Geoscience and California

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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: California

$3.5 billion: value of nonfuel mineral production in 20167

46,600: geoscience employees (non-federal/self-employed)1

21,100: jobs in extractive industry in 20152

35 flooding disaster declarations since 19538

$957.3 million: NSF grants awarded in California in 201618

$178.5 million: NSF GEO grants awarded in California in 201618

Your State Source for Geoscience Information

California Geological Survey
801 K Street, MS 12-30
Sacramento, CA 95814
(916) 445-1825

Workforce in California

  • 46,600: geoscience employees (non-federal/selfemployed) in 20151
  • $87,900: average median geoscience employee salary1
  • 21,100: jobs in extractive industries in 20152
  • 115: academic geoscience departments3

Water in California

  • 12.7 billion gallons/day: total groundwater withdrawal4
  • 25.3 billion gallons/day: total surface water withdrawal4
  • 6.3 billion gallons/day: public water supply withdrawal4
  • 23.1 billion gallons/day: irrigation water withdrawal4
  • 400 million gallons/day: self-supplied industrial fresh water withdrawal4
  • 93% of the population is served by public water supplies4
  • 57 counties in 2015, and 51 counties in 2016, designated as primary natural disaster areas caused by drought5
  • 250 USGS stream gages in California6

Energy and Minerals Production in California

  • $3.5 billion: value of nonfuel mineral production in 20167
  • 201 million barrels: crude oil produced in 2015, #3 in the nation2
  • 14 million megawatt hours: hydroelectricity produced in 2015, #4 in the nation2
  • 15 million megawatt hours: solar power produced in 20152
  • 171,000 megawatt hours: geothermal energy produced in 2015, 73% of U.S. production2

Natural Hazards in California

FEMA statistics for California

  • 35 flooding disaster declarations since 19538
  • 184 fire disaster declarations since 19538
  • 12 earthquake disaster declarations since 19538
  • $84 million: individual assistance grants since 20058
  • $614 million: mitigation grants since 20058
  • $3.7 billion: preparedness grants since 20058
  • $1.3 billion: public assistance grants since 20058
  • 18 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)
  • $4.6 million: California STATEMAP funding (1993-2016)11
  • Over 100 geologic maps in California created with STATEMAP support (1993-2014)11
  • 32,000 square miles in California mapped through STATEMAP (1993-2014)11
  • 16 California 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 California14
  • SMAP satellite measures soil moisture in all of California14

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 California16
  • DISCOVR satellite monitors radiation and air quality over California16
  • 86 National Weather Service observing stations in California17
  • 493 National Weather Service cooperative observer sites in California17

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
  • 2,532 NSF grants in California totaling $957.3 million in 201618
  • 378 NSF GEO grants in California totaling $178.5 million in 201618
  • The University of California at Santa Barbara, Los Angeles, and Berkeley, each received over $6 million in NSF GEO grants in 201618

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

  • $8.14 billion: total EPA budget; 0% up from FY 201519
  • 98 active/proposed superfund sites20
  • $1.7 billion: cumulative federal grants for Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF) in California (1997-2016)21
  • $83 million: annual value of federal DWSRF grants in California in 201621

Major Federal Facilities in California

  • USGS Earthquake Science Center, Menlo Park
  • USGS California Water Science Center, Sacramento
  • NSF International Ocean Discovery Program, La Jolla
  • NOAA Cooperative Global Air Sampling Network, Los Angeles
  • NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena
  • DOE Lawrence Livermore National Lab, Livermore


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 & 2016 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); Plankton, Aerosol, Cloud, ocean Ecosystem (PACE); Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM);
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: 2017-08-04

Written and compiled by Jeremiah Bernau for AGI, April 2017

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