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Bullet policy · Jun 21, 2021

President’s Budget Boosts USGS Funding by 25 Percent

Under President Biden’s budget request for fiscal year (FY) 2022, the United States Geological Survey (USGS) would be funded at $1.6 billion, a 25 percent increase relative to the FY 2021 level enacted by Congress. Funding increases have been proposed for USGS programs across the board.

The Ecosystems Mission Area—the primary biological science organization of the Department of the Interior—provides the science needed to achieve sustainable management and conservation of biological resources in wild and urban spaces. The Ecosystems account, which now includes Environmental Health programs, Land Change Science, and the Climate Adaptation Science Centers, would receive $358 million in FY 2022, 38 percent above FY 2021 enacted levels.

Other mission areas are also slated for budget boosts. Water Resources would receive a nearly 10 percent increase to $288 million, with the Water Resources Research Act program receiving flat funding of $11 million. Support for Natural Hazards would grow by 18 percent. This includes programs to monitor earthquakes (+8 percent) and volcanoes (+11 percent). Core Science Systems is slated to get a 35 percent increase, with most of its new funding going to the Science Synthesis, Analysis, and Research Program, which would be funded at $99 million (+280 percent). The plan would provide $117 million (+9 percent) for the National Land Imaging Program, including $32 million to support the launch of Landsat 9 and continue developing sustainable land imaging with Landsat Next in partnership with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

The Energy and Mineral Resources Mission Area is looking at a significant increase of 56 percent, with its Mineral Resources program slated for a 44 percent increase and its Energy Resources program receiving a 78 percent boost. The Science Support programs at USGS would receive a 27 percent increase, while the Facilities account would get a 3 percent increase.

All research programs are slated for budget increases relative to FY 2021, including species management research (+$13 million), biological threats and invasive species research (+$5.7 million), land management research (+$18.6 million), water use and availability science (+$11.5 million), and environmental health research (+$1 million). Cooperative Research Units (CRUs), which are located on 40 university campuses in 38 states, would receive a small increase of 2 percent. The CRUs allow USGS to leverage research and technical expertise affiliated with these universities to conduct research, provide technical assistance, and develop scientific workforces through graduate education and mentoring programs.

Major investments have been proposed for climate research. Overall, the budget includes $205 million in new climate science investments. The National and Regional Climate Adaptation Science Centers are slated for a 104 percent (+$43 million) increase in budget to $84.4 million, with $10.5 million (+$10 million) set aside for Tribal Climate Adaptation Science. The Climate Adaptation Science Centers are responsible for developing the science and tools to address the effects of climate change on land, water, wildlife, fish, ecosystems, and communities.

The USGS requests $60 million to invest in a collaborative climate research partnership with the new Advanced Research Projects Agency for Climate (ARPA-C) housed at the Department of Energy. This collaboration would support high-risk, accelerated research “to achieve transformational advancement in climate adaptation and resilience.”

The proposal includes funding for a new program—Assessment of Biodiversity (+$5 million)—split equally between the Climate Adaptation Science Centers and the Science Synthesis, Analysis, and Research accounts to understand the key linkages between climate change and biodiversity, develop scientific approaches to help reverse the decline of biodiversity, and conduct the first National Assessment of Biodiversity and Ecosystems. Other new climate investments include $5 million for research on climate-driven biological threats and invasive species, $10 million to improve resilience to coastal hazards, and $10 million to improve water prediction and water availability assessments. The budget also proposes a $20 million increase to study biologic, geologic, and coastal blue carbon sequestration, a $20 million increase to support the inventory of greenhouse gases, and a $5 million increase to provide decision tools to support clean energy deployment.

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