand  its current on-line gateways to provide free public access to scholarly research and supporting data produced in full or in part with USGS funding, no matter how it is published.

Contact Information:

Diane Noserale ( Phone: 703-648-4333 ); Keith  Kirk ( Phone: 831-335-4276 );



The U.S. Geological Survey is implementing new measures that will improve public access to USGS-funded science as detailed in its new public access plan. The plan enables the USGS to expand  its current on-line gateways to provide free public access to scholarly research and supporting data produced in full or in part with USGS funding, no matter how it is published.

The USGS plan  “Public Access to Results of Federally Funded Research at the U.S. Geological Survey: Scholarly Publications and Digital Data,” stipulates that, beginning October 1, the USGS will require that any research it funds be released from the publisher and  available free to the public no later than 12 months after initial publication. The USGS will also require that data used to support the findings be available free to the public when the associated study is published.

The plan applies to research papers and data authored or co-authored by USGS, contract employees, award or grant recipients, partners and other entities. It includes materials published by any non-USGS entity, including scientific journals, professional society volumes, cooperating agency series, and university or commercial publishers.

Exceptions are permitted only if the USGS agrees that a demonstrated circumstance restricts the data from public release, for example in rare cases where access must be restricted because of security, privacy, confidentiality, or other constraints.

The plan responds to a February 2013 Office of Science and Technology Policy memorandum that directed federal agencies with annual research and development budgets above $100 million to increase public access to peer-reviewed scientific publications and digital data resulting from federally funded research. On January 8, OSTP approved the USGS plan.

Specifically, this plan requires that an electronic copy of either the accepted manuscript or the final publication of record is available through the USGS Publications Warehouse. Digital data will be available in machine readable form from the USGS Science Data Catalog. The plan will require the inclusion of data management plans in all new research proposals and grants.

Much of the plan refers to requirements or activities that already exist or are being implemented. The mandate to publish data and findings from USGS science activities dates to the Bureau's creation by the signing of the Sundry Civil Bill on March 3, 1879, establishing the USGS. This bill also defined the requirement to report the results of investigations by the USGS to the public.  

The results of USGS research, generally released in the form of publications, maps, data, and models, are used by policymakers at all levels of government and by the private sector to support appropriate decisions about how to respond to natural hazards, manage natural resources, and to spur innovation and economic growth.

This plan builds on existing USGS policy, which requires public access be provided for any scholarly publications and associated data that arise from research conducted directly by USGS or by others using USGS funding, is published by the USGS or externally by USGS scientists or USGS funded scientists. This existing policy requires that data must be made available at the time of publication to support scholarly conclusions.

USGS already has the portals it needs to implement public access. USGS scholarly publications and associated data are discoverable online. Currently, citations for the more than 50,000 USGS series publications are available, and 10,000 of these are also available free to the public as downloadable digital files. In addition, more than 41,000 scholarly publications authored by the USGS but published externally are cataloged in the Publications Warehouse, and links to original published sources are provided. 

Global Earthquake Numbers on Par for 2015

USGS Newsroom - Mon, 02/01/2016 - 07:34
Summary: Globally there were 14,588 earthquakes of magnitude 4.0 or greater in 2015.  This worldwide number is on par with prior year averages of about 40 earthquakes per day of magnitude 4.0, or about 14,500 annually.  The 2015 number may change slightly as the final results are completed by seismic analysts at the USGS National Earthquake Information Center in Golden, Colorado.

Contact Information:

Heidi  Koontz ( Phone: 303-202-4763 );



Globally there were 14,588 earthquakes of magnitude 4.0 or greater in 2015.  This worldwide number is on par with prior year averages of about 40 earthquakes per day of magnitude 4.0, or about 14,500 annually.  The 2015 number may change slightly as the final results are completed by seismic analysts at the USGS National Earthquake Information Center in Golden, Colorado.

In 2015, there were 19 earthquakes worldwide with a magnitude of 7.0 or higher. Since about 1900, the average has been about 18 earthquakes per year.

Earthquakes caused 9,612 deaths worldwide in 2015, a significant increase compared to 664 deaths in 2014. The majority of these fatalities – 8,964 people as reported by the United Nations Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs – are attributed to the magnitude 7.8 earthquake that occurred on April 25 in Nepal. This was followed by another deadly earthquake with magnitude 7.3 on May 12 that killed an additional 218 people in Nepal. Deadly quakes also occurred in Afghanistan, Malaysia and Chile.

The biggest earthquake in the United States, a magnitude 6.9 southwest of Umnak Island, Alaska, occurred on July 27. This occurred in a remote location so there was no damage.  In the central United States, seismicity continued to increase, with 32 earthquakes of magnitude 4.0 and greater in Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas in 2015 compared to 17 in 2014. Moderate earthquakes also occurred in Nevada and Arizona. A magnitude 5.0 east of Challis, Idaho, hit on January 3. In the United States, there were no fatalities caused by earthquakes.

