The United States Geological Survey

Throughout the nineteenth century, Congress commissioned expeditions to explore and document newly acquired western lands. In 1879 Congress established the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), a permanent agency within the Department of the Interior, to provide ongoing documentation of the geology and natural resources in the West and promote the economic development of the region. Today USGS survey publications benefit the scientific community and furnish crucial information to lawmakers tasked with revising public land use policy.