Place-Based Studies

Project Description
The USGS Place-Based Studies (PBS) Program provides objective
integrated science for managers who are seeking to restore
natural functions and values of resources and the
environment. In order to restore these functions, managers must
have scientific information to resolve the complex resource
problems that are before them. Resource managers use scientific
information for several purposes. First, it helps to define the
extent of environmental problems, and to distinguish changes
caused by management actions from natural changes caused by
climatic shifts, environmental succession, and natural climatic
variability. Second, understanding how the ecosystem functions
helps managers formulate possible solutions to those
problems. Third, ecosystem models provide tools for determining
which proposed actions will be the most effective in resolving
the problems. Fourth, scientific information is necessary to
develop the criteria and strategy for monitoring the success of
management mod ifications.


The goals of the PBS Program are (1) to provide relevant,
high-quality, impartial scientific information that permits
resource-management agencies to improve the scientific basis
for their decisions and to prevent or resolve
resource-management conflicts and (2) to facilitate integration
of scientific information.

The PBS Program integrates USGS research in specific, critical
ecosystems. At present the areas under study are the San
Francisco Bay/Delta, South Florida, the Chesapeake Bay, the
Platte River, the Greater Yellowstone area, the Mojave Desert,
and the Salton Sea. Funding has been requested to start studies
in the Great Lakes in FY 2000 .

The information is designed to have a direct, significant, and
immediate impact on management and policy decisions. Multi- and
inter-disciplinary approaches to environmental science are used
to address issues that involve environmental resources such as
water, minerals, biota, and land in specific critical
ecosystems in the United States.

Scientist are selected for their particular expertise from the
wide array of disciplines within the USGS, and apply their
diverse approaches to common problems. Studies in the present
suite of ecosystem areas include land characterization, surface
hydrologic and ecological modeling, geospatial database
management, ground- and surface-water hydrology, geophysics,
ecology, geochemistry, paleontology, and contaminant, sediment,
and nutrient dynamics. Scientists improve their interpretation
of data by working with related information from other

Additional information available at

[Summary provided by USGS]