1
Introduction

The coastal regions of the United States are economically vital areas, supporting diverse industries and large population centers. When considered in combination with the adjacent marine areas that comprise the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), they represent one of the greatest environmental assets of the nation. For example, the EEZ extends seaward 200 nautical miles from our coastline and covers an area of 3 million square nautical miles (an area 30 percent larger than the land portion of the United States [Gardner et al., 1996]). The coastal and marine regions of the United States encompass vast and complex environments from terrestrial to the air-sea-land interface to the coastal ocean, the continental margin, and the deep ocean and are characterized by rich biological diversity and a wealth of mineral resources. As society has increasingly populated the coasts over the last 25 years, recreated to the beaches, dammed the rivers feeding the beaches and coasts, harvested fish, disposed of waste, and used these areas for transportation, the natural health of the coastal and marine environment has become a critical issue.

The beauty of the coastal ocean has drawn more and more people to inhabit and heavily use this delicately balanced area. The population in U.S. coastal counties currently exceeds 141 million (U.S. Bureau of the Census, 1998). These coastal counties account for only 17 percent of the U.S. landmass; thus, over half of the U.S. population lives in less than one-fifth of its total area, and this trend is expected to continue. For example, 17 of the 20 fastest-growing counties are located along the coast (NOAA, 1998). Nearly 14,000 new housing units are built in coastal counties every week (NOAA, 1998). Beaches have become one of the largest vacation destinations in America, with 180 million people visiting



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Science for Decisionmaking: Coastal and Marine Geology at the U.S. Geological Survey 1 Introduction The coastal regions of the United States are economically vital areas, supporting diverse industries and large population centers. When considered in combination with the adjacent marine areas that comprise the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), they represent one of the greatest environmental assets of the nation. For example, the EEZ extends seaward 200 nautical miles from our coastline and covers an area of 3 million square nautical miles (an area 30 percent larger than the land portion of the United States [Gardner et al., 1996]). The coastal and marine regions of the United States encompass vast and complex environments from terrestrial to the air-sea-land interface to the coastal ocean, the continental margin, and the deep ocean and are characterized by rich biological diversity and a wealth of mineral resources. As society has increasingly populated the coasts over the last 25 years, recreated to the beaches, dammed the rivers feeding the beaches and coasts, harvested fish, disposed of waste, and used these areas for transportation, the natural health of the coastal and marine environment has become a critical issue. The beauty of the coastal ocean has drawn more and more people to inhabit and heavily use this delicately balanced area. The population in U.S. coastal counties currently exceeds 141 million (U.S. Bureau of the Census, 1998). These coastal counties account for only 17 percent of the U.S. landmass; thus, over half of the U.S. population lives in less than one-fifth of its total area, and this trend is expected to continue. For example, 17 of the 20 fastest-growing counties are located along the coast (NOAA, 1998). Nearly 14,000 new housing units are built in coastal counties every week (NOAA, 1998). Beaches have become one of the largest vacation destinations in America, with 180 million people visiting

