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Latin America and Caribbean

The USGS historically has been active in South America, a region that has long been involved in the mineral and mining sectors. 

USGS has collaborated with counterpart agencies in Bolivia and Venezuela to produce mineral resource assessments of the Alti Plano in Bolivia and in the eastern part of Venezuela. Currently, workshops on human health issues related to the environment are underway in Venezuela and Chile. Suriname and Guyana are interested in promoting collaborative activities. Oil and gas assessments are of interest as well. All South American coal-bearing countries have been involved in the World Coal Inventory project.

Collaborative efforts focused on hydrology (stream gage monitoring networks), biology (health of the shrimp economy in southern Honduras), and geology (health of coral reefs, landslides, earthquakes, volcanoes), along with data clearinghouse networks, satellite imagery interpretation, and training in Geographic Information Systems (GIS). Much of this work was done in close collaboration with other Federal agencies such as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACOE). 

  • Galapagos: Conservation Biology of Giant Tortoises
  • U.S./Mexico Border Initiative: On May 6, 1996, during the 13th annual meeting of the U.S.- Mexico Binational Commission, both countries agreed on the need to conduct joint activities to develop a seamless transboundary map of the U.S.-Mexico border region.
  • Honduras – Effective and Sustainable Water Resources for Honduras: Hurricane Mitch caused severe flooding that devastated infrastructure and communities throughout Honduras. The resulting loss of thousands of lives and millions of dollars of property made it very evident that a system was required to adequately warn population during future floods to mitigate damages and save lives.

    The U. S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the U. S. Geological Survey (USGS) from 1999-2002 installed a network of 26 near real-time hydrologic stations which are now operated along with more than 30 other stations by host country counterparts. 

    In 2003, the USGS returned to Honduras at the request of USAID to provide technical assistance to host country water agencies in the quality-assured operation and maintenance of the Honduras near real-time hydrologic network. The project provides plans for a more effective and sustainable management of water resources in Honduras. 

USGS activities within the Caribbean region have not been extensive. The only major on-going project is the Certification of Agriculture Lands in the West Indies project as well as the Caribbean Vegetation Mapping Project. There has been some discussion with the Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance/U.S. Agency for International Development (OFDA/USAID) as well as with the Organization of American States (OAS) on collaborative activities related to hazard mitigation issues. A separate tri-nation project on the North American Magnetic Map in conjunction with Mexico (CRM) and the Geological Survey of Canada (GSC) is scheduled for completion in October 2003.

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