State agencies and universities to receive $7 million in stimulus funding for volcano monitoring

December 07, 2009

The U. S. Geological Survey (USGS), an agency of the Department of the Interior, has allocated $7 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds to 15 universities and state agencies nationwide.

Recovery Act funds will be used to modernize the equipment in volcano monitoring networks, to produce high-resolution maps of high-threat volcanoes for modeling volcanic hazards for at-risk populations, and to analyze data from recent eruptions.

"As population and development expand near hazardous volcanoes, and air traffic over volcanic regions grows, risks from volcanic activity are increasing." said John Eichelberger, USGS volcano hazard program coordinator. "The modernization of our volcano monitoring networks will deliver more reliable, robust information -- supplying emergency responders with critical information they can use to save lives and reduce damage, while creating or preserving jobs in equipment manufacturing, geophysical services, aviation services, academia including student researchers, and state agencies."

Universities receiving funding include the University of Utah, University of Washington, University of South Florida, University of Wisconsin, University of Alabama, University of Hawaii at Manoa, University of Alaska at Fairbanks, California State University at Fullerton, Boise State University, Northern Arizona University, and Southern Methodist University. State agencies receiving funding include the Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries, Wyoming State Geological Survey, Washington Department of Natural Resources, and the Alaska Division of Geological and Geophysical Surveys.

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act passed earlier this year gave $3 billion to the Department of the Interior. Of that amount, $140 million in funding goes to the USGS.

The Recovery Act funds are part of a stimulus package that is an important component of the President's plan to jumpstart the economy and put a down payment on addressing long-neglected challenges so the country can thrive in the 21st century. Under the Recovery Act, Interior is making an investment in conserving America's timeless treasures - our stunning natural landscapes, our monuments to liberty, the icons of our culture and heritage -- while helping American families and their communities prosper again. Interior is also focusing on renewable energy projects, the needs of American Indians, employing youth and promoting community service.

"With its investments of Recovery Act funds, the Department of the Interior and its bureaus are putting people to work today to make improvements that will benefit the environment and the region for many years to come," Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar said. "These investments in volcano monitoring will provide jobs while contributing to training the next generation of volcano scientists in partnership with USGS."

Secretary Salazar has pledged unprecedented levels of transparency and accountability in the implementation of the Department's economic recovery projects. The public will be able to follow the progress of each project on www.recovery.gov and on www.interior.gov/recovery. Secretary Salazar has appointed a Senior Advisor for Economic Recovery, Chris Henderson, and an Interior Economic Recovery Task Force to work closely with Interior's Inspector General and ensure the recovery program is meeting the high standards for accountability, responsibility and transparency set by President Obama.
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