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Science for Decisionmaking: Coastal and Marine Geology at the U.S. Geological Survey the coast every year (Cunningham and Walker, 1996). This increase in recreational usage, together with the impact of larger year-round populations, is stressing available resources and is making the safe and prudent management of these areas increasingly challenging. Coastal ecosystems face a variety of major environmental problems, including habitat modification, degraded water resources, toxic contamination, introduction of non-indigenous species, and shoreline erosion and vulnerability to storms and tsunamis. Although recent improvements in hurricane, El Niño, and severe coastal storm forecasting have sharply reduced loss of life, the ongoing shift in U.S. population to the coastlines has resulted in an increase in risk to property and human life caused by storms and other geologic processes characteristic of coastal settings, such as earthquakes, landslides, and coastal erosion. Estimates of the present total value of insured property at risk range from $2 to $3.15 trillion (Lewis and Murdock, in press). In addition, millions of individuals are now at risk from rapid-onset events, such as tsunamis, for which present forecasting and early warning capabilities may be less effective. The rapidly increasing expenditures associated with relief and recovery from coastal disasters are of growing concern to both the federal government and the nation as a whole. These coastal disasters result when human behavior and natural processes combine to place homes, businesses, and the public infrastructure at risk. In many coastal communities, declining groundwater levels have led to saltwater intrusion in previously pristine aquifers. Freshwater and saltwater flows are known to form a dynamic system on the continental margin. For example, freshwater springs have long been known off the southeast U.S. coast, and brine seeps have enabled unusual chemosynthetic biological communities to develop in deep water on the continental margin off Florida, California, and Alaska. Saltwater intrusion into freshwater aquifers in coastal areas illustrates that human activities can alter the flow unfavorably. Along the East Coast, onshore and offshore coastal aquifers form essentially contiguous regional units between Rhode Island and Florida. Little is known, however, about the details of the distribution, hydrology, and volume of freshwater in the coastal and offshore region or the extent of its connection with onshore aquifers. Understanding the controls that subsurface geology places on aquifer characteristics is critical to wise use of groundwater. How water (and other fluids, such as waste) flows through continental margin deposits, its interaction with the host sediments, and the relative role that changing sea level plays are often poorly known. The effects of coastal problems ripple far beyond the coastal lands and beaches out on to the continental shelf and slope and even into the deep ocean. Poorly planned development in these areas can result in destruction of the salt marshes and wetlands that act as nurseries for many fish stocks. The damming of rivers can reduce the supply of sediment to beaches, accelerating coastal erosion. Pollutants can be transported either dissolved in the seawater or on particles that can carry these materials far offshore where they can affect the marine ecosys-

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Science for Decisionmaking: Coastal and Marine Geology at the U.S. Geological Survey tems that sustain our fisheries (Plate 1). These processes, coupled with over fishing and the use of fishing techniques that are non-species-specific or physically damage habitats are raising questions about the sustainability of the nation's fisheries. Key to the protection and wise use of these resources is an understanding of the role of habitat in population dynamics, which are often dependent on the geologic framework and geologic and ocean processes in local areas. The deep marine realm, beyond the continental shelf and out to the edge of the EEZ (Fig. 1-1), is commonly regarded as a distant region, unrelated to human endeavor; hence, it is often dismissed in terms of its impact on human life. However, many ostensibly coastal issues have an offshore component. The diversity of the nation's coastal and marine environments is in part due to offshore geologic processes. For example, off Oregon and Washington, volcanic and earthquake activity is concentrated near the edge of the EEZ along a mid-ocean ridge system, which is the longest volcanic mountain chain on our planet (Box 1-1). In this area, hydrothermal vents, similar to the more familiar hot springs of Yellowstone National Park, discharge hot fluids onto the seafloor; form mineral deposits rich in iron, copper, and zinc; and are the site of exotic biological communities. Enzymes from the bacteria found at these sites are now being used extensively in the biotechnology industry and are benefiting humankind through biomedical research. In contrast, the Gulf of Mexico has been dominated Figure 1-1 U.S. Department of the Interior holdings with coral reefs; total coral reef acreage about 625,000 acres. Shaded area is the Exclusive Economic Zone of the United States (DOI, 1999).

