Open-File Report 2007–1255

Open-File Report 2007–1255

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Appendix A—FY 2007 Implementation Plan

To realize its objectives and accomplish its short-term goals, the Multi-Hazards Demonstration Project needs to encompass the full range of hazard activities in southern California without assuming control of all activities within each hazard area. Project-directed research will be carried out in coordination with existing research programs. However, the demonstration project will feature strong emphasis on implementation of science findings by the community. Project scientists will be fully engaged with the community in product development and training. Scientists will also formulate a unified planning process in which the research goals for all hazards are set together in consultation with the user community. Accountability and leadership, with funding tied to deliverables and milestones, will be the key to successful operation.

Operational Structure

We will organize the Multi-Hazards Demonstration Project in Southern California around four research working groups: (1) Integration and Implementation Interface, (2) Earthquakes and Tsunamis, (3) Fire and Debris Flows, and (4) Winter Storm Events (including flooding, landslides, and coastal erosion). The research working groups do not have a one-to-one relationship with existing USGS programs or cost centers. Often several programs are involved.

Decisions regarding research priorities, new and existing partnership development, and budget will be made by the project’s Chief Scientist, advised by a Planning Committee representing the programs involved. Both the Chief Scientist and the Planning Committee will ensure that the project meets objectives of this strategic plan and the needs of southern California as represented in the Steering Committee. Each member of the Planning Committee will be a senior scientist or Center Director representing one of the core activities. S/he will consult with the Program Coordinators whose funds are allocated to this activity. The Chief Scientist will report to the appropriate USGS Regional Executive. Lucy Jones will be the first Chief Scientist and report to Wes Ward.

Demonstration-project scientists will stay associated with their Cost Centers, which will provide facilities and supervision, and assess overhead. Overhead will follow the physical location (discipline housing) of the net expense.  

Future Research Priorities and Funding

The Chief Scientist and Planning Committee will meet once per quarter and will be responsible for deciding how the research money will be allocated based on research priorities and proposal/work plan submissions. They will interact with associated Team Chief Scientists who continue to have control over the day-to-day activities of the project-dedicated researchers. These quarterly meetings will serve to communicate to the group the status of project-dedicated tasks, illustrate how research funds were used, where the discipline is going with the research, and to identify possible hurdles in the research or communicate the need for a task to be significantly modified or abandoned for lack of progress. The Planning Committee also has the task of keeping the Program Coordinators informed about present and future project activities.

The Chief Scientist will enter into agreements with Cost Centers to carry out the activities to support the strategic plan. The full budget of the project will exist in a virtual sense. Actual program dollars will go to tasks on projects within Cost Centers. The agreement between the Chief Scientist and the Cost Centers to fund work is revocable if the Cost Centers are not performing.

Required Skills/Staffing

Project activities will be undertaken both by researchers who are expert in the individual hazards and by project support staff. The demonstration project will have a small number of full-time, cross-discipline members who provide shared functions to carry out the multi-hazard synthesis and interface with the user community. They will be assigned to a project administered by the California Water Science Center. These shared positions will be paid for as project expense. All participating programs will need to share in funding these shared positions.

Skills for the shared staff of the project team include training, science communication, Geographic Information Systems, database, and web development. Their expertise will be used to focus on

Other work that includes research and product development will be conducted by researchers in existing Cost Centers. In general, at least one scientist for each hazard discipline should be physically located in southern California to encourage interaction. The Team Chief Scientists and their Planning Committee representatives will negotiate with the project to develop a plan for research and development with appropriate milestones to assure completion. The Chief Scientist will have authority to terminate funding if project milestones are not met. The scientists provide the fundamental information that is used in the risk and decision-making assessments, as well as the scenario plans. The research component activities will encompass product development such as prognostic tools (specifically, predictive models); targeted science research with guidance from the user community, and interface- and graphical-tool development for effective data dissemination, as well as providing urgently needed information for users and partners. The highest priority staff will be those needed to create these products.

Core Physical Facility

The project will consist of a physical central core that provides multi-hazard synthesis and interface with the user community, as well as links to the different research groups to support individual research projects. This physical central core will be located in the Los Angeles area and will house the cross-discipline interface staff members and support staff. It will serve as the nucleation point for the community and external partners to interact with USGS staff and researchers. The core of the hazard synthesis, cross-discipline interface materials, partner exchange program, and emergency response center interaction work will be based out of the physical location. Most of the researchers will continue to work out of their current program offices.


A regular series of workshops will be scheduled with project scientists, project-dedicated staff members, and external partners. The objective will be to expand upon multi-hazard ideas first introduced during the February and March 2006 workshops for inclusion into research and cross-discipline interface activities. The workshops will be arranged around common themes (for example, land-use planning, or emergency response) and will serve to provide input to and guide multi-hazards research activities, as well as inform the external partners of new and existing hazards data and training resources. The workshops will also provide the opportunity to further in-house (either at the multi-hazards project offices or at the partner’s work site) preparedness and scenario-training development.

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