The USGS monitors earthquakes around the world, responds rapidly to events of magnitude 5.0 or greater and for the final catalogs publishes earthquakes with a magnitude of 4.0 or greater. In the United States, earthquakes with magnitude 2.5 or greater are published.

To monitor earthquakes worldwide, the USGS NEIC receives data in real-time from about 1,800 stations in more than 90 countries. These stations include the 150-station Global Seismographic Network, which is jointly supported by the USGS and the National Science Foundation and operated by the USGS in partnership with the Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology consortium of universities. Domestically, the USGS partners with 11 regional seismic networks operated by universities that provide detailed coverage for the areas of the country with the highest seismic risk.

Real-time information about earthquakes around the world can be found at earthquake.usgs.gov. Visit the USGS Significant Earthquakes Archive to see the complete list of notable earthquakes from 2015 and previous years. Read about other natural disasters that occurred in 2015 here.

More than 143 million residents living in the 48 contiguous states may potentially be exposed to damaging ground shaking from earthquakes. When the people living in the earthquake-prone areas of Alaska, Hawaii and U.S. territories are added, this number rises to nearly half of all Americans. The USGS and its partners in the multi-agency National Earthquake Hazard Reduction Program are continually working to improve earthquake monitoring and reporting capabilities via the USGS Advanced National Seismic System

Process Changes for Reporting Sightings of Asian Carp, other Non-Native Aquatic Species

USGS Newsroom - Thu, 01/28/2016 - 16:02
Summary: Boaters, swimmers or other members of the public who see Lionfish, Asian carp, Zebra mussels or any other invasive or non-native plant or animal species have two options to report sightings.    USGS and State Agencies Collecting Information

Contact Information:

Pam  Fuller ( Phone: 352-264-3481 ); Gabrielle  Bodin ( Phone: 337-266-8655 );



Boaters, swimmers or other members of the public who see Lionfish, Asian carp, Zebra mussels or any other invasive or non-native plant or animal species have two options to report sightings.   

Sightings nationwide should now be reported online to the U.S. Geological Survey’s Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Program, called the NAS, or directly to state government natural resource agencies

The public has been able to report sightings to the USGS and state agencies for some time, but with the discontinuation of a federal reporting Aquatic Nuisance Species hotline late last year researchers are trying to get the word out on the updated reporting system and the continued importance of reporting sightings.

“Sixty-seven percent of the invasive species alerts in the past five years have been based on information reported by the public,” said Pam Fuller, a fish biologist with USGS and the leader of the NAS Program. “We rely on the public to gather much of our data on aquatic invasive species. We depend on them to be our ‘early detectors.’ When you combine the information we receive from reported sightings with information we pull from other sources, we’re able to provide a national picture of species distribution.”

For 19 years, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Aquatic Nuisance Species Task Force operated a 24-hour phone hotline available to report sightings. In recent years, the line was seldom used, with sightings being more often than not reported via email, prompting the change in process. Scientists say reporting sightings is still very important, and very easy.

“New occurrences of non-native aquatic species are occurring more frequently than people think,” said Fuller. “In the past 12 months, we’ve seen 110 new occurrences. This includes both new species, as well as species we’ve already seen that are just in new locations. Identifying where these species are being seen can help us predict which regions may be susceptible to invasion, and can help prioritize management needs.”

The nearly four-decade old NAS database monitors, analyzes, and records non-native aquatic animals, including mussels, snails, crayfish, turtles, frogs, and fish, and now, aquatic plants, to give a more comprehensive understanding of the occurrence of non-native and invasive species in the United States. The database is freely accessible to the public, allowing users to view current distributions, search for particular regions and species, and report sightings of non-native and invasive aquatic species. Information from the data is used to generate scientific reports, real-time online queries, spatial data sets, regional contact lists, fact sheets and occurrence alerts.

In 2004, an alert function was added to the system to send out alerts to users anytime a new species was introduced into an area. The system offers timely information to environmental managers to help them prioritize and initiate monitoring and management actions.  

The NAS program monitors nonindigenous species, also known as non-native species or species not historically found in an area, as well as invasive species. A non-native species is not necessarily invasive; however, once a population is able to sustain itself it is considered invasive.  

The NAS program works with state and federal natural resource agencies to gather information on non-native and invasive aquatic species, and works with other partners to develop tools, including integrated reporting and filtered website views.

“There have been numerous instances when a species was reported to us and we notified the state biologists who went out to investigate,” said Fuller. “Sometimes the reports turn out to be new introductions, and sometimes they are misidentifications. But when in doubt – report it.”

