STATEMAP Just Got a Lot Bigger

by Grant Willis

Geologic mapping program STATEMAP-funded projects from fiscal years ending in June 2020 (before increased funding), 2021 (start new funding), and 2022 (our current year) showing the large increase in projects over the last two years. Projects include new mapping, map revision, and conversion of existing maps into the new national GeMS database schema. Small boxes are 1:24,000-scale 7.5′ quadrangle projects and most larger boxes are parts of or full 1:62,500- and 1:100,000-scale 30′ x 60′ quadrangle projects. Light brown boxes are cumulative projects since STATEMAP began in 1993.

The STATEMAP component of the National Cooperative Geologic Mapping Program (NCGMP), administered by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), has been a major source of funding for geologic mapping in Utah for nearly 30 years, providing about one-sixth of our total mapping budget as a federal 50-percent match. STATEMAP and the NCGMP just got a lot bigger, generating big changes for geologic mapping at the UGS.

You may have noticed that the world is in a new “Cold War”—this one centered in part around “critical minerals” that are essential for technology and industry of many types. Adding critical minerals to energy resources, water resources and protection, geologic hazards, environmental challenges, land management, and many other concerns creates a daunting list of geologic issues facing our nation in coming years. Better geologic maps are at the foundation of solutions for many of these issues. Recognizing this, national political leaders recently significantly increased funding for geologic mapping, which will be administered through the USGS. 

In Utah, the federal matching portion of our STATEMAP funding increased from $157,273 for the fiscal year that ended June 2020, to $458,577 for fiscal year 2021 (just ended), to $574,456 for fiscal year 2022 (ending June 2022). This funding allows the Geologic Mapping Program to expand our key goals—detailed 1:24,000-scale mapping of high growth, development, resource, hazards, and other high-priority areas, and regional 1:62,500–100,000-scale mapping for resources, land management, and research across the entire state, emphasizing better accuracy, better precision, more detail, and updating the old maps. Some of the funds come tied to new tasks—training staff, developing new procedures, contributing to the national geologic map database, converting old and new maps into a new national geologic map schema called GeMS, and developing three-dimensional map products. All these new projects, tasks, and objectives have presented us with many challenges, including finding the match for the 50:50 funding, adding and training staff, completing and reviewing more maps, and developing new procedures. 

It is an exciting time for geologic mapping! Look for details about some of these new projects and objectives in future issues of Survey Notes.