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FUTURE ROLES AND OPPORTUNITIES FOR THE U.S. GEOLOGICAL SURVEY FUTURE ROLES AND OPPORTUNITIES FOR THE U.S. GEOLOGICAL SURVEY Committee on Future Roles, Challenges, and Opportunities for the U.S. Geological Survey Commission on Geosciences, Environment, and Resources National Research Council NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS Washington, D.C.
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FUTURE ROLES AND OPPORTUNITIES FOR THE U.S. GEOLOGICAL SURVEY NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance. This study was supported by the U.S. Geological Survey, Department of the Interior, under assistance award No. 1434-HQ-97-AG-01819. The views and conclusions contained in this document are those of the authors and should not be interpreted as necessarily representing the official policies, either expressed or implied, of the U.S. government. International Standard Book Number 0-309-07264-6 Additional copies of this report are available from:National Academy Press 2101 Constitution Avenue, N.W. Box285 Washington, DC 20055800-624-6242202-334-3313(in the Washington Metropolitan Area) http://www.nap.edu Cover: Illustrations courtesy of the U.S. Geological Survey published in the National Atlas of the United States of America™, 1970. Copyright 2001 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America
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FUTURE ROLES AND OPPORTUNITIES FOR THE U.S. GEOLOGICAL SURVEY THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES National Academy of Sciences National Academy of Engineering Institute of Medicine National Research Council The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Bruce M. Alberts is president of the National Academy of Sciences. The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. William A. Wulf is president of the National Academy of Engineering. The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Kenneth I. Shine is president of the Institute of Medicine. The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy's purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Bruce M. Alberts and Dr. William A. Wulf are chairman and vice chairman, respectively, of the National Research Council.
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FUTURE ROLES AND OPPORTUNITIES FOR THE U.S. GEOLOGICAL SURVEY COMMITTEE ON FUTURE ROLES, CHALLENGES, AND OPPORTUNITIES FOR THE U.S. GEOLOGICAL SURVEY DONALD DEPAOLO, Chair, University of California, Berkeley HUGO F. THOMAS, Vice Chair, University of Connecticut, Storrs JOHN C. ANTENUCCI, PlanGraphics, Inc., Frankfort, Kentucky ODIN D. CHRISTENSEN, Newmont Mining Corporation, Englewood, Colorado MICHAEL T. CLEGG, University of California, Riverside THOMAS DUNNE, University of California, Santa Barbara WILLIAM FISHER, The University of Texas at Austin LAWRENCE W. FRITZ, Lockheed Martin Corporation, Rockville, Maryland GRANT H. HEIKEN, Los Alamos National Laboratory, New Mexico JAMES A. MACMAHON, Utah State University, Logan DIANNE R. NIELSON, State of Utah, Salt Lake City JOANNE M. NIGG, University of Delaware, Newark JEROME O. NRIAGU, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor RAYMOND A. PRICE, Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada DANIEL R. SAREWITZ, Columbia University, Washington, D.C. BRUCE A. STEIN, The Nature Conservancy, Arlington, Virginia NRC Staff ANTHONY R. DE SOUZA, Director, Board on Earth Sciences and Resources TAMARA L. DICKINSON, Study Director REBECCA E. SHAPACK, Research Assistant JUDITH L. ESTEP, Administrative Assistant (through January 2000)
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FUTURE ROLES AND OPPORTUNITIES FOR THE U.S. GEOLOGICAL SURVEY COMMISSION ON GEOSCIENCES, ENVIRONMENT, AND RESOURCES GEORGE M. HORNBERGER, Chair, University of Virginia, Charlottesville RICHARD A. CONWAY, Union Carbide Corporation (retired), South Charleston, West Virginia LYNN GOLDMAN, Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health, Baltimore, Maryland THOMAS E. GRAEDEL, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut THOMAS J. GRAFF, Environmental Defense Fund, Oakland, California EUGENIA KALNAY, University of Maryland, College Park DEBRA KNOPMAN, Progressive Policy Institute, Washington, D.C. JOHN B. MOONEY, JR., J. Brad Mooney Associates, Ltd., Arlington, Virginia HUGH C. MORRIS, El Dorado Gold Corporation, Vancouver, British Columbia H. RONALD PULLIAM, University of Georgia, Athens MILTON RUSSELL, University of Tennessee (retired), Knoxville ROBERT J. SERAFIN, National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado ANDREW R. SOLOW, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Massachusetts E-AN ZEN, University of Maryland, College Park NRC Staff ROBERT M. HAMILTON, Executive Director GREGORY H. SYMMES, Associate Executive Director JEANETTE SPOON, Administrativeand Financial Officer CHRISTINE HENDERSON, Scientific Reports Officer SANDI FITZPATRICK, Administrative Associate