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Science for Decisionmaking: Coastal and Marine Geology at the U.S. Geological Survey BOX 1-1 HAZARDS IN THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST The Cascadia project of the CMGP has acquired three major data sets that address regional crustal structure of the Cascadia margin across (1) the Mendocino Triple Junction, (2) the Washington continental margin, and (3) the Puget Sound lowland (USGS, 1998a). These projects, in conjuction with USGS Earthquake Hazards Program, have revealed a number of active faults that have large seismic potential on the margin and in the Seattle-Tacoma region. These faults, which are near the earth's surface, pose as great a threat to the inhabitants of this region as the more distant subduction-zone earthquakes. For this reason, earthquake hazard assessments have focused on mapping the onshore and offshore distribution of faults, assessing how the faults are evolving, and understanding how the upper plate structures are linked to subduction at depth (Fluck et al., 1997). Ground motion hazard maps developed at the USGS are integrally linked to the proximity of these faults, the likely recurrence of earthquakes on these faults, and the wave velocity of the intervening blocks. Efforts fielded to obtain the three data sets have involved consortia of government and academic institutions, coordinated and managed through the USGS. The most recent experience to image the Puget Sound region involved collaboration between the USGS and the Geological Survey of Canada, including the contracting of vessels of both surveys. Onshore participants from the USGS, Oregon State University, and the University of Washington deployed seismometers throughout the Puget sound lowland to enhance refraction models. The prior study involved cooperatives with Forschungszentrum fuer Marine Geowissenschaften (GEOMAR) in Kiel, Germany, the University of Washington, and Oregon State University. The program initiated contacts and coordinate the various entities participating in the project. Roles were determined largely on scientific expertise. The CMGP staff took the lead in coordinating the marine component of the experiments, whereas responsibilities for coordinating the onshore work were equally shared by CMGP, other USGS participants, and university participants. Seattle's project Impact is a multidisciplinary assessment of the geologic hazards affecting the Seattle-Tacoma corridor, with the direct purpose of developing mitigation efforts (University of Washington Geophysics program, 1998). This projects is incorporation the results of the experiments and in particular (1) the newly revealed style structural of faults in the Puget Sound region and (2) the velocity structure of the Puget Sound region. The character and proximity of the faults and the velocity structure directly determine ground motion potential and, therefore, the potential impacts of motions on the built environment. Project Impact is a collaborative effort between state agencies, federal agencies, the engineering community, and the private sector to identify the critical weaknesses in and to improve infrastructure exposed to earthquakes and to improve infrastructure performance. Towards that end, the data and interpretations developed at CMGP are essential.

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Science for Decisionmaking: Coastal and Marine Geology at the U.S. Geological Survey by sediment input and has been key to meeting the energy needs of our nation with its large reservoirs of oil and gas. Hence, the nature of the offshore environment and the geologic processes at work are inextricably linked to the geologic framework of the near-shore regions and their resources and ecosystems. As an integral part of the nation's assets, it is critical that the health and viability of the coastal and marine environment be preserved. To manage these important resources responsibly, the complex natural systems that comprise these regions must be characterized and ultimately modeled. An understanding of a key factor that provides the underpinning of any useful coastal and marine system model is the geologic framework on a variety of scales (e.g., from the scale of its place in global plate tectonics, to the geologic formations resulting from local geologic processes, to the movement of sand grains on a beach). A focused effort of scientific study and national assessment, directed toward developing an understanding of the geologic framework, of this vast, complex, and interconnected coastal and marine region, is necessary if the nation is to wisely manage this important asset. THE VALUE OF UNDERSTANDING GEOLOGIC PROCESSES Geologic processes control the fundamental nature of the earth's surface. The fundamental character of the margins of the world's continents are the result of interactions of many tectonic plates that form the earth's crust. This character is then modified through alternating periods of sediment erosion and deposition, and additional crustal movement. Thus, the character of the U.S. coast and continental margins reflects the delicate interplay of a number of natural processes, as well as the footprint of human activity. The size, depth, and shape of coastal rivers, estuaries, and beaches reflect the control of these same geologic processes through time. Geologic processes also control the size, shape, volume, and quality of freshwater aquifers along the coast. Furthermore, the distribution of wetlands, fishing grounds, minerals, sand and gravel, and other natural resources are also impacted by these processes. Thus, the key to wise stewardship and development of many coastal and marine natural resources is a sound scientific understanding of how earth systems operate. Science-based decisions facing federal, state, and local policymakers can be expected to depend on an understanding of the processes that have traditionally been the focus of research by the USGS and its CMGP. ROLE OF THE USGS The USGS was established by the Organic Act of March 3, 1879 (20 Stat. 394; 43 U.S.C. 31), which provided for ''the classification of the public lands and examination of the geologic structure, mineral resources, and products of the national domain.'' In 1997, the Biological Resources Division was added, bring-

