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Future Challenges for the U.S. Geological Survey’s Mineral Resources Program
review of the program or the projects within the program. In July 2002 the NRC appointed a committee to address the Statements of Task set forth in the USGS’s request:
Assess the USGS’s response to the 1996 NRC review of the MRSP plan.
Evaluate the contributions of the minerals information functions in meeting the goals of the USGS and its partner agencies.
Characterize how the customer base for the program has changed since the 1996 review. Who are the appropriate customers?
How should the program’s vision and activities evolve to meet the nation’s future needs over the next decade?
The committee consists of 10 members drawn from the mining and minerals industry, environmental consulting, academia, state agencies, and the Geological Survey of Canada. Biographical sketches of the committee members appear in Appendix B. One member was also a member of the 1996 NRC committee. The committee met three times to gather and evaluate information and to prepare its consensus report—in September 2002 in Washington, D.C.; in October 2002 in Denver, Colorado; and in January 2003 in Washington, D.C. The committee was briefed by and received written information from USGS managers and scientists, federal land managers, and mineral resource and environmental experts from industry, nonprofit organizations, academia, and state and federal government agencies (Appendix C). Subgroups of the committee met informally with USGS staff scientists at the three USGS regional centers—Reston, Virginia; Denver, Colorado; and Menlo Park, California. Committee members also relied on information from published literature, technical reports (including previous NRC reports) and their own expertise.
While this report mainly provides advice for the USGS’s MRP, it also contains advice for the USGS as a whole and for the users of MRP information, including Congress, federal and state agencies, the general public, industry, and academia. Chapter 2 reviews the recommendations from the 1996 report, and Chapter 3 profiles changes in the program from 1996 to today, including the customer base, and assesses the program’s response to the 1996 report. Chapter 4 describes and evaluates the Minerals Information Team. Chapter 5 considers how the program’s vision and activities should evolve to meet the nation’s future needs.