. "D: The Relation Between the USGS Geologic Division Goals and the Coastal and Marine Geology Program." Science for Decisionmaking: Coastal and Marine Geology at the U.S. Geological Survey. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press, 1999.
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Science for Decisionmaking: Coastal and Marine Geology at the U.S. Geological Survey
The Committee to Review the USGS Coastal and Marine Geology Program compared the CMGP themes and their stated goals with the GD's seven strategic science goals. The GD goals approach the geological studies of the environment from the ''impact or change" (whether natural or anthropogenic) perspective, which results in a disconnection between them and the areas of interest in CMGP Theme 1. Environmental Quality and Preservation (Theme 1) consists of a collection of unrelated topics. Studies of long-term environmental change through the sedimentary record do not truly address issues of environmental quality and preservation. Sediment erosion, transport, and deposition are naturally occurring processes rather than environmental quality and preservation issues, unless disrupted by human activity. The transport and fate of pollutants is an environmental quality issue and supports GD Goal 7. The preservation of fragile environments and biological habitats clearly depends on the successful conduct of GD Goal 5, but their health can also be affected naturally by climate variability (Goal 4) or by human activity. The role of the CMGP in conservation of marine and coastal areas as marine sanctuaries is one of seafloor mapping of bottom morphology and biological habitats for management purposes, which fits better under Theme 4, Subtheme 1: Systematic Mapping of the Coast and Seafloor. The committee is concerned that activities in Theme 1 do not provide a coherent scientific program. If it is recognized that GD Goals 4 and 5 require an understanding of the dynamic geologic and biologic systems that interact in the coastal and marine environments, then a revision of Theme 1 to reflect the need for systems studies would encompass the range of environments and processes already included in the stated objective.
Natural Hazards and Public Safety (Theme 2) clearly addresses GD Goals 1 and 2 and has consequences for Goal 6, so there appears to be an appropriate match. The GD approaches geological studies of the environment from the "hazard, impact or change" (whether natural or anthropogenic) perspective, which fits well with CMGP Theme 2. However, in the GD, there are four other programs that address hazards of various types (the earthquake, volcano, landslides, and global seismic network programs), and how the CMGP efforts dovetail into the larger efforts by these other programs is a concern of the committee.
Natural Resources (Theme 3) encompasses and directly reflects GD Goal 3. The committee noted that the statement of the scope of studies in Theme 3 omits investigations related to Subtheme 1: Water Resources (Coastal Aquifers), which add another dimension to the theme. However, the relative roles that the CMGP and the USGS Water Resources Division should play in studies of water resources and intrusion of saltwater into coastal aquifers is unclear. If the main effort of the CMGP is to provide the geologic framework of the coastal region so that the Water Resources Division can assess the impact of saltwater intrusion on freshwater resources, that effort could be better included in Theme 4, Subtheme 1: Systematic Mapping of the Coast and Seafloor. If the CMGP intends to include detailed studies of subsurface fluid flow in the nearshore area, then inves-