Working with Others
The GD must maintain and develop partnerships with other USGS divisions and non-USGS organizations in order to achieve the science goals described in this science strategy report. Scientists and managers at all levels of the organization--from the Chief Geologist to the project scientist--should assume responsibility for incorporating partners in the planning and execution of GD science activities. As outlined below, exciting opportunities exist for collaboration with the full spectrum of the earth science community. GD staff must be mindful that the greatest synergy will occur when there is a broad understanding of each other's objectives and scientific priorities.
Other USGS divisions
The future of the agency will depend on the ability of the GD, the WRD, the NMD, and the BRD to work cooperatively to address some of the most pressing societal problems. Productive interdivisional partnerships will play a significant role in achieving all the science goals outlined in this report. All USGS divisions are striving to integrate their efforts, particularly at the planning stage.
WRD: Both the GD and the WRD have significant contributions to make in studies of ground water, hazards, resources, climate variability, and human health. Each division will benefit greatly from scientific collaboration, beginning with joint involvement in planning future efforts.
NMD: The GD has opportunities to increase work with the NMD on use of classified satellite data, to develop spatial data-base standards and techniques, to investigate applications of digital elevation models (DEM's) to geologic problems, and to explore cooperative agreements for data distribution and archiving.
BRD: GD scientists can work with BRD ecologists to understand how geologic processes are important in ecosystem studies and with BRD economists to develop total-cost perspectives on mineral and energy resources (see Goal 3).
Other U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) agencies
As the only science agency in the DOI, the USGS has a special role in meeting the scientific needs of other DOI agencies--the National Park Service (NPS), the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Bureau of Land Management, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (USBR), the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and the Minerals Management Service--in managing Federal lands. The USGS provides objective scientific information and interpretation to these agencies and helps them determine the types of monitoring required for gauging the success of resource management policies.
As one example, excellent opportunities exist for collaborative efforts with the NPS. Many GD scientists are experts on the geology of national parks and monuments and have generated detailed geologic maps of these areas that are important to both park managers and park visitors. Also, GD investigations of surficial geologic processes and hazards at NPS sites can have tremendous significance in NPS planning. In all of these efforts, GD staff will work closely with NPS personnel to define and understand their science priorities and needs.
Other Federal agencies
In the past, the GD has collaborated with numerous Federal agencies outside the DOI, particularly the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Department of Energy, the Department of Defense, the U.S. Forest Service, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA; see Highlight 3), the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and the National Science Foundation. The multidisciplinary approach to problem solving, inherent in many of the goals outlined in this report and taking place in an era of limited fiscal resources, necessitates that this kind of collaboration be expanded.
For example, the GD has traditionally had a special relationship with NASA through the GD's astrogeology program. Exploration of the solar system is yielding exciting new results, and many of these findings are geologic. Hence, the GD should continue to play an important role in working with NASA toward understanding geologic processes on other planets. NASA's Earth Science Enterprise provides another outstanding opportunity for exciting science collaboration. Close collaboration will capitalize on NASA's technology and infrastructure and USGS expertise in field-based science and understanding of Earth processes.
State geological surveys
Continued collaboration with State geological surveys will be critical to achieving the goals in this report. The GD will work more closely with State surveys to define methods for directing USGS regional- and national-scale studies toward the science and information priorities of individual States. The most important role of the State geological surveys will be in addressing geological issues in State and local land-use policy. The GD's role will be geologic mapping and other investigations on a regional or national scale, on Federal lands, or on specific topical studies in support of GD science goals.
The GD has a long tradition of successful collaboration with the academic community and will work to enhance this collaboration. Stronger ties can be established in several ways, including cooperatively funding graduate students, developing a strong postdoctoral hiring program, and providing support for temporary sabbatical appointments. To achieve its science goals, the GD needs access to cutting-edge research techniques and facilities that may not exist within the USGS. Partnerships between the GD and the academic community will avoid duplication of and ensure maximum utility of research facilities and laboratories.
In order to serve the Nation better, the GD must maintain a dialog with members of the private sector, as they are end users of GD data and products. Understanding each other's needs and goals will ensure that collaboration is mutually beneficial. Opportunities for collaboration are particularly promising in the insurance, energy, minerals, and structural engineering industries. In addition, the GD can cooperate with data-base companies in facilitating access to USGS data and products.
The GD must continue to cooperate with a wide range of professional societies such as the Geological Society of America and the American Geophysical Union. As members of a broader earth science community, GD scientists should participate in professional meetings and publish, review, and edit scientific journal articles and books. Further, professional societies have made substantial investments in education and outreach, and the GD should explore opportunities for greater collaboration in these areas.
International agencies and institutions
Cooperative efforts with earth science agencies in other countries are essential given the present transition to a more global economy, the global nature of many earth science problems (such as climate variability), and the clear need for global monitoring (see Highlight 4). GD participation in international assessments of critical energy and mineral resources and of environmental problems will contribute to the development of national economic and security policy.
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Last updated 04.08.98