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Meeting the challenge: U.S. Geological Survey North Atlantic and Appalachian Region fiscal year 2020 in review

October 26, 2020

The utilization, preservation, and conservation of the Nation’s resources requires well-informed management decisions. The North Atlantic and Appalachian Region (NAAR) of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) supports science-based decision making for Federal, State, and local policymakers to meet the challenges of today and into the future. The science centers in the NAAR have well-deserved reputations as world leaders in delivering unbiased science. We help protect the lives and property of our families, friends, neighbors, and the Nation by providing the data and scientific interpretation that decision makers need to make informed choices on a myriad of topics. Many of our jobs include inherent risk. When others are moving themselves and their families to higher ground during storms, NAAR employees can be found heading toward high water to ensure that accurate streamflow and storm-tide data continue to be collected and delivered to the public and first responders.

In March 2020, the world changed, and the NAAR staff adapted to it. Despite the challenges, the NAAR has had an incredibly productive year. I am not just citing publications (with our labs and field offices closed in the spring, centers increased annual publications by 10 to 40 percent compared with 2019) or partnerships (new science initiatives and partnerships are up significantly as well). Leaders at the center level created the right environments for their teams to be safe but still meet and exceed their program goals. Our vast data collection networks were maintained and enhanced. Our laboratories met holding times and quality-control objectives. When folks asked for help, our staff provided. Some solutions were not perfect at first, but they just kept trying. What started as a short-term inconvenience may now have become the new normal, but in quickly adapting, the NAAR staff showed dedication and wisdom, made the region a little safer, and just might change the world. This general information product highlights just a few of the many accomplishments of the NAAR staff during these challenging times and offers a taste of all the great work being done by the USGS community.