President Proposes Nearly $1.8 Billion for USGS Science in FY 2024
RESTON, Virginia — The Biden-Harris administration today released the President’s Budget for fiscal year 2024. The budget proposal includes \$1.786 billion for the U.S. Geological Survey, representing an increase of \$288 million over the FY 2023 enacted budget. The budget proposal allows the USGS to continue investing in key science innovations used by land and natural resource managers, emergency management officials, and others who make critical decisions facing our Nation.
“The President’s budget proposal reflects USGS’s commitment to make forward-thinking investments that will deliver science to those who need it most and address emerging, landscape-scale issues faced by our Nation,” said USGS Director David Applegate.
At the USGS, the proposed budget will:
Address Fire and Drought
The USGS brings a broad array of high-quality, objective earth and environmental science to bear in support of characterizing, responding to, and mitigating the impacts of two critical hazards facing our Nation: wildfire and drought. The proposed budget would allow the USGS to transform its delivery of that science to those at the front lines of wildfire and drought by investing in decision-support tools that federal, state, local, and Tribal partners can use. These and other wildfire and drought products and tools would be produced with the input of the partners who would ultimately use them, engaging with them to address their specific decision-making needs. This will build on last year’s investments in wildland-fire response planning and other climate-science needs.
Ensure Faster, Better Science Delivery – From Disaster Response to Critical Minerals
Targeted investments in high-performance computing capabilities proposed in the FY 2024 budget offer the USGS the potential to advance complex scenario modeling so science information can be delivered in time for critical decisions. A proposed investment in the Advanced Research Computing Environment would allow the USGS to enhance its capabilities to process and analyze data for use in models—including evacuation response scenarios for volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, landslides, and tsunamis.
The recent volcanic eruption in Hawai’i offers an example of the benefits of boosting computing capabilities. The USGS provided lava-flow modeling with improved calculations and graphics showing where lava was likely to go and how quickly in thirty seconds, a dramatic improvement from the 27 hours it previously took. This rapid and reliable information helped emergency managers keep the public safe and illustrates how the USGS can deliver faster, better science tools for natural hazards. Critical minerals are another area where faster, better science is needed. That’s why the USGS also plans to leverage investments in computing capabilities to help locate the critical minerals needed for a wide range of priorities—from national security to health care to everyday consumer products such as mobile phones.
Advance Landsat Next to Continue the Longest Space-Based Record of Earth’s Land Surface
Among the most useful tools in providing actionable data to inform natural-resource management are the Landsat satellites, managed in close partnership between the USGS and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). The USGS operates the Landsat 7, 8, and 9 satellites currently in orbit as they continue to collect and contribute to a 50-year+ continuous observational record of the Earth’s land surface. The publicly available, foundational data and science provides a basis for decisions in agriculture, forest- and water management, land use, energy development, biodiversity, disaster risk reduction, and human health, among many other fields.
The 2024 budget proposes investments in the Landsat Next program, which will involve a constellation of three smaller satellites that would succeed Landsat 8 and 9 no earlier than November 2030. Landsat Next would increase the frequency of observations, produce better imagery, and more than double the spectral bands of previous Landsat satellites with finer spatial resolution. These improvements would expand spatial imagery capabilities and revisit the equator every six days, collecting an average of 20 times the data of its predecessor, Landsat 9. Not only will the data provide an exceptional tool for advanced decision support, it will also continue to be free and open for users. The budget also proposes a new pilot program to augment Landsat data with commercial satellite data, which can improve data collection efforts through targeted, high-resolution monitoring of changing land conditions. The applications would include improved monitoring of the aftermath of natural disasters and capabilities to provide data on land subsidence, forest structure, and other changing conditions.
Make Other Forward-Looking Investments
Modern facilities and workforce recruitment are critical to the USGS’s ability to deliver future innovations. The 2024 proposal continues much-needed USGS investments in new or upgraded facilities for developing hydrologic instruments, observing Hawaiian Volcanoes, studying wildlife health, researching critical minerals and energy resources, and coastal and marine geology research.
In 2024, the USGS plans to continue expanding programs that provide stepping stones for early-career scientists and other professionals from diverse backgrounds that reflect our Nation, while ensuring a safe and inclusive workplace environment. With five new partnerships with Minority Serving Institutions, a pilot neurodiversity internship program, and a new Native Youth in STEM program with tribal partners in the Colorado River Basin, the USGS is investing in tomorrow’s workforce. This leverages 2023 investments in underserved youth through technical training internships that the USGS already provides with Tribes, Alaska Native communities and underserved communities.
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