Our Units are administered through a Coordinating Committee, consisting of a designated person representative of the USGS, the host University, the state agency(s), the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Wildlife Management Institute. All projects are important to cooperating agencies. Research, training in the application of results, and other activities, are legitimate endeavors.
All research priorities are set locally in response to identified cooperators’ applied science needs. Significant controls are in place to ensure projects align with the USGS mission and the priors including invasive carp and pythons; and several units (Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Wyoming) have coordinated with the USGS National Wildlife Health Center on chronic wasting disease.
In keeping with the original legislation that created the CRU program (P.L. 86–686), the research priorities for a particular unit are set locally in consultation with Federal and State cooperators. Unit scientists and unit supervisors work with cooperators to help them identify their needs, and unit supervisors ensure that all research conducted is aligned with the USGS mission. Final approval for each project is made by CRU headquarters management (Chief or Deputy Chief) to ensure that projects meet the USGS mission and DOI priorities.
Research Work Orders (RWOs) are the mechanism through which host universities receive Federal financial support to conduct research as provided for in the 1978 amendment to P.L. 86–686. RWOs are an extension of the Cooperative Agreement establishing each unit. Funds from the USGS, other DOI bureaus, or other Federal agencies are obligated via Financial Assistance into an RWO and awarded to the University for a specific research project. The Deputy Chief assures that the project meets the requirements for an RWO, including the following: (1) the project must be novel research; (2) the project must be consistent with the mission of the USGS and DOI priorities; (3) the project must have an educational component; (4) the budget is complete and appropriate; and (5) no apparent conflicts of interest exist.
Regional Engagement and Coordination
CRU Headquarters staff and regional leadership participate in regular quarterly meetings between USGS Center Directors, USGS Regional Directors, and USGS Ecosystems Mission Area leadership. The CRU program’s regional leadership regularly discuss points of shared interest with USGS Center Directors and other regional USGS staff. The Chief of the CRU program maintains regular communications with USGS Center Directors and USGS Regional Directors on topics of mutual interest, including most recently the development of an interagency pollinator science partnership that engages regional staff, center scientists, as well as external partners (for example, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the Smithsonian Institution) in research to inform pollinator conservation.