Geoscience in Iowa

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By the numbers: Iowa

  • 3,913 geoscience employees (excludes self-employed)1
  • 630 million gallons/day: total groundwater withdrawal3
  • $583 million: value of nonfuel mineral production in 20174
  • 62 total disaster declarations, including 27 flood, 25 severe storm, and 4 tornado disasters (1953-2017)6
  • $2.71 million: NSF GEO grants awarded in 201714

What is Geoscience?

Geoscience is the study of the Earth and the complex geologic, marine, atmospheric, and hydrologic processes that sustain life and the economy. Understanding the Earth’s surface and subsurface, its resources, history, and hazards allows us to develop solutions to critical economic, environmental, health, and safety challenges.

Your State Source for Geoscience Information

Iowa Geological Survey 
University of Iowa 
300 Trowbridge Hall 
Iowa City, IA 52242 

Workforce in Iowa

  • 3,913 geoscience employees (exludes self-employed) in 20171
  • $72,507: average median geoscience employee salary1
  • 6 academic geoscience departments2

Water Use in Iowa

  • 630 million gallons/day: total groundwater withdrawal3
  • 2.06 billion gallons/day: total surface water withdrawal3
  • 390 million gallons/day: public supply water withdrawal3
  • 35 million gallons/day: water withdrawal for irrigation3
  • 288 million gallons/day: self-supplied industrial fresh water withdrawal3
  • 84% of the population is served by public water supplies3

Energy and Minerals in Iowa

  • $583 million: value of nonfuel mineral production in 20174
  • Crushed stone, portland cement, and sand and gravel: top three nonfuel minerals in order of value produced in 20174
  • 20.8 million megawatt hours: wind produced in 20175
  • 920,000 megawatt hours: hydroelectricity produced in 20175

Natural Hazards in Iowa

  •  62 total disaster declarations, including 27 flood, 25 severe storm, and 4 tornado disasters (1953-2017)
  • $173 million: individual assistance grants (2005-2017)6
  • $527 million: mitigation grants (2005-2017)
  • $145 million: preparedness grants (2005-2017)6
  • $1.61 billion: public assistance grants (2005-2017)6
  • 46 weather and/or climate events, each with costs exceeding $1 billion (inflation adjusted) (1980-2017)7

U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) 

  • $1.15 billion: total USGS budget in FY 2018 (5.8% increase from FY 2017)8
  • The National Cooperative Geologic Mapping Program funds geologic mapping projects with federal (FEDMAP), state (STATEMAP), and university (EDMAP) partners
  • $3.16 million: Iowa STATEMAP funding (1993-2016)9
  • Simpson College and University of Iowa have participated in EDMAP9
  • USGS streamgages collect real-time or recent streamflow, groundwater, and water-quality data throughout Iowa

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

  • $20.7 billion: total NASA budget in FY 2018 (5.5% increase from FY 2017)10
  • $1.9 billion: total NASA Earth Science budget in FY 2018 (0% change from FY 2017)10
  • Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) satellites measure groundwater changes in Iowa
  • Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) satellite measures soil moisture in Iowa

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

  • $5.9 billion: total NOAA budget in FY 2018 (4.1% increase from FY 2017)11
  • Next-generation geostationary (GOES) and polar orbiting (JPSS) satellites provide weather forecasting over Iowa
  • Deep Space Climate Observatory (DISCOVR) satellite monitors radiation and air quality over Iowa
  • 15 National Weather Service Automated Surface Observing Systems (ASOS) stations in Iowa12
  • 277 National Weather Service Cooperative Observer Program (COOP) sites in Iowa12

National Science Foundation (NSF)

  • $7.8 billion: total NSF budget in FY 2018 (4% increase from FY 2017)13
  • $1.4 billion: total NSF Geosciences Directorate (GEO) awards in FY 2017 (7.2% increase from FY 2016)14
  • 20 NSF GEO awards in Iowa totaling $2.71 million in 201714
  • $1.2 million: NSF GEO grants awarded to University of Iowa in 201714

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

  • $8.1 billion: total EPA budget in FY 2018 (0% change from FY 2017)15
  • 12 active superfund sites in Iowa in 201816
  • $12.3 million: Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF) grants in Iowa in 201717
  • $200,000: Brownfield cleanup grants awarded to Iowa in 201818

Federal Facilities in Iowa

  • USGS Iowa Water Science Center, Iowa City
  • USDA ARS National Laboratory for Agriculture and the Environment, Ames
  • DOE Ames National Lab, Ames


1. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics, May 2017
2. American Geosciences Institute, Directory of Geoscience Departments, 53rd Edition (2018)
3. U.S. Geological Survey, Estimated Use of Water in the United States in 2015
4. U.S. Geological Survey, Mineral Commodity Summaries 2018
5. U.S. Energy Information Administration
6. FEMA Data Visualization: Summary of Disaster Declarations and Grants (accessed May 2, 2018)
7. NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information, U.S. Billion-Dollar Weather and Climate Disasters from 1980 to 2018 (accessed April 6, 2018)
8. U.S. Department of the Interior, FY 2019 Budet in Brief
9. U.S. Geological Survey, National Cooperative Geologic Mapping Program
10. National Aeronautics and Space Administration, FY 2019 Budget Estimates
11. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, FY 2019 Bluebook
12. NOAA In Your State and Territory
13. U.S. House of Representatives, FY 2018 Omnibus Spending Bill (Division B) – Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2018
14. National Science Foundation, Budget Information System
15. U.S. House of Representatives, FY 2018 Omnibus Spending Bill (Division G) – Department of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2018
16. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Superfund Sites
17. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Drinking Water State Revolving Fund National Information Management System Reports
18. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Brownfields Grant Fact Sheet Search


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