Partnering with U.S. Geological Survey
The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) coordinates systematically on environmental issues with sister bureaus within Interior and with other Federal agencies to share information and to foster improved scientific understanding and exchange addressing common environmental concerns. As an integral part of the Environmental Studies Program (ESP) since 1996, BOEM has utilized the potential to match USGS capabilities and interests with the biological study needs of BOEM's mission. The coordination between BOEM and USGS is a continuous process that begins at the time of initial identification of information needs at regional and national levels. BOEM communicates with USGS at the Associate Directorate level and develops a priority list of those studies that are subsequently performed by USGS scientists using USGS funds identified for meeting interagency research needs.
In recent years, USGS has invested about $2.2 million/year for BOEM offshore work. If the need exceeds these resources, and USGS is clearly the best organization to perform the work, BOEM will transfer additional funds to USGS. BOEM has directly supported USGS with additional resources ($1.0 to 2.0 million/year) as well as provided for other interagency leveraging opportunities (e.g., NOAA research vessels). The established association between the bureaus represents a collaborative partnership which uses the expertise of scientists from both agencies to provide peer-reviewed scientific information for BOEM decision makers.
Collaborative efforts have involved the study of avian resources, deep sea communities, and environmental monitoring and mapping. Some examples of successful collaborations include:
- Importance of the Alaskan Beaufort Sea to King Eiders, 2005:
Development of offshore oil resources on natural and artificial islands in the Beaufort Sea has prompted managers to fund baseline studies about the distribution of King Eiders, a large sea duck, in the Beaufort Sea. These data are critical to model potential consequences from oil spills and to provide regulatory agencies with opportunities to modify proposed developments and associated activities to minimize impacts.
- Coastal Wetlands Impacts – Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Canal Widening Rates and Effectiveness of OCS Pipeline Canal Mitigation, 2009:
A study to analyze the effects of OCS-related pipelines and navigation canals on land loss, wetland loss, and changes in fresh and non-fresh marsh areas. The study also used selected case studies of OCS-related pipelines and navigation canals to evaluate the effectiveness of construction and mitigation practices on land loss, wetland loss, and changes in fresh and non-fresh marsh areas.