Mark Schaefer Named Interim Director Of USGS

September 24, 1997

Secretary of the Interior Bruce Babbitt today announced the selection of Dr. Mark Schaefer to serve as Interim Director of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). Dr. Gordon Eaton, the current USGS Director, recently announced plans to retire effective September 30.

The process of selecting a new director of USGS will take several months. The position is a presidential appointment subject to Senate confirmation. Secretary Babbitt will seek recommendations for the position from the National Academy of Sciences.

Schaefer currently serves as the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Water and Science, the part of the Secretary?s office that oversees the USGS and the Bureau of Reclamation. He will continue to occupy that position and return to it fulltime when a new director is selected, or after the 120-day interim appointment expires.

"I am pleased that Dr. Schaefer has agreed to provide leadership for the day-to-day operations of this very important science agency during this transition period," said Babbitt. "He has worked closely with the USGS and has earned a reputation as a skilled, knowledgeable and decisive manager."

A neurobiologist by training, Schaefer holds a B.A. from the University of Washington, and a Ph.D. from Stanford University. Before joining the Interior Department in 1995, he served as Assistant Director for Environment in the Office of Science and Technology Policy, Executive Office of the President (1993-95), where he was responsible for a variety of domestic environmental science, technology and education issues.

As Interim Director of USGS, Dr. Schaefer will oversee the day-to-day operations of the federal government's largest civilian mapping program, and the largest water resources research and monitoring program. The USGS is responsible for the assessment of energy and mineral resources in the national domain, arid conducts basic and applied research into a wide range of earth science and natural hazard programs such as earthquakes and volcanic activity around the world. The USGS also conducts a comprehensive research program to aid the management and conservation of the Nation?s biological resources.
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US Geological Survey

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