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Budget Focuses on Core USGS Science and Efficiency

President Donald Trump today proposed a \$922.2 million Fiscal Year 2018 (FY18) budget for the U.S. Geological Survey.  This highlights the Administration’s commitment to increasing efficiency across the federal government and science supporting national objectives and priorities.  The President’s proposed FY18 request reflects a savings of $137.8 million in appropriated funds from the FY 2017 CR baseline and a continued commitment to the bureau’s core mission. 

“President Trump promised the American people he would cut wasteful spending and make the government work for the taxpayer again, and that's exactly what this budget does,” said U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke. “Working carefully with the President, we identified areas where we could reduce spending and also areas for investment, such as addressing the maintenance backlog in our National Parks and increasing domestic energy production on federal lands. The budget also allows the Department to return to the traditional principles of multiple-use management to include both responsible natural resource development and conservation of special places. Being from the West, I've seen how years of bloated bureaucracy and D.C.-centric policies hurt our rural communities. The President's budget saves taxpayers by focusing program spending, shrinking bureaucracy, and empowering the front lines."  

The request ensures that the USGS will continue to focus on conducting leading-edge research and providing impartial scientific data to key stakeholders and decision-makers to help promote stewardship of public lands and waters and protect the health, safety and prosperity of the Nation. 

America First Energy:  The USGS budget places strong emphasis on assessing the occurrence, quality, supply and use of energy and critical mineral resources.  The FY18 budget request for the USGS Energy and Minerals Resources Mission Area is $74.4 million.  The agency will continue to assess energy resources and provide publicly available scientific data and tools to inform energy policy discussions as well as to support science-based decisions that facilitate responsible resource management, including oil, gas, coal, geothermal, uranium and gas hydrate energy resource activities.  This request will also allow the USGS to focus on understanding the genesis and distribution of the Nation’s critical mineral resources, particularly in Alaska, midcontinent and southeast regions of the United States. 

America’s Public Lands:  The USGS proposed budget promotes the Department of the Interior’s stewardship for public lands by providing science support for disaster alerts and rapid response, producing high-resolution geospatial data, addressing new and emerging invasive species and disease, tackling water challenges and supporting development for the Landsat 9 satellite ground system.  The USGS will also conduct work on environmental impacts of resource extraction and understanding how mineral resources interact with the environment to affect human and ecosystem health.  The agency will also continue to develop and apply new methods to forecast, detect and understand health implications of toxins produced by harmful algal blooms.  Additionally, the USGS will continue research to understand contaminants and pathogens related to drinking waters.

The President’s FY18 budget request for the Natural Hazards Mission Area is $118.1 million.  This provides resources to continue the agency’s natural hazard research, monitoring, response and mitigation capability.  With the FY18 budget, the USGS will be able to monitor the Nation's earthquakes via the Advanced National Seismic System and deliver rapid earthquake impact and situational awareness products to support emergency response.  The budget also will enable the USGS to continue to conduct field investigations of volcanoes and inform volcano monitoring strategies and volcanic hazard assessments.  Additionally, it will enable the USGS to continue to communicate earthquake and volcano information to the public.  The FY18 budget also supports science to develop, test and advance tools and methods for landslide monitoring, hazard assessment and forecasting, as well as post-wildfire debris-flow hazard assessments for major wildfires.

The President’s FY18 budget request for the Core Science Systems Mission Area is $93.0 million.  With the FY18 proposal, the USGS will continue the 3D Elevation Program with acquisition of high-resolution lidar elevation data across the Nation to support topographic map production, and to help protect infrastructure and natural resources and improve public safety.  Mapping accuracy through cutting-edge technology allows for precise planning for energy development, transportation and pipeline infrastructure projects, urban planning, flood prediction, emergency response and hazard mitigation.  The USGS will also continue acquisition of high-resolution interferometric synthetic aperture radar elevation data as part of the Alaska Mapping Initiative.  The USGS will also develop more efficient means of updating hydrography and producing topographic maps.

The President’s FY18 budget request for the Ecosystems Mission Area is $132.1 million to support ecosystem research, health, development and monitoring.  The USGS will provide science to support fish and wildlife management, water filtration and pollution control, healthy soils, pollination and reduction of the effects of wildfires and other natural disasters.  The budget supports funding for the network of Cooperative Research Units that support communities with resource management science.  The USGS will continue to inform long-term conservation and management strategies by providing science on the sage steppe habitat, interactions of rangeland fire and drought management and wildlife and invasive species interactions under stressed conditions.  The USGS will also improve detection and control methods for economically and ecologically costly invasive species including Asian carp, invasive mussels, sea lamprey, brown tree snakes and Burmese pythons, and enhance wildlife disease risk assessment, surveillance and management tools.

The President’s FY18 budget request for the Water Resources Mission Area is $173.0 million.  The budget request supports a robust network of more than 8,000 streamgages.  It will ensure continued research vital to preserving the Nation’s water resources.  With the FY18 budget, the USGS will continue to measure and analyze water use information in cooperation with other Federal agencies, States, localities and Tribes to determine the amount of water used, where it is used and how it is used to support water managers.  The USGS will also focus on drought research, including determining the changing importance of snowmelt in the water cycle that can provide a regional and national picture of how water availability and use changes during drought.

The FY18 budget request for the Land Resources Mission Area (formerly Climate and Land Use) is $112.8 million.  The renaming of this mission area reflects its actual problem-solving focus on meeting the practical science needs of land managers.   With the FY18 budget, the USGS will continue the Landsat program, including support to develop the Landsat 9 mission ground system in close collaboration with NASA.  The USGS will refine the ground system design and procure necessary requirements, as well as implement an initial operating capability to allow users to access the entire Landsat archive.

Additionally, the USGS will compile a continental-scale synthesis of natural patterns of drought to quantify the extent and magnitude of past long-term droughts, as well as their impacts on terrestrial and aquatic communities and other natural resources.  These models will allow resource managers to evaluate potential impacts of various land-use and water-management strategies, and improve support of tribal efforts in planning for and adapting to climate change impacts to fish and wildlife resources. 

The USGS FY 2018 Budget Justification is available here, and additional details on the President's FY 2018 Budget are available on the Department’s website.

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