The Committee directs the Survey to prepare a program plan that explains the objectives and implementation strategies of the Mineral Resource Surveys budget sub-activity. The program plan should address the interrelationships among the resource assessment, environmental investigation, research, and information components of the program; should identify the major users of mineral resource information developed by the Survey; should provide a thorough explanation of how the Survey' s research is provided to and utilized by other federal agencies to manage the nation's lands and resources; and should provide estimated expenditures for the principal activities for which the Survey undertakes research (House Report 103-551, p. 42).
The U.S. Geological Survey has completed the Mineral Resource Surveys Program (MRSP) Plan requested by Congress, herein referred to as the Plan (Appendix A). The five-year Plan outlines changes in direction of the USGS mineral resource activities that reflect new priorities in the post-Cold War era. The Plan represents a significant departure from the past, and implementation of the Plan is resulting in significant changes in the direction of USGS mineral resource activities.
The MRSP Plan suffers from the fact that it was formulated and evaluated during a period of major transition within the USGS. The transition involved significant staff reductions, a major reorganization of the Geologic Division, shifts in program emphasis, leadership changes, and reductions in analytical facilities. Figure 1-1 shows that staffing levels in the USGS's Geologic Division have dropped by 43 percent since 1985, with the sharpest decrease in the past two years. The MRSP staff has been reduced by an even larger percentage than that of the Geologic Division. In the past two years alone, the MRSP staff has fallen by 49 percent, from 511 full time equivalents in FY 1994 to 260 in FY 1996. The U.S. Bureau of Mines was closed and its minerals information activities were transferred to the USGS. The National Biological Service is being merged with the USGS. Some of these organizational changes have had a great negative impact on the morale of MRSP employees and on their ability to successfully execute the Plan. The