Although the demand for information from the USGS and its supply capacity are out of line, the USGS has established a good foundation on which to plan and build a successful future. It has evolved from an organization that was called on to document the natural resources of the West to one that is now being asked to understand geological, hydrological, geographical, and biological processes of immense importance and complexity. In the future, the USGS will be asked increasingly to deal with questions about how natural systems affect human systems and how human actions modify natural systems. More specifically, it will be asked to provide information on a host of problems ranging from environmental threats and human vulnerability to sustainable resources and livable communities. If it broadens the basis of inquiry to include integrative approaches involving natural and human sciences and becomes proficient at information management, the USGS will more fully realize its potential and provide the scientific information and knowledge essential to the future well-being of society.

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