Updating Safety, Health, and Efficiency Standards in USGS Facilities
USGS scientists processing fish samples on the USGS Research Vessel Kaho
Ensuring USGS facilities meet current safety, health and efficiency standards is essential for successful research activities which decisionmakers depend on to protect the natural environment, economy, national security and general quality of life.
Recovery Act Funding
The USGS will receive $29.4 million in Recovery Act funding to help maintain health, safety and efficiency standards on USGS facilities. This funding will go towards hundreds of projects, including funding to replace two ageing research vessels on the Great Lakes.
Funds from the President’s Recovery Act allow for the replacement of two nearly 50-year-old USGS vessels on Lake Erie and Lake Ontario. The new research vessels will be built to current safety and fuel efficiency standards, which will reduce fuel consumption, ensure a safer working environment offshore and decrease maintenance costs. The vessels will also provide state-of-the-art technology, gear and wet labs.
Updating these vessels will provide scientists with more up-to-date facilities to improve and enhance the science conducted in support of the multi-billion dollar Great Lakes fishing and tourism industries. Research includes fisheries, coastal and aquatic habitat health and restoration, invasive species, and water resources—all elements critical to maintaining these resources and safeguarding these important industries.
In addition to these benefits, the companies awarded contracts for building these vessels may be able to retain their current workforce or create new jobs. Other businesses, such as steel, engine, and other parts suppliers, may also benefit.
The value of USGS Great Lakes research is demonstrated by the vital role played in tracking dramatic changes to the Lake Ontario ecosystem since the late 1970s. Lake Ontario alone is a $114 million fishery that has been faced with decreasing productivity, invasive species, and food web changes. State, tribal, and provincial agencies need the science-based information USGS provides to make crucial decisions for managing, protecting, and rehabilitating these valuable resources.