For years inflation has been slowly eroding the U.S. Geological Survey's budget. Now USGS is getting some relief. The Obama Administration is requesting a 5.2% raise for 2010, which would bring the agency's budget to $1.1 billion.
All of the increase would go toward research rather than fixed costs such as salary increases or building maintenance. Combine that $54 million bump with $144 million in the recent stimulus bill—mainly for upgrading stream gages and improving monitoring of earthquake faults and volcanoes—and the agency has almost $200 million in new funds to invest in science. “It’s unprecedented in the history of the survey,” says Carla Burzyk, director of USGS’s Office of Budget and Performance.
Even though there aren’t any new programs being proposed, the mood is pretty upbeat compared with past years. “I don’t have to talk about any major decreases in the budget,” Burzyk says. “We are very happy to be cresting over the waves.”