ENVIRONMENTAL PROGRAMS OF FEDERAL RESEARCH AGENCIES
The descriptions of agency environmental research programs in this appendix were prepared by committee members and staff on the basis of information obtained in presentations by agency representatives, interviews with agency personnel, agency publications, and other published material. Unless specified otherwise, the financial data presented in this appendix were obtained from the American Association for the Advancement of Science report Federal Funding for Environmental R&D (Gramp et al., 1992).
The existence of a large number of environmental research programs spread among many parts of the federal government makes it difficult to describe these activities comprehensively or with the same emphasis and detail that some agencies might see as appropriate. The descriptions in this appendix illustrate the breadth of environmental research activity in the federal government, but should not be assumed to be inclusive; nor should the lengths of descriptions be taken to indicate greater or less importance of some programs or sets of programs than of others.
Agency descriptions were sent for review to persons in the agencies described. Not all agencies responded. In some instances, agencies requested inclusion of additional information that was too detailed for use in a brief report. We thank the agency reviewers for their help in correcting and revising the descriptions. However, the committee takes responsibility for the information presented.
DISTRIBUTION OF FUNDS1
The committee has used the figures published by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (Gramp et al., 1992) to gain perspective on the distribution of federal funds for environmental research. The AAAS report shows expenditures of about $4.5 billion for environmental research in four categories: environmental sciences (life and physical sciences), $3.1 billion; engineering and other sciences related to the impacts of natural and anthropogenic activities in the environment, $1.2 billion; social sciences related to the environment, such as environmental economics, and adaptation to global change, less than $50 million; and information and data related to the environment, $200 million. The AAAS report states that about $0.7 billion is expended for studies of human health related to the environment in addition to the $4.5 billion of the above-described expenditures. The analysis excludes funding for operational activities related to the environment, such as environmental-policy studies, training, technical assistance, and waste cleanup and $0.3 billion for extraterrestrial environmental sciences. Figure 4 shows the distribution of funds by disciplinary category.
Over 20 agencies provide funds for environmental research and development through hundreds of programs. Six agencies–DOD, DHHS, NASA, DOE, NSF, and USDA–provide 70% of the total. About one-third of the federal funds for environmental R&D is for inhouse government laboratories. The DOI, NOAA, and Agricultural Research Service (ARS) and Forest Service of USDA do most of their work intramurally, and NOAA and NASA also conduct inhouse research extensively. About 45% of the federal support to extramural performers is expended in industry, contractor-operated national laboratories and other nonprofit R&D centers.
The AAAS estimates that the environmental research agencies (NASA, NSF, United States Geological Survey (USGS), NOAA, and the Smithsonian Institution) spend about $2 billion of federal funds for environmental R&D. Sector-specific agencies (including USDA, DOE, DOD, and the Agency for
International Development (AID) expend an estimated $1.8 billion. Management agencies that implement most of the nation's environmental and resource laws (EPA; NOAA's National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) and National Ocean Service (NOS); DOI's Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and National Park Service (NPS); the Forest Service; and the Corps of Engineers) account for an estimated $0.8 billion. About 75% of the money spent by research agencies is for R&D in physical environmental sciences. The sector-specific agencies invest over half their environmental R&D money in engineering and other R&D related to environmental impacts. The management agencies devote nearly 60% of their Environmental R&D funds to the life sciences. Figure 5 shows the distribution by agency.
Although the AAAS report warns of confounding factors when estimating spending trends by scientific disciplines and alerts the reader to its use of subjective judgments when working with such figures, the report contains informative estimates of funding by scientific focus, as summarized below.
The bulk of the $3.1 billion estimated for environmental-sciences supports R&D is oriented toward understanding physical environmental procedures and interactions. Roughly $2.2 billion of the above amount involves such fields as oceanography, geology, chemistry, and atmospheric sciences. Two-thirds of the money derives from programs at research agencies, such as geosciences research at NSF; USGS programs; NASA's earth-sciences R&D; all of NOAA's weather, climate, and atmospheric R&D; and a portion of the latter's marine research. Another quarter of the total comes from programs at sector-specific agencies, notably DOE's carbon dioxide and environmental-sciences research, and DODs R&D on weapons-system environmental research involving oceanography and atmospheric sciences. EPA also funds R&D in atmospheric sciences, chemistry, geology, and marine sciences especially for projects on air quality, Superfund and hazardous wastes, groundwater, and cross-media issues. Funding for R&D on physical environmental processes grew at an average annual rate of 10% from FY 1990 to FY 1992, with two-thirds of the added money going to programs associated with the global change initiative.
The profile of environmental life-sciences funding is quite different. A smaller sum, estimated at $0.9 billion, was available in FY 1992 for processes and interactions of living resources, such as environmental biology, including ecology, forestry, biology, and marine biology. Furthermore, sponsorship differs. Environmental management account for 47% of the funding, notably the DOI, primarily via FWS, NOAA through NMFS and NOS, Forest Service, and EPA (mostly for programs on multimedia issues,
pesticides, toxic substances, water quality, global change, and acid rain). Research agencies provide 26% of the money, including NSF's environmental-biology programs, various Smithsonian Institution projects, NOAA's sea grants, and about $86 million for NASA's ecological systems and dynamics and related R&D in the global change programs. Sector-specific agencies provide about another 25%, primarily USDA's ARS and Cooperative State Research Service. Programs pertaining to global change account for about one-third of the 12% average annual growth for environmental life sciences from FY 1990 to FY 1992.
Engineering and other R&D related to environmental impacts of anthropogenic and natural activities lost ground to inflation from FY 1990 to FY 1992. Over 80% of the $1.2 billion allocated to this type of R&D is provided by sector-specific agencies. The largest programs are at DOE where $0.5 billion was spent in FY 1992 on coal-related technologies and $0.2 billion on cleaning up atomic-defense facility sites. Management agencies–mainly EPA–account for most of the remaining mitigation R&D, addressing such priorities as pollution prevention, waste cleanup, oil-spill mitigation, and wetlands. NSF's share in this category is $26 million for R&D on natural and man-made hazards.
On the basis of budgetary and related R&D reports, the AAAS analysis identified about $41 million for social-science R&D in FY 1992, representing yearly increases of 28% from FY 1990 to FY 1992. NSF provided $12 million mainly for studies of the economic and human dimensions of global change. USDA agencies sponsor another $16 million, mostly for economic research related to resource management, including forests. AID's $9 million supports research on economic and social factors affecting the environment in developing nations.
R&D on information and data systems related to the environment received an estimated $0.2 billion in FY 1992. The AAAS report notes that these figures are based on judgments because it is often difficult to distinguish between funds devoted to the science and to the data-management component of programs. Included in the AAAS figures are such programs as NASA's information and data systems for the earth-observing satellite system, NOAA's R&D on satellite information systems, DOE's computer hardware and advanced mathematics and modeling physics program, and USGS's mapping, cartographic, and data-analysis R&D. Information and data systems have been one of the fastest growing areas of environmental R&D, increasing at an average annual rate of 54% from FY 1990 to FY 1992.
With respect to the character of environmental work supported by federal agencies, the AAAS report notes that:
Management agencies use two-thirds of their funds for applied research to obtain information in support of decisions and actions regarding specific habitats, species, or state and regional environmental strategies.
Half the money at sector-specific agencies supports development activities focusing primarily on solutions to environmental programs.
Research agencies devote half their funding to basic research but also develop satellites and other technologies needed to support that research.
Of the $2.2 billion estimated for R&D in the physical environmental sciences, nearly $1.7 billion (77%) is classified as for research ($1 billion for basic research supported by NSF, DOD, USGS, NASA, and DOE), $0.4 billion as for development, and $0.1 billion as for equipment and facilities. Most of the development costs are associated with NASA's upcoming missions and DODs environmental studies for the Strategic Defense Initiative.
Of the $0.9 billion estimated for R&D in the environmental life sciences, $0.8 billion (over 90%) is for research. About $0.5 billion is for applied research. Management-oriented agencies account for two-thirds of the applied research, notably NMFS, EPA, the Forest Service, FWS, NOS, and NPS. USDA is the largest sponsor of basic research in the environmental life sciences, providing over 40% of the $0.3 billion in this category, and NSF provides another 30%. The development work is associated with NASA's Earth Observing System and other programs.
Of the $1.2 billion estimated for R&D in engineering related to environmental impacts, 60% is classified as for development and only 7% as for basic research. Sector-specific agencies–primarily DOE and DOD–fund over 90% of the development activities. Those two agencies plus EPA and DOI support most of the applied research and NSF, EPA, and USDA fund most of the basic research in this area.
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) supports and manages environmental research programs through the offices of the Assistant Secretary for Science and Education and the Assistant Secretary for Natural Resources and Environment. Because agriculture, forestry, and grazing are so intimately involved with the use and quality of land and water resources, wildlife habitat, potential toxicity of farm chemicals, and other environmental issues, much USDA research can be considered ''environmental." USDA is involved with the U.S. Global Change Research Program and the U.S. National Acid Precipitation Assessment Program (NAPAP). It is the leading funder of environmental life-science research ($296 million in FY 1992) and
the sixth largest source of basic-research and applied-research funds in the federal government.
USDA, one of the oldest federal agencies, has a long history of research performance and support, beginning with the Morrill Land-Grant College Act of 1862. In 1887, the Hatch Act created the State Agricultural Experiment Stations and assigned administrative responsibility for them to the land-grant institutions. USDA Forest Service research traces its roots to 1876, when Congress required that a Forest Commissioner be appointed to head the USDA Division of Forestry "to study the present and future demand for timber and other forest products, the probable supply for future wants, [and] the means best adapted for preservation and renewal."
In the late 1960s, environmental problems were recognized as critical to USDA's mission as concern increased about the use of chemicals and pesticides, about combatting animal and plant diseases, and about increasing the productivity of American farms.
USDA research, including environmental research, is performed primarily by the Agricultural Research Service (ARS), the Cooperative State Research Service (CSRS), in cooperation with the State Agricultural Experiment Stations, and the Forest Service.
Although USDA has conducted intramural research since before 1900, ARS was established in 1953. The national program staff in ARS headquarters plans and coordinates research programs, sets priorities, allocates resources, and reviews and evaluates research programs and progress. ARS and the Forest Service have intramural research programs in agriculture and forestry, respectively, with some joint research efforts, such as windbreak forestry and range research. USDA intramural research is performed at federal research centers and by ARS and Forest Service scientists at land grant universities. ARS expenditures for environmental research ($162 million in FY 1992) include programs in soil, plant, water, and nutrient relationships; watershed protection and management; improvement of range resources; adaptation to weather and weather modification; conservation and efficient use of water; remote sensing; alleviation of soil, water, and air pollution; multiple-use potential of forest land; saline and sodic soils and salinity management; wildlife and fish ecology; alternative uses of land; and for environmental sciences supporting other goals. ARS reports $9.5 million in expenditures for the U.S. Global Change Research Program (B.R. Stillings, personal communication, USDA, February 18, 1993). ARS programs in the category of engineering, science, and technology related to pollution issues accounted for $38 million in expenditures in FY 1992 and included programs in alleviation of pollution, watershed protection and
management, conservation and efficient use of water, improvement of drainage and irrigation systems, and protection from pollution.
CSRS supports research scientists primarily associated with land-grant colleges, State Agricultural Experimental Stations (SAESs) other public institutions, and private research organizations. The principal funding sources for CSRS are formula funding to SAESs associated with land-grant colleges and universities, special research grants that are either congressionally earmarked to specific research programs or awarded competitively, and competitive research grants that are open to all qualified research investigators. For example, the CSRS special research grants in water quality are peer-reviewed and competitively awarded. The water quality program is directly relevant to environmental research, and the priorities are set locally by SAES directors on the basis of local needs. The CSRS competitive research grants program under the National Research Initiative (NRI) supports peer-reviewed, investigator-initiated grants in six major categories, two of which-plant systems and natural resources and the environment-are directly relevant to environmental issues. CSRS planned to spend $119 million in FY 1992 for environmental research; funds were distributed to SAESs and other college programs, competitive grants, special grants, and cooperative forestry. CSRS expenditures support environmental programs, including soil and water conservation; soil nutrient management; forest biology and management; water quality; alternative and sustainable agricultural systems; biological control of plant and animal pests and diseases; management of agricultural chemicals, nutrients, and wastes to protect environmental quality; management of soil, water, forests, and air resources; fish and wildlife ecology and management; and social, economic, and policy implications of environmental programs. Expenditures for engineering, science, and technology related to environmental mitigation were for SAESs and other college programs, special grants, animal health, cooperative forestry, and competitive research grants. These CSRS programs support research, such as research in prevention of pollution from agricultural systems; water management, including drainage and irrigation; soil erosion control; land use; geographical information systems and remote sensing for environmental planning; landscape and watershed protection; and alternative energy sources. CSRS's plan for FY 1992 expenditures for the U.S. Global Change Research Program was $11.4 million (B.R. Stillings, personal communication, USDA, February 18, 1993).
The mission of Forest Service research (FSR) is to develop and communicate the scientific information and technology needed to protect, manage, and use the natural resources of forest and rangelands. FSR works closely with science agencies, universities, and private and public organizations.
It also works for and with users–policy makers, natural-resource managers, educators, and industries and other producers.
In response to public input and user needs, FSR has developed an environmental research program consisting of a foundation program and efforts to address national problems. The foundation program is the core of basic and applied research that provides essential support for work on each of the national problems. Addressing each national problem involves basic and applied research focused on a specific problem of critical importance. In addition, research focused on one national problem area is often relevant to other national problems. The number and focus of national problems vary from year to year as research provides answers and new topics arise.
In FY 1993, FSR is addressing eight national problems concerning the following topics: wetlands; tropical forestry; forest health monitoring; recycling; ecosystem management research; global change; enhancing forest-based economies in rural America; and threatened, endangered, and sensitive plant and animal species.
Other objectives of FSR include the following:
Improve methods to prevent, predict, control, and reduce damaging effects of wildfire, insects, and disease.
Provide a comprehensive, continuing inventory of U.S. forest-land resources.
Provide the scientific and technical information on forest ecosystems needed to improve the growth and quality of trees and associated vegetation.
Provide the knowledge, techniques, and strategies needed to manage, protect, and enhance forest, rangeland, and associated aquatic ecosystems emphasizing sustained ecological processes, biodiversity, water quality and quantity, wildlife, and fisheries resources.
Provide scientific information and technologies to harvest, produce, and use wood products in efficient, safe, and environmentally beneficial ways.
A small staff in Washington, D.C., provides policy direction and coordination for FSR, which is managed through eight experiment stations across the nation; a forest products laboratory in Madison, Wisconsin (the world's largest center for forest-products research); and the International Institute of Tropical Forestry in Puerto Rico. Research laboratories are generally on or near major university and college campuses.
FSR scientists have access to 191 million acres of national forest land, 84 experimental forests, and more than 70 research natural areas. Research is
also international in scope–FSR scientists are working with colleagues in more than 20 countries.
FSR employs more than 700 scientists, nearly 500 of whom hold Ph.D.s in a broad array of disciplines from aesthetics to zoology. Their span of expertise includes temperate, boreal, and tropical forests; social systems; and environmental technology.
FSR coordinates its research efforts with a broad array of partners interested in environmental science and technology, including:
The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, the Idaho Fish and Game Department, and the Bureau of Land Management to help restore biological diversity and improve range condition in the interior West.
Citizen groups, environmental organizations, industry, and universities in the Blue Mountains of northeast Oregon and southeast Washington to restore stressed ecological communities.
