Research efforts, governments of North America
Fitzhugh T. Lee, John S. Scott, Mariano Ruiz-Vazquez, Guillermo P. Salas, Jorge I. Maycotte, 1991. "Research efforts, governments of North America", The Heritage of Engineering Geology; The First Hundred Years, George A. Kiersch
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This section presents a synopsis of the evolution, function, and distribution of engineering-geological activities in the United States government. Much of the background information was obtained from material supplied by each agency in response to a written request. Other information was obtained from colleagues and library documents. Even a casual inspection of this information reveals that federal-agency engineering-geology practice from its infancy in the 1930s to its present-day maturity has followed a course that mirrors the worldwide development of the discipline. This has come about naturally as the result of agency needs that have been driven by budget, mission, and research aims. The result has been a mélange of practical applications to various civil and mining projects supported by applied and theoretical research. Federal agencies that employ geotechnical staffs, but are predominantly regulatory (e.g., Nuclear Regulatory Commission) rather than being concerned with research or practice of engineering geology, were not included in this report.
Perhaps the highest tribute to the practice of engineering geology in government was stated long ago by Charles P. Berkey, himself a pioneer in the field: “. . .I claim a place of honor for these men who spend their lives in devising new ways of using their specialistic knowledge and experience and ingenuity for more effective public works and for the greater comfort and safety of men and women everywhere. . .” (Berkey, 1942).
The U.S. Geological Survey (U.S.G.S.), Department of the Interior, has been involved in engineering geology for most of its 110-year life. In 1888, J. W. Powell, Director, began irrigation surveys, which were the first attempts at a national reclamation program and ultimately led to the establishment of the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation.