Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

431.10 - Information Collection Requirements


Date: 04/05/2019

OPR: Office of the Associate Chief Information Officer

Instruction: This revises Survey Manual (SM) Chapter 431.10, Information Collection Requirements, dated June 30, 1989.



1.  Purpose and Scope. The purpose of this chapter is to establish the policy, responsibilities and procedures for controlling the paperwork or reporting burden imposed on the public by the collection of information by U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).


2.  Authorities.

A. Paperwork Reduction Act of 1980 (44 U.S.C. 3501-3520)

B. Controlling Paperwork Burdens on the Public, 5 CFR 1320

C. Departmental Manual (381 DM 11 and 12, Information Collection Program Requirements and Clearance Procedures for Information Collections)

D. Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA) Guide, Version 2.0, dated April 27, 2011

E. Information Collection under the Paperwork Reduction Act, Executive Order, dated April 7, 2010


3.  Definitions.

A. Burden is the total time, effort,  and financial resources required to respond to an information collection, including what is needed to read or hear instructions; to develop, modify, or assemble any materials or equipment; to conduct tests, inspections, observations, or the like, necessary to obtain the information; to organize the information into the requested format; to review its accuracy and the appropriateness of its manner of presentation; and to maintain, disclose, or report the information.

B. Clearance Package refers to the documentation submitted by Bureau personnel seeking clearance to the Information Collection Clearance Officer (ICCO). The entire package is submitted via email as attached Word, PDF, and/or image documents including digitally-signed notices.

C. Information Collection (IC) is the obtaining or soliciting of information by an agency from 10 or more respondents by means of identical questions; whether the collection is mandatory, voluntary, or required to obtain a benefit. The “obtaining” or “soliciting” of information includes any requirement or request for respondents to obtain, maintain, retain, report, or publicly disclose information.

D. Information Collection Budget (ICB) refers to the planning document required by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for information collection activities. This report is now generated from the Regulatory Information Service Center (RISC) and Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) using the Consolidated Information System (ROCIS) database. Individual information collections are listed along with the estimated burden hours associated with each.  

E. Information Collection Clearance Officer (ICCO) is the coordinator of the review and submission of all collections seeking approval within USGS. The ICCO coordinates approvals with the Department of Interior (DOI) ICCO.

F. Personally Identifiable Information (PII) is information about an individual that identifies, links, relates, or is unique to, or describes him or her (e.g., a social security number; age; military rank; civilian grade; marital status; race; salary; home phone numbers; other demographic, biometric, personnel, medical, and financial information).

G. Privacy, as per the Privacy Act of 1974 (5 U.S.C. 552a), sets limits on the personal information that can be collected by Federal agencies.  ICs that collect names, email address, mail address, and phone number are examples of collecting PII. ICs are subject to privacy laws and regulations.

H. Program Official means the person responsible for submitting the documentation supporting an information collection clearance. 

I. Respondent means an individual, partnership, association, corporation, business trust, or legal representative; an organized group of individuals; a State, territorial, or local government or branch thereof; or a political subdivision of a State, territory, or local government. Current employees of the Federal Government are excluded from this definition for purposes of the information collection within the scope of their employment.


4.  Policy. It is USGS policy to ensure that an Information Collection (IC) is structured so that the burden on the public is kept to a minimum. No office may collect or sponsor ICs from 10 or more persons unless it is essential to a program and the IC has been approved by USGS Director, Department of the Interior Executive Secretariat, and OMB. Recurring collections will be reviewed every three years.


5.  Responsibilities.

A. Associate Directors, Regional Directors, Science Center Directors, and Office Chiefs are responsible for ensuring that their staff follow the procedures for requesting or requiring information imposed on the public are submitted to the ICCO.

B. Congressional Liaisons are responsible for ensuring that legislative proposals initiated by the USGS containing information collection requirements are submitted to the ICCO for OMB approval.

C. Associate Privacy Officer is responsible for reviewing data collection forms submitted as part of an IC. If PII is collected, the Associate Privacy Officer is responsible for assisting the author with completing a Privacy Impact Assessment (PIA) and, if the record is retrieved by a personal identifier, identifying a System of Records Notice (SORN) as required by Privacy Act.

D. ICCO is responsible for the following:

(1) Serving as the USGS liaison with the department for submitting and obtaining approval from DOI and OMB;

(2) Disseminating all instructions to the appropriate program officials within the USGS relative to information collection approval;

(3) Responding to questions from USGS program officials about the requirements of the Paperwork Reduction Act or the information collection clearance process;

(4) Reviewing all clearance packages originating in the USGS for conformance to Departmental and OMB guidelines;

(5) Consolidating, reviewing, and ensuring the accuracy and completeness of the annual Information Collection Budget (ICB) submission; and

(6) Monitoring Information Collection Clearance renewal efforts to ensure that appropriate USGS persons (offices) are aware of their renewal obligation and to assist them in meeting the calendar milestones for completing the renewal process.

E. USGS Employees are responsible for working with the ICCO to submit designated documentation for approval by DOI and OMB. Within 30 days after approval has been received, the collection owner will update all web pages, paper forms, and other materials to display the OMB Number issued and the current expiration date.


6.  General Procedures.

A. ICs must be reviewed and issued an Information Collection Clearance Notice of Action (NOA) by OMB prior to requesting or requiring responses from the public; and, if they will continue the collection, must be renewed every 3 years. The USGS and the DOI ICCOs must review and approve these IC Clearance packages. These packages include analysis documenting several factors such as the following areas:

(1) Purpose, use, and legal or administrative requirements for the Collection;

(2) Consequences of not collecting the information;

(3) Collection response methodology, number of expected respondents, and expected nonresponse rate;

(4) Program reporting requirements and plans for reducing public burden;

(5) Estimation of Federal expenses to host the Collection; and

(6) Calculation of estimates for burden hours to respond to the survey instrument and any time required for response preparation.

B. When an Information Collection is being planned, the collection owner will consult immediately with the ICCO, at All Information Collection Clearance packages must be submitted to the ICCO for review and subsequent transmittal to the Department and subsequently to OMB.

C. Every 3 years, ICs previously documented and approved require new assessments and approvals. All documents and calculations should be updated to reflect any changes such as the program official, process, or contact information. Public announcements for the Collections will be published in the Federal Register (refer to SM 205.17 Federal Advisory Committee Management).

D. Beginning January 2017, all Information Collections are reviewed for public benefit and burden by the Executive Managers at both DOI and USGS. A briefing paper template is to be used as the basis for a summary document justifying the collection of information from non-Federal sources. Upon approval, the above procedures are required to receive OMB approval.


7.  Expiration Date. This policy must be reviewed biennially or more frequently, as needed.



 /s/ Katherine M. McCulloch                                                            04/05/19

_____________________________                                              __________

Katherine M. McCulloch                                                                   Date

Associate Director for Administration