The U.S. Global Change Research Program under the auspices of the Committee on Earth and Environmental Sciences (CEES) of the Federal Coordinating Council for Science, Engineering, and Technology (FCCSET).
The Forest Health Monitoring (FHM) Program, developed by the Forest Service in coordination with EPA's Environmental Monitoring and Assessment Program (EMAP).
The Forest Service is unique in USDA in that its Congressional appropriation is not considered by agricultural committees but by committees related to the Department of the Interior. Most of the FSR program can be considered environmental research. The FSR environmental research budget for FY 1992 was approximately $152 million; $56 million was spent on priority research programs, and $96 million was spent on basic environmental research programs (J.A. Sesco, personal communication, U.S. Forest Service, February 8, 1993).
DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE2
Environmental R&D is a fundamental component of national defense programs, providing knowledge essential to the operation of weapons systems
and the management of the environmental impacts of defense activities. The Department of Defense (DOD) spent about $577 million on R&D related to the environment in FY 1992, of which an estimated $432 million involves environmental sciences and $146 million mitigation-related engineering, science and technology. Approximately $130 million of this R&D was expected to have been done at universities and colleges, making DOD the second largest sponsor of academic research in environmental fields.
DOD has a long history of supporting research on the Earth's oceans, atmosphere, and terrain as part of its weapons systems development efforts. Environmental R&D has become even more crucial in recent years, because of the emergence of smart weapons, anti-submarine technologies, and diverse battlefield environments. Roughly $265 million of the funding estimated for environmental sciences supports R&D done by the military services to enhance weapon-related capabilities. Most of this activity is either basic or applied research ($160 million and $105 million, respectively) in oceanography, and atmospheric, terrestrial, and solar-terrestrial sciences. The FY 1992 budget for the Strategic Defense Initiative Organization (SDIO) includes $112 million for environmental sciences, all of which is classified as development. Although environmental R&D was identified as a "critical technology" by DOD in 1991, funding for these activities increased by less than 4% from FY 1990-1992, resulting in a decline after adjusting for inflation.
DOD's environmental sciences R&D is oriented toward developing baseline data, remote sensing technologies, and predictive models of the ocean, local area conditions, and target environment characteristics. For example, DOD supports the development of data and models on ocean circulation and structure, the marine boundary layer, feedback between the ocean and atmosphere, and related underwater acoustics. Technologies for improving the accuracy of oceanic measurements have focused on space, air, surface, and underwater-based sensors. Concern about regional conflicts has spurred R&D on surface and space-based remote sensing technologies that could improve specifications of local atmospheric and terrain variables (e.g. clouds, temperature, humidity, winds, etc.) as well as models for predicting conditions and integrating local battlefield data with regional or global data. Accurate environmental data must also be integrated into the design of smart weapons and automatic target recognition systems in order for them to function effectively. Thus, the SDIO and other DOD entities are developing technologies that can measure and simulate the atmospheric boundary layer, the seismic/acoustic and electromagnetic characteristics of terrains, maritime aerosols, "background clutter," and related strategic and tactical concerns.
Research sponsored by defense agencies other than SDIO accounts for another $54 million of the environmental sciences total. The Defense
Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and Defense Nuclear Agency (DNA) together expect to fund about $34 million in geological research, mostly for nuclear weapons testing and treaty verification purposes. DNA also plans to spend $2 million for applied research in environmental biology and $5 million in atmospheric sciences related to weapons testing. The budget of the Office of the Secretary of Defense includes $8 million for oceanographic and $4 million for atmospheric studies pertaining to other defense priorities.
A small portion of DOD's mission-oriented R&D pertains to the U.S. Global Change Research Program. Studies and models being developed by the Office of Naval Research account for $5.8 million of DOD's $6.3 million3 contribution for FY 1992. This includes $1.0 million for research on ocean ecological dynamics.
Congressional interest in linkages between defense and non-defense environmental research was a factor in the creation of the Strategic Environmental Research and Development Program (SERDP) in 1990. The types of expenditures for SERDP include: costs associated with de-archiving and "sanitizing" environmental data previously collected by DOD researchers; the marginal cost of excess computer time on federal supercomputers made available to environmental researchers; the incremental costs of certain environmental data collection activities, including remote sensing; and funding for R&D on pollution prevention, nuclear, toxic, and hazardous waste management, and advanced energy generation and conservation technologies. SERDP activities are overseen by a joint council that includes officials from DOD, Department of Energy (DOE), and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and by a scientific advisory board. In the absence of funding details on SERDP's diverse portfolio of projects, the program has been included here under engineering, science, and technology R&D.
The threefold increase in funding for DOD's mitigation-related R&D over the last two years is the result of recent initiatives like SERDP and an added emphasis on environmental management by the services. Among the new starts since FY 1990 are rocket motor demilitarization under the START Treaty ($27 million in FY 1992), a Navy environmental quality project ($26 million), and a special environmental project under defense agencies ($20 million). Despite the scope of SERDP's activities, its FY 1992 budget has been shaved to $10 million, because of the $90 million rescinded from prior appropriations as part of Congress's May 1992 deficit reduction package (Congress originally provided $150 million for FY 1991 and $50 million for FY
1992). In making this cut, lawmakers cited the slow pace of program implementation, and precluded the use of the remaining funds for remote sensing projects.
The $62 million estimated for service-related mitigation engineering, science and technology is nearly double the level of activity in FY 1990. The Army and Air Force each account for roughly half of the funding for R&D on installation environmental restoration, pollution prevention, and atmospheric compliance. The Army funds all of the R&D on terrestrial and aquatic assessment and base support operations, while the Air Force does most of the work on noise abatement. In addition to the special project noted above, the Navy's mitigation R&D also involves a small global marine compliance program.
In 1990, the Corps of Engineers adopted what it termed "new environmental approaches" to its investment and regulatory programs. Under that policy, the Corps accorded priority to restoring fish, wildlife, and vegetative habitats affected by its projects, implementing its regulatory programs to achieve "no net loss" of wetlands, and pursuing nonstructural solutions to water resource problems. From FY 1990-1992, funding for environmental R&D at the Corps increased 44% to $27 million, primarily because of increases for wetlands research (up sevenfold to $7 million). Most of the Corps' environmental R&D total focuses on the impacts of natural and anthropogenic activities, including coastal engineering ($6 million), aquatic plant control ($4 million), and flood control ($3 million). Other research areas include the ecological effects of dredging ($1 million), the economic impacts of global warming ($0.4 million), water investment risk analysis ($1.0 million), and surveying and remote sensing R&D ($1.6 million).
DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY
The Department of Energy (DOE) was established in 1977 as the successor of the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) and the Energy Research and Development Administration. It inherited a research base, primarily from AEC, including the national laboratories and a network of university researchers. Research in DOE is distributed among the Office of Energy Research, defense programs, and various research groups under other offices, for example, the Office of Fossil Energy. In the last decade, severe reductions have been made in some research areas such as the Offices of Fossil Energy, Conservation and Renewable Energy, and Nuclear Energy. Defense programs on nuclear weapons conducted mainly at Los Alamos, Livermore, and Sandia weapons laboratories consume almost half of DOE's expenditures for R&D
(OTA, 1991). Over 80% of the $799 million estimated for DOE's environmental R&D in FY 1992 addressed mitigation issues; the balance was allocated to basic research on carbon dioxide, other environmental sciences, and related information-science R&D.
When costs of environmental remediation and technology are included in expressing environmental-program expenditures for the federal government, DOE ranks first in the amount of expenditures. Considering only planned expenditures in FY 1992 for environmental science ($129 million), it ranks eighth, above only the Smithsonian Institutions and the Agency for International Development among agencies involved in environmental research. DOE's planned expenditure for FY 1992 for environmental mitigation, technology programs, and environmental-waste restoration projects was $667 million. The largest expenditures in this category were for clean-coal technologies ($390 million) and for environmental-waste management and restoration at nuclear-weapons production sites ($224 million).
Environmental research at DOE is focused mainly in the Office of Health and Environmental Research (OHER). Some programs are in the Office of Basic Energy Research. The origins of the environmental research are programs of AEC that sought an understanding of the transport of radioisotopes in the environment. The program now includes atmospheric science, terrestrial ecology, environmental research parks, subsurface transport and microbiology, ocean margins, environmental radon, and global change. The global-change program is the largest environmental program in OHER, with planned expenditures in FY 1992 of about $75 million. The program consists of studies of the carbon cycle, climate diagnostics, effects on vegetation, atmospheric radiation measurement, computer-hardware advanced mathematics and model physics, ocean research, and education and the National Institute for Global Environmental Change.
The atmospheric-science program is intended to
Concentrate on the transport and transformation of energy-related emissions in the atmosphere.
Improve the understanding of meteorological, chemical, and physical processes that influence the transport, transformation, and fate of gaseous and particulate species emitted to the atmosphere.
Emphasize such aqueous-phase processes as in-cloud chemical reactions and precipitation scavenging.
Understand contaminant flows in complex terrain for application in models used in emergency preparedness and emergency response.
The terrestrial-ecology program is intended to
Demonstrate fundamental processes of ecosystem adjustment in microcosms that simulate plant communities and biotic communities in soil and quantify self-adjustment in selected natural ecosystems.
Characterize biotic communities in different soil types before and after physical disturbances and releases of energy-related contaminants and develop or adapt techniques to monitor adjustments by the soil biota as above-ground ecological changes occur among photosynthesizing organisms.
Characterize and quantify effects that biotic communities in the soil have on biomass production and evapotranspiration in different soil types as nutrient and water levels change.
Detect and quantify photochemical, carbon fixation, and respiratory responses that are the most likely to be disrupted or limited by changes in available nutrients and water and develop technologies to characterize the ecological and biological mechanisms that control responses.
Detect and quantify physiological and genetic adaptations of plant populations and soil microbial populations to variation in nutrient and water availability.
Develop the theoretical basis and analytical methods to understand the evolved dynamics and capacities of ecosystem adjustment to environmental change and its role in ecosystem resilience to perturbations and in developing ecosystem sustainability and biodiversity.
The subsurface-science program consists of
Long-term basic research on physical, chemical, and biological mechanisms that control the mobilization, stability, and transport of chemicals in subsoils and groundwater; hydrogeology, including the hydraulic, microbiological, and geochemical properties of the subsurface that affect chemical mobility and stability; and the microbiology of deep sediments and groundwater.
Focused efforts to obtain cost-effective solutions to long-term needs in environmental restoration, particularly at DOE sites.
The ocean-margins program is designed to
Quantify the mechanisms and processes by which carbon dioxide is assimilated, transported, and transformed in the coastal ocean and define ocean-margin sources and sinks in global biogeochemical cycles.
Determine whether continental shelves are quantitatively important in removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and isolating it via burial in sediments or export to the interior ocean.
The Environmental-radon program is designed to
Characterize the availability and emanation potential of radon within soils.
Define the environmental variables that control radon transport within soils and its movement into homes.
Develop predictive models to link environmental transport with indoor radon concentrations.
Identify areas that might be affected by increased indoor radon concentrations.
The global-change program
Estimates the future concentrations and rate of increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide and other energy-related emissions and attempts to improve understanding and prediction of effects of emissions on climate and biota.
Strives to obtain scientific information to support energy policy options aimed at preventing, mitigating, or adapting to increasing greenhouse gas concentrations and global environmental change.
DOE research priority-setting is shared among headquarters and individual national laboratories. Review of proposals for awards is primarily a staff function, with advice in many cases from outside reviewers. Although the research performed and supported by DOE is aimed at solving mission problems concerning energy, fundamental studies constitute a substantial part of its portfolio of research (OTA, 1991).
The national-laboratories complex is a unique feature of DOE's research system. Seventeen laboratories make up the system. Three are devoted to weapons research, and a fourth to domestic use of nuclear energy. Eight single-program laboratories are formed primarily around specialized-use facilities, such as the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory. The remaining five-Argonne, Brookhaven, Lawrence Berkeley, Oak Ridge, and Pacific Northwest-are energy multipurpose laboratories with a long history of research in chemistry, biology, risk assessment, ecology, and medicine. The laboratories are managed for DOE by university consortia or industry and are an integral part of the department's research, testing, and evaluation mission.
The system of government ownership and private management lends flexibility and independence to the operation of the laboratories, especially in personnel policies and practices (DOE, 1992). OHER awards about 60% of its funds for environmental research to researchers at the national laboratories; the remainder goes to university-based scientists (Galas, 1992).
As national priorities have changed over the decades, the roles of the national laboratories have been diversified, and new ones have been taken on. It has been suggested, among other things, that the laboratories might serve as environmental research centers. One special capability of some of the laboratories lies in the kind of large-scale data handling that characterizes environmental research.
DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR
The Department of the Interior (DOI) administers a large and diverse program of environmental research and land-management programs. Its mission covers natural-resource programs from fish and wildlife to mines and ocean minerals and from grass and timber to water, parks, and recreation. About 30% of the U.S. land surface is owned by the federal government, and 65% of that is under the jurisdiction of DOI. About 1.5 billion acres of the outer continental shelf, included in the approximately 3 billion acres of the President's Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), which extends 200 miles beyond the U.S. coast, also comes under its jurisdiction (Deason, 1991).
Resource management is a major responsibility of the department's Bureau of Land Management (BLM), National Park Service (NPS), and Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) (Grad, 1986). The Office of Environmental Affairs coordinates environmental policy for DOI.
Research is performed and supported mainly through two of DOI's bureaus, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and FWS. DOI's planned spending level for environmental-science research in FY 1992 totaled $524 million. Most research in the department is directed to support internal program-management decisions and is tailored to meet specific needs of individual programs (Deason, 1991).
U.S. GEOLOGICAL SURVEY
USGS was established in 1879 to provide a permanent federal agency to conduct the systematic and scientific classification of the public lands and examination of the geological structure, mineral resources, and products of the
national domain (USGS, 1991). It has a vast research program, with planned research expenditures of $367 million in FY 1992 for R&D in environmental sciences. USGS plays a large role in DOI's global change program. USGS is increasingly applying its technical expertise to such national needs as natural-hazard research and response, mineral and energy assessments, water-quality research, geological and other resource mapping, and development of a national spatial-data infrastructure. Its scientific programs are administered through the Geologic, Water Resources, and National Mapping Divisions and supported by the Information Systems and Administrative Divisions. National headquarters is in Reston, Virginia, and investigations are carried out through an extensive organization of regional and field offices throughout the 50 states, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and the Territory of Guam (USGS, 1991).
Among the large USGS programs related to environmental sciences programs with large planned expenditures for FY 1992 are those in geological hazard surveys, mineral-resource surveys, energy-resource surveys, marine and coastal surveys, national water quality assessment program, volcano hazards, toxic-substances hydrology, global-change and climate history, global-change hydrology, and core hydrological research. Large information R&D programs include those in federal-state water data collection and analysis, national mineral and energy surveys, national geological mapping, national digital cartographic databases, Landsat data archive, marine and coastal surveys, and global-change data systems.
Building on previous cooperative arrangements among federal agencies, the Office of Management and Budget issued Revised Circular A-16 on October 19, 1990 (OMB, 1990). The circular directs the formation of a Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC) led by USGS and establishes the breadth of coordination carried out by the committee. Agencies involved and their responsibilities are the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) (vegetation through the Forest Service and soils through the Soil Conservation Service), Department of Commerce (cultural and demographic subjects through the Bureau of the Census and geodetic through the Coast and Geodetic Survey), Department of Defense (DOD), Department of Energy (DOE), Department of Housing and Urban Development, DOI (base cartographic and geological subjects through USGS, cadastral though the BLM, and wetlands through FWS), Department of State (international boundaries), Department of Transportation (DOT) (ground transportation through the Federal Highway Administration), Federal Emergency Management Agency, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and National Archives. The purpose of the FGDC is to promote the coordinated development, use, sharing, and dissemination of surveying, mapping, and related spatial data.