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Science for Decisionmaking: Coastal and Marine Geology at the U.S. Geological Survey ing another disciplinary component into the agency's realm of responsibility. Thus, the mission of the USGS is to provide biologic, geologic, topographic, and hydrologic information that contributes to the wise management of the nation's natural resources and that promotes the health, safety, and well-being of the people. This information consists of maps, databases, and descriptions and analyses of the water, energy and mineral resources, land surface, biologic resources, underlying geologic structure, and dynamic processes of the earth's ecosystems. To accomplish its mission, the USGS: conducts and sponsors research in geology, mapping, hydrology, and related sciences; describes the onshore and offshore geologic framework and develops an understanding of its formation and evolution; assesses energy and mineral resources, determines their origin and manner of occurrence, and develops techniques for their discovery; evaluates hazards associated with earthquakes, volcanoes, floods, droughts, toxic material, landslides, subsidence, and other ground failures, and develops methods for hazard prediction; produces and updates geographic, cartographic, and remotely sensed information in graphic and digital form, and develops advanced mapping techniques, as well as new applications for cartographic and geographic data; collects and analyzes data on the quantity and quality of surface water and groundwater, on water use, and on quality of precipitation; and assesses water resources and develops an understanding of the impact of human activities and natural phenomena on hydrologic systems. publishes reports and maps, establishes and maintains earth science databases, and disseminates earth science data and information; provides scientific and technical assistance in the effective use of earth science techniques, products, and information; and develops new technologies for the collection, coordination, and interpretation of earth science data. coordinates topographic, geologic, and land-use mapping, digital cartography, and water data activities in support of national needs and priorities; provides scientific support and technical advice for legislative, regulatory, and management decisions; and cooperates with other federal, state, and local agencies and with academia and industry in the furtherance of its mission. THE GEOLOGIC DIVISION The USGS is organized into four divisions: Water Resources Division, Biological Resources Division, National Mapping Division, and Geologic Division. The USGS Geologic Division (GD) is the nation's primary federal provider of objective, relevant, and reliable earth science information on geologic hazards, energy and mineral resources, geologic framework, and coastal and marine processes. To provide this information, the division conducts geological, geophysical, and geochemical surveys and investigations throughout the United States, its island

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Science for Decisionmaking: Coastal and Marine Geology at the U.S. Geological Survey territories, and its EEZ and cooperates in global geophysical monitoring and foreign disaster assessments. It conducts geologic mapping to establish the composition, structure, and geologic history of sediments and rocks at and beneath the earth's surface. These maps convey information critical to understanding and assessing the endowment of U.S. mineral and energy resources, to maintaining the environmental quality of lands and waters, and to understanding and mitigating the effects of geologic hazards. The GD coordinates closely with a broad constituency of federal (including other USGS divisions), state, and local agencies; other public and private sector entities; and international agencies and institutions to assure that these agencies' earth science information needs are identified and met in a timely manner. The information is made available in electronic and printed form as assessments, interpretative reports, maps, and data and through personal communications, such as workshops, forums, and meetings. To accomplish this mission, the GD conducts surveys, investigations, and research on: such extreme natural events as earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, landslides, subsidence, erosion from coastal storms and hurricanes and geomagnetic storms that inflict an average annual loss of scores of lives and billions of dollars of damage. Division activities provide information and data with which to make informed management and policy decisions that reduce economic risks and improve public safety. natural geologic processes and phenomena and human-induced actions that operate at the earth's surface and control the evolution of landscapes and the resulting quality of the physical environment. the location, quantity, quality, and availability of mineral and energy resources. the economic cycle of minerals, including production, consumption, recycling, stock, and shipments for some 100 commodities and 190 countries. the geologic and geophysical framework and natural processes that shape U.S. land and coastal and marine areas and thereby affect human activities. the global environmental systems and past and present climate changes in order to document the natural variability of the climate system, establish the environmental consequences of past climate change and likely future climate change for sensitive regions, and monitor related physical properties that could indicate changing environmental conditions. the physical framework and processes of planetary bodies. The field organization of the GD consists of three regional offices, each led by a regional geologist. Regional geologists represent the interests of the chief geologist in furthering the objectives, policies, and procedures of the division. They are responsible for implementing scientific program activities of the division and developing and managing inter-division programs and projects and most reimbursable work supported by other federal and state agencies. They exercise

