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were targeted for special recruitment efforts. With a current total workforce of 10,534 persons, 6 percent of whom are persons having disabilities, the USGS continues to be among the highest in the Department of the Interior in the employment of persons having disabilities.
One major outreach effort to both the public community and to the academic community in particular is the Volunteer for Science Program that was established in 1986. At the end of FY 1987, 397 volunteers had donated over 76,754 hours that resulted in an estimated savings of $790,380 to the USGS. By the end of FY 1989, a total of 1,298 volunteers had donated 294,145.50 hours that resulted in an estimated savings of more than $3,000,000. In the 2-year period from October 1987 to September 1989, the number of volunteers, the number of hours donated, and the estimated savings have more than tripled.
Most USGS volunteers are recruited through the efforts of a nationwide network of coordinators. USGS volunteers are from varied backgrounds and ages that range from senior citizens who are interested in providing useful services and being involved, to college students who are eager for exposure to scientific research and advanced technology, to elementary school students who are anxious to learn more about fossils and rocks. USGS volunteers come from all walks of life: the community, elementary and high schools, colleges and universities, professional associations, and retiree associations. The USGS takes special pride in the 44 Scientists Emeriti and in the 93 USGS retirees who serve as volunteers on various projects and provide assistance in the Visitors Center at the National Center. The fact that students and faculty from over 135 colleges and universities, including historically black colleges and universities, also participate in the program is another pleasing result of this effort. The retirees who volunteer in the USGS Visitors Center serve as docents, conducting tours, developing tour programs, and scheduling tour groups for visits. The results of this docent program will be used to assist in the development of similar programs at other USGS regional Centers.
The Volunteer for Science Program is promoted extensively through recruit
ment flyers and posters, news releases, visits to high schools and colleges, participation in volunteer fairs, awards ceremonies, certificates of appreciation, volunteer pins, USGS retirees associations, and the distribution of volunteer information with map sales. The volunteer program is conducted in cooperation with Take Pride in America sponsored by the Department of the Interior.
Particularly noteworthy in 1989 was outreach to over 900 colleges and universities having earth science, geography, and computer-science departments. The USGS provided these academic institutions with a booklet listing nationwide USGS volunteer/intern opportunities in the field of geology. Another recruitment and outreach tool is the Volunteer Yearbook that contains descriptions of specific volunteer assignments and lists the names of volunteers. Through these outreach efforts, the program has continued to attract persons interested in science and public service. Because the Volunteer for Science Program is of mutual benefit to both the USGS and the volunteer, it is not only a successful program but also a rapidly growing program.
Reaching Out in a Big Way
By Gail A. Wendt
Menlo Park Symposium and Open House
Breaking new ground in its efforts to reach out to a wider audience for its scientific information, the USGS hosted a combined symposium and open house at its regional headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif. Titled “Geohazards '88,” the twoday symposium on November 17 and 18 was followed by a day-long open house for the general public on Saturday, November 19.
Aimed at local planners and managers who benefit from the information available from the USGS, the symposium
first such concerted effort by the USGS to reach out to a specific audience— local and regional land-use and resource managers and planners-and to help them better understand what information and products were available from the USGS and how they could best use these earthscience tools.
At the Saturday open house, some 8,000 citizens, including many family groups, came out to see what the USGS is all about in Menlo Park. The Menlo Park facility had previously hosted an open house in 1985 and used that experience to bring even more exciting exhibits and presentations to the public at the 1989 open house.
Exhibits and presentations covered the full gamut of USGS research and investigations from satellite image mapping and geographic information systems to ground-water contamination and water use. Other research efforts including mineral resources, planetary geology, and marine geology were highlighted. Computer applications, publications, the USGS library, and the Menlo Park Earth Science Information Center-one of the 11 public outlets for USGS information and map and book sales-rounded out the extensive program.
In direct response to visitors at the open house who said that they would like to visit the USGS more often, the Earth Science Information Center (ESIC) at the Menlo Park office has become the first ESIC in the Nation to extend its hours to 7 p.m., each Thursday, beginning January 1990.
Reston Open House
In the spring of 1989, in conjunction with National Science and Technology Week, sponsored by the National Science Foundation, the USGS hosted an open house at its National Center in Reston, Va. The 1-day event on Saturday, April 29, 1989, was attended by some 5,000 residents in the Washington, D.C., area.
The theme of National Science and Technology Week, “Everyone is a Scientist,” was used. Displays, exhibits, and activities for the open house focused on getting across the message that science is an important and intrinsic part of everyone's daily life. One of the most popular
events was “Ask the Scientist,” which gave visitors an opportunity to bring in rocks and fossils to be identified by USGS geologists or to ask questions about local geology. At times, the crowds were so large that it was hard to hear or see—the scientists.
Another highlight that received great popular acclaim was the premiere showing of the new USGS/Smithsonian film, “Inside Hawaiian Volcanoes.”
The newly refurbished “Maps and Minds” exhibit-sponsored by the USGS and the National Geographic Society, and recently back from a 5-year tour around the Nation provided a pleasant and educational walk through the history of mapmaking. “Maps and Minds” remained at the USGS through the 28th International Geological Congress in July in Washington, D.C., when hundreds more visitors from around the world came out to Reston to visit the National Center. The exhibit then began another 5-year tour around the country through the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibit Service.
