Saturday, June 18, 2011

Wrap-up of the 103rd AASG Annual Meeting

We just finished our 103rd AASG Annual Meeting hosted by Bob Libra and the Iowa Geological Survey. Incoming AASG President Vicki McConnell (OR) [right, with USGS Associate Director Kevin Gallagher, on the Mississippi River] offered a brief assessment of the meeting:

AASG President Jim Cobb (KY) had set the theme for the meeting Importance and Future Roles of State Geological Surveys. We explored how a variety of surveys are structured and what has and has not worked for successful placement within universities, natural resource or other commissions, and state agencies. We also reviewed how we are communicating our information and our we might improve our impact to our stakeholders and our bosses be they Governors, advisory boards, Commissioners, or Chancellors.

We were updated on ongoing and emerging issues that affect some or all SGS: conventional and unconventional energy exploration and extraction, geothermal resources and data, geological hazards, strategic minerals, and topographic mapping to name a few. We heard briefings from several representatives of mission areas in the USGS as they develop their 10 year strategic plans and we will have opportunities to comment on their drafts.

Here are a few actions and additional information that came from the meeting:

· Bill Kelly (retired, NY) has volunteered to begin compiling a Surveys labs and services database. This information will be posted on the AASG website for Surveys to consider when contracting for services. An ongoing example is that Kentucky GS contracts with the Illinois GS for use of their drilling rig.

· The Associates have offered to compile a database of funded and active projects across State Geological Surveys. This could be a primer to review when surveys are exploring broadening their funding base.

· The AASG Environment Committee, Energy Committee, Minerals Committee, Hazards Committee, and Water Committee will review the relevant subject areas in the USGS draft Strategic Plans and submit recommendations to the AASG Executive Committee to compile for submission to the USGS.

· The Ohio Geologic Survey recently commissioned an economic analysis of their activities and products. State Geologist Mac Swinford has agreed to share the final document with AASG for general reference and possibly as a template for other states to consider.

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