responsibility fits well with the USGS interest to “understand the nation’s water resources.”
Science Center research grade scientists will need to be considered for integration in project teams coordinated around the national strategic directions. This may require flexibility in being able to assign research grade staff in one Science Center to work temporarily on a team for another Science Center. Hence, some of the same issues discussed for realignment of NRP staff may apply to the research grade staff in the Science Centers.
The USGS WRD should involve all research grade personnel in staffing teams to address regional and national research priorities, regardless of location, to increase the agency’s flexibility.
The USGS WRD has a history of distinguished service to the nation. Despite the declining resources and staff reductions, the WRD has made adjustments to continue its role as a national leader, particularly related to water quality and water availability. But to adequately address the nation’s growing water science needs, the WRD and USGS leadership will need to provide a more focused vision of the national water priorities that they will address and a management approach to integrate WRD programs and the interdisciplinary character of the USGS.
The committee advocates a more targeted selection of water science projects that address critical national needs. Programs and projects should be integrated at a high level with teams capable of making important scientific contributions. The approach should better leverage the interdisciplinary science and technical prowess of the NRP with the operational capabilities found within the Science Centers. Interpretive activities will need to better focus on regional and national syntheses and forecasting and predictions to address national priorities. To successfully meet the water and energy challenges the United States is facing the USGS will need to provide new and improved water science. As stated in the USGS 2007 strategic plan—“The USGS must transform its approaches to problem solving not only to address the issues of today but also to prepare for those of tomorrow.” The sharper focus on critical priorities described in our report will help to address these problems, but to adequately meet the challenge will clearly require new and additional resources.
To ensure a secure water future for the nation, sufficient funding should be provided for the USGS to perform its function as a major