Geoscience and Iowa

PDF versionPDF version

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: Iowa

$664 million: value of nonfuel mineral production in 20166

4,560: geoscience employees (non-federal/self-employed)1

2,230: jobs in extractive industries in 20152

57 severe storm, hurricane/tropical storm, flooding, and tornado disaster declarations since 19537

20.1 megawatt hours: wind power produced in 20162

$59.5 million: NSF grants awarded in Iowa in 201617

$2.5 million: NSF GEO grants awarded in Iowa in 201617

Your State Source for Geoscience Information

Iowa Geological Survey
University of Iowa
300 Trowbridge Hall
Iowa City, IA 52242-1585
(319) 335-157

Workforce in Iowa

  • 4,560: geoscience employees (non-federal/self-employed) in 20151
  • $79,550: average median geoscience employee salary1
  • 2,230: jobs in extractive industries in 20152
  • 6: academic geoscience departments3

Water in Iowa

  • 650 million gallons/day: total groundwater withdrawal4
  • 2.4 billion gallons/day: total surface water withdrawal4
  • 400 million gallons/day: public supply water withdrawal4
  • 43 million gallons/day: water withdrawal for irrigation4
  • 125 million gallons/day: self-supplied industrial fresh water withdrawal4
  • 81% of the population is served by public water supplies4
  • 93 USGS stream gages in Iowa5

Energy and Minerals Production in Iowa

  • $644 million: value of nonfuel mineral production in 20166
  • 20.1 million megawatt hours: wind power produced in 2016, #2 in the nation (9% of US production)2
  • 1 million megawatt hours: hydroelectricity produced in 20162

Natural Hazards in Iowa

FEMA statistics for Iowa

  • 25 severe storm disaster declarations since 19537
  • 1 hurricane/tropical storm disaster declarations since 19537
  • 27 flooding disaster declarations since 19537
  • 4 tornado disaster declarations since 19537
  • $173 million: individual assistance grants since 20057
  • $527 million: mitigation grants since 20057
  • $145 million: preparedness grants since 20057
  • $1.6 billion: public assistance grants since 20057
  • 41 weather and/or climate events, each with costs exceeding $1 billion (inflation adjusted) 1980-20168

U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Geologic Mapping

  • $1.06 billion: total FY 2016USGS budget; 1.6% up from FY 20159
  • The USGS National Cooperative Geologic Mapping Program (NCGMP) funds geologic mapping projects by states (STATEMAP) and universities (EDMAP)
  • $3.2 million: Iowa STATEMAP funding (1993-2016)10
  • Over half of Iowa mapped through STATEMAP (1993-2012)10
  • University of Iowa and University of Northern Iowa participated in EDMAP10

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

  • $5.6 billion: total FY 2016 NASA Science budget; 6.6% up from FY 201511
  • $1.9 billion: total FY 2016 NASA Earth Science budget; 7.7% up from FY 201512
  • GRACE satellites measure groundwater changes in all of Iowa13
  • SMAP satellite measures soil moisture in all of Iowa13

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

  • $5.8 billion: total FY 2016 NOAA budget; 5.9% up from FY 201514
  • GOES satellites provide state-of-the-art weather forecasting over Iowa15
  • 15 National Weather Service Automated Surface Observing Systems (ASOS) stations in Iowa16
  • 277 National Weather Service Cooperative Observer Program (COOP) sites in Iowa16

National Science Foundation (NSF)

  • $7.46 billion: total FY 2016 NSF budget; 1.6% up from FY 201517
  • $1.28 billion: total FY 2016 NSF Geosciences Directorate (GEO) awards; 1.6% up from FY 201517
  • 204 NSF grants in Iowa totaling $59.5 million in 201617
  • 16 NSF GEO grants in Iowa totaling $2.5 million in 201617
  • $1.1 million: NSF GEO grants to University of Iowa in 201617
  • $1.1 million: NSF GEO grants to Iowa State University in 201617

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

  • $8.14 billion: total FY 2016 EPA budget; 0% up from FY 201518
  • 13 active/proposed superfund sites19
  • $297 million: cumulative federal grants for Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF) in Iowa (1997-2016)20
  • $12.4 million: annual value of federal DWSRF grants in Iowa in 201620

Major Federal Facilities in Iowa

  • USGS Iowa Water Science Center, Iowa City
  • DOE Ames National Lab, Ames


1Data Derived from Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Employment Statistics 2015
2DOI 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
5USGS WaterWatch Total Streamgage Stations, March 10, 2017
6USGS Mineral Commodity Summaries 2017
7FEMA Summary of Disaster Declarations and Grants, 2016
8NOAA Billion-Dollar Weather and Climate Disasters: Mapping
10USGS National Cooperative Geologic Mapping Program
11NASA Budget Documents, Strategic Plans and Performance Reports
12American Institute of Physics FY2016 Appropriations
13Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE); Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP); Plankton, Aerosol, Cloud, ocean Ecosystem (PACE), Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM)
14NOAA Total Budget
15Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES) & Deep Space Climate Observatory (DISCOVR)
16NOAA in Your State
17NSF Budget Internet Information System
18EPA Budget and Spending
19EPA Search for Superfund Sites Where You Live (August 2017)
20EPA Drinking Water State Revolving Fund National Information Management System Reports

Date updated: 2017-08-07

Written and compiled by J. Bernau and A. Ackerman for AGI, July 2017

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
You are free to share or distribute this material for non-commercial purposes as long as it retains this licensing information, and attribution is given to the American Geosciences Institute.