Status Report (October)

Status of PNW Region of ANSS as of Oct. 2001

By: Steve Malone, PNW Coordinator
The next round of 20 strong motion instruments have been installed along with several other types of stations, summer station repairs made and other annual maintenance tasks were completed. Its been a hectic summer (again). The PNSN staff is taking a bit of a break and trying to catch up on documentation and other house keeping chores. We have not been successful in replacing our long-time engineering technician, Jim Ramey who retired last spring and thus we will re-evaluate our approach to technical staffing. Work on the ANSS regional and national plans continues; however full funding will not be forthcoming this next year.
Advisory committee - The next meeting of the regional ANSS Advisory committee will be held in either late Nov. or early Dec. An exact date and place is yet to be determined. Topics for the meeting will include a review of the current strong motion station sites, including Idaho in the region, information outlets in Oregon and eastern Washington and any other topics members suggest. Please send possible topics to either the regional coordinator, Steve Malone or to the Advisory Committee Chairman, CB Crouse.
ANSS Funding - The line item in the USGS budget for fiscal 2002 is pretty much the same as it was for the past year; about $4M. This is significantly below the approximately $35M per year authorized for the development and installation of the ANSS. The small amounts of money thus far appropriated has gone to the purchase and installation of about 180 instruments distributed in six urban areas. A small part of the funding went to the development of plans for the future; primarily travel for meetings of volunteers. 
In a meeting with the under secretary for science of the Department of Interior by several of us from the SSA we got the impression that the ANSS was an important initiative of the USGS but that this administration's priorities for the next year would not include it. We were encouraged to come back and make our case next year, particularly if we can show serious interest by local governments and industry in the products the ANSS could provide. The USGS budegt for the current year (2002) was recently passed and contained only $300K more than last year for the ANSS. This is expected to continue the slow startup of ANSS activities but there is some question about how much we can do. See the Implementaiton Committee report below.
Regional Implementation Plan - Our draft Regional Implementation Plan was sent to the USGS at the end of August for inclusion in a national plan. The procedures for this are outlined in a Management and Implementation fact sheet (PDF). Our own regional plan still has little detail. It will not be modified into a more comprehensive plan until directed to do so by the USGS.
National Implementation Committee meeting - In early September the regional coordinators of all ANSS regions met in Golden, CO to discuss our respective regional plans and to coordinate the national effort based on funds expected for next year. The total number of instruments requested by the coordinators for installation during the next year greatly exceeded the funds available. We were advised that it was time to include more of the country in the new instrument plans and to include some national backbone stations. Because the staff of the PNSN is tasked to the limit getting the existing stations operating smoothly, our processing system fully automated to use the data from the existing stations and because there seems to be no local sources of funding (Washington State or local industries) to help with these activities we requested only 6 new instruments for the next year rather than the 20 new ones as we got the last two years. Four of these instruments will be for the Portland, Oregon area. Two national backbone stations may be installed in our region (southern and eastern Oregon). Also, a possible instrumentation plan for highway bridges in the Seattle area has not gone forward. With our current limited budget we plan to improve the processing of data from our existing instruments, provide teaching materials to our school partners hosting strong motion instruments, and continue slowly developing improved information products such as ShakeMap.