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Science for Decisionmaking: Coastal and Marine Geology at the U.S. Geological Survey Figure 1-2 Comparison of program budgets (FY 1999) for the 10 programs of the Geologic Division of the USGS (Appendix E). line management authority in their particular region, which is the level at which division programmatic activities are carried out. The GD provides scientific and technical assistance to other federal, state, and local agencies; public and private sector entities; and international agencies and institutions requiring geological, geophysical, or geochemical information and assessments. The work of the GD is carried out largely through a series of coordinated activities (Fig. 1-2) that include the Energy Program, the Minerals Program, the Earthquake Program, the Volcano Hazards Program, and the CMGP. As shown in Figure 1-3, the CMGP represents a relatively small portion of the overall effort of the USGS, when measured in terms of financial expenditures. However, the CMGP represents the focusing mechanism for bringing the considerable scientific capabilities of the USGS to bear on obstacles limiting the nation's ability to manage its coastal and marine resources wisely. THE COASTAL AND MARINE GEOLOGY PROGRAM The CMGP allows the scientific expertise in the GD to be applied to a range of issues that have broad policy implications for the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI), the federal government, and the nation as a whole (e.g., coastal and offshore hazards, marine resources development and conservation, and effect of climate change). In the federal government, many agencies are involved in

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Science for Decisionmaking: Coastal and Marine Geology at the U.S. Geological Survey Figure 1-3 The Coastal and Marine Geology Program as a percent of the FY 1999 USGS budget (Appendix E). activities along the continental margin (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency [EPA], U.S. Army Corps of Engineers [USACE], National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration [NOAA], the Navy, etc.), but the USGS's CMGP is the only program whose mission is to establish the geologic framework of coastal regions; it is also the only program that has the scientific resources needed to place the complex interactions in the coastal region, which operate over a wide range of spatial and temporal scales, into a geologic context. The program's scientific resources are currently distributed among three regional centers. The CMGP addresses issues of national importance in the areas of environmental quality and preservation; natural hazards and public safety; and natural resources, providing information on coastal and marine geology for the science community and public benefit. The program provides information and products to guide the preservation and sustainable development of the nation's coastal and marine environment, including both the EEZ and the Great Lakes (Box 1-2). CMGP's research and mapping investigations are designed to describe coastal and marine systems; to understand the fundamental geologic processes that create, modify, and maintain them; and to develop predictive models. INTENT OF THIS STUDY In June 1994, the USGS implemented a National Coastal and Marine Geology Plan outlining proposed studies and budgets for understanding the coastal

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Science for Decisionmaking: Coastal and Marine Geology at the U.S. Geological Survey BOX 1-2 LAKE ERIE COASTAL EROSION STUDY Erosion of the Ohio shoreline of Lake Erie was recognized as a threat to private property and public infrastructure. The State of Ohio, mandating that coastal erosion areas be identified in development of Ohio's Coastal Management Program, discovered a pressing need for reliable information documenting ongoing erosion rates. Ohio law mandates that coastal erosion areas encompass those "areas anticipated to be lost over the next 30 years due to Lake Erie-related erosion if no additional coastal erosion control measures are emplaced." To meet this requirement a cooperative program was designed to improve estimates of ongoing erosion and to provide a regional understanding of the factors involved (Folger, 1996; Mackey, 1996). The effort involved the USGS and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources' and the Ohio Division of Geologic Survey (ODGS). ODGS provided both scientific expertise and regulatory oversight for assessing development and management in Ohio's coastal erosion areas. The USGS provided scientific expertise and technical capabilities for data collection and interpretation. The bulk of the USGS expertise came from the CMGP, which was also responsible for project oversight. Additional expertise was supplied by the USGS National Cooperative Geologic Mapping Program. As the agency responsible for erosion control and issuing development permits in the resulting coastal erosion areas, the ODGS was largely responsible for identifying the data and product needs for the specific regulatory requirements. The ODGS and the USGS cooperatively defined a data collection and analysis program to meet these immediate needs while enhancing understanding of the processes driving shoreline retreat. Efforts centered on documentation of recession rates and factors (bluff lithology, shoreline modification, sediment entrapment) contributing to shoreline retreat. A broad regional approach was cooperatively designed and implemented to address the role of restricted sand resources on the future evolution of the shoreline. A team of ODGS and USGS research and technical staff cooperatively implemented the program. The ODGS took responsibility for dissemination of results to the public and the ultimate development of policy. The USGS was responsible for ensuring the quality and defensibility of the scientific interpretation. Both agencies participated fully in the data collection and interpretation programs. The interaction between the two agencies was highly successful in the definition of program objectives that addressed both scientific and management needs. The study resulted in the establishment and approval of a Coastal Management Program for Ohio. Designation of coastal erosion areas reflected the study findings that long-term shoreline retreat rates had been significantly impacted by fundamental changes in the nearshore system. A progressive, dramatic reduction in beach width and sediment supply since the early 1970s, due in large part to the emplacement of shore protection structures and high lake levels, had caused an acceleration of erosion along the unprotected areas of the coast. Based on data resulting from this study and recognizing a system-wide change in coastal conditions, the state modified administrative rules to use short-term recession rates (maximum 30-year interval) to designate coastal erosion areas.

