Public Release: 

USGS 1999 Budget Emphasizes Clean Water, Disaster Information, Species And Habitat Research

US Geological Survey

The President has proposed a budget of $806.9 million for the Interior Department's U.S.Geological Survey (USGS) in Fiscal Year 1999. The proposed budget reflects a net increase of $47.7 million over the FY 1998 enacted level for the USGS's unique interdisciplinary natural science capabilities. The USGS provides crucial scientific information for natural resource and disaster management decisionmakers at all levels of government and the private sector.

Increases include $16.5 million in support of the Administration's Clean Water and Watershed Restoration Initiative for a wide range of water-quality monitoring and watershed assessment activities; $15 million for a multi-agency natural disaster information network hosted by the USGS; and $11 million for species and habitat conservation studies in support of the nation's natural resource managers.

"Impartial scientific information is the foundation for effective policymaking," said Dr. Thomas Casadevall, acting USGS director. "As the Nation's primary natural science agency, the USGS is committed to responding to America's critical scientific, health, and economic concerns, such as the quality of the nation's water, increased understanding of species and habitats, and the safety of life and property in earthquakes, floods and other natural disasters."

"USGS is focusing on science that is relevant to the nation's needs and concerns," added Casadevall. "That is why USGS scientists are at work every day on issues of concern to every citizen across our country, using their expertise to establish solid baseline information that will benefit generations of Americans. From identifying water quality threats associated with abandoned mine lands to determining the cause of bird die-offs in the Salton Sea, from understanding major ecosystems such as the Everglades, San Francisco Bay, and Chesapeake Bay to responding when natural disasters occur, every day the USGS is providing science for our changing world."

The FY 1999 budget proposal also includes a $7.1 million savings from government reinvention initiatives.

Highlights of the FY 99 budget include:

  • A $16.5 million increase to support the Clean Water and Watershed Restoration Initiative, which is designed to improve the health of aquatic systems in all of the nation's watersheds. USGS contributions will support federal, state, tribal and local government efforts to improve water quality. Specific components of the increase will enable USGS to evaluate nutrient loads and transport in major rivers and ground-water systems,including a specific focus on contributors to hypoxia and toxic algal blooms in the Gulf of Mexico and other coastal waters; determine the influence of land-use practices and pollution sources on water quality and ecosystems of rivers and coastal estuaries; provide data to help states determine the Total Maximum Daily Loads as required by the Clean Water Act; provide improved water-quality monitoring and assessment for watersheds in our national parks; develop state geo-environmental maps that will help the Bureau of Land Management and other agencies plan for remediation of the effects of past mining practices on water quality; provide the Bureau of Reclamation with information that will improve its ability to manage water quality and biological resources in 20 high-priority Western watersheds;and assess optimal approaches for pesticide monitoring in water-supply wells.

  • A $7 million increase to support the Environmental Protection Agency's efforts to provide information to the public on the quality of drinking water in 86 of America's major cities.

  • An increase of $15 million for a multi-agency program for the integration of natural disaster-related information and its dissemination to emergency managers and others who can take action to reduce disaster losses. Robust computer and broadcast networks will be established that can operate during all phases of disaster management, along with a public/private partnership among those who manage or are affected by natural disasters.

  • An increase of $11 million to support species and habitat research needed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, and state and local agencies, in areas such as California's Salton Sea, with its continuing outbreaks of seabird and fish mortality. In Arizona and New Mexico, the study focus will be on the effects of land-use practices on endangered species and migratory birds. USGS biologists will study the consequences of fire use to improve the ecosystem health of national wildlife refuges, and biologists will supply information on wetlands and uplands in support of the population and habitat goals of the North American Waterfowl Management Plan. Decision support systems and other tools will be developed to assist Department of the Interior public land and resource managers.

As the Nation's natural science agency, the USGS has about 10,000 employees at work in every state and Puerto Rico, investigating issues of concern to every American, including nearly 2,000 local, state, regional and national organizations. Efforts range from about 45,000 water measuring stations crucial to making flood and water-supply forecasts, to 80,000 different maps of the country, as well as front-line earthquake and volcano monitoring networks and wildlife research at parks and refuges.


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