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Interim Science Priorities Plan Meeting Held in Monterey

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ISPP participants discuss emerging topics
A subset of the ISPP participants discuss the emerging topics that they identified on the board behind them. From left to right: Mike Field, Brad Butman, Bob Morton, Mike Carr, and Jeff Williams.
An Interim Science Priorities Plan (ISPP) committee, formed in late October 1999, met in Monterey, January 11-14, to begin the process of reformulating the Coastal and Marine Geology Program (CMGP). Within this purview, the committee was to define the focus and marine geoscience priorities and directions of the USGS/CMGP for the next five years. Committee members include Mike Field, Jim Gardner, and Rob Kayen (MPFC), Bob Morton and Kim Yates (SPFC), Brad Butman and Rob Thieler (WHFC), Ed Clifton (Conoco), and Curt Mason (NOAA/NOS). Ex-officio members are Jeff Williams and John Haines (Reston), Mike Carr and Peter Barnes (MPFC), Lisa Robbins (SPFC), and Debbie Hutchinson (WHFC).

Susan Warner (The Lead Alliance) was contracted to provide professional facilitation and operational advice, and Jane Reid ably served as recorder and scribe. The external folks, Ed and Curt, not only added their science perspective but also addressed some of the important needs of our traditional customers, partners, and collaborators. The committee was chosen to provide a broad and diverse perspective of coastal and marine geoscience. Specifically the committee evaluated the current status of the CMGP and the pressing current and emerging issues, and the direction CMGP science should be heading in the near future to address societal issues. Much background material was reviewed, digested, and discussed in detail in a series of weekly conference calls over the past couple of months and the process culminated January 11-14, when the full committee met in Monterey to complete the process of formulating an interim plan.

ISPP participants discuss emerging topics
ISPP participants (left to right) Debbie Hutchinson, Mike Carr, Kim Yates, and Jim Gardner listen to Susan Warner (standing) explain the guidelines for the meeting.
Specifically I charged the committee to provide advice and recommendations in report form to the CMG Program Office (PO) on the scientific focus and direction of the CMGP for FY2001 and beyond. The information will be based primarily on the findings, conclusions, and recommendations in the NAS/OSB review, the goals and objectives in the GD Science Strategy (Circular 1172), and inputs from USGS staff and the science community. The report will be used by the PO in formulating the GD FY2001 Joint Prospectus and will form the basis for a fully developed Five-Year Science Priorities Plan.

The committee is in the process of writing their report and expects to be done in early February. The emphasis by the committee was on the health of the national Program and the need to refocus on core areas where USGS/CMGP can exert and demonstrate national leadership. These core areas or themes might be: Status and Trends/National Assessments linked to a Knowledge Bank being fed by science projects such as Regional/Topical Studies, Modeling of Coastal/Marine Geologic Processes, and Fundamental Studies. In its meeting, the committee stressed that CMGP needs to emphasize outcomes and products that enhance our national visibility by meeting societal needs for objective and credible scientific information. The committee suggested that the emphasis in FY2001 will be on wrap-up and syntheses of data and information from regional studies, start of Regional and National Assessments and construction of a Knowledge Bank, planning for new Regional/Topical Studies, and Fundamental Studies. For science topics or disciplines where other USGS divisions/programs (WRD, EQH, Minerals, Energy, etc.) or other federal agencies (NOAA, EPA, MMS, etc.) have a leadership role, CMGP will undertake studies largely supporting, rather than leading, collaborative efforts.

Most immediately, John Haines and I will use the results and recommendations forthcoming from the ISPP to prepare the CMGP contribution to the GD FY2001 Joint Prospectus, to be available in mid-February, that will detail the high-priority science directions for the Division. This is the document to which researchers will write proposals and workplans. But it will also serve two additional purposes. (1) The ISPP report will form the basis for preparation over the next several months of a fully developed 5-Year Science Priorities Plan that will replace the 1997 CMGP plan that we have been using. (2) We will use the findings and recommendations to argue in GD and the bureau for compelling need for additional resources (e.g., staff and funds) for coastal and marine research through the initiative process for FY2002 and beyond.

I am pleased with the direction that the reformulation of the CMGP is taking. Copies of the ISPP report will be coming to researchers for review and comment in the near future and many of these ideas will be reflected in the upcoming GD FY 2001 Joint Prospectus. Briefings with additional information and details of the Monterey meeting have taken place at the three field centers over the past few weeks.

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in this issue: Fieldwork Southern California

SF Bay Soil Liquifaction

Outreach Everglades Field Trip

Meetings cover story:
Interim Science Priorities Plan

Gulf of Mexico Integrated Science

CMG Webmasters

Carbonate Beaches 2000

Staff & Center News Colloquium to Honor Ernest Manheim

WHFC Arrivals

Robbins Keynote Address

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