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USGS’ $1.7 Billion FY 2023 Budget Request Boosts Natural Hazards Risk Mitigation, Wildfire Response Planning

The USGS would accelerate efforts towards minimizing community vulnerability through proposed efforts to deliver data.

The Biden-Harris Administration today submitted to Congress the President’s Budget for fiscal year 2023. The President’s Budget details his vision to expand on the historic progress our country has made over the last year and deliver the agenda he laid out in his State of the Union address—to build a better America, reduce the deficit, reduce costs for families, and grow the economy from the bottom up and middle out.

President Biden proposed a $1.7 billion Fiscal Year 2023 (FY23) budget for the U.S. Geological Survey, which reflects the agency’s enduring responsibilities as it continues to advance the priorities of the Biden-Harris Administration.

“The 2023 President’s budget request both builds upon and expands areas of advancement from this current fiscal year’s budget. It promotes the USGS’s ability to deliver science that addresses the climate crisis, contributes to the Nation’s economic growth and supports the science needs of our underserved communities,” said David Applegate, Associate Director for Natural Hazards Exercising the Delegated Authority of the Director, USGS.

The Budget makes critical investments in the American people that will help lay a stronger foundation for shared growth and prosperity for generations to come. The President’s request invests in conservation initiatives and wildland fire science and will enhance efforts to transition to clean energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Additionally, the budget will advance science activities to mitigate natural hazards and build community resilience, strengthen partnerships with Native American Tribes, enhance youth participation in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education, and strengthen information technology and other enterprise systems that are foundational to research and development.

Climate Science, Conservation and Wildland Fire

The 2023 budget funds critical science on climate change as it relates to ecosystems, species and biodiversity—including science on species at-risk of needing protection under the Endangered Species Act. The science will translate into more effective information and data to inform natural resource management.

One key focus in the 2023 budget is understanding the impacts of sea-level rise and extreme storm events on coastal wetland ecosystems. The USGS would expand decision-support tools for conserving biodiversity in the face of climate-related impacts and develop tools and models for predicting the impacts of a changing climate on water availability and ecosystem health. The request funds the USGS to develop and maintain a climate information portal in cooperation with partners to integrate relevant data, tools and information to help Tribal, state and local governments, communities and commercial entities build resilience to extreme events in an equitable and inclusive manner.

The budget requests an additional investment to support wildland-fire response planning and decisions. The USGS proposes to integrate advanced understanding and data regarding ecosystems, invasive species, climate change, post-fire impact and risk with models that support more resilient communities and landscapes.

The 2023 budget supports satellite operations for Landsat 8, the recently launched Landsat 9 and continued efforts to develop future Landsat missions. The Landsat program, now in its 50th year, provides publicly available, foundational data and science through continuous imaging of Earth that can reveal long-term changes.

The budget includes funding for the creation of the American Conservation and Stewardship Atlas to deliver science to inform conservation for the America the Beautiful initiative. The Atlas would provide information needed to track progress towards the initiative’s conservation goals. The USGS would lead the development of the Atlas to support conservation tracking efforts in several settings, from protected lands to working lands.

Clean Energy, Emissions Mitigation and Carbon Management

As the Nation transitions to a clean energy economy, the 2023 budget advances priorities in clean-energy research, as well as new science and tools for emissions mitigation and carbon management. The 2023 budget supports the mandates of the Energy Act of 2020 by funding research on wind, solar and geologic energy sources, including geothermal, which has the potential to provide a large proportion of the baseload electric power for the entire United States.

The request includes funding to accelerate progress toward understanding geothermal potential in the central and eastern U.S., as well as Alaska, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico, to support a clean-energy economy and the heating and cooling needs of communities across the Nation.

Natural Hazards Risk Mitigation and Community Resilience

The 2023 budget strengthens USGS efforts to make communities more resilient to natural hazards risks. With the proposed funding increase for subduction zone science, the USGS would accelerate efforts towards minimizing community vulnerability through proposed efforts to deliver data and scientific products that aid emergency response and recovery efforts in areas like Alaska, the Pacific Northwest, and the Caribbean that are vulnerable to large earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, tsunamis, landslides, and other hazards caused by the collision of the Earth’s tectonic plates.

Community resilience is not just a matter of terrestrial risk but also predicated on assessing, understanding and managing water resources and risks as well— both inland and along the coasts. The USGS manages the Groundwater and Streamflow Information program, which maintains a nationwide network of streamflow and water-level information from more than 11,000 sites. The 2023 budget includes additional funds for federal priority streamgages, and information from the network is available online to meet the needs of natural-resource managers, scientists and emergency managers across the country to monitor for floods and drought and forecast water availability for natural resources and crops.

The budget includes additional funds for risk reduction and community resilience through the USGS Coastal/Marine Hazards and Resources program. With the requested funding, the program would strengthen critical personnel capacities in social science, equity, risk communication, and monitoring and evaluation, with a focus on underserved communities.

Science Education in Underserved Communities and Partnerships with Native American Tribes

With the 2023 request, the USGS would improve its capacity to meet diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility goals. Funding requested in the 2023 budget will help the USGS improve resources for underserved communities in youth and STEM education through scientific capacity building.

The USGS is also investing in the enhancement of scientific capacity partnerships through technical training internships with Tribes, Alaska Native communities and underserved communities.

Leveraging Investments in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law

The President’s 2023 budget leverages the once-in-a-generation investments in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (P.L. 117-58), which the President signed on November 15, 2021. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law provided $511 million for the USGS to improve understanding of mineral resources across the country through integrated mapping, the preservation and collection of geological and geophysical data, and a replacement laboratory facility for energy and minerals research. The 2023 request builds upon the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law’s investments to augment national capabilities for critical minerals research and geological and geophysical data preservation to support the growth of the U.S. economy.

The Budget makes these smart investments while also reducing deficits and improving our country’s long-term fiscal outlook.

For more information on the President’s FY 2023 Budget, please visit: https://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/budget/.

Additional details regarding the Department of Interior’s FY 2023 Budget are available via the Department’s press release and DOI Budget in Brief for FY2023.

For more information on the FY 2023 budget request for the USGS, please see the USGS’s FY 2023 Budget Justification.

Read more at USGS

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The Government Technology & Services Coalition's Homeland Security Today (HSToday) is the premier news and information resource for the homeland security community, dedicated to elevating the discussions and insights that can support a safe and secure nation. A non-profit magazine and media platform, HSToday provides readers with the whole story, placing facts and comments in context to inform debate and drive realistic solutions to some of the nation’s most vexing security challenges.

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