Thursday, February 26, 2009

Why isn't USGS stimulus funding bigger?

The numbers are staggering - hundreds of millions to billions of dollars for individual programs and agencies in the federal stimulus package, yet when you look at them in comparison, it becomes evident that the USGS got small potatoes compared to others.

The USGS allocation of $140 million is to be used thusly: “The Survey should consider a wide variety of activities, including repair, construction and restoration of facilities; equipment replacement and upgrades including stream gages, seismic and volcano monitoring systems; national map activities; and other critical deferred-maintenance and improvement projects which can maximize jobs and provide lasting improvement to our Nation's science capacity.”

But when you think about the issues the USGS deals with - water, energy, natural resources, natural hazards, sustainability, climate change, and more, the question in my mind is why the agency isn't getting twice or even ten times the amount allocated.

The next director of the USGS has a challenge in enlisting the community and demonstrating to the President, the Congress, OMB, and the American public, why they should be investing more and more strategically in science for societal issues.

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