RFG 2018 Conference

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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:

Interactive map of real-time flood information for Texas

The U.S. Geological Survey's Water On The Go app provides real-time information on stream flows, lake levels, and rainfall in Texas. The app automatically finds data near your current location (or any chosen location in Texas) for rapid access to water information. Special icons indicate rapidly rising streams and lakes or heavy rain that may pose a flood risk.

Users can click on individual sites for current water levels, a graph of levels in recent days, and links to more data and information about the site.

Interactive map of groundwater levels and subsidence in the Houston-Galveston area

The U.S. Geological Survey provides an interactive map that allows users to view changes in groundwater levels and associated land subsidence from 1977 to 2016 in the Houston-Galveston area.

The map uses annual data from over 700 wells in 11 counties, and shows changes in water levels in three major aquifers in the region: the Chicot, Evangeline, and Jasper aquifers.

Planning for Coastal Storm and Erosion Hazards

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Coastal hazards are a widespread challenge that cost millions (and sometimes billions) of dollars in the U.S. every year due to property loss and spending on mitigation measures. Based on the most recent U.S. Census, over 39% of the U.S. population lives in areas that may undergo significant coastal flooding during a 100-year flood event1. Additionally, six of the ten most expensive weather-related disasters in U.S. history have been caused by coastal storms1,2. Reducing risk and responding to coastal hazards is an ongoing challenge that relies on close coordination and cooperation between geoscientists, coastal planners, emergency managers, and communities at all levels.

An introductory talk and three case studies from around the U.S. cover coastal storm and erosion hazards in the U.S., as well as examples of coastal hazard planning from the Pacific, Gulf, and Atlantic coasts, with a focus on how geoscience informs planning at all levels. Speakers from California, Texas, and Georgia discuss the impacts of coastal storms and erosion, tools used for coastal hazard mitigation planning in their regions, and examples of community engagement and coordination.

Our speakers are:

Webinar Co-Sponsors
American Institute of Professional Geologists; American Meteorological Society; Association of Environmental & Engineering Geologists; Consortium for Ocean Leadership; Environmental and Engineering Geophysical Society; Federal Emergency Management Agency; Geological Society of America; Geo-Institute of the American Society of Civil Engineers; International Association of Emergency Managers; National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; U.S. Geological Survey.

References:

1 Coastal Flood Risks: Achieving Resilience Together. Federal Emergency Management Agency
2 Billion-Dollar Weather and Climate Disasters: Table of Events. National Centers for Environmental Information

Resources to learn more:

Search the Critical Issues Research Database for reports and factsheets about coastal hazards.

Coastal Hazards: Coastal Storms and Erosion: Managing for an Uncertain Future

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