Funding challenges facing state geological surveys
The 103rd AASG annual meeting got underway officially this morning on the banks of the Mississippi River in Dubuque, Iowa.
State geologists and staff are here from 38 states, along with a large number of representatives from federal agencies, professional societies, and other organizations.
The highlight of the opening session is a forum on defending state geological surveys in a time of budget crises and trying to learn from each other.
There are serious challenges facing many state geological surveys. Among the most dramatic changes coming is the Colorado survey being closed down in a year but they are looking at moving into a university. The Louisiana survey is proposed to phase out in 3 years. The Nevada survey is being rolled into the University of Nevada Department of Geosciences.
State surveys overall are continuing a decades long shift from state funding to self funding with grants, contracts, and entrepreneurial funding sources. Total funding of state surveys nationwide will amount to about $250 million this year, but only about 40% of budgets come from state funds. The Arizona Geological Survey is getting about half that rate from the State of Arizona.