Other exhibits and displays at the open house featured coastal erosion, the Parkfield earthquake prediction experiment, scientific visualization-an exciting new world of computerized imagery, acid rain, and mineral resources. Special activities were set up for Girl Scout and Boy Scout groups at which information was available on which specific exhibits and presentations would satisfy badge requirements.
Special tours took visitors to the treering laboratory, the extensive map and book collections of the USGS library, the
Technology Information Center, the mainframe computer room, and the carbon-14 age-dating laboratory. Many intrepid visitors braved the pouring rain and enthusiastically ventured out to see the ground-water well on the USGS grounds.
Visitors were able to purchase a special poster commemorating the 110th anniversary of the USGS, which featured an aerial view of the Reston area around the National Center. The Earth Science Information Center was open throughout the event, and waiting lines of visitors usually extended out of the door.
Visitors were asked to fill out a brief questionnaire before they left. Comments
Water Resources Investigations
Embudo: 100 Years of
T he U.S. Geological Survey has the
principal responsibility within the 1 Federal Government to provide the hydrologic information and understanding needed by others to achieve the best use and management of the Nation's water resources. To accomplish this mission, the Water Resources Division, in cooperation with State, local, and other
By Charles W. Boning Federal agencies, • Systematically collects and analyzes
The U.S. Geological Survey began its data to evaluate the quantity, quality, and
stream-gaging program 100 years ago on use of the Nation's water resources and the Rio Grande near the village of provides results of these investigations to Embudo in northern New Mexico. The the public.
site was selected by Major John Wesley • Conducts water-resources appraisals Powell, the USGS's second Director, who describing the occurrence, availability, recognized the need to develop techand physical, chemical, and biological char- niques and procedures that would meet acteristics of surface and ground water. the requirements of legislation passed in • Conducts basic and problem-oriented October 1888 authorizing surveys of hydrologic and related research that aids water resources for irrigation and flood in alleviating water-resources problems
prevention. and provides an understanding of hydro
Few people were knowledgeable logic systems sufficient to predict their
about stream gaging in 1888; therefore, response to natural or human-caused Powell envisioned a camp for training a stress.
cadre of young engineers who in turn • Coordinates the activities of Federal
could train others to carry out this aspect agencies in the acquisition of water
of the USGS's mission. Embudo was
chosen for this training camp chiefly resources data for streams, lakes, reser
because it was accessible by railroad, and voirs, estuaries, and ground water.
because gaging rivers in areas farther • Provides scientific and technical assist
north was complicated by ice during winance in hydrologic fields to other Fed
ter. A western site was needed because eral, State, and local agencies, to licensees
the legislation specifically authorized such of the Federal Energy Regulatory Com
work only for arid lands, which excluded mission, and to international agencies on eastern streams. Also, the Rio Grande behalf of the Department of State.
was an ideally sized river on which to • Administers the State Water Re
conduct a training program. Also, data sources Research Institutes Program and on flows of the Rio Grande were needed the National Water Resources Research to help resolve issues of water rights with Grants Program.
The training camp was established in December 1888 with a select group of engineers who had recently graduated from eastern colleges. The trainees were led by Frederick Haynes Newell, who was later recognized as the father of systematic stream gaging. Because there was little available precedent for gaging streams, the group relied on their own innovations for developing stream-gaging procedures and for redesigning and refining equipment suitable for this purpose. Their first rudimentary efforts in December 1888 included measuring velocity by timing floats that were placed in the river and by measuring stream depths from a raft made from logs and barrels that was tied to a rope stretched across the river. Other data collected were water temperature, barometric pressure, and evaporation. The ingenuity of those first streamgagers was evident in how they measured evaporation. They borrowed a bread pan from the camp cook and measured evaporation by recording the loss of water from the pan.
In January 1889, when more supplies and appropriate equipment arrived, the first USGS gaging station was constructed. The gage consisted of a stilling well that was dug into the gravel bank of the Rio Grande. By extending intake pipes from the well into the river, the engineers were ensured that the water level in the well was consistent with the level in the river. Although extremely rudimentary in construction, the basic design of this first gage is similar to gages still in use today.
A makeshift shelter was built over the well to house an instrument that was provided by the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey to record water levels in the well. This recorder had a horizontal chart drum that turned with time. The water level in the well was sensed by a float that was attached to a wire suspended from a wheel on the recorder that turned as the river stage changed. Here again, although bulky and relatively crude, the recorder operated on the same principle as many recorders still in operation today.
To measure stream velocity, several types of meters were tested and modified as appropriate for the flow characteristics of the Rio Grande. Meters were redesigned to accommodate the shallow
depths of the river, and the counting mechanisms were refined to avoid interference from weeds and grasses that were suspended or floating in the water. The engineers experimented with various procedures for making discharge measurements: they traversed the stream at a constant rate while the meter was suspended in the flow to integrate velocity across the stream; they raised and lowered the meter at a constant rate at points in the stream to integrate velocity from the water surface to the streambed, and they measured velocity using the meter that was held stationary at various points in the stream and at various depths. The procedures developed at Embudo by this pioneering group of engineers provided the framework for modern stream-gaging technology.
The stream-gaging program grew in response to the need for data for irrigation, navigation, and flood prevention purposes. By 1900, about 160 gages had been established. In the following decades, growth in the stream-gaging program was more dramatic. Data were needed not only for large flood-control and irrigation projects but also for the expansion of hydroelectric power generation from the 1920's to the 1950's. The