Scientific Research to be Reorganized Under National Biological Survey at Interior Department

nigel allen nigel.allen at
Mon Apr 26 22:50:17 EST 1993

Here is a press release from the U.S. Department of the Interior.

 Scientific Research to be Reorganized Under National Biological
Survey at Interior Department
 To: National Desk, Science Writer
 Contact: Jay Ziegler of the U.S. Department of Interior,

   WASHINGTON, April 26 -- Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt 
today outlined a reorganization of biological science
conducted by the Department of the Interior that consolidates its
biological research and inventory activities under a National
Biological Survey.
   Babbitt provided details of the proposal in an appearance today
before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior and Related
   "The National Biological Survey will provide a map to help us
avoid environmental and economic conflicts," Babbitt said.  "The
Survey will fill a tremendous vacuum by providing a coordinated
biological science capability that will serve all the bureaus within
the department.  Both economically and environmentally, the NBS will
be a useful tool for sound resource management decisions."
   The National Biological Survey will be created Oct. 1, 1993, by
assembling substantial portions of the biological research and survey
elements of three departmental bureaus -- the U.S. Fish and Wildlife
Service, the National Park Service, and the Bureau of Land Management
-- and smaller contributions of activities from five other bureaus.
Through this reorganization, the National Biological Survey will
serve as an independent, free-standing biological science bureau that
will build upon existing biological research conducted inside and
outside government.
   "What we're doing is strengthening the credibility of science,"
said Babbitt.  "The survey will not incorporate regulatory or
resource management responsibilities.  Its function will be to
provide information for resource managers.  The resource managers
will retain responsibility for management decisions, and the
decisions confronting them will largely shape the agenda of NBS."
   The reorganization plan will be implemented within the
department's 1994 budget by moving approximately $180 million in
inventory, research and support capabilities into the newly created
National Biological Survey.  The NBS will be comprised of
approximately 1,600 scientists and support personnel.  Specific
projects will be undertaken by a network of field scientists, and all
biological data integrated by NBS will be made available for transfer
to resource managers and scientists outside the survey.
   The NBS will replicate a partnership among the department, the
National Academy of Sciences, and the Smithsonian which led to the
creation of the U.S. Geological Survey.  The National Academy of
Sciences is conducting a review of the proposal to help define its
long-term mission and relationships to other federal and state
research activities.  Dr. Thomas E. Lovejoy, assistant secretary of
external affairs for the Smithsonian Institution, is serving as
science advisor to Babbitt to coordinate the program with other
science activities.
   The National Biological Survey will use and establish scientific
protocols in cooperation with other agencies to enhance comparability
of research and long-term trend analyses.  Research and biological
inventory methods will include the National Wetlands Inventory, the
Gap Analysis Project, and other new components.  Additionally, the
inventory program will be conducted in concert with other federal and
state agencies, the State Heritage Program directed by The Nature
Conservancy, and other non-governmental organizations and academia.
   Some examples of projects to be included under NBS include:
   * Expanding research on Everglades National Park to provide an
ecosystem perspective on the forces causing severe ecological
problems facing the Everglades.
   * Boosting a collaborative effort to restore and preserve
sensitive habitat areas within southern forested wetlands.
   * Examining the causes and developing recommendations to reverse
the decline of salmon stocks in the Pacific Northwest.
   The National Biological Survey will produce a biennial report on
the status and trends of the nation's biological resources.

                             FACT SHEET
                           April 26, 1993

   The National Biological Survey (NBS) will focus on national,
regional and local ecological science needs.  It will help resource
managers acquire and apply the scientific tools necessary for sound
management decisions.  The NBS will provide scientific research and
biological data to other federal agencies, state and local
governments and other entities.
   The National Biological Survey will:
   * Provide a national focus for inventorying and monitoring of
biological resources, and integrate Interior's biological research
   * Ensure that resource managers receive high quality, independent
scientific advice.
   * Consolidate many related functions into one organization,
enhancing productivity and efficiency.
   * Provide proactive, anticipatory research that will help avoid
environmental and economic conflicts.
   Effective Oct. 1, 1993, the National Biological Survey will
consolidate approximately 1,600 scientists and support personnel
within the department; however, most scientists involved in applying
the results of biological science will remain with their bureaus.
For example, there are about 4,500 Fish and Wildlife Service
employees classified as biologists; and of that total, about 950 will
be transferred to NBS.  Researchers moving to NBS are involved in
formation and testing of hypotheses, the study of population
dynamics, physiology, behavior, ecology, habitats, biodiversity, and
ecosystem processes and functions; and national inventories or those
of national significance.
   The NBS will begin a collaborative process for biological
monitoring and ecosystem mapping.
   * A national status and trends program will work with federal
agencies, states and nongovernmental programs, including The Nature
Conservancy, to provide a report by September 1994, offering a
picture of the nation's biological resources and outlining the
structure of a long term monitoring effort.
   * Standardized scientific protocols will be established in
cooperation with other agencies to enhance comparability of methods
and long-term trend analysis.  Biological inventory methods will
include the National Wetlands Inventory, the Gap Analysis Program,
and several new components.
   Research activities within NBS will be undertaken by four regional
centers, 12 research laboratories, 40 field stations, over 70
cooperative research units.  Cooperative research units are
collaborative ventures involving a federal agency (FWS, NPS, or BLM),
a state university, and in some cases, a state fish and game agency.
Additional funding will be provided for the program ($6.6 million).
   The NBS science agenda will place a great deal of emphasis on
field-driven research priorities.  Over two-thirds of the National
Biological Survey budget will be dedicated to research on species
biology, population dynamics, ecosystems, and inventorying and
monitoring functions.
   The National Biological Survey is consistent with other scientific
investments in the department's 1994 budget.  Those initiatives
   * $24 million for Bureau of Land Management's renewable resources
management, including a 58 percent increase in the bureau's riparian
habitat restoration efforts.
   * $34 million of the Bureau of Reclamation's Central Valley
Project (California) restoration of wildlife and fishery habitat.
   * $6 million increase for National Wildlife Refuges & Hatcheries.
   * $31 million increase (65 percent) for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife
Service to launch habitat protection efforts before species are
listed as endangered, and draft recovery plans for a back-logged list
of endangered species.
   By consolidating existing fragments of biological research
within the department into an independent, non-advocate science
bureau, the National Biological Survey will improve research quality
and productivity at a lesser cost.

Canada Remote Systems - Toronto, Ontario

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