SPECIAL UPDATE: The President's FY2007 U.S. Geological Survey Budget Request

(Posted 2-13-06)


This update was originally sent out as an e-mail message to AGI's member societies.

On February 6, 2006, Acting Director Pat Leahy presented the United States Geological Survey (USGS) budget request of $945 million, a 2% decrease from the enacted level for fiscal year (FY) 2006. According to the budget document, the budget request “adds $40.1 million in new programs and fixed costs, which are offset by redirecting $50.7 million from lower priority activities and eliminating $10 million in earmarked funding.” Four projects highlighted in the budget request include a new Integrated Multi-Hazards Demonstration Project, the National Streamflow Information Program, the Energy Resources Program, and some new funding to begin development of the Landsat 8 ground system. The multi-hazards demonstration project “will enhance research and assessment on the causes and consequences of natural hazards and improve community responses to hazard events.” In addition to increased funding for these projects, the budget request includes more fixed costs than in previous years, so in some accounts the increase is, in fact, due to the inclusion of these costs. The budget also includes a workforce restructuring that will allow $13 million to be “reinvested in high priority science programs within the USGS, including science partnerships.”

The Geologic Hazards, Resource, and Processes account is marked for a 7.6% decrease for a total of $217.4 million. The multi-hazards demonstration project is proposed to receive an increase of $500,000 for earthquake and landslide activities. There is also a $200,000 increase for coastal and marine geology to support the multi-hazards project. Similar to previous years, the biggest reduction in the geology division is targeted for the Geologic Resource Assessments account that is slated for a 25.6% decrease from last year’s funding level to total $56.9 million. According to the budget document, “the budget proposes a decrease (-$22.9 million) for the Mineral Resources program that will discontinue or reduce global mineral resource assessments of mineral commodities; research on industrial minerals; research on inorganic toxins; materials flow analyses; the Minerals Resources External Research program; and data collection and analysis for 100 mineral commodities in 180 countries outside the United States.” Included in the $56.9 million is $500,000 for gas hydrate research and $500,000 to complete an oil shale assessment, both of which are related to a Department of the Interior (DOI) multi-bureau project to support the Energy Policy Act of 2005. In addition to these energy related funds, the Mineral Resources program will receive $1 million “to begin efforts to collect and preserve vital geological and geophysical energy data.”

Water programs are also marked for decreased funding, but the majority of this cut is related to the elimination of the 54 State Water Resources Research Institutes. The President requested $204 million for the Water Resources Investigation account, a 3.6% decrease from last year’s funding. On the brighter side, the budget request does include a $2.3 million increase for streamgaging activities, which will help increase the number of streamgages reporting in real-time by 30 and allow for continuous operations at high priority sites. The water programs will also receive a new $200,000 for the National Streamflow Information program to support the multi-hazards demonstration project.

Mapping activities were requested to be reduced by 41% from $129.3 million in FY 2006 to $76.6 million in FY 2007, however most of this decrease is due to a restructuring of some of the geospatial programs that have been moved to a new National Geospatial Program within the Enterprise Information account. This proposal would move the geospatial data coordination functions related to the Cooperative Topographic Mapping program and provide a $64 million increase for those activities. There is also a 35% increase in the Land Remote Sensing account that is focused on funding for the Landsat 8 satellite. The Geographic Analysis and Monitoring account is marked for a $300,000 increase to support the multi-hazards demonstration project.

The Biological Research request totals $172.6 million, a 3.3% decrease from last year’s funding level. This decrease includes “$7.3 million in discontinued lower priority studies and unrequested earmarks in biological research.” Funding for the Science Support account totals $67.4 million, which is a 2.8% decrease from last year that is primarily related to the elimination of last year’s request for support of Landsat 7.

Additional information on the USGS budget request and the Department of the Interior’s budget request is available at http://www.agiweb.org/gap/legis109/appropsfy2007_interior.html

Special update prepared by Margaret Anne Baker, Government Affairs Staff

Sources: Department of the Interior and U.S. Geological Survey

Please send any comments or requests for information to the AGI Government Affairs Program.

Posted February 13, 2006