OMB Memorandum 9201 (M-92-01) delegates to USGS the lead responsibility for a Water Information Coordination Program (WICP). This program coordinates the water-data acquisition and information-sharing activities of all federal agencies, including the quality and quantity of streams, lakes, estuaries, and groundwater and water-use and sedimentation data. M-92-01, which replaces Circular A-67, expands coordination activities to include water information, thereby including investigations and interpretative products. Agencies are to ensure that plans to initiate new water-information programs or expand old ones are coordinated with other agencies in advance. Participants in the WICP are required to collaborate with other groups coordinating related categories of information, including meteorology and spatial data. The Secretary of DOI established a steering committee to oversee the WICP, and there are two advisory committees. The Advisory Committee on Water Data for Public Use solicits input from 16 national organizations involved in water issues, and the Interagency Committee on Water Data has representatives of 30 federal organizations that either collect or use water data.
Through formal and informal links, USGS cooperates with other agencies in several environmental research programs. With the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and NASA, USGS takes responsibility for the land-data part of the global-change activities associated with the Earth Orbiting System. USGS and NOAA have a Joint Office for Mapping and Research to coordinate marine activities. This joint office facilitates sharing of federal agency mapping and research activities in the EEZ. USGS is one of the agencies with NOAA, NASA, and the National Science Foundation, participating in the Interagency Working Group on Data Management for Global Change. USGS also has contacts with EPA's Environmental Monitoring and Assessment Program. (G.A. Thorley, USGS, personal communication, 1992).
Scientists in the Core Hydrologic Research Program work cooperatively with many other federal agencies, including the DOE, DOT, DOD, NASA, EPA, NOAA, NPS, Bureau of Reclamation, BLM, FWS, and Bureau of Indian Affairs. The Toxic Substances Hydrology Program studies are coordinated with USDA and EPA. Each of the study-unit teams in the National Water Quality Assessment Program has a local liaison committee consisting of representatives of federal, state and local agencies, universities, and the private sector. USGS is cooperatively involved in water-resources research at 54 of the nation's land grant universities through its State Water Resources Research Institute Program.
The National Geologic Mapping Act of 1992 (PL 102-285), passed May 18, 1992, directs USGS to be the lead federal agency responsible for planning,
developing priorities, and coordinating and managing the established geological mapping program. An advisory committee is being established that will advise the director of USGS on planning and implementation of the geological mapping program. Members of the advisory committee include one representative each from the EPA, the DOE, USDA, and the Office of Science and Technology Policy. Additional members include representatives of State Geological Surveys, academe, and the private sector. The purpose of the act is to expedite the production of a geological-map database for the nation, which can be applied to land-use management and assessment, conservation of natural resources, groundwater management, and environmental protection.
The Land Remote Sensing Policy Act of 1992 (PL 102-555), passed October 28, 1992, repeals the Land Remote Sensing Commercialization Act of 1984 and directly affects programs of USGS. In stressing the importance of Landsat data to national security and global environmental research, the act specifies the following:
Transfer of responsibility for the data archive from the Department of Commerce to DOI which delegates to the USGS.
Providing for educators and nonprofit organizations to obtain data at the cost of fulfilling a request.
Authorizing and encouraging DOI and other federal agencies to carry out R&D programs in applications of these data.
FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE
The Fish and Wildlife Service was created in 1885 as the Office of Economic Ornithology, with a charge to discover and document the distribution of the nation's wildlife resources. From its inception, the service has had a charge to conduct research to provide a basis for the intelligent management of those resources, and the subsequent enactment of 17 major laws involving research activities of the service has provided the legal basis for that responsibility. The research arm of today's FWS continues to address the responsibility by providing research results to the seven operational regions and the more than 700 refuges, hatcheries, field offices, and other facilities operated by the service. R&D efforts in the service provide information for the management of fish and wildlife on national wildlife refuge lands; for the management of migratory birds and anadromous, coastal, and transboundary fisheries; for assessment and control of fish and wildlife diseases; for protection and recovery of endangered species; for evaluating effects of
environmental contaminants on fish and wildlife; and for propagating fish species to restore stocks depleted by federal water projects and other environmental-management activities.
The service comprises a headquarters office in Washington, D.C., with seven regional offices spread across the nation. Each regional office administers a number of national wildlife refuges, fish hatcheries, and field offices to conduct the operational assignments of the agency. Research, also headquartered in Washington, D.C., is considered an eighth regional office for administrative purposes. FWS has an extensive intramural research program conducted at 13 research centers and 94 field stations dispersed across the United States and its territories. Planned FWS expenditures for environmental research in FY 1992 were $73 million, including $3.6 million for the Global Change Research Program (T. Terrell, personal communication, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, December 31, 1992). Other programs of environmental research are fishery research, wildlife research, technical development, contaminant research, and endangered-species research.
One focus of fishery research is on the interactions between fish and their changing environments. Habitat investigations are intended to describe the environmental requirements for maintenance of important species, determine the impact of environmental degradation on system productivity, and recommend to resource-management agencies remedial actions, where necessary. Another focus of fishery research in the service is to evaluate fish population dynamics. This research provides information used in the assessment of fish stocks and setting of harvest limits and provides a basis for predicting the impacts of selective harvest on populations and long-term effects of intensive fishing on naturally reproducing stocks. A third focus of fishery research is on the culture of fish stocks to support federal and state fish stocking and restoration programs. FWS activities include research on the physiological requirements of fish in culture systems, fish reproductive biology, optimal rearing methods for diverse fish species and life-history stages, nutrition and feeding technology, fish disease and health management, registration of chemicals and drugs used in fisheries, and concomitant improvements in hatchery water quality and reduction of effluent pollution to ensure compliance with federal and state environmental legislation. The final focus of fishery research is on the problems related to the unintentional introduction of aquatic nuisance species. The principal species currently of interest is the zebra mussel.
Because the service has the lead responsibility for setting hunting regulations for migratory waterfowl, much of its wildlife research activity has traditionally focused on the population dynamics, ecology, and habitat requirements of migratory waterfowl. In addition, the service conducts
research on wildlife health problems, including especially avian botulism and avian cholera, as well as providing support to FWS land managers by investigating the causes of major wildlife dieoffs. This research is designed to develop management methods to reduce the depletion of wildlife populations. Nongame-wildlife research activities deal mainly with neotropical migratory birds, especially in developing census techniques and in elucidating environmental factors related to population changes. Wildlife-ecology studies on service lands and marine-mammal research are small programs related directly to legislation mandating service involvement in management of these resources.
Most of FWS activity in technical development is concentrated on development of impact-assessment techniques to evaluate effectiveness of mitigation actions. These tools are used by service operational staff in providing comments to other federal agencies on the impacts on fish and wildlife of management manipulations, such as federal water projects and dredging and filling of navigable waterways. This involves translating modern scientific information and technologies into operationally useful tools tailored to FWS-mandated responsibilities. A biodiversity-research effort consists mainly of development of gap analysis, a tool designed to identify gaps in the protection of biological diversity and of endangered species. Gap analysis is now being implemented in the mapping and relating of land ownership, land use, vegetation distribution, and animal distribution in 23 states.
The service's contaminant-research efforts focus on fish and wildlife resources of high national interest or concern. Projects address resource issues and information needed to manage fish and wildlife and their habitats effectively. Subjects include monitoring and surveillance of the magnitude of existing and potential contaminant threats and developing techniques to improve these capabilities; acid-precipitation effects on aquatic ecosystems; contaminant effects of land, water, and energy development; impacts of agricultural activities; Great Lakes contaminant problems; and long-term effects of contaminants on communities and ecosystems. In addition, FWS research provides a substantial operational assistance program to regional staff in the analysis of water, sediment, and animal tissue for contaminants. In FY 1991, over 21,000 samples representing over 350,000 individual contaminant determinations were reported to operational staff. Research provides these determinations through contract laboratories or inhouse analysis and manages a major quality-assurance/quality-control program to ensure accuracy. Great accuracy is required, because many of the samples are the basis of law-enforcement actions by the service or can be involved in court actions as a result of natural- resource damage assessments.
The service provides scientific staff support to the Scientific Authority for the Convention of International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora. Other endangered-species research activities include development of population-monitoring techniques, captive-propagation methods, and reintroduction techniques. Research is also conducted to determine limiting factors in the environment. Species currently under study include black-footed ferrets, Hawaiian forest birds, Puerto Rican parrots, eastern timber wolves, southern sea otters, West Indian manatees, and whooping cranes.
The Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units are state-federal academic partnerships in research and education that focus on needs for the management of natural resources. One to three FWS employees per unit are stationed at state university campuses and charged to conduct research of interest to the cooperators and to train high-quality resource managers in the process. The university provides administrative support, faculty status, and office and laboratory space. The state fish and wildlife management agency provides operational support and access to equipment. The arrangement provides federal access to state natural-resource management agency expertise and to university faculty expertise in disciplines not represented within FWS. In addition, the research work-order process, established by the Cooperative Units amendment to the 1978 Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act, allows any other federal agency access to this pool of high-quality expertise. Currently, the service operates 41 units at 40 campuses in 38 states.
In carrying out its research and development activities, FWS cooperates closely with other federal and state agencies to ensure that regional and local research needs are addressed through the active exchange of information and sharing of methods. In FY 1992, it used over 1,100 cooperative agreements and memoranda of understanding to facilitate formal cooperation and had at least 10 times that many informal arrangements to ensure cooperation.
MINERALS MANAGEMENT SERVICE
The Minerals Management Service (MMS) has a large program that supports DOI's oil and gas and marine-minerals development program under the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act. Through the Environmental Studies Program (ESP), MMS provides scientific and technical information on the potential impacts of the development of oil, gas, and marine mineral resources on the U.S outer continental shelf (OCS). These scientific studies assist MMS in managing activity on the OCS. ESP information is used in deciding which OCS areas to lease for oil and natural gas, in managing the review of industry plans for exploration and development activities, in granting permits, and in
designing methods to minimize environmental effects of drilling and production.
The environmental studies encompass physical and biological oceanography, ecological monitoring, protected species, socioeconomics, and selected research on fisheries, birds, turtles, marine mammals, air quality, hazardous wastes, spill mitigation, and information management. The geographic areas studied include the coastal and OCS waters off the Atlantic, Pacific, and Gulf Coast states and the Alaskan coast. Scientific committees, regional technical working groups, coastal state agencies, and the public help to guide the program's research agenda.
ESP is managed out of headquarters and has components in the four OCS regions (Alaska, Pacific, Gulf of Mexico, and Atlantic). The majority of the research has been contracted competitively. Recently, MMS has emphasized cooperative agreements with state institutions and interagency agreements with other federal agencies. The program began in 1973, and it is one of the longest, unified, applied marine environmental research programs in the country. Through 1992, the program has funded more than $530 million worth of scientific research directly related to the possible impacts of offshore oil, gas, and marine mineral activities on the natural and human environments. The ESP budget was nearly $20 million per year, with $6 million authorized for oil-spill R&D in FY 1992. (J.W. Workman, MMS, personal communication, February 12, 1993).
NATIONAL PARK SERVICE
The majority of the National Park Service (NPS) environmental research program provides scientific information from field and laboratory studies to support protection, conservation, and restoration of natural and cultural resources in units of the national park system. A portion of this program contributes data to interagency and cooperative programs that improve scientific understanding of regional and global influences on ecosystems and other resources, including air and water pollution, acidic deposition, habitat fragmentation, and climate change. The program includes resource inventories; monitoring of resource conditions and processes; research on and predictive modeling of natural and anthropogenic factors influencing ecosystems, species populations, and other resources; and research to develop effective management practices.
The current organization and approach of NPS treat research as part of resource management. The two subjects were combined to enhance cooperation.
NPS estimates that research funding grew from $18.5 million in FY 1987 to $29 million in FY 1992 (NRC, 1992b).
BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is the nation's largest land and mineral records manager and oversees the legal land-survey system that defines all public land boundaries. This continuity of management from legal land boundary to land records to comprehensive resource and environmental management heavily involves BLM in investigating and incorporating scientific applications and technological developments.
BLM supports and encourages research designed to acquire and promote the use of scientific knowledge for maintenance of healthy and sustainable ecosystems capable of producing diverse resources. BLM's niche is in applied, interdisciplinary research. Although BLM conducts some research with assistance from its scientists, most research is accomplished through contracts with university scientists and by using the expertise available in other federal agencies or in the laboratories managed by them.
Most of the research supported by BLM is related to the environment; habitat and ecosystem research is emphasized. However, some species-specific research is also supported, especially to address questions related to endangered-species management or conflicts between species and resource-development demands.
Most of the public lands for which BLM has management responsibility are in the western United States, including Alaska. Therefore, most of the environmental research that BLM conducts is also in the western states. BLM expenditures planned for research in FY 1992 were approximately $11 million.
BUREAU OF RECLAMATION
The Bureau of Reclamation manages or supports such research efforts as ecological studies of dam-altered river systems (e.g., Glen Canyon environmental studies); wetland development (e.g., Eastern Municipal Water District) and restoration (Garrison Diversion Unit); and integrated river-basin management (San Joaquin action plan). The bureau also is involved in a global climate-change-response program.
The bureau manages aquatic resources in 17 western states for the protection of wildlife, fisheries, and water quality. Wetlands research focuses on assessing the value of wetlands in water-resources management and
developing the capability to locate, design, construct, and maintain wetlands. Examples include
Use of constructed wetlands as part of reclaimed-water treatment and reuse systems.
Evaluation of wetlands as a ''best management practice" for the control and treatment of agricultural non-point-source runoff.
Use of constructed wetlands to treat irrigation return flows in an environmentally acceptable manner.
Evaluation of the importance of existing and restored wetlands in removing nutrients and improving water quality.
ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY
The primary goal of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is to mitigate the impacts of pollution on human health and the environment. Thus, EPA management must make decisions regarding the development of policy, guidance, standards, regulations, and the appropriate tools for implementing pollution-abatement strategies.
Environmental research is conducted primarily by the Office of Research and Development (ORD). The research program had a budget of approximately $496 million in FY 1992, employs 1,900 people, and includes 12 environmental laboratories distributed across the country.4 The activities of ORD offices include basic and applied research, technical assistance, regulatory support, technology transfer, assessment of health and environmental risk, monitoring, and review and interpretation of studies. For example, EPA's assessment of environmental tobacco smoke and the reassessment of dioxin risks were produced by ORD. Similarly, ORD laboratories support technical-assistance programs, such as the Center for Exposure Assessment Modeling in Athens, Georgia, and the Technology Support Center in Ada, Oklahoma. Thus, the approximately $496 million in the ORD budget is not spent purely on "research."
Scientific activities–research, data analysis, assessment of risks, monitoring, and quality assurance–are undertaken in all parts of EPA. The four major program offices (Air and Radiation; Solid Waste and Emergency Response; Water; and Prevention, Pesticides, and Toxic Substances) are
responsible for developing environmental regulations and policies. Under each of the assistant administrators of these offices, there are several offices with specific program responsibilities. To support their programs, these offices and the Office of Policy, Planning, and Evaluation conduct research and technical studies on policy issues. There are no readily available estimates of expenditures of the program offices and the Office of Policy, Planning, and Evaluation for research or technical activities.
