The Delaware Geological Survey (DGS) is a science-based, public-service-driven Delaware state agency at the University of Delaware (UD) that conducts geologic and hydrologic research, service, and exploration for the benefit of the citizens of the First State. The mission of the DGS is to provide objective earth science information, advice, and service to its stakeholders–the citizens, policy makers, industries, and educational institutions of Delaware.
DGS research and service activities are focused on five areas: (1) geology, (2) hydrology, (3) natural hazards, (4) the state geospatial framework, and (5) information dissemination. These efforts impact a wide variety of issues ranging from water resources, agriculture, environmental protection, and energy and mineral resources to economic development, land-use planning, emergency management, public health, and recreation. As our responsibilities have continued to grow over the years, we have maintained a dedication to ensuring our program priorities are aligned with the greatest needs of Delaware’s citizens.
A geologic survey of Delaware was originally authorized in 1837 for a period of four years under the direction of James C. Booth, State Geologist. A permanent state geological survey was established by the Delaware General Assembly in 1951 and is funded by direct state appropriation. The 1951 statute founding the Survey contains its fundamental charges: study the geology of Delaware, investigate mineral and water resources, advise state government, and provide the results of its studies to the citizens and agencies of Delaware through publication and consultation. Additional responsibilities have been assigned over the years as the varied applications of the Survey’s basic mission were recognized: notable among these are spatial data coordination, direct support for emergency planning, response, and recovery, and involvement in water-supply planning.
The DGS has a unique position both as a University research and service unit and as a state agency. Financial, personnel, and other administrative matters are managed by the University. The DGS budget is funded by an annual direct appropriation from the State of Delaware with related reporting responsibilities to both the Office of the Governor and the Delaware General Assembly. The DGS provides objective, factual information for the benefit of our stakeholders, impacting public policy decisions as well as solutions for individuals, business, and industry. In addition, we contribute to the educational mission of the University through collaboration with faculty and students on research projects of value to Delawareans. Solidifying that relationship, the DGS became formally affiliated within the University's growing College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment in July, 2008. Most DGS scientists have secondary faculty appointments in the College's Department of Geological Sciences.
Scientific excellence is the foundation of the organization. The ability of the DGS to maintain a reputation for conducting objective, quality scientific research is in large part the result of the recruitment and retention of talented people, excellent resources and equipment, and the location of the unit at a University with an established reputation for academic and research excellence. The unit's strong scientific reputation is reflected in the peer-reviewed publication record of DGS staff and the number of invitations to serve in leadership and organizational roles for regional and national professional organizations.
The DGS consistently demonstrates a strong commitment to ensuring that Delaware’s citizens benefit from a service-oriented technical organization that addresses critical quality-of-life issues in geology and hydrology. Its close ties with other State agencies, extensive advisement of decision-makers, and regular interactions with the Delaware public ensure that the Survey’s work program is aligned with stakeholder needs. The non-regulatory nature of its state-agency responsibilities provides independence that lends objectivity to its scientific findings.
The DGS recognizes the importance of evolving in a digital information age to keep pace with constantly changing needs for managing and disseminating earth science information. The organization has a strong foundation of GIS, database management and technological infrastructure and is actively engaged in new opportunities that will allow it to achieve the goal of being a leader in web-based dissemination of digital geologic, hydrologic, and geospatial data of value to its stakeholders.
The DGS greatly values its place as member of the University of Delaware community and is dedicated to capitalizing on a unique university role. Delaware is unique among East Coast states in the location of a state geological survey on the campus of the state’s premier research university. This enables the Survey to provide unique practical experiences to University of Delaware students that are mutually beneficial to the Survey’s research and service responsibilities and to the University’s educational mission.
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