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History

The United States Geological Survey was established on March 3, 1879, just a few hours before the mandatory close of the final session of the 45th Congress, when President Rutherford B. Hayes signed the bill appropriating money for sundry civil expenses of the Federal Government for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 1879.

The USGS is proud of its outstanding history of public service and scientific advances. USGS scientists pioneered hydrologic techniques for gaging the discharge in rivers and streams and modeling the flow of complex ground-water systems. The astronauts who landed on the Moon in 1969 were trained in geology by the USGS.

Innovative ventures with the private sector have given the world access to digital images of neighborhoods and communities in one of the largest data sets ever made available online.

Modern-day understanding of the formation and location of energy and mineral resource deposits is rooted in fundamental scientific breakthroughs by USGS scientists.

USGS biologists revolutionized thinking about managing wildlife resources, which has provided a sound scientific basis that lets waterfowl conservation and recreational hunting work in tandem as adaptive management, not as conflicting interests.

The following links provide historical information about the establishment of the USGS, the Directors of the USGS, and our "virtual" museum showing historical artifacts owned by the organization:

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Page Last Modified: Thursday, October 01, 2009