OFFICE OF RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT
The mission of ORD is to provide high-quality, timely scientific and technical information in the service of EPA's goals. As one function, ORD focuses on answering key scientific and technical questions related to EPA's decision-making and conducts short-term scientific and technical studies that support immediate regulatory and enforcement decisions. In addition, ORD maintains a longer-term research program intended to extend the knowledge base of environmental science and to anticipate environmental problems. Research programs are conducted through the Washington, D.C., headquarters offices, EPA laboratories and field locations, extramural contracts, and EPA exploratory environmental grants and research centers.
ORD research is carried out within a disciplinary structure as follows:
Health-effects research–to determine exposure and adverse effects of pollutants on human health.
Ecological-effects research--to determine exposure and adverse effects of pollutants on ecological resources.
Environmental-process and -fate research–to understand how pollutants are transported and modified as they move through soils, ground and surface waters, and the atmosphere.
Environmental-monitoring research–to develop methods of identifying pollutants in the environment and measuring exposure to such substances and to develop indicators by which the status and trends of ecosystems can be identified.
Risk-assessment research–to develop methods to integrate information on pollutant sources, fate and transport, exposure, and health and ecological effects to assess the overall risk posed by a pollutant or group of pollutants.
Risk-reduction research–to develop methods and technologies to reduce or eliminate the sources of pollutants or prevent exposure to pollutants and to develop control technologies to treat, destroy, or contain pollutants.
In 1988, the EPA Science Advisory Board (SAB) issued a report entitled Future Risk: Research Strategies for the 1990s (EPA, 1988). This report emphasized that EPA is more than a regulatory agency–it has substantial responsibilities for environmental research, technology transfer, and education. The report suggested that EPA needed to reshape its strategy for addressing environmental problems in the future and to focus on the reduction of pollution before it is generated. To support the new focus, the report made a number of recommendations concerning the R&D program, including developing a more fundamental, long-term research program and instituting a strategic planning approach.
In response to the Future Risk report, ORD took the following steps:
Established a "core," or fundamental, research program in FY 1990 addressing ecological risk assessment, health risk assessment, risk reduction (focusing on pollution prevention), and exploratory grants and research centers. By FY 1992, this program constituted 17% of the total ORD budget.
Implemented a new strategic planning process to set overall directions, with guidance from an agency-wide senior management group, the Research Strategy Council.
Started the Environmental Monitoring and Assessment Program to monitor status and trends in the health of the nation's ecosystems, whose budget grew to $33 million by FY 1992. (J. Benforado, personal communication, EPA, January 22, 1993).
Enhanced the human-exposure research program and began planning a national human-exposure survey for FY 1993.
In 1990, the SAB issued a report entitled Reducing Risk: Setting Priorities and Strategies for Environmental Protection (EPA, 1990b). This report reviewed and expanded on the earlier EPA report Unfinished Business: A Comparative Assessment of Environmental Problems (EPA, 1987). The SAB acknowledged the successes that had been achieved in handling the most obvious and most easily remedied environmental problems facing the nation. However, it noted that the development of national policy had been driven largely by media-specific concerns and legislation. That approach had resulted in fragmented policies; consequently, the goals and tactics of many environmental laws are inconsistent. Moreover, the efforts of the different EPA offices administrating the laws were regarded as rarely coordinated, and
the agency as having become largely reactive and involved primarily in managing the reduction of pollution as defined in the laws that it administers.
The impact of the Reducing Risk report has been far-reaching. EPA has undertaken a number of efforts to focus on high-risk problems and important opportunities for risk reduction. In planning and budgeting, it is moving toward an issue-based approach that promotes coordinated, cross-media strategies for environmental protection.
In response to the SAB's reports, ORD developed a strategic plan for research that focuses on broad cross-media environmental problems and issues. The over-arching strategic directions are as follows:
Ensuring that the research program reflects the highest-risk areas.
Placing greater emphasis on ecological research and ecological risk assessment.
Aggressively evaluating innovative approaches to risk reduction, for both pollution prevention and pollution control, that offer order-of-magnitude improvements over current practices.
Improving methods for assessment of health and ecological risks, with a special focus on the comparative-risk recommendations of the SAB.
Establishing a strong program of technology transfer.
Establishing productive working relationships with other federal agencies, industry, academe, and other countries to help leverage EPA's resources and take advantage of outside expertise.
In 1991, Administrator Reilly convened an external advisory panel to advise him on how to ensure that EPA uses the best available scientific information in efforts to reduce environmental risk and how EPA could provide leadership in the nation's environmental science, research and assessment efforts. The panel's report, Safeguarding the Future: Credible Science, Credible Decisions (EPA, 1992a), contains many specific recommendations for enhancing the EPA's science base and encouraging the development and use of the highest-quality science. In response, EPA has taken a number of actions to improve the quality of science in EPA. Science advisors have been appointed for the administrator and in all program and regional offices; these advisors constitute a new Council of Science Advisors for EPA. The council has developed an agency-wide peer-review policy and is preparing guidance on implementation of the policy.
ORD has worked to improve the research program by instituting a new issue-based planning process. Another important thrust has been to enhance relationships with other federal research agencies and with industry. ORD's interactions with other agencies span a wide range. In the Environmental
Monitoring and Assessment Program, for example, EPA works closely with a number of agencies and provides funding to support other agencies' participation. The EPA global-climate research program is coordinated with other agencies through the White House Federal Coordinating Council on Science, Engineering, and Technology. EPA also uses less formal mechanisms for coordination, such as working groups to plan and conduct joint research with the Department of Agriculture on Midwest agricultural systems. Finally, at the laboratory level, scientists are encouraged to undertake collaborative efforts with outside scientists.
Another recent trend for ORD research has been increased cooperation with industry. During the last 2 years, 50 cooperative R&D agreements have been developed under the Federal Technology Transfer Act, and many more are being negotiated. These agreements provide opportunities for EPA to work with industry to develop and commercialize promising innovative technologies to prevent and control pollution.
Finally, ORD is working to strengthen the involvement of academic community in solving environmental problems. Increased funding for investigator-initiated grants has been a high priority for several years.
ORD is implementing a new planning process for its environmental research program. In this new "issue planning process," the ORD strategic plan will establish the overall priorities. A dozen broad themes, encompassing some 35 research issues, make up the research program:
Protecting ecological systems.
Environmental monitoring and assessment.
Health risk assessment.
Innovative technology and technology transfer.
Exploratory research and special environmental problems.
This framework will be oriented primarily around environmental problems, with more emphasis on ecological systems and stressors. Some issues focus on EPA's regulatory priorities in air, water, and waste management, particularly priorities that are relevant to several EPA offices and are multidisciplinary. A few cross-cutting issues are included to provide a comprehensive research program.
LABORATORIES AND RESEARCH CENTERS
ORD administers six environmental research laboratories:
Ada, Oklahoma (Robert S. Kerr Environmental Research Laboratory): Groundwater research, including the transport and fate of contaminants in the subsurface, and developing methods to protect and restore groundwater quality.
Athens, Georgia: Predictive environmental fate and exposure and modeling of ecological process in fresh-water, marine and terrestrial ecosystems.
Corvallis, Oregon: Plant and wildlife ecology, regional- and landscape-scale functions, and response of inland ecosystems.
Duluth, Minnesota: Aquatic toxicology and fresh-water ecology.
Gulf Breeze, Florida: Impact of hazardous materials on marine and estuarine environments, especially ecotoxicology, biotechnology, and pathobiology.
Narragansett, Rhode Island: assessing risks to marine and estuarine ecosystems, including marine and estuarine disposal, water and sediment criteria, and global-change impacts on marine systems.
ORD also administers five engineering research laboratories:
Cincinnati, Ohio (Risk Reduction Engineering Laboratory): Engineering research to prevent or reduce risks associated with environmental contamination, focusing on waste management, remediation of waste sites, and drinking-water treatment.
Research Triangle Park, North Carolina (Air and Energy Engineering Research Laboratory): R&D of pollution prevention approaches and control technologies for stationary sources of air pollution.
Research Triangle Park, North Carolina (Atmospheric Research and Exposure Assessment Laboratory): Monitoring and modeling research to
measure and predict air-pollutant concentrations and assess human and ecological exposures.
Cincinnati, Ohio (Environmental Monitoring Systems Laboratory): Research on laboratory-method development to determine organic and inorganic chemical pollutants in water and wastes, transport and fate of human pathogenic parasites in the environment, and responses of organisms to environmental stressors.
Las Vegas, Nevada: Development and application of field monitoring techniques, analytic methods, and remote sensing systems for monitoring environmental pollutants.
EPA also has a Health Effects Research Laboratory in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, to study human health effects resulting from exposure to environmental pollutants.
RESEARCH GRANTS AND CENTERS
EPA has a modest grants program that provides support to the academic community. EPA is in the process of reshaping the program to give more emphasis to subjects of particular interest to EPA, such as terrestrial and aquatic ecology. FY 1992 funding for the grants program was approximately $21 million. (J. Benforado, EPA, personal communication, January 22, 1993).
There are five Hazardous Substance Research Centers:
New Jersey Institute of Technology: Incineration.
University of Michigan: Bioremediation.
Louisiana State University: Sediments.
Kansas State University: Soils.
Stanford University: Surface and subsurface transport.
Four new Exploratory Environmental Research Centers were established in 1992:
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, including consortium members California Institute of Technology and New Jersey Institute of Technology: Sources, transformation, transport, and control of airborne organic chemicals.
University of California, Davis: Ecotoxicology.
Michigan Technological University, including consortium members University of Wisconsin and University of Minnesota: Clean manufacturing technologies.
University of Maryland system, including Horn Point: Multiscale coastal marine ecosystem research, including ways to extrapolate data to whole ecosystems.
OTHER RESEARCH ACTIVITIES
The program offices and regional offices of EPA also undertake a variety of scientific activities, including research, assessment, and reviews of studies. For example, the Office of Water and Office of Prevention, Pesticides, and Toxic Substances Programs recently collaborated on a study of the nation's drinking-water wells for possible pesticide contamination. The two offices designed the study, developed the analytical methods, collected and analyzed the samples, analyzed the data, and published a report.
The Office of Policy, Planning, and Evaluation has a major program to evaluate policy options for responding to global-climate change, which relies heavily on global-climate modeling. In some cases, the research conducted by the program offices or the Office of Policy, Planning, and Evaluation involves ORD. In the drinking-water pesticide study just mentioned, ORD developed the methods, but was not involved in any other aspects of the study. For global-climate research, a substantial portion of the ORD research program is designed to meet the needs of the Office of Policy, Planning, and Evaluation.
NATIONAL AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) was created in 1958, 1 year after the launch of Sputnik. It now ranks first among federal agencies as a performer and supporter of environmental research and third in total expenditures for all research. NASA expenditures for environmental R&D in FY 1992 was about $648 million (M. Edwards, NASA, personal communication, April 1993). The agency has no regulatory responsibilities, and the data it collects are for scientific and policy-formation purposes. NASA's major contribution to environmental research is the Mission to Planet Earth (MTPE) program—a long-term research effort that uses space- and ground-based measurement and analysis systems to provide the scientific basis
for understanding global change. Phase 1 of Mission to Planet Earth began with the launch of the Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite (UARS) in September 1991. More than 20 spacecraft missions are planned for Phase 1, and a broad variety of in situ studies are under way or planned. Phase 2 will begin in 1998 with the launch of the first Earth Observing System (EOS) spacecraft.
NASA's environmental programs are managed by the Office of Mission to Planet Earth, which was created out of the former Office of Space Science and Application's Earth Science and Applications Division. NASA reorganized its science and applications activities in early FY 1993, placing all earth-related environmental programs in the Office of Mission to Planet Earth. Environmental studies of other planets are carried out in the Office of Space Science's Solar System Exploration Division.
The establishment of environmental research priorities at NASA occurs through input from the research community and from national policy and priorities. In particular, these priorities are guided by the goals of the U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP), an interagency program to understand and predict global environmental change. The central goal of the USGCRP is to help establish the scientific understanding needed for prudent national and international environmental policy-making. The highest-priority near-term scientific and policy-related issue for the USGCRP is whether and to what extent human activities are changing or will change the global-climate system. The USGCRP is coordinated by the Federal Coordinating Council for Science, Engineering and Technology's Committee on Earth and Environmental Sciences (CEES). NASA, with all Federal agencies with environmental research responsibilities, is a member of CEES. The Office of Mission to Planet Earth also has an internal advisory panel consisting of persons in academe, industry, federal laboratories, and other interested organizations. It also relies heavily on the National Research Council's Space Studies Board. About 80% of NASA environmental research is performed extramurally. About 45% of this funding is devoted to basic research.
International participants in the MTPE program include the European Space Agency (ESA), Japan's Science and Technology Agency, and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA). Other U.S. agencies—including the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the Department of Defense, the Department of Energy, and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)—are also making significant contributions.
The MTPE program is designed to enable scientists to study the earth as a system. The program emphasizes a multidisciplinary approach to understand and monitor the highly complex interactions among the natural processes and human activities that affect the earth's environment and climate.
Using observations from spacecraft for global studies and ground instruments for in-situ and regional studies, MTPE scientists are studying various earth system processes. These include the following:
Hydrologic processes, which govern the interaction and transport of water and heat between land, ocean surfaces and the atmosphere.
Biogeochemical processes, which contribute to the global formation, dissipation, and transport of trace gases and aerosols.
Climatological processes, which control the formation and dissipation of clouds and their interactions with solar radiation.
Geophysical processes, which have shaped or continue to modify the surface of the Earth through tectonics, volcanoes, and the melting of glaciers and sea ice.
Through these studies, the MTPE program will help address the seven issues identified by the USGCRP and the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) as critical to understanding global-climate change. These issues include the role of clouds, radiation, water vapor and precipitation; the productivity of the oceans, their circulation, and air-sea exchange; the sources and sinks of greenhouse gases and their atmospheric transformations; the changes in land use, land cover, primary productivity and the water cycle; the role of the polar ice sheets and sea level; the coupling of ozone chemistry with climate and the biosphere; and the role of volcanoes in climate change.
Mission to Planet Earth includes continuing and near-term satellite missions to monitor the earth from space. Beginning in 1998, the EOS and the earth probes missions will begin providing a comprehensive 15 year data set of space-based earth observations. These data will complement data gathered from in situ and aircraft studies. To facilitate use of earth science data, the MTPE program includes management and analysis of both space-and ground-based data and a comprehensive EOS Data and Information System (EOSDIS). It also includes a continuing base research program focused on process studies and modeling, and funding for U.S. Global Change Research Fellowships to train the next generation of earth scientists.
The EOS program has put major emphasis on the Data and Information System (EOSDIS), in consideration of the vast amount of data that will be generated in coming years. The EOSDIS will enable quick and easy access to earth system data by the research community around the world. It will include data not only from EOS spacecraft, but from other MTPE spacecraft and in situ studies as well. EOSDIS will provide command and control of
EOS spacecraft and instruments, and it will process, archive, manage and distribute data. Eight Distributed Active Archive Centers (DAACs), each with a specialized set of data, are being developed at sites throughout the country. EOSDIS will be integrated into the overall plan being developed by the Interagency Working Group on Data Management for Global Change, a subcommittee of the CEES. NASA is working especially closely with NOAA and USGS to integrate data sets of interest to earth scientists.
NASA has one of the largest process-based environmental research programs in the federal government. This program seeks to provide the scientific underpinning and model development necessary to understand processes of global importance, such as the role of clouds in the earth's energy budget and the role of carbon and nitrogen dynamics in deforestation and its consequences for atmospheric carbon dioxide. The research program helps to define the major scientific issues for which global measurements, and therefore satellite missions, are appropriate.
