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Missions of the Corps of Discovery and the U.S. Geological Survey
President Thomas Jefferson's Instructions to Captain Meriwether Lewis
… The object of your mission is to explore the Missouri river, & such principal stream of it, as, by it’s course & communication with the waters of the Pacific Ocean, may offer the most direct & practicable water communication across this continent, for the purposes of commerce.
Beginning at the mouth of the Missouri, you will take observations of latitude & longitude, at all remarkable points on the river, & especially at the mouths of rivers, at rapids, at islands & other places & objects distinguished by such natural marks & characters of a durable kind, as that they may with certainty be recognized hereafter. the courses of the river between these points of observation may be supplied by the compass, the log–line & by time, corrected by the observations themselves. the variations of the compass too, in different places, should be noticed.
… Your observations are to be taken with great pains & accuracy, to be entered distinctly, & intelligibly for others as well as yourself, to comprehend all the elements necessary….
… Other objects worthy of notice will be the soil & face of the country, it’s growth & vegetable productions; especially those not of the U. S. the animals of the country generally, & especially those not known in the U. S. the remains and accounts of any which may deemed rare or extinct; the mineral productions of every kind; but more particularly metals, limestone, pit coal & salpetre; salines & mineral waters, noting the temperature of the last, & such circumstances as may indicate their character. Volcanic appearances. climate as characterized by the thermometer, by the proportion of rainy, cloudy & clear days, by lightening, hail, snow, ice, by the access & recess of frost, by the winds prevailing at different seasons, the dates at which particular plants put forth or lose their flowers, or leaf, times of appearance of particular birds, reptiles or insects.
… Given under my hand at the city of Washington, this 20th day of June 1803.
The Mission of the U.S. Geological Survey
The USGS serves the Nation by providing reliable scientific information to:
Our mission is very similar to that of Lewis and Clark and the Corps of Discovery. We participate in many projects that are continuations of those begun by Lewis and Clark, such as:
DeVoto, Bernard, ed., 1953, The Journals of Lewis and Clark: New York, Mariner Books Houghton Mifflin Company, 504 p.
Jefferson, Thomas, 20 June 1803, Instructions to Captain Lewis, A Hypertext on American History from the colonial period until Modern Times: Letters of Thomas Jefferson, 1743–1826: accessed July 12, 2001, at URL http://grid.let.rug.nl/~usa/P/tj3/writings/brf/jefl155.htm.
Stuart, Gilbert, 1828(?), Thomas Jefferson, third president of the United States: [LC–USZ62–117117 DLC], By Popular Demand: Portraits of the Presidents and First Ladies, 1789–Present: accessed July 12, 2001, at URL http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/odmdhtml/preshome.html.
U.S. Geological Survey, 1997, rev. 1999, Strategic Plan for the National Mapping Division of the U.S. Geological Survey: accessed August 10, 2001, at URL http://mapping.usgs.gov/misc/strategic.html.
U.S. Geological Survey, 2001, Global Change Research: Earth Surface Dynamics: accessed August 10, 2001, at URL http://geochange.er.usgs.gov/.
U.S. Geological Survey, 2001, Mission of the Water Resources Division: accessed July 12, 2001, at URL http://water.usgs.gov/wrd_mission.html.
U.S. Geological Survey, 2001, U.S. Geological Survey Biological Resources: Mission Statement: accessed August 10, 2001, at URL http://biology.usgs.gov/pub_aff/mission.html.
U.S. Geological Survey, 2001, U.S. Geological Survey strategic plan, Mission: accessed June 25, 2001, at URL http://www.usgs.gov/stratplan/vision.html.