May 5, 2008

USGS reorganization brings watershed
of offices to Sacramento State


Photo:  The USGS, which oversees a number of federal functions, is expanding its presence on the campus. The USGS, which oversees a number of federal functions, is expanding its presence on the campus.

It may not be earthshaking news for some, but the U.S. Geological Survey has been increasing its presence on campus. What started off as a single water science center 10 years ago has grown into a plethora of offices with far reaching responsibilities.

Earlier this year, the USGS Regional Executive's Office for the Pacific Southwest Area was established here. The office, located in Modoc Hall, is responsible for all USGS science in California, Nevada, Arizona, Utah and Hawaii.

It also oversees the Southern California Multi-Hazard Demonstration Project, a research program to help communities in Southern California plan for physical hazards such as earthquakes, flood, fires, and mudslides, and oversees the USGS volcano observatories in Alaska, Washington, and Hawaii.

“It’s exciting for us to be part of the university environment,” says Michael V. Shulters, acting USGS Southwest Regional Executive and the longtime director of the California Water Science Center. “As a federal science agency, it’s important to be close to so many of the things a university campus provides.”

USGS has been a part of the campus since 1997 when the California Water Science Center moved into Placer Hall from its offices in suburban Sacramento. The center, which specializes in California water issues, became the first USGS water science center to relocate to a university campus.

In 2004, the USGS moved several more offices into Modoc Hall: the Western Ecological Research Center’s management office; the Southwest Geographic Science Team; the Western Remote Sensing and Visualization Center; the Office of Western Regional Services, and the Western Region Geographic Information Office.

“USGS scientists really benefit from the ready access to the many departments on campus and the ability to interact with faculty and students,” Shulters says.

Approximately 250 USGS employees now work on campus.

The USGS is the nation's largest natural-science agency and has the principal responsibility within the federal government for mapping the nation, assessing its geological resources and hazards, understanding its natural biological resources and providing hydrologic information for appraising the nation's water resources.

For more information about the USGS, contact Shulters at 278-9551 or Public Affairs Specialist Jim Nickles at 278-3016. For media assistance, contact Sacramento State’s Public Affairs Office at 278-6156.