Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 52.djvu/570

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552

POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

which had proved so fruitful and stimulating might be continued and enlarged. The event has proved the wisdom of President Cleveland's selection, for each successive Congress has increased the appropriation and enlarged the function of the survey.

A comparison of the appropriations for the current fiscal year with those made for the fiscal year 1894, just preceding Mr. Walcott's accession to the directorship, shows enlargement in many directions. The various items providing for the geological work proper, and the work in paleontology, chemistry, statistics, etc., show an increase of $22,000, besides an item of $50,000 for hydrography, which was not separately recognized in the earlier bill, although the work had then been initiated.

The body of work to which the title of hydrography is applied consists in the determination of existing water supply, both in streams and underground, and in the discussion of the economic availability of this supply for agricultural, municipal, and other uses. The importance of such work to agriculture and sanitation, and the need of investigation under national auspices, have been recognized for some years, but there has been doubt as to the particular bureau to which the research should be intrusted, and the responsibility has been shared at various times by the Geological Survey and the Department of Agriculture. It is now lodged wholly with the Geological Survey.

From the year of its organization the Geological Survey has performed a large amount of topographical work, making maps on which are shown not only roads, towns, streams, etc., but the shape of the surface. For a much longer period the United States Land Office has been engaged in surveys for the purpose of dividing the public land into townships, sections, and minor cadastral divisions, as a basis for transfer to individual settlers. The two works have to a considerable extent covered the same areas, but the purposes and methods of work were so different that for a long time it did not seem practicable to unite them. Recently, however, an extensive experiment has been made in that direction. The bills appropriating money for the land surveys have been so phrased as to permit the Secretary of the Interior to have part of the work done by the Geological Survey, and the experience of three years, involving the expenditure through the survey of about $400,000, has shown that by using the administrative methods of the Geological Survey the two works can be carried on conjointly with less cost than was formerly found necessary for the cadastral surveys by the Land Office alone. For the present fiscal year the sum of money thus assigned to Mr. Walcott's direction is $241,500.

Long agitation with reference to the waste of timber on the pub-