NATIONAL OCEANIC AND ATMOSPHERIC ADMINISTRATION, DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in the Department of Commerce administers a large and varied environmental research program with funds of $319 million in FY 1992. Its mission is research- and service-oriented, except for its regulatory responsibility for governing living marine resources under the Marine Mammal Protection Act, the Endangered Species Act, the Fishery Conservation and Management Act, the Marine Protection, Research, and Sanctuaries Act, and other statutes. NOAA's mission statements calls on it to describe and predict changes in the earth's environment, manage the nation's ocean and coastal resources, and promote global stewardship of the world's oceans and atmosphere). It pursues its missions through a program of intramural and extramural research at a network of environmental research laboratories (ERLs), often associated as ERL joint institutes with universities, National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) facilities, the Sea Grant College Program Network, and undersea research operations. NOAA spent about $54 million in FY 1992 on university- and college-related research. NOAA is considered the ''earth-system agency," because its realm of interest is from the surface of the sun to the bottom of the ocean and its facilities and personnel are deployed globally from Alaska to the South Pole. Terrestrial ecology and geological and solid-earth geophysical processes are not included in its sphere of environmental
interests, except for some data-management functions (J. Knauss, NOAA, personal communication January 1992,).
NOAA was established in 1970 by Congressional action after a 1965 reorganization that linked two Department of Commerce activities—the Weather Bureau and the Coast and Geodetic Survey. Other federal units were incorporated into NOAA, including the Bureau of Commercial Fisheries from the Department of the Interior, the Great Lakes Laboratory from the Department of Defense, and the Sea Grant Program from the National Science Foundation (J. Knauss, NOAA, personal communication, January 1992). The amount of money planned for expenditure by NOAA in FY 1992 for all environmental sciences rank it fifth among federal agencies, second after the Department of Agriculture among supporters of environmental life sciences, and fifth among the agencies that support environmental physical sciences. NOAA spent approximately $44 million for the study of long-term climate change.
The Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research (OAR) manages programs (funded at about $148 million in FY 1992) in weather research, long-term climate and air quality natural variability; coupled ocean-atmosphere models for greenhouse warming; biogeochemical cycling stratospheric ozone depletion; and atmospheric chemistry, marine prediction, fishery recruitment, coastal ocean interannual and seasonal climate, biotechnology, and Great Lakes ecosystems. The ERLs conduct a variety of research. OAR is also responsible for management of the Sea Grant College Program Network and undersea research operations. The National Network of Sea Grant College Programs involves 26 colleges and three institutional programs. The sea grant program is similar to the well-known relationship between the Department of Agriculture and land-grant colleges and, as in that relationship, research, training, and extension services are included. OAR is involved in numerous arrangements for cooperative research with other federal agencies and university research laboratories (J. Knauss, 1992; N. Ostenso, 1992).
The National Marine Fisheries Service has 28 science centers, laboratories, and field stations attached to five regional centers in coastal areas around the United States. NMFS's principal research concern is the assessment and monitoring of the status of the nation's living marine resources. Living marine resources include marine fish and invertebrates, marine mammals, sea turtles, and the coastal and offshore habitats within the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone. Numerous research disciplines are involved, including population dynamics, fishery biology, marine ecology, biological oceanography, environmental chemistry, fishery pathology and systematics, organic chemistry, seafood-product safety and quality, habitat assessment,
marine forensics, protected- species recovery, and habitat-loss mitigation. NMFS's environmental R & D budget in FY 1992 was $104 million.
The National Ocean Service supports research in national estuarine research reserves and national marine sanctuaries. The National Estuarine Research Reserve System (NERRS) is a national network of areas set aside to serve as field laboratories for long-term research. The primary goal of the NERRS research program is to support environmental studies that contribute to understanding of the existing and evolving functional ecology of ecosystems.
The National Marine Sanctuary (NMS) program consists of 13 marine sanctuaries, which have been set aside because of their important ecological or cultural resources. The NMS program encourages a variety of research within sanctuaries. Recently funded research in NMS includes damage assessments of coral reefs in the Florida Keys and American Samoa, study of the physical ecology of Channel Islands NMS off California, and development of indicator-species assessment techniques to assess the health of coral-reef ecosystems in Hawaii. The NMS program is developing a comprehensive research effort to deal with the conservation of biodiversity in marine environments. Sanctuaries provide excellent areas for long-term analyses of biological, physical, and chemical trends in the marine environment.
NOAA's National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service (NESDIS) maintains, develops, and analyzes research-quality databases applicable to a variety of environmental problems and issues. NESDIS supports a satellite research laboratory (Camp Springs, Maryland) which focuses on the development and analysis of various satellite products. It also operates the world's largest data centers in Asheville, North Carolina (atmospheric data), Washington, DC (oceanic data), and Boulder, Colorado (geophysical data), which provide data, products, and analyses for various environmental research problems.
NOAA expects to improve its infrastructure by modernizing the weather service (proposed expenditure of about $4 billion over 10 years), modernizing its fleet of ships ($1.5 billion over 15 years), and revamping the environmental data system ($500 million over 10 years) (J. Knauss, NOAA, personal communication, 1992).
NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION
The National Science Foundation (NSF) was founded after World War II in recognition that the contributions of scientific research to the national well-being were too valuable to be limited to periods of armed conflict. Although President Truman and Congressional leaders wanted to create an
organization to support basic science, debate over the exact purpose and organization of the incipient NSF resulted in a veto of one bill for its establishment and delayed its inception until 1951. The final bill (the "Organic Act") contained provisions for both a National Science Board and a director and stated that the purpose of NSF was "to promote the progress of science." It has carried out its mission by pursuing two goals–creation of new knowledge through basic research and training of future scientists. The two are coupled in the form of graduate research, and NSF has always used support of graduate research as one of the primary means of carrying out its mission.
In continuance of a philosophy put in place at its inception, it still predominantly issues grants in response to unsolicited proposals. It continues to emphasize "little" science (grants to individual university-based investigators account for over 60% of its expenditures), excellence, and peer review.
NSF support of basic environmental research is diverse, covering physical, biological, social, and engineering aspects of the field. In total NSF spends about $540 million a year on environmental R&D, which places it high among federal agencies for support of environmental research, including environmental science exclusive of development, life sciences, physical sciences, and social sciences.
NSF sees its role in research on the environment to be to develop the fundamental knowledge base, support research facilities and infrastructure, and foster education and training. Its disciplinary coverage includes biology (terrestrial, fresh-water, and marine); earth, atmospheric, and ocean sciences; social and economic sciences; engineering; basic physical sciences; and mathematics and computing related to environmental research. It pursues those interests through a variety of mechanisms, including individual investigator-initiated projects, awards to applicant research groups and centers, such dedicated centers as the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) and the U.S. Antarctic Program (USAP) and such specialized activities as the Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) program (M. Clutter, NSF, personal communication, 1991).
The USAP is the major one of several parts of NSF that operate facilities and are therefore required to conduct research applied to understanding, identifying, and assessing environmental effects potentially associated with the operation of the facilities, as well as with the scientific research conducted at the facilities. This type of applied environmental research has received serious attention only with respect to the USAP and its scientific and operational activities.
NSF's environmental research activities are centered mainly in the Directorate for Biological Sciences (BIO) and the Directorate for Geosciences (GEO). Programs are also found in the Directorate for
Engineering (ENG) and the Directorate for Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences (SBE).
DIRECTORATE FOR BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES
BIO's Division of Environmental Biology (DEB) supports fundamental research on biological diversity at and above the organismal level. Postdoctoral and midcareer fellowships and dissertation-improvement awards are also funded. DEB funds two networks of field-intensive research sites. One network is Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER), composed of 17 sites across the United States (including Alaska and Puerto Rico) and a network office at the University of Washington responsible for coordination and communication. Two sites in Antarctica (funded through NSF's polar programs) also participate in the network activities. LTER research is interdisciplinary and focuses on ecological phenomenon operating on temporal and spatial scales that are longer than those addressed by the usual 2- or 3-year research grant. The other network is Land-Margin Ecosystem Research (LMER), consisting of six sites jointly funded with GEO's Division of Ocean Sciences, at which the focus is on understanding the linkages between terrestrial and marine ecosystems. The LMER sites also interact with the LTER sites. BIO had expected to spend about $79 million on environmental research in FY 1992.
DIRECTORATE FOR GEOSCIENCES
GEO's global-change programs, the primary focus of NSF's contribution to the interagency U.S. Global Change Research Program and a mainstay of the overall effort, seek to gain an understanding of how the earth system functions and to describe the major cause-effect relationships among the system's processes. Major scientific themes include studies of global ocean and atmospheric circulations; the continental hydrological cycle; global tropospheric chemistry; exchanges of biological and chemical materials within the oceans and among the atmosphere, land, and ocean ecosystem; the role of the polar regions in global change; properties of the solid earth and the geological record, especially tectonics and geodynamics; studies of the latitudinal coupling of the middle and upper atmospheric regions; and evidence of these processes operating in the past at various temporal and spatial scales. GEO's role in the overall interagency program is to support basic abiotic research, including model development, and to collect data.
The disciplinary research divisions of GEO–atmospheric sciences, earth sciences, ocean sciences, and polar programs–also support environmental research. Substantial portions of those programs include elements of GEO's global-change programs. The National Center for Atmospheric Research received about $50 million of FY 1992 funds from NSF through GEO, and the directorate spent an additional $69 million for atmospheric-research projects. In total, GEO spent about $426 million on environmental research in FY 1992.
GEO's Division of Polar Programs (DPP) supports a program of applied antarctic environmental research through its Office of the Environment. The program focuses on strengthening environmental protection and management efforts of the USAP and on providing strong scientific foundations to the USAP's environmental decision-making process. DPP has prepared a draft Program Solicitation for an Environmental Sciences Program in Support of USAP. The solicitation is designed to accept proposals from basic and applied environmental-research scientists, the private sector, and other federal agencies. Proposals would be peer-reviewed, and reviewers would assess the scientific quality of the proposed research and whether it addressed program-specific criteria applicable to environmental management and decision-making.
DIRECTORATE FOR SOCIAL, BEHAVIORAL, AND ECONOMIC SCIENCES
SBE provided about $7 million for social-science research in FY 1992. Most of it (about $6.8 million) was related to social-science aspects of global change. Other research subjects included geography and decision, risk, and management sciences (Gramp et al., 1992).
DIRECTORATE FOR ENGINEERING
ENG supports research pertaining to the mitigation of environmental impacts of human activities and earthquakes, landslides, floods, and other natural events. FY 1992 funds in the amount of $26 million supported investigations of technologies used to understand contaminant interactions, alleviate environmental degradation in coastal zones, manage industrial and urban waste, improve pollution-abatement processes, design structures resistant to earthquakes and other hazards, and upgrade unsafe structures.
SOME IMPORTANT FEATURES OF NSF
In addition to its broad authority ("to promote the progress of science"), several other characteristics have been essential to NSF's operation in general as it is related to the environmental sciences.
Instead of contracts, NSF uses grants and in some special situations cooperative agreements. NSF uses grants widely because they "imply a freedom on the part of the investigator to pursue work subject to broad conditions." NSF has always recognized the unpredictability of fundamental research.
NSF works through contractors to manage facilities. There are a number of such arrangements, typically university consortia. For example, University Cooperation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR) manages the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), and Associated Universities, Inc. (AUI), operates radiotelescopes.
Probably as a result of the "rotator" system of visiting staff and the use of mostly former academics as permanent staff, NSF always has tolerated diversity among its divisions with respect to how they operate and the setting of their internal procedures and policies. Different divisions sometimes have quite different procedures and policies. Moreover, although there is strict adherence to excellence and peer review, the actual procedures vary greatly between divisions. Divisions also have considerable latitude in setting funding priorities with regard to support of conferences, instrumentation, travel to meetings, support of undergraduate research, and support of postdoctoral fellowships.
NSF identifies subjects in which it would like to encourage proposals. It typically does that by issuing program announcements, which are of two varieties: one variety is for standing disciplinary programs, such as ecological studies and atmospheric chemistry; the other is for special limited or one-time activities. NSF uses requests for proposals for scientific or operations services. Many of the larger, complex activities are managed through cooperative agreements.
Support for NSF science and technology centers has increased substantially since the first 11 were established in 1989. Fourteen others were funded in FY 1991. Several of the centers are involved in environmental research, including the Center for Microbial Ecology at Michigan State University and the Center for Clouds, Chemistry and Climate at the University of Chicago. Other agencies often contribute to the funding of the centers; state governments sometimes contribute large sums. Graduate and postdoctoral training and outreach programs for local precollege students and teachers are important parts of center operations. The determination of the
mix of NSF support of individual investigators and major facilities and centers is usually left to the divisions and their advisory committees.
NSF has always relied on peer review to judge the proposals it receives. Ultimately, staff make the final decision on the basis of criteria established by the National Science Board. The criteria include excellence, qualifications of the principal investigator, available facilities, and contributions to infrastructure (e.g., education). The first three criteria are judged largely through peer review; the staff make judgments about infrastructure issues. To distinguish peer review from the application of the board's selection criteria by NSF staff, NSF now refers to the total process as "merit review."
The details of implementing peer review vary among NSF divisions. In the physical sciences, ad hoc mail review is predominant. A program officer selects reviewers and then decides when enough reviews have been received (a minimum of three substantive reviews is required). The program officer, with the help of the peer reviews, ultimately decides whether to fund or decline the proposal. In other fields, such as the life sciences, a combination of mail and panel review is the predominant mode of review. Mail reviewers are solicited as in the physical sciences, and panels of experts meet once or twice a year to rate proposals, drawing on and weighing the mail review in their deliberations. The program officer's decision is made with the help of all the peer reviews–both mail and panel.
ENVIRONMENTAL RESEARCH AT OTHER AGENCIES5
Four other agencies provided $126 million for environmental R&D in FY 1992–for projects addressing issues ranging from environmental management in developing nations to the environmental impact of snowand ice-control methods on U.S. highways.
AGENCY FOR INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT
U.S. aid to developing nations now includes among its goals several environmental objectives, such as promoting sustainable natural-resource and agricultural development, protecting biodiversity, mitigating urban pollution and toxic contamination, and balancing economic and environmental needs. To support those efforts, the Agency for International Development (AID)
spent approximately $45 million for environmental R&D in FY 1992, primarily in environmental sciences related to agricultural and natural-resource development. The inclusion of $9 million for social and economic research on environmental issues suggests that AID ranks among the leading sponsors of such R&D. AID's mostly applied research is conducted by universities abroad and in the United States and by nonprofit and other research entities.
AID's transnational and country-specific research activities are guided by its environmental objectives. About $28 million of the FY 1992 budget was under the purview of the Bureau for Research and Development, which was created in FY 1991 to administer AID's central research programs. In FY 1992, the bureau budget included $5 million for collaborative studies with Israeli scientists on development problems in target countries (especially those involving arid lands and other subjects of Israeli expertise), $5 million for R&D on agricultural and other environmental priorities of international organizations, $4 million for research on economic and social policies affecting the environment (e.g., land tenure rights and natural-resource accounting), $3 million for competitive grants for innovative scientific research on biodiversity and other subjects, $3 million for other biodiversity studies, and $2.5 million for R&D on pollution prevention.
