After a nationwide search, David R. Wunsch has been appointed the next Director of the Delaware Geological Survey (DGS) and Delaware State Geologist, effective Nov. 1.
He will succeed John H. Talley, who retired on June 30 after more than 38 years of service. Talley had served as DGS Director and State Geologist since 2004 and was one of the most widely recognized experts on the groundwater and surface water resources of the First State.
Housed in the University of Delaware College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment, the Delaware Geological Survey is a science-based, public service-focused state agency whose mission is to provide objective earth science information, advice, and service to the citizens of the First State. DGS staff conduct research and service work on issues in geology, hydrology, water supply, natural hazards, environmental protection, and mapping that impact Delaware’s citizens, government organizations, businesses, and educational institutions.
Wunsch has more than two decades of experience in research, management, and advocacy positions that deal with the application of earth science to public needs. He comes to the DGS from the National Ground Water Association, where he is Director of Science and Technology.
Wunsch began his career at the Kentucky Geological Survey (KGS) where, between 1985 and 2000, he worked as a research hydrogeologist and ultimately became the coordinator of the Coal-Field Hydrology Program. From 1998 to 1999, he took a year-long professional leave of absence from the KGS to accept an appointment as an American Geological Institute Congressional Science Fellow. On Capitol Hill, Wunsch served as a science advisor to members of Congress who served on natural-resource-related committees, assisting with the drafting, review, and analysis of legislation and preparation of testimony.
Following his appointment as New Hampshire State Geologist in 2000, Wunsch advocated the creation of a state geological survey organization and drafted the language of the statute that established the New Hampshire Geological Survey (NHGS) in 2001. Wunsch became the first NHGS director, and under his leadership the agency grew significantly in size and responsibility, with activities covering a variety of geologic and water resource issues including geologic mapping, groundwater, and natural hazards.
“David’s record of success in leading geological survey organizations, and nationally recognized experience in dealing with geology and groundwater issues at the state, national, and local levels are an ideal fit with the mission of the DGS,” said Nancy M. Targett, Dean of the College of Earth Ocean and Environment. “The DGS has a great reputation for providing sound scientific analyses and service in the public interest. I look forward to new opportunities and the continued success of the DGS under David’s leadership.”
“The Delaware Geological Survey is a highly respected institution, not only in Delaware, but nationally as well,” said Wunsch. “Delaware has a number of geoscience challenges that the DGS impacts, such as characterizing and protecting groundwater resources, and anticipating and mitigating natural hazards faced by coastal regions. I am excited by the opportunity to work on these issues with the excellent team of scientists and staff at the DGS, as well as faculty and scientists in other University departments and the staff of other cooperating state and federal agencies.”
Wunsch holds a doctorate in hydrogeology from the University of Kentucky, a master’s degree in geology from the University of Akron, and a bachelor’s degree in geology, with a minor in chemistry, from the State University of New York, Oneonta.
In 2011, Wunsch was elected a Fellow of the Geological Society of America. He is an Honorary Member and a past President of the Association of American State Geologists (AASG) and has previously served a term as Secretary of the American Geological Institute.