March 3, 1979, marks the 100th anniversary of the founding of the U.S. Geological Survey. On this day in 1879, President Rutherford B. Hayes approved legislation authorizing "the classification of the public lands and examination of the geological structure, mineral resources, and products of the national domain."
The Geological Survey has had a rich history. It grew from the necessity of our forebears to explore this vast and bountiful continent, to understand its geographical features, and to evaluate its natural resources. It also grew from a pioneering legacy—from heroic achievements ranging from the Lewis and Clark Expedition to the exploration of the Colorado River by John Wesley Powell.
The Geological Survey has served the Nation well, providing vital information upon which we make critical decisions and important national policy. That policy involves our mineral resources, our land, and our water. It helps us avoid the risks of natural disasters and provides knowledge useful for our urban planning, for sound construction practices, and for resolving many environmental and health problems.
While focusing mainly on the United States, the Survey's programs are also international in scope and make it possible for us to share geological knowledge and its benefits with other countries of the world.
Finally, the Survey is keeping pace with space-age science and technology. It is working on the geology of the Moon and the planets. It is involved in the remote sensing of the Earth's features and natural resources from our satellites and 'high altitude aircraft.
I am proud to recognize the Survey's century of valuable service to our Nation. I wholeheartedly applaud its high standards of excellence in past accomplishments and reaffirm the emphasis that this administration places upon the continuing importance of its scientific work.
My best wishes go out to those whose talents and dedication have made the U.S. Geological Survey such a vital part of our government.