You Too Can Shape Science at Interior

The U.S. Department of Interior is putting together its strategic plan for the next 5 years, and today it officially asked for input in several science-related areas, including how to measure the effectiveness of scientific research. Interior is the home of the U.S. Geological Survey and the Fish and Wildlife Service.

Among the department's top seven priorities are:

(1) achieving greater energy independence and promoting the development of clean alternative energy sources
(3) addressing the issue of global climate change
(5) addressing critical water issues 
(7) insuring the integrity of science in support of Interior's decision making

These include a few "problematic areas," as today's Federal Register notice puts it, including improving performance measurements for wildland fire and endangered species conservation, as well as measuring the effectiveness of research. An outline of the plan includes many possible ways to evaluate fire prevention and species conservation, but far fewer to evaluate research. (Among the squishiest: "Percent satisfaction with scientific and technical products and assistance for environmental and natural resource decision making.")

Comments are due 10 November, and Interior is planning several public meetings over the next 2 months, including online conferencing.