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The Lewis and Clark Expedition and the USGS
The Lewis and Clark Expedition was the first of many government surveys of natural resources in the American West. The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) was established on March 3, 1879 in response to a report from the National Academy of Sciences, which had been asked by the Congress in 1878 to provide a plan for surveying and mapping the Territories of the United States that would secure the best possible results at the least possible cost. The USGS continues to serve the nation as an independent fact-finding agency that provides scientific understanding about natural-resource conditions, issues, and problems. Because of its origin in natural resource surveys and the similarity of the USGS mission to Thomas Jefferson's charge to Meriwether Lewis, the USGS can be seen as the organizational successor to Lewis and Clark.