Although that bureau's programs gained 45% during FY 1990-1992, AID's funding of environmental R&D on country-specific issues declined by 29% to $17 million in that period. The $3 million estimated for environmental R&D under the Development Fund for Africa focused on the sustainable management of the fragile resources underpinning African countries' agricultural economies, including studies on natural pharmaceuticals, biodiversity, and socioeconomic policies. The U.S.-Asia Environmental Partnership signed in 1992 is expected to mobilize private resources to complement AID efforts in environmental training, technology, infrastructure, and biodiversity conservation. AID's FY 1992 budget for Asia included $3 million for the management of lagoons, reefs, and other sensitive ecosystems in the South Pacific; $3 million for natural resource and forestry management in Southeast Asia (Indonesia and Thailand); and $3 million for agricultural and forestry management in central Asia (Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, and Nepal). Issues emphasized in AID's $3 million research effort in Latin America and the Caribbean include watershed management, sustainable uses of biological resources, and agroforestry.
Scientists at the Smithsonian Institution's museums and institutes conduct basic research in the environmental sciences, primarily long-term studies in the life sciences. The Smithsonian's $33 million FY 1992 budget for this research exceeded its FY 1990 budget by 24%, mostly because of increases for global-change projects. Of the total, $19 million funded environmental studies at the Museum of Natural History on the abundance, diversity, and evolutionary relationships of animal and plant species. Priorities included research on biological diversity in Central and South America and studies pertaining to global change, such as paleoecological effects, sea-level change, tropical ecosystems, and human ecological history. The $7 million budget for the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute headquartered in Panama emphasized behavioral ecology, molecular evolution, tropical marine ecology, tropical forest dynamics, canopy biology, and paleoecology. Scientists at the National Zoological Park had a $3 million budget for continuing research (e.g., on conservation of wildlife and zoo species, molecular genetics, and population biology) and for global-change studies (e.g., on factors affecting species' survival or extinction in the face of major environmental changes). The Smithsonian's Environmental Research Center devoted $2 million to interdisciplinary research on coastal ecological, air, land, and water systems at its location on a tidal subestuary of the Chesapeake Bay. The $0.9 million budgeted for the International Environmental Science Program funded long-term, interdisciplinary monitoring of unique ecosystems, especially in tropical and subtropical regions. Finally, the Smithsonian's Astrophysical Observatory and National Air and Space Museum together spent $0.7 million in FY 1992 on global-change research.
TENNESSEE VALLEY AUTHORITY
As part of its regional and power-development mandates, the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) budgeted an estimated $31 million for environmental R&D in FY 1992. TVA began emphasizing environmental R&D at its National Fertilizer and Environmental Research Center in FY 1991. The center's FY 1992 budget included $13 million for R&D related to nutrients and water quality, with such priorities as minimizing groundwater contamination from nitrates, developing environmentally acceptable
agricultural chemicals and fertilizers, reducing pollution from fertilizer production, and cleaning up sites contaminated by nutrients, pesticides, and related organic materials. Another $9 million was allocated to reducing agricultural, municipal, and industrial wastes by converting them to alternative fuels or products, including fertilizers. TVA also began participating in the global-change program in FY 1992, budgeting $0.1 million for regional climate assessments. Approximately 85% of the center's funding come from federal appropriations; the remainder was financed by proceeds from the sale of products or services. TVA ratepayers funded the $8 million for R&D on air quality and other environmental issues related to the power program (this excluded any environmental R&D that might have been done by the Electric Power Research Institute using TVA contributions).
DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
Funding of environmental research at the Department of Transportation (DOT) has increased, largely because of statutory mandates related to preventing or mitigating environmental impacts. The Coast Guard, which administers the oil-spill liability trust fund created by the 1990 Oil Pollution Act, increased funding in FY 1992 for marine environmental protection by 51% since FY 1990. The $6 million budget for this R&D addresses both the mitigation and prevention of oil and hazardous-material spills, including R&D on countermeasures for damaged vessels, equipment for containing and cleaning up spills, and technologies for improved navigation. Mandates in the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments explain most of the growth in environmental R&D at the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). Air-quality programs accounted for $2 million of the $6 million budgeted for environmental R&D in FY 1992, funding research on processes, technologies, and institutional strategies for predicting, preventing, and reducing pollution from vehicles and highway operations. FHWA's remaining R&D focused on reducing the environmental impacts of highway operations, including snow and ice control, corrosion protection, paints and coating, runoff, and noise.
Reducing noise and fuel emissions were among the priorities of the Federal Aviation Administration, which budgeted $4 million for environmental R&D in FY 1992.
COUNCIL ON ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY6
The Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) was established within the Executive Office of the President by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) of 1969. Its mission is to advise the President regarding environmental policy, federal environmental programs, and environmental conditions and trends. It also coordinates the environmental-impact statement process. During the 1970s under Presidents Nixon, Ford, and Carter, CEQ performed a highly visible role in U.S. environmental policy; it was less active during the Reagan years and re-emerged as a key source of policy advice and coordination during the Bush Administration.
Two of CEQ's activities have been most relevant to environmental research. First, CEQ performs continuing analyses and annually reports on the nation's environmental conditions and trends, and it reviews and coordinates the environmental data and monitoring activities of federal agencies pursuant to Section 201 of NEPA, as well as mandates in the Environmental Quality Improvement Act of 1970 and later executive orders. To assist CEQ in these activities, the it chairs the Interagency Committee on Environmental Trends. Second, CEQ chairs the Interagency Task Force on Acid Precipitation, which coordinates the National Acid Precipitation Assessment Program (NAPAP), a multiagency research and assessment program that was originally authorized by Title VII of the Acid Precipitation Act of 1980 (P.L. 96-294) for 10 years and then reauthorized by Title IX of the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments.
CEQ participates in a range of other research-related activities. For example, it was responsible for advancing the concept of a national biodiversity center, now being established in cooperation with the Smithsonian Institution. CEQ is a member of several subcommittees of the Federal Coordinating Council for Science, Engineering, and Technology, with particular emphasis on subjects in which CEQ is involved in policy-making, including the Subcommittee on Wetlands Research and the Subcommittee on Water Research of the Committee on Earth and Environmental Sciences and the Subcommittee on Environmental Biology of the Committee on Life Sciences and Health.
INTERAGENCY COMMITTEE ON ENVIRONMENTAL TRENDS
CEQ is required by law to ''gather timely and authoritative information concerning the conditions and trends in the quality of the environment [and] to analyze and interpret such information. Determining the conditions and trends in environmental quality by collecting environmental data is essential for formulating, implementing, and evaluating national environmental policy. Reliable information on environmental status and trends also helps to define the long-term health of ecosystems and identify potential causes of environmental degradation.
In a recent summary, CEQ and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) identified 83 environmental-data programs in 25 federal agencies. Given the scope and diversity of available data, it is often suggested that decision-makers need an overarching framework to assess linkages among environmental stresses, the state of the environment, and policy responses.
Work on the development of a comprehensive and integrated framework for environmental-trend reporting is being pursued under the Interagency Committee on Environmental Trends (ICET). Convened in 1991 by CEQ, ICET is a federal coordinating body composed of a broad range of agencies involved in environmental-data collection and reporting. The goal of ICET is to work with existing programs to develop a process of data exchange and environmental reporting. An interagency team conducted a similar exercise in 1989 that resulted in the publication of Environmental Trends (CEQ, 1989), a comprehensive state-of-the-environment report that included over 350 tables and figures reflecting conditions and variations in environmental quality. ICET will publish comprehensive and integrated state-of-the-environment reports similar to those developed in Canada, Europe, and elsewhere.
NATIONAL ACID PRECIPITATION ASSESSMENT PROGRAM
From 1980 to 1990 under its original mandate, NAPAP was coordinated by an interagency task force that consisted of representatives of 12 federal agencies and four national laboratories, as well as four Presidential appointees. Major program direction was provided by a Joint Chairs Council (JCC) that consisted of high-level officials of CEQ, EPA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the Department of Agriculture (USDA), the Department of Energy (DOE), and the Department of the Interior (DOI). Other participating federal agencies were the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), the National Science Foundation, the Department of Health
and Human Services, the Department of Commerce, and the Department of State. Two interagency groups, the Interagency Science Committee and the Interagency Policy Committee, were made up of senior representatives of the agencies that composed the JCC. The two committees were responsible for overseeing scientific quality and the policy relevance of NAPAP research and assessment activities. Overall executive management of NAPAP was performed by a director housed in CEQ.
NAPAP developed a research and assessment process to identify the causes and to quantify the extent and magnitude of effects associated with acidic deposition. The process was also designed to evaluate the comparative benefits of different emission-control strategies (NAPAP, 1991). Task-group leaders, who reported to their agencies and to the NAPAP director, were responsible for the coordination of research and assessment activities in seven subjects: emissions and controls, atmospheric processes, atmospheric transport and modeling, atmospheric deposition and air-quality monitoring, terrestrial effects, aquatic effects, and effects on materials and cultural resources. NAPAP also developed assessment working groups on atmospheric visibility, human health effects, and economic evaluation. The assessment working groups were organized in 1988 to develop assessments; they did not conduct research activities under NAPAP, whereas task groups were responsible for the planning and conduct of extensive research programs.
Title IX of the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments re-established NAPAP and authorized a new task force composed of the administrator of the EPA, the secretary of DOE, the secretary of DOI, the secretary of USDA, the administrator of NOAA, the administrator of NASA, and any other persons that the President might appoint. The President has appointed the chairman of CEQ to the task force as its chairman. The new task force is responsible for activities that include the following:
Reviewing the status of research conducted pursuant to the Acid Precipitation Act of 1980 and developing a revised plan that identifies important research gaps and establishes a coordinated program to address current and future research priorities.
Coordinating with participating federal agencies, augmenting the agencies' research and monitoring efforts, and sponsoring additional research in the scientific community as necessary to ensure the availability and quality of data and methods needed to evaluate the status and effectiveness of the acid-deposition control program (established by Title IV of the Clean Air Act Amendments). These efforts will include continuous monitoring of emissions of precursors of acid deposition; modeling that describes the interactions of
emissions with the atmosphere and the responses of ecosystems to acid deposition; and analyzing the costs, benefits, and effectiveness of the program.
Publishing and maintaining a National Acid Lakes Registry that tracks the condition and change over time of a statistically representative sample of lakes in regions that are known to be sensitive to surface-water acidification.
Submitting to the President every 2 years a unified budget recommendation for activities of the federal government in connection with this research program.
Beginning in 1992 and every 2 years thereafter, submitting a report to Congress describing the results of its investigations and analyses. This report is to be in a format that facilitates communication with policy-makers and the public and includes the following information:
Actual and projected emissions and acid-deposition trends.
Average ambient concentrations of acid-deposition precursors and their transformation products.
Status of ecosystems (including forests and surface waters), materials, and visibility.
The cause and effects of such deposition, including changes in surface-water quality and forest and soil conditions.
The occurrence and effects of episodic acidification, particularly those on high- elevation watershed.
The confidence level associated with each conclusion to aid policy-makers in use of the information.
Beginning in 1996 and every 4 years thereafter, reporting to Congress on the following:
Reduction in deposition rates that must be achieved to prevent adverse ecologic effects.
Costs and benefits of the emission-reduction program created by Title IV of the Clean Air Act Amendments.
OFFICE OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY POLICY
The Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) was established in 1976 and is situated in the Office of the President of the United States. Its mission is to advise the President on matters of science, engineering, and technology. The size of OSTP has varied greatly over the years, depending on the Administration's reliance on the office.
The Federal Coordinating Council for Science, Engineering, and Technology (FCCSET) was established by the National Science and Technology Policy, Organization, and Priorities Act of 1976 (PL 94-282) to consider cross-cutting science, engineering, and technology issues. The OSTP director is chairman of FCCSET, and the membership is composed of the heads of the 18 federal agencies with major R&D programs. Only recently has a full range of committee and subcommittee structures been organized in FCCSET. The specific purposes of FCCSET are to consider problems and developments in science, engineering, technology, and related activities that affect more than one federal agency and to recommend policies and other measures designed to
Provide more effective planning and administration of federal scientific, engineering, and technological programs.
Identify research needs, including subjects requiring additional emphasis.
Achieve more effective use of the scientific, engineering, and technological resources and facilities of federal agencies, including the elimination of unwarranted duplication.
Further international cooperation in science, engineering, and technology.
Each FCCSET committee has subcommittees and working groups. For example, the Committee on Life Sciences and Health has subcommittees that deal with environmental biology, risk assessment, radiation research and policy, biotechnology research, human-subjects research, HIV-vaccine development, brain and behavioral science, and genome patenting.
The FCCSET Committee on Earth and Environmental Sciences (CEES) is the focus for the U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP). CEES maintains an Interagency Working Group on Data Management for Global Change and an Economics Task Group on Global Change. Although agency interest in a global-change program and substantial interagency activity in that subject predate the formation of CEES, the establishment of the committee in OSTP and effective presentations of a coordinated plan for the program by OSTP to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) are credited with bringing the program to its present state of visibility and funding success. Priorities and strategies for the USGCRP are described in the CEES publication series Our Changing Planet, which is updated each fiscal year (e.g., CEES, 1992); it describes the objectives of the program as
Establishing an integrated, comprehensive, long-term program of documenting the earth system on a global scale.
Conducting a program of focused studies to improve understanding of the physical, geological, chemical, biological, and social processes that influence earth-system processes and trends on global and regional scales.
Developing integrated conceptual and predictive earth-system models.
FCCSET committees are composed of secretaries, directors, and administrators of government agencies. Consensus reached among them can be translated directly into action. FCCSET committees are generally chaired by agency heads, rather than by OSTP personnel, although OSTP personnel may serve as ex officio members.
The activities of FCCSET committees vary, but often begin with a programmatic and fiscal audit of agency activities in a specific field. Committees engaged in this activity, called a budget cross-cut, prepare reports that describe research needs and a plan for interagency cooperation. The programs of the relevant agencies are ranked according to a framework developed by the committee overseeing a budget cross-cut. The agencies' budgets are ranked accordingly, and recommendations are made for allocation of funds. On completion of a cross-cut, OSTP's director meets with OMB officials and holds a series of press conferences to highlight the importance of the subjects in question. The budget cross-cuts generally develop into Presidential initiatives and are given priority attention in the science and technology budget. For FY 1993, five initiatives were originally identified: global-change research, mathematics and science education, high-performance computing and communication, biotechnology research, and advanced materials and processing.
FCCSET developed a category, a national research program (NRP), for continuing Presidential initiatives that have reached maturity. Although global change continues to be a budget cross-cut priority subject and a Presidential initiative for FY 1993, NRP status has been conferred on global-change research for FY 1994.
The OSTP director is also chairman of the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST). PCAST committees have been formed to provide private-sector viewpoints on science and technology. PCAST committees mirror FCCSET committees overseeing budget cross-cuts; therefore, there is a PCAST committee on each budget cross-cut field.
ORGANIZATION OF FEDERAL ENVIRONMENTAL DATA AND INFORMATIONSystems
A description of federal environmental data and information systems is essential as a separate part of this appendix because of the importance of data questions in environmental research and because of the complexity of the subject. Almost a dozen departments and agencies of the federal government are important contributors to environmental research. Some of their data resources are enormous, such as those of the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) on satellite observations. Many agencies have collected data for decades in fulfillment of their missions, and those data could be extremely valuable if combined with other agency data to understand and solve environmental problems. Numerous inventories, indexes, and catalogs of data on environment-related topics have been gathered; in some cases, offices are analyzing sets of these data.
Several large consortia of agencies are working to coordinate environmental data management. For example, the Interagency Working Group on Data Management for Global Change (IWGDMGC), the Interagency Committee on Spatial Data, and the Interagency Advisory Committee on Water Data. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is enlarging or organizing several data-management programs, and individual agencies are organizing their data for use in interagency arrangements or for their own purposes. Among the latter is the Council on Environmental Quality's Interagency Committee on Environmental Trends, which works to foster enhanced federal reporting on the collection, analysis, and dissemination of environmental data.
