Geoscience and Washington

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What is Geoscience?

Geoscientists study the Earth’s systems—the complex geologic, marine, atmospheric, and hydrologic processes that sustain life and the economy. Geoscience expertise enables us to develop solutions to critical economic, environmental, health, and safety challenges.

By the numbers: Washington

$965 million: value of nonfuel-mineral production in 20167

12,150: geoscience employees (non-federal/self-employed)1

2,340: jobs in extractive industry in 20152

28 flooding disaster declarations since 19538

$141 million: NSF grants awarded in 201618

$27.9 million: NSF GEO grants in 201618

Your State Source for Geoscience Information

Washington Geological Survey
Natural Resources Bldg, Rm 148
1111 Washington St. SE
Olympia, WA 98504-7007
(360) 902-1450

Workforce in Washington

  • 12,150: geoscience employees (non-federal/selfemployed) in 20151
  • $75,240: average median geoscience employee salary1
  • 2,340: jobs in extractive industries in 20152
  • 33: academic geoscience departments3

Water in Washington

  • 1.6 billion gallons/day: total groundwater withdrawal4
  • 3.4 billion gallons/day: total surface water withdrawal4
  • 910 million gallons/day: public water supply withdrawal4
  • 3.2 billion gallons/day: irrigation water withdrawal4
  • 458 million gallons/day: self-supplied industrial fresh water withdrawal4
  • 85% of the population is served by public water supplies4
  • 39 counties in 2015 designated as primary natural disaster areas caused by drought5
  • 143 USGS stream gages in Washington6

Energy and Minerals Production in Washington

  • $965 million: value of nonfuel mineral production in 20167
  • 7 million megawatt hours: wind power produced in 20152
  • 74 million megawatt hours: hydroelectricity produced in 2015, 29% of U.S. production2
  • 790 megawatt hours: solar power produced in 20152
  • 1.6 million megawatt hours: wood-derived fuel power produced in 20152

Natural Hazards in Washington

FEMA statistics for Washington

  • 16 severe storm disaster declarations since 19538
  • 28 flooding disaster declarations since 19538
  • 78 fire disaster declarations since 19538
  • 2 earthquake disaster declarations since 19538
  • $38 million: individual assistance grants since 20058
  • $145 million: mitigation grants since 20058
  • $571 million: preparedness grants since 20058
  • $327 million: public assistance grants since 20058
  • 22 weather and/or climate events, each with costs exceeding $1 billion (inflation adjusted) 1980-20169

U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Geologic Mapping

  • $1.06 billion: total USGS budget; 1.6% up from FY 201510
  • The USGS National Cooperative Geologic Mapping Program (NCGMP) funds geologic mapping projects by states (STATEMAP) and universities (EDMAP)
  • $4.1 million: Washington STATEMAP funding (1993-2016)11
  • 88 geologic maps covering 5,000 square miles in Washington mapped through STATEMAP (1993-2012)11 in partnership with WGS
  • 5 Washington universities participated in EDMAP11

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

  • $5.6 billion: total NASA Science budget; 6.6% up from FY 201512
  • $1.9 billion: total NASA Earth Science budget; 7.7% up from FY 201513
  • GRACE satellites measure groundwater changes in all of Washington14
  • SMAP satellite measures soil moisture in all of Washington14

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

  • $5.8 billion: total NOAA budget; 5.9% up from FY 201515
  • GOES satellites provide state-of-the-art weather forecasting over Washington16
  • DISCOVR satellite monitors radiation and air quality over Washington16
  • 28 National Weather Service observing stations in Washington17
  • 195 National Weather Service cooperative observer sites in Washington17

National Science Foundation (NSF)

  • $7.46 billion: total NSF budget; 1.6% up from FY 201518
  • $1.28 billion: total NSF Geosciences Directorate (GEO) budget; 1.6% up from FY 201518
  • 460 NSF grants in Washington totaling $141 million in 201618
  • 92 NSF GEO grants in Washington totaling $27.9 million in 201618
  • $22 million: NSF GEO grants to the University of Washington in 201618

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

  • $8.14 billion: total EPA budget; 0% up from FY 201519
  • 51 active/proposed superfund sites20
  • $465.5 million: cumulative federal grants for Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF) in Washington (1997-2016)21
  • $18.2 million: annual value of federal DWSRF grants in Washington in 201621

Major Federal Facilities in Washington

  • USGS Cascades Volcano Observatory, Vancouver
  • USGS Washington Water Science Center, Tacoma
  • NOAA Western Regional Center, Seattle; largest NOAA facility in the country
  • NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service, Seattle
  • DOE Pacific Northwest National Lab, Richland


1Data Derived from Bureau of Labor Statistics:Occupational Employment Statistics (2015)
2U.S. DOI U.S. Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative
3American Geosciences Institute Directory of Geoscience Departments (2016)
4USGS Estimated Use of Water in the United States in 2010
5USDA Farm Service Agency: Disaster Designation Information, 2015 (2015 Crop Year)
6USGS WaterWatch Total Streamgage Stations (March 10, 2017)
7USGS Mineral Commodity Summaries 2017
8FEMA Summary of Disaster Declarations and Grants (2016)
9NOAA Billion-Dollar Weather and Climate Disasters: Mapping
10DOI Budget and Performance
11USGS National Cooperative Geologic Mapping Program
12NASA Budget Documents, Strategic Plans and Performance Reports
13American Institute of Physics FY2016 Appropriations
14Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE); Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP)
15NOAA Total Budget
16Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES) & Deep Space Climate Observatory (DISCOVR)
17NOAA in Your State
18NSF Budget Internet Information System
19EPA Budget and Spending
20EPA Search for Superfund Sites Where You Live (August 2017)
21EPA Drinking Water State Revolving Fund National Information Management System Reports


Date updated: 2017-08-07

Written and compiled by Jeremiah Bernau for AGI, April 2017

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