The committee will review the history and status of the Coastal and Marine Geology Program, particularly its most recent national plan and recent workshop reports in the context of the U.S. Geological Survey and the new Geologic Division's Science Strategy. The committee will review current studies and science staff by means of visits to the research centers in Woods Hole, St. Petersburg, and Menlo Park.

The committee will then provide advice on:

  • the general areas of future program emphasis (e.g., research, national assessments, monitoring, characterization) and cooperation with local, state, and national decisionmakers, and with government and academic scientists;

  • the specific scientific and technical challenges (including components from the national plan such as coastal erosion, earthquake hazards, pollution studies, biologic habitats, distribution and significance of gas hydrates), as well as the challenge to maintain a strong and dedicated research staff;

  • balancing between issue-driven and knowledge-driven research, and between regional and national efforts;

  • the ideal mix of science staff as to discipline and status (permanent versus term) to meet needs and ensure the long-term health of the Coastal and Marine Geology Program; and

  • the ideal ratio of core-funded research versus reimbursable research paid by clients.

and offshore areas of the United States and its territories. Since the plan was accepted by Congress several changes have occurred that affect the program: (1) departmental budgets have been level; (2) funding from outside sources has been modest; (3) the GD underwent a significant (25 percent) downsizing in staff; (4) the GD was reorganized, and the former Office of Marine Geology was renamed the Coastal and Marine Program to reflect the fact that the programmatic emphasis has shifted from deep water to the shelf, coast, and estuaries. In addition, many new issues and opportunities unforeseen in the original plan have arisen. These changes made it appropriate to outline new directions for the CMGP in a revised national plan released in 1997 (USGS, 1997).

As part of an ongoing GD effort to receive input from the broader scientific community, the GD requested that the National Research Council (NRC) conduct reviews of a number of its ongoing programs, including the CMGP. In response to this request the NRC formed the Committee to Review the USGS Coastal and Marine Geology Program (Box 1-3). Early in its deliberations, the committee recognized that its review of the CMGP would be held against a backdrop of planning activities that have taken place across the USGS. Both the USGS as a whole and the GD have undertaken efforts over the last two years to develop

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