AAAS members Gary Machlis, science adviser to the National Parks Service (NPS) director, and David Applegate, USGS associate director for natural hazards, have been picked by Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar to co-lead a scientific group that will develop future scenarios and provide rapid, interdisciplinary scientific assessments during environmental crises or disasters affecting U.S. natural resources.
The group will help ensure that preparedness, response and recovery efforts undertaken by the department and its bureaus will be guided by the best available science and lessons learned from past events, including the Deepwater Horizon oil spill and Hurricane Katrina.
Machlis led the experimental Department of the Interior Strategic Sciences Working Group
during the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, and Applegate is responsible for coordinating USGS hazards planning and response activities.
"Experience shows us that these science-based scenarios and assessments are key to an effective, strategic response to all kinds of disasters immediately after they occur, and contribute greatly to mid-term recovery and long-term restoration," said Salazar.