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FUTURE ROLES AND OPPORTUNITIES FOR THE U.S. GEOLOGICAL SURVEY This report has been reviewed by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise in accordance with procedures approved by the National Research Council (NRC's) Report Review Committee. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the institution in making its published report as sound as possible and to ensure that the report meets institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process. We wish to thank the following individuals for their review of this report: Robert R. Beebe Consultant Tucson, Arizona Kenneth R. Bradbury University of Wisconsin, Extension Madison James M. Coleman Michigan State University East Lansing William R. Dickinson University of Arizona Tucson Warren B. Hamilton Colorado School of Mines Golden Kathleen A. Miller National Center for Atmospheric Research Boulder, Colorado Judy M. Olson Michigan State University East Lansing Dallas L. Peck U.S. Geological Survey, emeritus Reston, Virginia Peter H. Raven Missouri Botanical Garden St. Louis Nancy Tosta Ross and Associates Environmental Consulting, Ltd. Seattle, Washington M. Gordon Wolman Johns Hopkins University Baltimore, Maryland Although the reviewers listed above have provided many constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the conclusions or recommendations nor did they see the final draft of the report before its release. The review of this report was overseen by George Hornberger, University of Virginia, appointed by the Commission on Geosciences, Environment, and Resources, and Alexander Flax, Consultant, appointed by the NRC's Report Review Committee, who were responsible for making certain that an independent examination of this report was carried out in accordance with institutional procedures and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content of this report rests entirely with the authoring committee and the institution.
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FUTURE ROLES AND OPPORTUNITIES FOR THE U.S. GEOLOGICAL SURVEY Contents EXECUTIVE SUMMARY 1 1 INTRODUCTION 11 Vision and Mission of the USGS, 14 Strategic Change at the USGS, 15 Study and Report, 16 2 THE PAST AND PRESENT AS A PROLOGUE 19 The Public Domain and the USGS, 19 The Evolution of the USGS, 21 Changes in Society, 24 Changes in Relationships Between Society and Science, 27 Changes Within the USGS, 30 The USGS Today, 31 3 FUTURE SOCIETAL TRENDS 37 Natural Resources, 39 Mineral Resources, 40 Energy Resources, 41 Water Resources, 44 Biological Resources, 47 Environmental Issues, 49 Globalization and National Security, 52 Societal Expectations and the Demand for Information, 54 Serving the Underserved Population, 55 Summary, 59
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FUTURE ROLES AND OPPORTUNITIES FOR THE U.S. GEOLOGICAL SURVEY 4 EVOLVING TO MEET NATIONAL NEEDS 61 Role of the USGS, 61 Serving Customers, 64 Future Program Emphasis, 69 Integrative System Models, 73 The USGS as a Scientific Information Portal, 76 Other Program Areas, 81 International Activities, 87 Future Research Opportunities, 90 Hazards, 92 Environment, 98 Natural Resources, 111 Transition Toward an Integrated Natural Science and Information Agency, 113 Summary, 116 5 FUTURE CHALLENGES 119 Priority Setting, 119 Research Program, 121 External Guidance, 124 Human Resources, 126 Coordination and Collaboration, 128 Federal Partnerships, 129 Industry and University Partnerships, 131 External Grants Programs, 131 Employee Exchanges, 132 Reimbursable Programs, 132 Budget and Funding, 134 Summary, 135 6 PREPARING FOR THE FUTURE: CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS 137 Natural Science and Information Agency, 138 Major Responsibilities, 141 Monitoring, Reporting, and Forecasting, 142 Assessing Resources, 144 Providing Geospatial Information, 144 National and International Roles, 144
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FUTURE ROLES AND OPPORTUNITIES FOR THE U.S. GEOLOGICAL SURVEY Improving Effectiveness, 146 Priority Setting, 146 Meeting Technical Needs, 148 Budget, 151 Summary, 151 REFERENCES 153 APPENDIX A Biographical Sketches of Committee Members 165 APPENDIX B Oral Presentations and Written Statements Submitted to the Committee 173 ACRONYMS 177
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