Oregon delegation requests USGS funding for Subduction Zone Science and CRESCENT

The University of Oregon asked the Oregon delegation to make funding for the US Geological Survey (USGS) subduction zone science budget a priority for the FY25 federal budget. 

In a letter to the Chair and Ranking Member of the US House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment and Related Agencies, members of the Oregon delegation voiced their support for $8 million  to be provided to the USGS  for subduction zone science. The letter pointed out that the program has the authority to partner with the Cascadia Region Earthquake Science Center (CRESCENT), based at the University of Oregon, and highlighted the importance of increasing funding for applied earthquake research and engagement by continuing the practice of matching National Science Foundation (NSF) investments in earthquake centers with investments from the U.S. Geological Survey.  

The letter was led by Congresswoman Val Hoyle (D-OR) and was signed by Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and Congresswomen Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR), Lori Chavez-DeRemer (R-OR) and Andrea Salinas (D-OR). 

The Cascadia Region Earthquake Science Center (CRESCENT) is the first center of its kind in the nation. Using NSF funding, it focuses on earthquakes at subduction zones, where one tectonic plate slides beneath another. The center unites scientists studying the possible impacts of a major earthquake along the Cascadia subduction zone, an offshore tectonic plate boundary that stretches more than 1000 kilometers from southern British Columbia to northern California. The goal of the CRESCENT program is to advance earthquake research, foster community partnerships, and diversify and train the next generation geosciences work force. 

Subduction zone earthquakes are the type that put the Pacific Northwest at risk and several regional universities are partners in the Center, including Oregon State University and Portland State University.

The members noted that “This USGS funding is critical so CRESCENT will have the same impact and resources as its predecessor had, and ultimately secure a cooperative agreement or similar vehicle that matches the annual NSF contribution, translating science into solutions as the USGS resources are focused on applied solutions. The prospect for a magnitude 9.0 subduction zone earthquake and the devastation it will bring makes this applied funding critical.” 

Congress has just begun work on the FY25 budget. With budget caps enacted for FY25, Congress has not yet set overall spending plans for the federal budget.