"If you live downstream or if you're one of the users of streamflow information you will know," Norris told ABC News Monday. "I think that most people don't even recognize that these things are out there collecting data every 15 minutes, but as a society we use that information in so many different ways."
The USGS receives funding from 850 other partners, but in the past five to seven years, states have cut the amount they are willing to contribute.
"We're starting to cut into the bone. You go too far and things start to crumble," Norris said.
Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., called the FAA bill "a little bit hypocritical."
"On the same day when all of the focus was on the delays that we have in getting through airports, the chief- of-staff of the United States Army was saying that if we don't reverse this, we're going to have a hollow Army, we'll be unable to defend the nation, and it would take us 10 or 15 years to recover," McCain said on "Meet the Press" Sunday. "Look, I'm for giving the FAA flexibility, but I also want to give the military flexibility, and I don't want the sequestration cuts to be as steep as they are on national defense."
Leaders in the Department of Defense have long lamented the across-the-board budget cuts, predicting furloughs of civilian staff, lapses in maintenance of equipment, fewer flying hours for pilots and a whole host of other negative effects.
In one area, DoD received its own sequester reprieve.
In the Continuing Resolution passed in March, Congress included a full-year defense appropriations bill to give the department more flexibility in funding. It also required all branches to fund the Tuition Assistance Program for active duty forces, which four of the five military branches had said would be cut due to the sequester.
Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.V., pushed for a bill introduced by Sens. Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., and Pat Toomey, R-Pa., that would give the Obama administration more flexibility in saying how the cuts would be implemented.
"You're going to prioritize what's really important to the American public. And flying safely -- the public flying safely is a high priority. Head Start is a high priority," Manchin said on "Fox and Friends" Friday. "There's other things that we could be doing and getting rid of a lot of waste."