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Interactive database for geologic maps of the United States

The U.S. Geological Survey hosts the National Geologic Map Database (NGMDB). This interactive tool serves as a national archive for high-quality, standardized geologic maps created by the U.S. Geological Survey and state geological surveys.

The MapView section of the NGMDB displays geologic maps from across the country dating back to 1879. The database is searchable by address, and results can be narrowed further using scale and date filters.

Interactive database for topographic maps of the United States

The U.S. Geological Survey hosts topoView, an interactive database of the survey’s topographic maps.

The map is searchable by address, and clicking on any point on the map brings up topographic maps of the area dating back to 1879. Map results can be narrowed further using scale and date filters.

Clicking the “show” option will overlay the selected map onto the coordinates of topoView’s base map. Adjusting the map overlay transparency allows comparison of historical and present-day topography.

All maps in topoView are downloadable in multiple formats.

Interactive map of groundwater monitoring information in the United States

The National Ground-Water Monitoring Network compiles information from over 7,000 groundwater monitoring wells across the country, including Federal, State, and local groundwater monitoring networks. Although the image above only shows the contiguous United States, the interactive map also includes wells from Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Water as One Resource

This course provides an overview of how groundwater and surface water interact, what the implications of these interactions on water resources are, and how water can be more effectively managed if an understanding of these interactions is incorporated.

The course presenters are Ken Bradbury from the Wisconsin Geological and Natural History Survey, William A. Alley from the National Groundwater Association, and Thomas Harter from the University of California, Davis.

Interactive map of hazardous waste cleanups in the United States

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) provides an interactive map of hazardous waste cleanups across the United States. The "Cleanups in My Community" map provides a huge amount of information on thousands of cleanups of many kinds. For every cleanup, users can access and download reports, assessments, compliance actions, and the EPA's assessment of the potential for any contaminated land to be used for renewable energy development.

2016 Critical Issues Forum: Addressing Changes in Regional Groundwater Resources: Lessons from the High Plains Aquifer

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Groundwater is often a "transboundary" resource, shared by many groups of people across town, county, state, and international boundaries. Changes in groundwater resources can create unique challenges requiring high levels of cooperation and innovation amongst stakeholder groups, from individuals to state and federal government.

The High Plains Aquifer (HPA), which spans eight states from South Dakota to Texas, is overlain by about 20 percent of the nation’s irrigated agricultural land, and provides about 30 percent of the groundwater used for irrigation in the country according to the U.S. Geological Survey. Work by the Kansas Geological Survey indicates that some parts of the aquifer are already effectively exhausted for agricultural purposes; some parts are estimated to have a lifespan of less than 25 years; and other areas remain generally unaffected (Buchanan et al., 2015).

The 2016 Critical Issues Forum was a 1-½ day meeting covering multiple aspects of groundwater depletion in the High Plains. Presentations covered the current state of the High Plains Aquifer and water usage from scientific, legal, regulatory, economic, and social perspectives. State-specific perspectives were provided from Kansas, Nebraska, Texas, and Oklahoma, and a variety of issues were discussed surrounding communication, negotiation, policy, and the influence of climate change. Break-out sessions and participant discussions identified lessons learned and best practices from the High Plains Aquifer experience that might apply to other regions facing changes in the Earth system.

The Forum was hosted by the Payne Institute for Earth Resources at the Colorado School of Mines, and sponsored by the Geological Society of America, the National Ground Water Association, the American Institute of Professional Geologists, the National Association of State Boards of Geology, and the Association of American State Geologists.

For more information about the Forum, including the final report, please visit the 2016 Critical Issues Forum home page.

2016 Forum: Selected Footage

Interactive map of bioenergy potential across the United States

The U.S. Department of Energy's Bioenergy Knowledge Discovery Framework provides an interactive map of biomass production potential across the United States (at the time of writing, maps do not cover Alaska and Hawaii). The aim is to show how much biomass may be available for bioenergy production from the present day through to the year 2040.

Users can filter the map according to:

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