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.
The U.S. Geological Survey’s National Water Information System (NWIS) created an interactive tool that maps water resources data at over 1.5 million sites across the country. The search tool allows the user to find sites by street address, location name, site number, state/territory, and watershed region. The sites are sorted into five main categories:
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.
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.
The South Dakota Department of Environment & Natural Resources provides an interactive map of reported spills in the state (yellow triangles in picture above). Spills are reported for hazardous or environmentally harmful materials such as oil, gasoline, pesticides, solvents, acids, and other industrial chemicals. Spill information is provided from the early 1970s to the present and include information on the source, material, location, and date of the spill.
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.