that serve USGS and U.S. government interests. Projects
include satellite monitoring of drought and ooding in
foreign countries, tracking of the spread of disease andinvasive species, monitoring earthquake and volcanicactivity around the globe, and mapping and samplingforeign mineral, energy, and water resources. A number of projects also help mitigate humanitarian crises throughtechnical assistance in natural disaster response and inlocal capacity building. Activities in Afghanistandescribed in Box 2 exemplify local capacity building.
Strategic International Science Opportunities for
As population grows and human-caused impacts on theenvironment increase, the consequences of global changewill likely shape USGS strategy and lead to new oppor-tunities for the Survey to conduct international science.
The report’s authoring committee identied several
potential new international endeavors that are particu-
larly compelling, and could benet the USGS’ strategic
science directions and/or US government international priorities in coming years (see Table 1). Taking a proac-tive approach to developing and executing self-generatedinternational projects, as well as those that result fromexternal requests, would help position the USGS toanticipate and respond more effectively to requests for international input and assistance, and to anticipate newinternational Earth science problems as they arise.
The strategic scientic opportunities shown in Table 1were identied specically to target problems or ques
tions that can benet USGS and its ongoing domestic
activities and increase the Survey’s ability to meet theneeds of the nation. Most of the study ideas lend them-selves well to collaboration among several of theSurvey’s mission areas and represent activities thatclearly build upon existing international science activi-
ties, or represent new scientic opportunities for the
Impediments to More Effective USGSParticipation in International Science Activities
USGS scientists face a variety of challenges inengaging in overseas activities and collaborations. For example, although current strategic plans at the USGSand the Department of the Interior acknowledge theimportance of international work, plans do not explicitlyaddress USGS participation in international scienceactivities. As a result, the diverse international projectscarried out by USGS scientists are not part of an agency-wide vision, endorsed at a high level, for internationalscience.Furthermore, the mission of the Department of the
Interior inuences the maintaining of focused attention
Box 1. USGS Science Strategy
The USGS is charged by the Department of the Interior torespond to evolving national priorities with sound, unbiased
scientic advice. To help fulll this charge, the science
strategy of the USGS recognizes that Earth behaves as asystem, and the USGS has organized its work into sevenmission areas: (1) climate and land-use change; (2) corescience systems; (3) ecosystems; (4) energy and minerals;(5) environmental health; (6) natural hazards; and (7) water.
Opportunities that Complement Existing International Science Activities
Global natural hazards planning and responseEnergy and mineral resource assessmentsEnhanced water sustainability research in desert and tropical areas
Use of climate and land-cover science to inform for decisions on climate adaptation and natural resourcemanagement
Understand the inuence of climate change on ecosystems, populations, and disease emergenceClarication and development of invasive species work using trade patterns, refugee situations, and changing
climate and environment for initial prioritization
Quantitative health-based risk assessment employing hazard identication, exposure assessment, dose-responseassessment, and risk characterizationEcological and quantitative human health risk assessment analysis, based on contaminant exposure levels
Research in water contamination and supplyWater and ecological science in cold regions sensitive to climate change
Comprehensive enhancement of, and accessibility to, essential topographic and geologic map information