GLOBAL-CHANGE DATA MANAGEMENT
In recognition of the importance of effectively managing the massive quantities of data and information to improve understanding of global-change processes, the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) Committee on Earth and Environmental Sciences (CEES) maintains the IWGDMGC as an integral part of the U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP). The interagency group is regularly advised by National Research Council (NRC) committees. An NRC report in 1991 recommended the coordinated development of an interagency global-change data and information management system. Toward that end, CEES's member agencies are organizing a Global Change Data and Information System (GCDIS) to take
advantage of the mission-oriented resources and responsibilities of each agency and a Global Change Research Information Office (GCRIO) to coordinate information-gathering activities. As part of a program plan drafted by the agencies, they commit themselves to work together, with academe, and with the international community to make global-change data available to all (OSTP, 1992).
An appendix to the program plan describes the role of federal agencies in USGCRP data and information management. The following information, abstracted from that appendix, focuses on the types of information being collected and cooperative arrangements for their use.
Department of Agriculture
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has several ecological and hydrological data bases, which continue to receive data from experimental forests, ranges, watersheds, and farms. The department's long-term hydrological observation programs exist to monitor hydrological variables, such as precipitation, soil-water infiltration and storage, evapotranspiration, stream flow, runoff, drainage, and reservoir storage. Long-term ecological data bases are part of the department's resource inventory programs including the Resources Planning Act (RPA) Assessments of the Forest Service, and the Soil and Water Resources Conservation Act (RCA) Appraisal of the Soil Conservation Service. USDA monitors trends shown by these data bases, as well as by long-term monitoring data sets, for early indications of global change and to identify sensitive indicators of global change. USDA's National Agricultural Library is initiating planning to participate in national and global networks to manage access to ecological and hydrological data and to assess computing capability for meeting the needs of USDA's program, particularly for predictive-model development.
The National Forest Health Monitoring program of the Forest Service uses remote sensing in combination with annual visits to permanent sample plots to detect and describe systems of changes in forest health, evaluate the role of stress factors in forest health, and understand and predict consequences so as to respond with appropriate management.
The Forest Inventory and Analysis program seeks to improve the understanding and management of the nation's forests by maintaining a comprehensive inventory of the status and trends of the country's diverse forest ecosystems, their use, and their health. Statewide inventory information, which has been collected continuously for over 50 years, covers all 50 states and 731 million acres of forested land. Each year, over 60 million
acres of land is inventoried in the United States. The rate of coverage translates into an average inventory cycle of 10 years for the nation.
The Current Research Information System (CRIS) is USDA's computer-based documentation and reporting system for continuing agricultural and forestry research. It provides ready access to information about research conducted primarily within the USDA-State agricultural research system. This information is used to plan research, avoid unnecessary duplication, determine current emphases, and establish contacts. The system contains over 30,000 descriptions of current, publicly supported agricultural and forestry research projects.
The Weather Information Management System (WIMS) is a comprehensive system to manage forestry-weather information nationwide and is designed to accommodate the weather-information needs of users throughout the Forest Service and other forestry and land-management communities. It provides access to many sources of forestry-weather data and related weather information; efficient tools for data management, processing, and display; and a supportive interactive user's environment with access to data-management and data-communications facilities.
Department of Commerce
The Bureau of the Census Center for International Research (CIR) cooperates in the worldwide collection of data on changing population trends. CIR collects population censuses and surveys from 205 countries. The data are evaluated, analyzed, adjusted, and projected to provide realistic estimates of population trends for selected countries, regions, and the world over the next 50 years. It cooperates with the Department of State, the Library of Congress, and the Defense Mapping Agency to map population data for many countries.
NOAA routinely collects large amounts of environmental data and information in its own work and is officially charged to maintain environmental records for the nation. NOAA has a comprehensive, long-term, and up-to-date store of data related to its missions to warn of dangerous weather, chart the seas and skies, guide the use and protection of ocean resources, and enrich understanding of the physical environment. In addition, it maintains special geophysical data such as solar, upper-atmosphere, cryosphere, land-surface, and solid-earth measurements. Its information-management responsibilities include the NOAA earth-system data directory and the corresponding support of the global-change master directory and development of a NOAA data active archive system, which will both integrate
into NASA's Earth Observing System Data and Information System (EOSDIS) and serve the longer-term management needs of the climate and global-change community.
NOAA's earth-system data and information management program builds on existing national data centers and independent centers of data in NOAA, which contain data from meteorological stations and satellites on snow and ice, tides, fisheries, bathymetry, geodesy, nautical charts, sea level, and hydrology. The data provide extensive information on climate, marine ecosystems, coastal oceanography, and tides.
Among several international activities, the agency participates in the World Data Center Program by maintaining centers on meteorology, oceanography, solid-earth geophysics, solar-terrestrial physics, marine geology and geophysics, and glaciology. It participates in U.S. interagency programs, including the IWGDMGC, the NASA EOSDIS program, and the EPA Environmental Monitoring and Assessment Program.
Department of Defense
The naval Oceanographic Command provides meteorological, oceanographic, and mapping, charting, and geodetic products for the Department of Defense (DOD) and Navy operations. It maintains a Navy Environmental Data Network focusing on the above subjects. The Navy-NOAA Joint Ice Center provides global ice observations, analyses, predictions, and advisory information to Weather Service forecast offices with sea and lake ice responsibilities. The Navy and Army cooperate in research on basic oceanography and terrestrial processes, including high-latitude dynamics, regional resolving models, boundary-layer dynamics, ocean ecological dynamics, and ocean measurements.
The Air Force possesses satellite and other data primarily on clouds and meteorological measures. The data are available to U.S. government agencies and their contractors and to non-DOD requesters through the National Climatic Data Center. The Air Force and NASA are jointly funding efforts to digitize satellite information for transfer to the National Geophysical Data Center. The Air Force is working with NOAA to make the data available to the research community.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers maintains the Cold Regions Research Engineering Laboratory, which conducts research on snow, ice, and frozen ground, cooperates in providing corps observations to Army meteorological teams, and collects data in support of specific continuing projects, such as measurement of temperature; salinity; water quality;
precipitation; river stage; wave height, period, and directions; and beach erosion rates.
The Defense Mapping Agency is the DOD manager for the mapping, charting, and geodesy surveys around the world. The data collected might aid in determining watershed and shoreline changes, sea-level rise, and variations in coastal currents.
Department of Energy
The Department of Energy (DOE) provides stewardship for energy-related data and information relevant to global change and ensures the quality and availability of such data. It has established the Energy Sciences Network. Global-change information is available through three DOE centers: the Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center (greenhouse-gas emissions; concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, oceans, and terrestrial ecosystems; and long-term climate data), the Energy Information Administration (total fuel cycle and cost-benefit relationships of environmental impacts for energy production and use and socioeconomic analyses), and the Office of Scientific and Technical Information. The DOE programs also provide data to national data centers and to the international World Data Center System sponsored by the International Council of Scientific Unions (ICSU). A new program, the Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) program, is targeted to acquire environmental data necessary to characterize the cloud-climate feedback mechanism in climate-prediction models. The ARM data will be integrated with those of the National Weather Service and satellite data. DOE has several international working relationships related to global-change data and has nominated its Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center to become a world data center in the ICSU network of centers.
Department of the Interior
The process of identifying which existing Department of the Interior (DOI) data sets are most pertinent to global change has been initiated in the DOI bureaus, with overall coordination and assistance at the department level. DOI bureaus will maintain and make available such data and information in support of their mission programs as well as global-change research. For example, USGS recently compiled and released a historic (1874-1988) streamflow data set, called the Hydro-Climatic Data Network, which is specifically
suitable for the study of surface-water conditions under fluctuations in the prevailing climatic conditions. Data sets characterizing the land cover, elevation, soils have also been developed and will be available on CD-ROM. They are particularly useful for research on land-atmosphere interactions. DOI is working with participating agencies to create the Global Change Data and Information System that builds on existing resources in federal agencies and the academic community. The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) has established a cooperative agreement with the National Geophysical Data Center of NOAA for the exchange of paleoclimate data sets. The eventual GCDIS would be distributed and consistent across agencies and coordinated with other countries.
DOI resources supporting the GCDIS include USGS's Earth Resources Observation Systems (EROS) Data Center (EDC) and other data archives in DOI bureaus. USGS is developing the Global Land Information System (GLIS), an on-line land-data directory, guide, and inventory system. The goal of GLIS is to provide earth-science data-users with a single interactive source for information about, and access to, a wide variety of land data from satellite-and ground-based sources archived by USGS and other agencies. USGS and NASA are also establishing a land processes distributed active archive center operated at EDC as part of EOSDIS.
DOI is addressing the need to ensure that all relevant data are preserved for long-term access and use. For example, USGS is rescuing the deteriorating archive of early Landsat data by converting it to stable archival media. DOI bureaus are also developing regional, continental, and global databases by reformatting existing digital data sets and converting nondigital data into digital formats. In addition those products, DOI bureaus are sharing a wealth of derived data, such as outputs of modeling efforts (e.g., digital elevation models and normalized difference vegetation indexes) and the vast quantity of data sets produced and used for geographic information system analysis.
DOI has been very active in encouraging public access to earth-science information through such sources as the Earth Science Data Directory, Earth Science Information Centers, and the National Water Data Exchange. The USGS Library System supports global-change research with its comprehensive earth-science collection of 1.3 million volumes and 450,000 maps. The Bureau of Mines and USGS jointly operate a Minerals Information Office.
DOI chairs the interagency Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC) to promote the coordinated development, use, sharing, and dissemination of surveying, mapping, and related spatial data. The objectives of the FGDC include providing guidance and promoting cooperation among federal, state, and local government agencies and the private sector. The
FGDC was established through the revised Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Circular A-16, which assigned leadership responsibilities to various federal departments for various types of spatial data. Those activities are intended to reduce wasteful duplication of effort and foster development of a national spatial geographic data infrastructure.
OMB Memorandum No. 92-01 (M-92-01) delegates to the USGS lead responsibility for a Water Information Coordination program (WICP), which coordinates the water data acquisition and information sharing activities of all federal agencies. Agencies are to ensure that plans to initiate new water information programs or expand old ones are coordinated with other agencies in advance. Participants in WICP are required to collaborate with other groups coordinating related categories of information, including meteorology and spatial data. An Advisory Committee on Water Data for Public Use solicits input from 16 national organizations involved in water issues, and the Interagency Committee on Water Data has representatives from 30 Federal organizations that either collect or use water data.
Environmental Protection Agency
The process of identifying data sets most relevant to global change has been initiated by EPA laboratories with overall coordination and assistance at the headquarters level.
EPA is participating in NASA's pre-EOS Landsat Pathfinder and AVHRR Pathfinder projects. The global-change research program at the environmental research laboratory in Athens, Georgia, is using both a database from a cooperative effort with the University of New Hampshire and the EPA-NOAA global ecosystem database on CD-ROM. A spatial database of carbon in U. S. agricultural soils and site-specific databases from the Great Plains and the corn belt are under development. The laboratory is considering databases containing data on agricultural plant-crop waste and animal waste and the related carbon emissions.
Both the stratospheric ozone and global-change research groups at the environmental research laboratory in Corvallis, Oregon, use the Global Network MetaData File (GNMDF), a working database consisting of about 50 geographic data files with information on land use, vegetation and soil classification, hydrology, and elevation.
The Global Emissions Database (GLOED) software is a database management tool being developed by scientists at the Air and Energy Engineering Research Laboratory in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina. GLOED will have the ability to manage data on global greenhouse-gas
sources and sinks. GLOED will also have the capability to store new compilations of emission data and calculate emission data by gas, country, source, and sector.
National Aeronautics and Space Administration
NASA's Mission to Planet Earth (MTPE) and Earth Observing System (EOS) are NASA's institutional response to the requirements of the U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP). As a consequence, those activities are being designed to be directly responsive to research and policy-making priorities as delineated by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
EOS, the cornerstone of MTPE, is a 15-year-long interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary research mission. Launch of the first satellite in a series is scheduled for June 1998. The EOS project will study global-scale processes through simultaneous observation from a suite of instruments in low-earth orbit and from data collected in situ, integrated with NASA and other federal activities, such as multisensor aircraft campaigns. The EOS space component is also part of a partnership with European and Japanese EOS platforms and will be able to incorporate the data from existing operational satellites. Earth probes, another component of the MTPE, involve single instruments or missions focused on specific parts of the earth system. Earth probes are dedicated both to yield near-term observations of specific earth processes and to complement EOS observations when smaller satellites or nonpolar orbits are needed; EOS itself focuses on a broader range of interrelated phenomena that require simultaneous observations, an integrated information system, and an interdisciplinary science strategy. Indeed, EOS supports the required investigations of the earth system with four distinct mission objectives:
Creation of an integrated scientific research program that will support the study of the earth's climate system, hydrological cycle, and biogeochemical cycles.
Acquisition and assembly of a global database of established quality and reliability, mainly from remote sensing measurements.
Development of a comprehensive data and information system to serve the needs of scientists in a variety of disciplines studying the earth.
Improvement of predictive models of the earth system, focusing on interaction of system components, such as air-sea coupling and biological effects on climate.
To address those goals, EOS can be considered as having three components: the space-based observatories; the data and information system (EOSDIS), which will help to acquire and analyze data and control the spacecraft and instruments; and the interdisciplinary studies to be carried out by the EOS-funded investigators.
The EOSDIS provides the infrastructure to enable continuing interdisciplinary research on the earth system. It will operate with an unrestricted data policy, so that data for research purposes can be made available to anyone at a reasonable cost. EOSDIS will provide geophysical and biological information, not simply radiance measurements from the instruments. The goal is, therefore, that EOSDIS be a useful information system for the earth-science community, not only a data system. The data from EOS space-based observatories and other sources will be processed within a few hours to a few days after observations are made, and researchers will be able to cross-correlate data sets and gain access to data easily through an information management and data distribution system. EOSDIS is the first component of EOS that will be available to the scientific community, offering useful tools at several stages of its evolution. For example, through a precursor system known as Version 0, it will support research and analysis with existing data and establish common protocols for the transfer of data sets. By 1994, EOSDIS will provide improved access to current satellite data with Pathfinder data sets of geophysical and biological products.
EOSDIS, based on NASA's existing stores of earth-science data including data from other space missions and from nonspace observations) will help to integrate all agency observations. It will establish a capability for providing easily accessible data sets, and information describing them, for EOS and related non-EOS earth-science data as a whole. The EOSDIS architecture will include operation of the space measurement system (the command and control functions) and the production, archiving, and distribution of data and products in support of the EOS scientific research program and general earth-science research worldwide. EOSDIS will serve as NASA's earth-science data system and will begin with a process of consolidating and improving NASA's existing earth-science data-management capabilities, beginning as soon as possible to improve support for interdisciplinary global-change research efforts.
The goals of EOSDIS will be to support the planning and execution of data acquisition from the EOS space measurement system; to support the development of data-analysis products for scientific research; and to process, archive, and distribute data products for EOS and other earth-science data holdings. A related goal is to facilitate extremely wide and easy access to potentially vast holdings. The design is best characterized as flexible and
resilient, and the implementation will be incremental and evolutionary. EOSDIS will consist of the following components:
Flight operations segment. Consisting of the EOS Operations Center (EOC) and Instrument Control Centers (ICCs), this segment will provide mission and instrument planning, scheduling, control, and monitoring. Instrument Support Terminals (ISTs) will provide ICC capabilities at the investigator's home facility; interfaces with international partners will also be provided.
