Geoscience in Your State: Washington

PDF versionPDF version
Cover of Geoscience Policy State Factsheet. Image credit: AGI

By the numbers: Washington

  • 12,118 geoscience employees (excludes self-employed)1
  • 1.53 billion gallons/day: total groundwater withdrawal3
  • $901 million: value of nonfuel mineral production in 20174
  • 132 total disaster declarations, including 78 fire, 28 flood, and 16 severe storm disasters (1953-2017)⁶
  • $34.4 million: NSF GEO grants awarded in 201714...

Agencies Working on Geoscience Issues in washington

Washington Department of Ecology

Ecology is Washington’s environmental protection agency. The mission is to protect, preserve, and enhance Washington’s land, air, and water for current and future generations.

Washington Division of Geology and Earth Resources

The Washington DNR, of which DGER is a division, informs the public, government, and industry about the consequences of geologic events and about the nature of the land. DNR monitors, assesses, and researches the causes of earthquakes, landslides, and volcanoes--critical information for both government and private sector planners working to reduce the human and financial effects of natural disasters.

Washington Emergency Management Division

During state emergencies, EMD manages the State Emergency Operations Center located on Camp Murray, near Tacoma, and coordinates the response to ensure help is provided to those who need it quickly and effectively. 

Case Studies & Factsheets

CI_Factsheet_2017_5_drywellprograms_170906_thumb.JPG
Introduction Dry wells improve stormwater drainage and aquifer recharge by providing a fast, direct route for rainwater to drain deep into underlying sediment and rock. Dry wells are most common in the western U.S. where clay or caliche layers slow down the natural drainage of water into underlying...
CI_CaseStudy_2017_1_VolcanicLandslides_thumb.JPG
More than just volcanic eruptions Volcanic eruptions are a serious hazard. But at many stratovolcanoes in Washington, Oregon, Northern California, and Alaska, landslides and debris flows can be just as dangerous. Some of these - especially volcanic mudflows (lahars) - are directly triggered by...
Cover of Geoscience Policy State Factsheet. Image credit: AGI
By the numbers: Washington 12,118 geoscience employees (excludes self-employed)1 1.53 billion gallons/day: total groundwater withdrawal3 $901 million: value of nonfuel mineral production in 20174 132 total disaster declarations, including 78 fire, 28 flood, and 16 severe storm disasters (1953-...
Cover of AGI Factsheet 2018-004 - Present Day Climate Change
Climate Science 101 Climate is the average of weather conditions over several decades.1,2 Geoscientists monitor modern climate conditions (1880 A.D. to present) in part by taking direct measurements of weather data (i.e., air temperature, rainfall and snowfall, wind speed, cloudiness, and so on)...
Cover of AGI Factsheet 2018-003--Using Geologic Maps to Reduce Landslide Risk
Geologic Maps and Landslide Hazards A geologic map is key to understanding landslide risk. The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and numerous state geological surveys around the nation prioritize the mapping of landslide-prone areas. Understanding landslide risk is crucial in making decisions around...
Fig. 1. Although Glacier Peak normally can not be seen from any urban areas, this active volcano periodically erupts in an explosive catastrophic manner that could affect the lower part of the populated Skagit River Valley. Credit: D. Mullineaux, USGS
Surface and subsurface mapping of lahar and lahar runout deposits from Glacier Peak volcano has contributed important geologic information for land-management planning and emergency preparedness in the lower Skagit Valley. Defining the Problem Active volcanoes, such as Glacier Peak (Fig. 1), pose a...
CI_Factsheet_2017_4_drywellbasics_170906_thumb.JPG
What is a Dry Well? A dry well is a well that is used to transmit surface water underground and is deeper than its width at the surface (see image, below). Most dry wells are 30 to 70 feet deep and 3 feet wide at the surface. They are lined with perforated casings and can be filled with gravel or...
CI_Factsheet_2017_7_ValleyFever_171205_thumb.JPG
What grows in arid, sandy soils? How do these soils become dust? Many small organisms, such as bacteria and fungi, grow among the sand and silt particles in dry valley and desert soils. At the soil’s surface, these organisms often form biological webs (“microbiotic crusts”) that keep small sand and...
Cover of AGI Factsheet 2018-002-Geologic Mapping and Public Health
Using Geologic Maps to Protect Public Health Geologic maps can be used to understand and mitigate public health risks across the US, in addition to their more traditional use in resource and infrastructure decisions. Geologic maps can show the location of naturally occurring hazardous materials and...

GOLI Online Courses

GOLI Course: Ocean Acidification Impacts on Fisheries; Image credit: NOAA
Course Type: GOLI Online Course

As the amount of atmospheric carbon dioxide has increased over recent history, so has the acidity of oceans worldwide. The changing acidity of the ocean has many ecological and economic impacts, one of the most serious being its effects on marine life and fisheries. The impact of ocean...

GOLI Course: Communicating Cascadia's Earthquake Risk. Image Credit: FEMA / Photo by Mustafa Lazkani
Course Type: GOLI Online Course

Geoscience research is at the forefront of characterizing the earthquake risks associated with the Cascadia subduction zone in the Pacific Northwest. This course covers the science and its implications for policy decisions and resiliency efforts.