U.S. GEOLOGICAL SURVEY
Creation and Authority
The Geological Survey 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 geological structure, mineral resources, and products of the national domain.” The Act of September 5, 1962 (76 Stat. 427; 43 U.S.C. 31(b)), expanded this authorization to include such examinations outside the national domain. Topographic mapping and chemical and physical research were recognized as an essential part of the investigations and studies authorized by the Organic Act, and specific provision was made for them by Congress in the Act of October 2, 1888 (25 Stat. 505, 526).
Following the early work on classification of land available for irrigation, provision was made in 1894 for gaging the streams and determining the water supply of the United States (28 Stat. 398). Authorizations for publication, sale, and distribution of material prepared by the Geological Survey are contained in several statutes (43 U.S.C. 41-45; 44 U.S.C. 1318, 1320).1
The mission of the Geological Survey is to provide 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, underlying geologic structure, and dynamic processes of the earth.
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR
Creation and Authority
On March 3, 1849, the last day of the 30th Congress, a bill was passed to create the Department of the Interior to take charge of the nation’s internal affairs. The DOI is now the nation’s principal Federal conservation agency. It manages many of the nation’s special natural, cultural, and historic places, conserves lands and waters, protects cultural legacies, and keeps the nation’s history alive. Interior manages parks, refuges, public lands and recreation areas for public enjoyment, provides access to many of the nation’s natural resources, increases scientific knowledge, and fulfills America’s trust and other responsibilities to native peoples. Interior also provides hydropower to the Western States. It delivers water to over 31 million citizens through management of 479 dams and 348 reservoirs.2
The U.S. Department of the Interior protects and manages the nation’s natural resources and cultural heritage; provides scientific and other information about those resources; and honors its trust responsibilities or special commitments to American Indians, Alaska Natives, and affiliated Island Communities.