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Geoscience Policy Monthly Review: July 2013

The Monthly Review is part of a continuing effort to improve communications about the role of geoscience in policy. Current and archived monthly reviews are available online.

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Federal Agencies

  • DOI and USDA announce partnership to protect watersheds from wildfire impacts

The Department of the Interior’s (DOI) Bureau of Reclamation and the Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Forest Service announced a partnership to restore forestlands around important watersheds and prevent damaging wildfires.

The Western Watershed Enhancement Partnership is included in the President’s Climate Action Plan. Climate change is expected to result in more frequent and destructive wildfires, which in turn damage watersheds via increased transport of sediment, ash, and debris into streams from fire-damaged lands. More than 60 million people rely on the National Forest System as a drinking water source, and this partnership will work to restore forest and watershed health and to proactively plan for post-wildfire responses to protect water supplies.

Work under this partnership will start in the Upper Colorado Headwaters and Big Thompson watershed in Northern Colorado. Partnering agencies will include the Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District and the Colorado State Forest Service. Planned activities include wildfire risk reduction through forest thinning and prescribed burns; minimizing post-wildfire erosion and sedimentation; and restoring areas impacted by past wildfires through tree planting and other habitat improvements.

  • McCarthy nomination clears Senate

After months of indignation and stand-offs between Senate Democrats and Republicans, Gina McCarthy has been confirmed as the new Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in a 59 to 40 vote this July. Senate Republicans boycotted McCarthy’s Environment and Public Works confirmation hearing back in May over transparency concerns aimed at the EPA. Gina McCarthy succeeds Lisa Jackson as head of the EPA.






Monthly Review prepared by: Maeve Boland, Geoscience Policy Director; Abby Seadler, Geoscience Policy Associate; and Brittany Huhmann, Clinton Koch, and John Kemper 2013 AIPG/AGI Summer Interns.

Sources: The American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Chemical Society, Bureau of Land Management, the Congressional Research Service, Department of Energy, Department of the Interior, Environment and Energy Daily, Environmental Protection Agency, Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Federal Register, Fire Adapted Communities, Government Accountability Office, the House of Representatives, National Academies Press, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, National Atlas, National Institute of Standards and Technology, National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, National Science Foundation, Politico, Science Magazine, Stanford University, Thomas, University of Hawaii at Hilo Center for the Study of Active Volcanoes, U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Energy Information Administration, U.S. General Services Administration, U.S. Geological Survey, U.S. Government Printing Office, U.S. Senate, the White House


This monthly review goes out to members of the AGI Geoscience Policy Committee, the leadership of AGI's member societies, and others as part of a continuing effort to improve communications about the role of geoscience in policy. More information on these topics can be found on the Geoscience Policy Current Issues pages. For additional information on specific policy issues, please visit the web site or contact us at or (703) 379-2480, ext. 228.



Compiled August 6, 2013