Science data-processing segment. This segment will consist of the Distributed Active Archive Centers (DAACs), including the Product Generation System (PGS), the Data Archive and Distribution System (DADS), and the Information Management System (IMS). The primary purpose of this segment is to perform higher-level science processing of instrument data. Field Support Terminals (FSTs) will provide mobile communication to coordinate platform data acquisition and to support visualization and analysis tasks for field campaigns.
Science computing facilities. These facilities will be at investigators' sites and will be used to develop and maintain data-processing software, produce special data products, validate data products, and perform scientific analyses.
EOS data operations system. This system will perform first-level processing (Level 0) and archiving of EOS data, distributes Level 0 data to the DAACs.
Communication and system management segment. This segment will consist of the System Management Center (SMC) and the EOSDIS Science Network (ESN) and provides overall management, coordination, and adjudication of the ground-system resources.
EOSDIS will also provide linkages to non-NASA data centers, which provide related data sets required to support generation of EOS products or of critical importance for the EOS scientific research program, or data centers–Affiliated Data Centers (ADCs)–that perform functions critical to the overall EOS effort and complementary to the functions performed by EOSDIS.
Beyond the operational lifespan of EOS, NASA has negotiated agreements for long-term data archiving with NOAA for oceanic and atmospheric data and with USGS for land data.
Other space missions offer the opportunity to collect important data before the EOS flight missions. The Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite will support the study of atmospheric-chemistry issues. The TOPEX/Poseidon
mission will collect data on the roughness of the ocean surface. Other earth probes will provide data on ocean-surface wind velocity, total atmospheric ozone concentrations, and tropical rainfall. The data from all these missions will become part of the holdings of EOSDIS.
A key component of pre-EOS launch activity is the reassessment of previous satellite and other data sets to produce a longer baseline from which we can determine the rate of global change. For example, one major EOS activity is the reprocessing of the NOAA satellite-temperature data set with a consistent set of algorithms and estimates of instrument variances within the NOAA series. The concept of Pathfinder data sets was initiated by EOS program personnel at NASA headquarters to provide EOS investigators and other researchers access to large data sets applicable to global-change research before the availability of EOS data. Pathfinder data sets are long time-series global or regional data sets from which higher-level geophysical products can be derived that are applicable to the study of global-change questions.
National Science Foundation
In the case of large, coordinated National Science Foundation (NSF) research programs and projects (e.g., World Ocean Circulation), substantial efforts are made to ensure that data are collected, processed, subjected to quality control, analyzed, archived, and made available to the research community in internationally adopted standard formats. Where standards do not exist, suitable archive and exchange formats are developed within the project. Data- management plans are coordinated with other participating agencies, and the data are archived at existing national and international centers, e.g., the National Center for Atmospheric Research data centers and the World Data Centers. The research data sets produced under such projects are also documented and reviewed by the research community. As a general policy, all research data sets produced with NSF support are available to all other researchers. In the case of individual projects, principal investigators are allowed exclusive use of their own data sets, if desired, for a limited period before deposition in a data center or dissemination to other investigators.
Programs also exist in NSF outside the focused USGCRP that support interdisciplinary research and infrastructure for scientific databases relevant to the USGCRP. For example, the Division of Information, Robotics and Intelligent Systems (IRIS) and the UNIDATA program in the Division of
Atmospheric Sciences strive to make the best use of atmospheric and related data for enhancing education and research.
The Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) sites maintain an electronic network linking each other and the network office. Each site also keeps databases on at least five core subjects; archived data are accessible via the Internet. The network office maintains an LTER electronic-mail network (Internet.edu) to facilitate communication among investigators in many institutions.
NSF maintains an electronic communication system (NSFNET) that facilitates contact and collaboration among researchers and research institutions. NSF also provides gateways for access both nationally and internationally to other academic and government networks, e.g., the Interim Interagency National Research and Education Network (NREN).
FEDERAL GEOGRAPHIC DATA COMMITTEE
Under provisions of revised OMB Circular A-16, the DOI, through USGS, chairs the Federal Geographic Data Committee (FDGC) to promote the coordinated development, use, sharing, and dissemination of surveying, mapping, and related spatial data. The data resources being compiled are wide-ranging and are potentially of value in environmental research. A report of the National Research Council Mapping Science Committee (NRC, 1990b, p.38) states that
in an era of increased awareness of global change (e.g., climatic warming, tropical deforestation, and reduced biological diversity), the scientific community will need to employ new techniques and methodologies for enhancing sustainable development on national, continental, and global scales–advanced cartographic research is imperative. Mapping is the key. Without accurate maps we cannot hope to understand the dynamic social and environmental changes that are occurring in our own country let alone the global system.
Fourteen departments and independent agencies are members of the FGDC: USDA, DOC, DOD, DOE, DOI, EPA, NASA, The Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Department of State, the Department of Transportation (DOT), the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Library of Congress, the National Archives and Records Administration, and the Tennessee Valley Authority. The committee has developed a concept of
a National Geographic Data System that would initially provide an index to federal geographic-data holdings.
OMB Circular A-16 establishes a process to reduce duplication of effort among federal agencies and to foster the development of a spatial framework for collected data. The geographic-data coordination responsibilities assigned by the circular are as follows:
Geographic Data Category:
Coast and Geodetic Survey (DOC)
Bureau of Land Management, (DOI)
Cultural and demographic
Bureau of the Census, (DOC)
Coast and Geodetic Survey, (DOC)
Federal Highway Administration, (DOT)
Portrayal of certain international boundaries
Office of the Geographer, (DOS)
Soil Conservation Service, (USDA)
Forest Service, (USDA)
Fish and Wildlife Service, (DOI)
The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) provided guidance to the heads of executive agencies about water-information coordination in Memorandum 92-01 (M-92-01), signed December 10, 1991. This guidance supersedes Circular A-67 on water-data coordination signed in 1964. The memorandum delegates lead responsibility for the Water Information
Coordination Program (WICP) to USGS, and requires other agencies to assist in the process. The memorandum expands the scope of the previous circular in some significant aspects–including investigations and interpretive products. Specific emphasis is placed on the need to establish more effective working relationships with state and local agencies, Indian tribes, and the private sector. Participants in the WICP are required to collaborate with other groups coordinating related categories of information, including meteorology and spatial data. The requirement to develop consensus standards, guidelines, and procedures is included, as is the need to establish a National Water Information Clearinghouse. Of particular interest is the requirement that agency heads ensure that plans to initiate new water-information programs or expand old ones be coordinated with other agencies in advance. The memorandum specifically requires the participating agencies to conduct a nationwide review and evaluation of water-quality monitoring activities.
OTHER FEDERAL AGENCY DATA ACTIVITIES
Federal agencies have been collecting data in fulfillment of their missions for decades. Many of the data sets are being used by the consortia of agencies that have been formed to manage data for the U.S. Global Change Research Program and the Spatial Data Committee, for example, USDA data on vegetation and soils and DOI data on wetlands. Other focal points for the management of data are being established, for example, the EPA Center for Environmental Statistics. The following describes some of the agency efforts. It is a partial list whose purpose is to show the large amount of effort being expended to collect and manage data.
Environmental Protection Agency
EPA is expanding or initiating a variety of data-collection and data-management activities related to human exposure and health effects of substances in the environment, as well as ecological measures.
A development staff is working within the EPA Office of Policy, Planning, and Evaluation on an Environmental Statistics Initiative. Impetus has been provided by the draft bill elevating EPA to a Department of the Environment that also calls for a Bureau of Environmental Statistics. However, EPA sees the need for a Center for Environmental Statistics as independent of events related to the creation of a Department of the Environment. The goals of the initiative are to provide critical data on the
state of the environment to decision-makers inside and outside EPA and the federal government. It is anticipated that the resource will provide the information needed for better resource allocation among different environmental hazards and for targeting efforts on problems of the environment. The center plans to publish reports regularly on national and regional environmental conditions and trends and a directory of federal environmental-data sources. The initial volume in the latter series, A Guide to Selected National Environmental Statistics in the U.S. Government (EPA, 1992b), was published in April 1992. The reports will describe environmental conditions and trends and present statistics showing the current status of and historical trends in selected measures of environmental quality, such as ambient environmental pollution; threats to the environment, such as releases or discharges of pollutants; toxicity of contaminated environmental media; human and other exposure to environmental contaminants; health and ecological damage related to environmental degradation; and demographic factors that could affect environmental quality.
The development staff plans to work closely with other EPA program offices, the EPA Office of Research and Development, and other federal agencies to avoid duplication of effort. It sees its activity as complementary to the Council on Environmental Quality's production of an annual report on trends in the environment. The Guide lists data sets from most agencies involved in environmental research. The center includes among its information bases such other extensive resources as the Global Change Master Directory, the Guide to Selected Spatial Environmental Data, and the Guide to Selected Ecological Information and Statistics.
In addition to collecting and analyzing data existing in EPA and other federal agencies, the center will concern itself with infrastructural issues, such as the development of statistical methods and training in statistical analysis, and on making information available to the public.
The Environmental Monitoring and Assessment Program (EMAP) is an ambitious program designed to assess the nationwide distribution of ecological resources in the United States and to assess trends in their condition. A unique aspect of the program is its reliance on probability-based selection of sampling locations for both those major goals (NRC, 1992d).
EMAP's specific goals are to
Estimate the current status, extent, changes, and trends in indicators of the condition of the nation's ecological resources on a regional basis with known confidence.
Monitor indicators of pollutant exposures and habitat condition and seek associations between human-induced stresses and ecological condition.
Provide periodic statistical summaries and interpretive reports on ecological status and trends to resource managers and the public (EPA, 1991).
The program's objectives are to understand status and trends in environmental measurements, study associations and diagnose problems, and publish findings in annual reports. Input elements include landscape characterization; stressor data on air and deposition; field sampling of wetlands, estuaries, the Great Lakes, arid ecosystems, surface waters, forests, and agrosystems; and data from other sources (E. Martinko, EPA, personal communication, 1992).
EMAP envisions itself as a focal point for federal-level data coordination, and it plans to amass the maximal amount of quality data while designing its own data system to be compatible with data being gathered as part of the U.S. Global Change Research Program.
U.S. Geological Survey
The National Geologic Mapping Act (PL 102-285), passed May 18, 1992, directs USGS to establish a national geological-map database. Complementary components of this database include a national geophysical-map database, geochemical-map database, and a geochronological and paleontological data base. USGS maintains other databases that have particular relevance to the environmental community. These include the National Geochemical Data Base, consisting of geochemical information for over two million rock, soil, sediment, plant, and water samples. The Mineral Resources Data System contains information on over 80,000 mineral occurrences in the United States and the world. A geophysics database contains information on the distribution of uranium, thorium, and potassium in surficial materials at a national scale.
USGS's Earth Resources Observing System (EROS) Data Center (EDC) is carrying out the goals of PL 98-365 and 102-555 through its satellite-data processing activities. These activities include meeting the following objectives:
Establishing and operating a data management facility to acquire, process, archive and distribute products from Landsat satellite remotely sensed data.
Supporting commercial value-added use of Landsat data by distributing minimally processed Landsat data products at the cost of distribution and processing.
Producing Landsat data products required for global environmental-change research activities in DOI.
Establishing and operating a Distributed Active Archive Center to provide permanent archive support for and process and distribute land processes data acquired by NASA's Earth Observing System (EOS) as part of the EOS Data Information System (EOSDIS).
The National Water Quality Assessment (NAWQA) program is designed to address national water-quality concerns through comparative studies in a large set of hydrological systems that are distributed in a wide range of environmental settings throughout the nation. The goals of the NAWQA program are to
Describe the status and trends in the quality of a large, representative part of the nation's surface-water and groundwater resources.
Provide a sound, scientific understanding of the primary natural and human factors affecting the quality of these resources.
The Core Program Hydrologic Research Program uses the sciences of hydrology, mathematics, chemistry, physics, ecology, biology, geology, and engineering to conduct basic and problem-oriented research in the fields of groundwater hydrology and chemistry, surface-water hydrology and chemistry, geomorphology and sediment transport, and ecology. Encompassing a broad spectrum of scientific investigations, the emphasis of research activities changes through time, reflecting the emergence of promising new fields of inquiry and the demand for new tools and techniques with which to address water-resources issues and problems. Research is focused on gaining a fundamental understanding of the processes that affect the availability, movement, and quality of the nation's water resources.
USGS administers two research programs authorized by the Water Resources Research Act of 1984: the State Water Resources Research Institute program and a national competitive water resources research grant program. The institute program provides matching grants for partial support of 54 water-resources research institutes at land-grant universities across the nation. The institutes conduct programs of research, education, and information transfer on all topics related to water resources.
The Toxic Substances Hydrology program conducts investigations designed to understand the processes affecting the movement and fate of
hazardous substances in surface water and groundwater. The program provides information needed to prevent future contamination problems and mitigate existing problems. Interdisciplinary studies are conducted at selected field sites that represent the most important types of contaminants.
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
NOAA's extensive data activities have been described for the most part in the section on global-change data systems. The agency serves as a primary data-collection and data-management agency and engages in cooperative arrangements with, for example, NASA, the Navy, EPA, and USGS. For several cooperative arrangements, it serves as the chair or lead agency. It chairs the interagency working group on global-change data. Its National Climatic Data Center has legal standing as a joint NOAA-Navy-Air Force Weather Records Center. Because of its large role in environmental-data matters, the scope of NOAA's data activities, including and beyond global change, is briefly summarized here.
NOAA manages six world data centers, three national data centers, and over 30 centers of data. The world data centers cover the subjects of glaciology, meteorology, marine geology and geophysics, oceanography, solar-terrestrial physics, and solid-earth geophysics. The national data centers maintain data on geophysics, climate, and oceanography. The 30 centers of data span the mission interests of the agency in atmospheric, oceanographic, and fisheries subjects. NOAA categorizes the environmental variables it deals with as follows:
Solar (surface) irradiance.
Concentrations of radioactively and chemically important trace species, such as carbon dioxide, stratospheric ozone, and nitrogen oxide.
Atmospheric response variables, such as temperature, winds, and tropospheric water vapor.
Earth-surface data, such as bathymetry, coastline position, and topography.
Earth-surface properties, such as index of vegetation cover, snow cover, surface albedo, and soil moisture.
Paleoclimate-atmospheric composition, ice volume and extent, land and ocean temperature, and vegetation.
Geophysical fields, such as gravity and geoid, magnetic fields, and thermal vents.
Ocean variables, such as sea-surface temperature, surface radiation budget, dissolved oxygen, nutrients, and sea level.
Marine-resource information, such as primary productivity, survey species composition, fish pathology (heavy metals), and ecosystem surveys.
National Science Foundation
NSF's Long-Term Ecological Research network has 19 sites from Alaska to Antarctica with a network office in Seattle. Each site gathers data on the five core subjects: primary production, population and tropic structure, organic-matter accumulation, inorganic inputs, and site disturbance. The data sets are published in a Core Data Catalog, and access to them is provided via the Internet. Each site also maintains a geographic information system (GIS) and is capable of analyzing remote-sensing data.
NSF also is funding the computerization of data from the nation's natural-history museums. Data models and programs for standardizing databases are being developed for different types of collections (e.g., MUSE for fish collections and SMASCH for botanical collections). Local data are being geo-referenced to allow mapping entry into a GIS.
NSF is developing a plan for a National Center for Ecological Synthesis and Analysis. The center would serve as a ''think tank" where single investigators and groups might come for several weeks or months to use computers and data to analyze and model ecological questions. The center is not envisioned as a gatherer of new data, but as a user of existing data.