The USGS serves the Nation as an independent fact-finding agency that collects, monitors, analyzes and provides scientific understanding about natural resource conditions, issues and problems. The value of the USGS to the Nation rests on its ability to carry out studies on a national scale and to sustain long-term monitoring and assessment of natural resources. Because it has no regulatory or management mandate, the USGS provides impartial science that serves the needs of our changing world. The diversity of scientific expertise enables the USGS to carry out large-scale, multi-disciplinary investigations that build the base of knowledge about the Earth. In turn, decision makers at all levels of government - and citizens in all walks of life -have the information tools they need to address pressing societal issues.

The diversity of scientific issues that demand attention has prompted the USGS to focus its efforts into four major areas: natural hazards, resources, the environment, and information and data management.

USGS environmental science has been crucial to issues such as unlocking the research keys to toxic substances and water-borne pathogens in the quest for safe drinking water supplies; understanding the physical processes that govern contaminants in the environment and determining the impacts of these contaminants on living resources; assessing the status and trends in water quality to develop sound environmental policies; integrating science to understand critical ecosystems such as the Everglades, Chesapeake Bay and San Francisco Bay; and providing geographic data that can be used to ensure biological diversity across the landscape.

Field of Focus
Natural Resources Research