As the Nation's largest natural resource science agency, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) provides information that is used to protect life and property from natural disasters, manage natural resources, and protect the environment. The USGS is a science agency; we have no regulatory or management function. Our mission, since being established by Congress in 1879, is to provide relevant, impartial, and timely natural resource information. These web pages are designed to do just that.
The USGS works in cooperation with more than 2000 organizations across the United States. We have at least one office in every state. Our cooperative approach to conducting science and our widespread distribution help us to do science that is relevant. This also helps us in communicating science to managers and regulators so they can make sound decisions.
The USGS has four disciplines. Geography is best known for providing topographic maps used by hikers and others. The Geology is best known for assessing the Nation's energy and mineral resources and for research and monitoring related to earthquakes and volcanoes. Biology is best known in Michigan for extensive research and monitoring in the Great Lakes. The Great Lakes Science Center, located in Ann Arbor, works closely with local, state, federal, and binational agencies to provide critical biological information for the Great Lakes. The Water Discipline is best known for it's national streamflow monitoring program, extensive mapping of the nation's ground-water resources, and a national water-quality monitoring and assessment program. The Michigan Water Science Center, with our main office in Lansing and field offices in Grayling and Escanaba, is part of the Water Discipline.
Since 1900 the USGS has provided water-resources data and information about Michigan. Historical information about streamflow, ground-water levels, and water quality provide a baseline to assess the effects of human activities and natural changes, such as climate, on water resources. Nearly every question asked about water resources in Michigan requires information from long-term monitoring networks. USGS products provide policy makers, managers, scientists, and the general public with information needed to understand and make sound decisions regarding Michigan's natural resources.
Today the Michigan Water Science Center continues to run monitoring networks and conduct scientific assessments and research of Michigan's water resources. We do this with a highly trained staff of hydrologists and hydrologic technicians who have education and expertise in the fields of geology, engineering, hydrogeology, statistics, biology, microbiology, chemistry, and geography. These scientists are supported by a computer unit (which is bringing you these web pages) and an administrative unit. The Science Center has about 45 people in our Lansing Science Center Offices, 6 in our Grayling Field Office, and 7 in our Escanaba Field Office.
Most of the monitoring, interpretive work, and research in the Michigan Water Science Center is cooperatively funded through the USGS Federal-State Cooperative Program. The Cooperative Program allows the USGS to match up to 50 percent of project costs with state and local agencies. In Michigan, we typically have about 50 cooperators with whom we are working. About 80 percent of our Science Center funding is through the Cooperative Program. About 95 percent of our statewide monitoring is funded through this program.
In addition to our Cooperative Program projects and monitoring, the USGS wholely funds some monitoring of surface, ground water, and water quality. The National Water Quality Assessment Program also provides interpretive information about water resources in southeast Michigan and part of the Upper Peninsula. Also, some Federal Agencies fund the USGS to conduct monitoring, assessment, and research.
Our goal is that results of our work will be timely, of high quality, relevant, and valued by our cooperators and the public. These web pages are one means of achieving this goal. Our web pages include a searchable index of our publications, descriptions of recently completed and ongoing programs and projects, and access to our monitoring data. If you have any comments or suggestions on how the pages could be improved to better serve your needs, please contact the Michigan Water Science Center Webmaster.