The Conservation and Survey Division (CSD), also known as the Nebraska Geological Survey, is the natural resource survey component of the School of Natural Resources, within the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resouces, University of Nebraska-Lincoln. CSD is a unique research, service and data-collection organization established by state statute in 1921. As such, it includes the state geological, groundwater and soil surveys.
In 2003, CSD merged with the School of Natural Resource Sciences to become the School of Natural Resources (SNR).
Part of the mandate of the division is to investigate and record information about the geologically related natural resources of the state. This mandate means the division inventories, analyzes and evaluates the rock and mineral deposits, groundwater supplies, and soils of the state. As a result, CSD maintains a huge database, including data on more than 17,000 oil and gas wells and more than 4,400 test holes (drilled for geologic and hydrogeologic data), as well as information on all the irrigation and water wells in the state.
Division geologists conduct basic research on the geologic framework of and history of Nebraska, from the oldest Precambrian rocks to recent deposits such as the Nebraska Sand Hills. Considerable research and service activity revolves around Nebraska's vast and diverse groundwater and surface water supply, ranging from basic studies on the characteristics and capacity of the state's aquifers to monitoring water quality and pollution. In addition, the kinds and distribution of soils in each county in Nebraska are being inventoried, and all counties have a completed modern soil survey.
Along with their research and service responsibilities, CSD faculty educate in several ways. They teach university courses on the undergraduate and graduate levels. They advise graduate students formally through their service on graduate committees. They also advise students informally who seek reviews of their projects and instruct through field trips.
Using collected data, research results, and the accumulated experience of staff, the division fields requests for information and services from citizens, agencies, businesses, cities and towns and other state and local natural-resource organizations. Frequent inquiries involve specific information and assistance on groundwater supplies; environmental matters ranging from the siting of buildings and landfills to groundwater contamination; mineral deposits, including oil and gas; geologic history; identification of rocks and fossils; soils and their uses; and high-altitude perspectives available from remote sensing imagery.
CSD has a long history of distributing information on Nebraska's resources to general and scientific audiences by publishing several series of publications. These include CSD geologic studies, guidebooks, resource reports (examinations of specific resources), water survey publications, soil survey reports, and educational circulars (lay-audience guides to field sites, natural history or hazards, or resource-analysis tools). In addition, atlases, field guides and division-produced maps and cross sections illustrate various aspects of Nebraska's geology, water, soils or geography. Also available are reprints of articles written by division faculty for scientific journals. Please see SNR's on-line map and publication store Nebraska Maps and More, for a complete listing of all CSD/SNR publications.