...helping to meet the nation’s energy needs and to protect Americans from natural disasters.
The 2007 budget request for USGS is $944.8 million and continues to focus research on the highest priorities of today, ensuring that USGS maintains the expertise to answer the complex research questions that will arise tomorrow, while reflecting fiscal prudence. The budget strengthens USGS efforts in earth observation, energy research, and multi-disciplinary natural hazards research, monitoring, and warning systems, by adding $40.1 million in new program and fixed-cost funding, which is offset by redirecting $49.9 million from lower priority activities and eliminating $10.0 million in earmarked funding.
"Events during the past year, such as the hurricanes that devastated the Gulf Coast, floods, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and the potential threat of highly pathogenic avian influenza, underscore the need for timely, relevant scientific information," said USGS Acting Director P. Patrick Leahy. "Our 2007 budget expands USGS capabilities in these crucial areas by providing funding for a multi-hazards pilot initiative, development of Landsat 8, and energy research."
During much of last year, the nation has coped with significant losses from natural disasters. In addition, we have witnessed disasters elsewhere in the world resulting from natural hazards. To better understand and mitigate these hazards, the 2007 USGS budget includes $5.7 million for a multi-hazards pilot initiative. This includes increases for research to assess coastal vulnerability to extreme storms, for earthquake and landslide hazards research, and increases for geographic and water resources studies.
"Once again, we were reminded of nature’s force last year and the urgent need to prepare," said Interior Secretary Gale Norton. "The USGS budget emphasizes efforts to better protect Americans from natural hazards and to enhance the nation’s energy security while adhering to a policy of fiscal discipline. The USGS 2007 budget will enhance our ability to rapidly locate earthquakes; better monitor the nation’s rivers for flooding; improve landslide monitoring systems; and work with communities and other partners to ensure timely warnings for geologic hazards. The proposed budget will also expand research into potentially significant energy resources for our future."
The multi-hazards pilot initiative will enhance research on the causes and consequences of natural hazards and improve community responses to the range of natural hazards potentially facing each community. The initiative also focuses on improved communication as it merges information about different high-risk hazards into integrated products to support local community efforts in land-use planning, hazards mitigation, and emergency response.
To further address the issue of flood hazards, the 2007 budget increases funding for streamgaging by $2.3 million. These additional resources will enable USGS to increase the number of streamgages by 30, will allow continued operations at high-priority sites identified in the National Streamflow Information Program as "federal interest" gauges, and will enable technological investments to improve the cost efficiency of the entire network.
"Each year on average, floods kill 140 people in the United States and cause $6 billion in direct economic losses," said Secretary Norton. "This past year was anything but average, and losses to life and property are still being calculated. But even in an average year, floods kill more people and cost the nation more in property losses than any other natural disaster, and they can happen nearly anywhere."
In a preparatory action, the President requested and the Congress approved $3.67 million in emergency supplemental funding for the USGS in FY 2006 to help safeguard human and animal health from possible infection by highly pathogenic avian influenza. USGS will monitor wild bird populations in an effort to provide early detection and warning, and to minimize the spread of the virus, should it appear in this country. The 2007 request includes $3.3 million in the base USGS budget for continued research and testing on wild birds for avian influenza.
The 2007 budget seeks an increase of $16.0 million to fund Landsat 8 development, continuing the 30-year legacy of obtaining global earth observation data via previous Landsat missions. Additionally, to help meet the nation’s energy needs, the budget includes an increase of $2.0 million to meet mandates of the Energy Policy Act of 2005, including a national assessment of oil shale resources, preservation of geologic and geophysical data, and gas hydrate research to expand work on the North Slope of Alaska and on the outer continental shelf.
USGS Director Leahy noted, "The emphasis on energy research will help USGS scientists look more closely at potentially important future resources to meet the nation’s energy needs."
Other increases to the USGS budget in 2007 include $1.0 million to support the continued study of rare and endangered species and threatened ecosystems. An increase of $1.5 million for Enterprise Information Security and Technology is also proposed.
The 2007 budget request maintains a core mineral resources program by proposing a budget of $30.8 million. This funding level will maintain many inherently Federal responsibilities, especially those in support of Interior land management bureaus and national security efforts. Other reductions include $10 million in earmarked funding throughout the USGS.
In 2007, the USGS will continue to implement the President’s management agenda for improving performance of the Federal government and for practicing the Secretary’s vision for citizen-centered management excellence. The budget proposal supports the application of science to informed decision making and advancing knowledge through scientific leadership.