To report the sighting of an invasive or non-native aquatic species, please visit: www.usgs.gov/stopans

Value of U.S. Mineral Production Decreased in 2015 with Lower Metal Prices

USGS Newsroom - Thu, 01/28/2016 - 14:20
Summary: In 2015, United States mines produced an estimated $78.3 billion of mineral raw materials—down 3percent from $80.8 billion in 2014, the U.S. Geological Survey announced today in its Mineral Commodity Summaries 2016.

Contact Information:

Steven Fortier ( Phone: 703-648-4920 ); Elizabeth Sangine ( Phone: 703-648-7720 ); Hannah Hamilton ( Phone: 703-648-4356 );



In 2015, United States mines produced an estimated $78.3 billion of mineral raw materials—down 3percent from $80.8 billion in 2014, the U.S. Geological Survey announced today in its Mineral Commodity Summaries 2016.

“Decision-makers and policy-makers in the private and public sectors rely on the Mineral Commodity Summaries and other USGS minerals information publications as unbiased sources of information to make business decisions and national policy,” said Steven M. Fortier, Director of the USGS National Minerals Information Center. 

Rare-earth elements (REEs) are used in the components of many devices used daily in our modern society, such as: the screens of smart phones, computers, and flat panel televisions; the motors of computer drives; batteries of hybrid and electric cars; and new generation light bulbs. Lanthanum-based catalysts are employed in petroleum refining. Large wind turbines use generators that contain strong permanent magnets composed of neodymium-iron-boron. Photographs used with permission from PHOTOS.com.

This annual report from the USGS is the earliest comprehensive source of 2015 mineral production data for the world. It includes statistics on about 90 mineral commodities that are essential to the U.S. economy and national security, and addresses events, trends, and issues in the domestic and international minerals industries. Industries consuming such processed non-fuel mineral materials—such as cement, steel, brick, and fertilizer, et cetera—added $2.49 trillion or 14 percent to the total U.S. Gross Domestic Product.

In 2015, the U.S. was 100 percent import reliant on 19 mineral commodities, including rare earths, manganese, and bauxite, which are among a suite of materials often designated as “critical” or “strategic” because they are essential to the economy and their supply may be disrupted. Though the U.S. was also 100 percent import reliant on 19 mineral commodities in 2014, this number has risen from just 7 commodities in 1978.

“This dependence on foreign sources of critical minerals illustrates both the interdependency of the global community and a growing concern about the adequacy of mineral resources supplies for future generations.  Will our children’s children have the resources they need to live the lives that we all want?” asked Larry Meinert, MRP program coordinator.

A reduction in construction activity began with the 2008-09 recession and continued through 2011. However, construction spending continued to increase in 2015—more than 10 percent compared to 2014, which benefitted the industrial minerals and aggregates sectors.

Production of 14 mineral commodities was worth more than $1 billion each in the United States in 2015, the same as in 2014. The estimated value of U.S. industrial minerals  production in 2015 was $51.7 billion, 4 percent more than that of 2014.

Declining demand for metals—especially in China, reduced investment demand, and increase global inventories resulted in decreasing prices and production for most metals.  In fact, several U.S. metal mines idled in 2015, including the only U.S. rare earth mine at Mountain Pass, California. Rare earths are vital components in modern technologies like smart phones, light-emitting-diode (LED) lights, and flat screen televisions, as well as clean energy and defense technologies.

The estimated value of U.S. metal mine production in 2015 was $26.6 billion, 15 percent less than that of 2014. These raw materials and domestically recycled materials were used to process mineral materials worth $630 billion, a 4 percent decrease from $659 billion in 2014. 

In 2015, 14 states each produced more than $2 billion worth of nonfuel mineral commodities. These states were, in descending order of value—Nevada, Arizona, Texas, Minnesota, Wisconsin, California, Alaska, Utah, Florida, Michigan, Missouri, Colorado, Wyoming, and Illinois. Wisconsin and Illinois are new to the list in 2015.

The USGS Mineral Resources Program delivers unbiased science and information to understand mineral resource potential, production, consumption, and how minerals interact with the environment. The USGS National Minerals Information Center collects, analyzes, and disseminates current information on the supply of and the demand for minerals and materials in the United States and about 180 other countries. This information is essential in planning for and mitigating impacts of potential disruptions to mineral commodity supply due to both natural hazard and man-made events.

The USGS report Mineral Commodity Summaries 2016 is available online (http://minerals.usgs.gov/minerals). Hardcopies will be available later in the year from the Government Printing Office, Superintendent of Documents. For ordering information, please call (202) 512-1800 or (866) 512-1800 or go online (http://bookstore.gpo.gov). 

For more information on this report and individual mineral commodities, please visit the USGS National Minerals Information Center (http://minerals.usgs.gov/minerals).  To keep up-to-date on USGS mineral research, follow us on Twitter (http://twitter.com/usgsminerals).