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Science for Decisionmaking: Coastal and Marine Geology at the U.S. Geological Survey BOX 1-3 STATEMENT OF TASK 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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Science for Decisionmaking: Coastal and Marine Geology at the U.S. Geological Survey strategic plans. The committee therefore recognized that, in advising the CMGP, it would need to consider the concepts outlined in those plans. For example, in the fall of 1997, the USGS developed a strategic plan to guide the organization into the 21st century. The committee found much of the logic and goals contained in the plan to be both thoughtful and prudent; thus, much of the advice given in this report is in keeping with many of its basic tenets. Of particular value is a brief discussion of the vision of the USGS for 2005 (as articulated in the strategic plan). The challenge for the USGS is to stay focused on a horizon of some ten years out, while realizing that there will be near-term shifts that will demand our scrutiny and perhaps mid-course corrections. These shifts and corrections will be driven by such forces as the increasing devolution of federal government functions to the states and other entities, changes in national demographics, the expanding influence of advances in scientific methods and technologies, and the continuing—and underlying—tension between the development of the nation's natural resources and environmental conservation. Beyond these already compelling factors are the public's perception of its investment in science as a means of solving societal problems and society's concept of the "public good" of science. . . . What will characterize the U.S. Geological Survey in 2005? The USGS will be focused on a well-defined group of business activities. The level of effort applied to current activities will be different. For example, the USGS will conduct more studies on hazards, water, and contaminated environments and fewer studies on non-renewable resources. The following are the salient changes in emphasis mentioned in the USGS strategic plan: Increasing Emphasis long-term interdisciplinary studies mitigation studies quality and accessibility of resources international mineral/energy studies nontraditional disciplines regional and national studies geospatial data integration applied research and development technology transfer issue-driven studies studies involving population centers multiple-risk assessments digital products real-time event responses

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Science for Decisionmaking: Coastal and Marine Geology at the U.S. Geological Survey Decreasing Emphasis single-discipline studies remediation studies distribution and quantity of resources domestic mineral and energy studies traditional earth science disciplines local studies sole production of geospatial data basic research studies compartmentalized technology investigator-driven studies wilderness areas studies single-risk assessments paper products post-event responses Similar concepts from both the USGS strategic plan (USGS, 1997) and the GD's strategic plan (USGS, 1998h) appear throughout this report to acknowledge the committee's recognition that these documents provide particularly helpful guidance to the CMGP. SCOPE OF THIS REPORT As outlined in its statement of task, the committee collected a great deal of information during its visits to each of the three research centers and through extensive input from the USGS staff and many of the users and collaborators of the program. In total the committee either heard presentations or received written input from individuals representing 25 federal, state, and local government agencies, academic institutions, and nongovernmental groups. Those discussions centered on the policy decisions facing entities responsible for coastal and marine areas in the United States and the role the CMGP plays or should play in providing necessary information to support science-based decisionmaking. This report is organized according to the committee's charge and is intended for multiple audiences, including scientists familiar with both coastal and marine geology and the CMGP, and policymakers who may not be familiar with either. Chapter 2 discusses the current niche, as understood by the committee, of the CMGP in addressing research, assessment, monitoring, and characterization of U.S. coastal and marine areas. Chapter 3 speaks to the overarching or grand challenges facing these areas, and Chapter 4 sketches the central role the committee feels the CMGP should play in addressing those challenges, as well as more specific near-term scientific and technical challenges. Chapter 5 contains the committee's advice on how critical human and technical resources can be focused to allow the CMGP to implement change successfully and position itself to play a leading role in advancing this nation's ability to manage its coastal and marine resources and promote the health, safety, and well-being of the people.