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New USGS Director Visits Centers in California

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Marcia McNutt
Above: New USGS Director Marcia McNutt speaks to employees in Menlo Park, California. Photograph by Mike Diggles, USGS. [larger version]

The right place at the right time: that's what the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) centers in Menlo Park and Santa Cruz, California, turned out to be in the week before Christmas, as new USGS Director Marcia McNutt made her way home for the holidays. After representing the USGS at the U.N. Conference on Climate Change in Copenhagen, Director McNutt flew to San Francisco to participate in the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union, and then visited the two USGS centers before taking a holiday break at her home in the Monterey Bay area.

On December 21, Director McNutt came to the USGS campus in Menlo Park—her first center visit since she became Director of the USGS. She met briefly with center chiefs before addressing an overflow crowd of employees in the campus auditorium. The Director spoke for about 5 minutes and then held a 45-minute question-and-answer session. Afterwards, she mingled with employees at a reception outside the auditorium. It was a celebration not only of her appointment as USGS Director, but also of her return to the Menlo Park center, the place that gave her "my first real job after I got my Ph.D." and where she worked for 3 years in the 1970s with what is now the Earthquake Hazards Team.

The next day, Director McNutt visited the Western Coastal and Marine Geology Team's Pacific Science Center in Santa Cruz. Her visit began with a short tour and a presentation about the center's establishment and newly begun expansion. The Director then received briefings on team research from Sam Johnson and Guy Cochrane (seafloor mapping applied to habitat, fault characterization, and sediment transport), Bruce Jaffe (Samoa tsunami response), Patrick Barnard (modeling of sea-level rise and severe-storm impacts), Jon Childs (Law of the Sea), and Renee Takesue, Jessica Lacy, Amy Draut, Patrick Barnard, and Peter Swarzenski (short summaries of research by each of these relatively new team members). Accompanying Director McNutt were Southwest Area Regional Executive Mike Shulters and Senior Science Advisor Len Gaydos, who joined her in a discussion with center chief Mike Carr and associate chief Jon Childs about future directions for marine sciences.

The managers rejoined employees for a potluck lunch at the nearby Seymour Marine Discovery Center at Long Marine Laboratory, part of the University of California, Santa Cruz. Additional attendees included scientists from outside the team, such as Tim Tinker, lead scientist at the Santa Cruz Field Station of the USGS Western Ecological Research Center, and Larry Freeman, chief of the Marina Field Office of the USGS California Water Science Center. During the event, Director McNutt gave a brief address and then moved from group to group to converse with the scientists about the USGS and its future directions.

Director McNutt's visit to the Santa Cruz center came exactly 2 months after she was confirmed as the USGS's new Director on October 22, 2009. Before that, she had served as president and chief executive officer of the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI) in Moss Landing, California, a nonprofit organization whose work focuses on developing technology to address key research questions in the ocean sciences.

To learn more about Director McNutt, read her biography. Interested readers can also view a video of her confirmation hearing before the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources and read the statement she submitted to the committee.

Related Web Sites
Marcia McNutt, Director, U.S. Geological Survey
Full Committee Hearing: to consider the nominations of Marcia K. McNutt, to be Director of the United States Geological Survey, and Arun Majumdar, to be Director of the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy, Department of Energy (Hearing Room SD-366)
U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources
McNutt Testimony
U.S. Senate Committee on Engery and Natural Resources

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Measuring Tidal Flows in the Cape Cod Canal

Research Peace River Vulnerable to Running Dry

New Discoveries Could Improve Climate Projections

Arctic Could Face Warmer and Ice-Free Conditions

Meetings CCAA Miami Conference on the Caribbean and Central America

Tampa Bay Area Scientific Information Symposium

Antarctic Treaty Summit

SACNAS National Conference

Airborne Lidar Processing System (ALPS) Workshop

Awards Awards for USGS Publication on the Coral Reef of South Moloka‘i, Hawai‘i

Staff New USGS Director Visits Centers in California

Gaye Farris Retires from the USGS National Wetlands Research Center

Publications Jan. / Feb. 2010 Publications List

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