What is the USGS policy about coming onto private property to conduct research?

When conducting research on private property, United States Geological Survey (USGS) employees must comply with State and Tribal laws, including trespassing and privacy laws. USGS employees are required to obtain written permission from the landowner when conducting new research and must make the data available at the landowner's request.

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Can the USGS do a survey or study of my private property?

No. The USGS Organic Act (43 U.S. Code § 31) prohibits the USGS from making surveys or examinations for private parties or corporations. On rare occasion, however, the USGS might request access to private property as part of a larger study. If you need to engage a professional land surveyor, hydrologist, geologist, or geotechnical engineer, the...

Do you have any citizen science programs in which my students can participate?

Absolutely! The USGS has partnerships with several citizen science programs that are appropriate for classroom projects, for individual students, or for anyone who wants a fun and rewarding activity. See the Citizen Science page on our USGS Education website .

Does the USGS use volunteers to collect data?

Volunteers assist on some USGS projects. In all cases, the volunteers are carefully trained and are supervised by a federal employee while they work. To ensure quality-control, data collected by volunteers are checked by USGS supervisors. Volunteers must abide by the same rules, regulations, policies, and laws as employees. Some USGS volunteer...

How do I get USGS data?

The United States Geological Survey (USGS) provides data on many different science topics. Most of it can be downloaded for free from our website. Our Science Data Catalog is a good starting point. Also try using your browser's search engine and including the keyword "usgs.gov". If you are looking for a particular data set and cannot find it...

How do I contact the USGS?

For general inquiries, call 1-888-ASK-USGS (1-888-275-8747). You can also use this website to send us a message or to initiate a live Web chat with a USGS Science Information Specialist. Most of our employees are listed in our online Staff Profiles . USGS offices are located in every state. Please note, however, that most of them perform very...
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USGS' Brian Selck samples a private well in Lycoming County, PA
December 31, 2014

Sampling a private well in Lycoming County, Pennsylvania

Brian Selck, a USGS National Association of Geoscience Teachers intern, collects a water level measurement from a domestic well at a site north of Jersey Shore in Lycoming County, Pennsylvania, June 2014.