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Geoscience Policy Monthly Review: August 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

  • France Córdova nominated as NSF Director

President Barack Obama announced on July 31 his intent to nominate astrophysicist France Córdova as the next Director of the National Science Foundation (NSF). Dr. France Anne Córdova served as President of Purdue University from 2007 to 2012 and is currently President Emerita. Prior to Purdue, she served as Chancellor of the University of California at Riverside, where she was also a Distinguished Professor of Physics and Astronomy. The first female chief scientist ever hired by NASA, Dr. Córdova also served as Deputy Group Leader in the Earth and Space Sciences Division at Los Alamos National Laboratory for more than a decade, and has held teaching positions at the University of California at Santa Barbara and Pennsylvania State University. She earned her B.A. from Stanford University in 1969, and went on to earn a Ph.D. in physics from the California Institute of Technology in 1979. If confirmed, Córdova would replace engineer Subra Suresh, who left NSF to become president of Carnegie Mellon University. The Senate must confirm Córdova’s nomination before she can become NSF’s 14th director and the second woman to lead the agency.

  • Kathryn Sullivan nominated as NOAA Administrator

Former astronaut Dr. Kathryn D. Sullivan was nominated by President Obama on August 1 to serve as Administrator of the National Atmospheric and Oceanic Administration (NOAA) and Undersecretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere. She has been serving as NOAA’s acting administrator since Jane Lubchenco’s retirement in February. Sullivan was NOAA’s Chief Scientist from 1993 to 1996 and served as Deputy Administrator and Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Environmental Observation and Prediction in 2011.  Sullivan holds a bachelor’s degree in earth sciences from University of California Santa Cruz and a Ph.D. in geology from Dalhousie University in Canada. She was the first American woman to conduct a spacewalk on STS-41G in October 1984, and also flew in missions STS-31 in 1990 and STS-45 in 1992.  Confirmation of Dr. Sullivan as NOAA Administrator awaits the Senate’s approval

  • National Scenic Trails included on U.S. Topo Maps

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) reported that National Scenic Trails will be added to U.S. Topography Maps. The United States has 11 National Scenic Trails and the first to be featured on USGS maps is the Ice Age National Scenic Trail in Wisconsin.  The revised maps will be added to the USGS Historical Topographic Map Collection and are also available for download.

  • USGS Using “Crowdsourcing” to Map Features of Colorado

The U.S. Geological Survey is launching an experimental program to map man-made structures and facilities in the state of Colorado. Using an internet mapping application, volunteers can help USGS update The National Map by modifying or adding information about features such as schools and fire stations. If the pilot program in Colorado is successful, this volunteer-based mapping will be expanded to other areas

  • USGS awards State Geologists grant to help preserve data

This August, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) announced that it will award $606,073 to 25 state geologists and geological surveys across the country for the preservation of national geological and geophysical data. The Geological and Geophysical Data Preservation Program (NGGDPP), a national initiative at the USGS to create standards, procedures, and protocols for data collection, was established in 2005 as a part of the Energy Policy Act (Public Law 109-58, Sec. 351). The NGGDPP aims to provide a national catalogue of archived materials, provide technical and financial support to State geological surveys and relevant bureaus within the Department of the Interior, and to compile a comprehensive archive of all geological and geophysical data, including maps, well logs, and samples. The award also includes funding for more than 10,000 student hours to help train the next generation of geoscientists to preserve important records and specimens.







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

Sources: The American Meteorological Society, the Arctic Council, Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Federal Register, the House of Representatives, National Academies Press, National Park Service, Nature Geoscience, Scottish Carbon Capture and Sequestration, Space Policy Online, Union of Concerned Scientists, United Nations Environment Program, United Nations Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea, 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 September 9, 2013