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Weekly Highlights

MEMORANDUM

From: Gabrielle Boudreaux Bodin
Subject: Weekly Highlights, USGS National Wetlands Research Center, December 15, 2011  

Departmental/Bureau News - Current

  • New Publication Features USGS/NASA Work on Oil Detection in Coastal Marshes: USGS National Wetlands Research Center scientist Elijah Ramsey, III, Amina Rangoonwala (Five Rivers, LLC), Yukihiro Suzuoki (ASci Corporation Inc.), and Cathleen E. Jones (JPL, NASA) published a paper in Remote Sensing (ISSN 2072-4292) that describes the first time detection of oil in coastal marshes is completed with a nearly all weather and day and night remote sensing system. The combined USGS and NASA work documents oil detection in the shoreline and nearshore marshes (and inland waters) and reveals widespread changes in radar backscatter that is likely associated with oil-polluted waters penetrating far into the interior marshes; however, multiple factors prevent unambiguous determination of whether UAVSAR detected oil exposure in interior marshes. (Elijah Ramsey; Lafayette, La.; 337-266-8575)

  • Motorboat Operator’s Certification Course Held: USGS National Wetlands Research Center scientist William Vervaeke and Wayne Norling of the Wisconsin Water Science Center recently led a motorboat operator’s certification course (MOCC) for 12 students. Students included NWRC employees and contractors, as well as staff from the Louisiana State University Cooperative Unit and personnel from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. (William Vervaeke; Lafayette, La.; 337-266-8588)

  • NWRC Scientist Presents on Oil Detection at AGU Meeting: USGS National Wetlands Research Center scientist Elijah Ramsey, III gave an invited presentation, "Oil Detection in a Coastal Marsh," at the American Geophysical Union meeting held in San Francisco, Calif., December 5 – 9, 2011, in a special session highlighting the Initial Assessments of Ecological Response to Oil from the Deepwater Horizon Spill. The work presented was done by the Remote Sensing Applied Research (ASAR) Group consisting of Amina Rangoonwala (Five Rivers, LLC), Yukihiro Suzuoki (ASci Corporation Inc.), and Terri Banister (Fiver Rivers, LLC). (Elijah Ramsey; Lafayette, La.; 337-266-8575)

  • NWRC Staff Meets with Caddo Lake Institute: USGS National Wetlands Research Center Director Phil Turnipseed, Wetlands Ecology and Forest Ecology Branch Chief Thomas Doyle, and scientist Larry Allain attended the Caddo Lake Institute’s Environmental Flows Workshop December 12 – 14, 2011, in Jefferson, Texas. Bob Joseph [Texas Water Science Center (WSC) Director], Tim Raines (North Texas Water Science Director and Texas WSC Data Chief) and Bruce Moring (Texas WSC Hydrologist) were also in attendance from USGS. The workshop had not been held since 2008, and was attended by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Fort Worth District, The Nature Conservancy, state and local agencies, and non-governmental organizations.  The workshop is of great interest to those planning the region’s future. (D. Phil Turnipseed; Lafayette, La.; 337-266-8501)

  • CWPPRA Technical Committee Meeting: On December 13, 2011, USGS National Wetlands Research Center Spatial Analysis Branch Chief Scott Wilson and Five Rivers Services, LLC contractors Susan Testroet-Bergeron and Cole Ruckstuhl attended the Coastal Wetlands Planning, Protection, and Restoration Act (CWPPRA) Technical Committee Meeting in Baton Rouge, La. Wilson serves as the Public Outreach Committee Chairman, Testroet-Bergeron serves as the CWPPRA Outreach Coordinator, and Ruckstuhl serves as CWPPRA’s Media Specialist. The main decision items on the agenda were voting on four candidate projects for Priority Project List (PPL) 21 and prioritizing Phase II construction of existing projects, to be submitted to the CWPPRA Task Force for final review and approval at the January 2012 CWPPRA Task Force Meeting. The Technical Committee's voting results can be found on the LaCoast.gov Website under the Newsflash section. (Scott Wilson; Lafayette, La.; 337-266-8644)

  • NWRC Participates in Secretarial Events: USGS National Wetlands Research Center Deputy Director Matthew Andersen and CWPPRA Outreach Coordinator Susan Testroet-Bergeron (Five Rivers Services, LLC) attended two events on December 14, 2011, that were both led by the Secretary of the Interior, Ken Salazar. Salazar was in New Orleans, La., to participate in the morning sale of oil and gas leases in the western Gulf of Mexico. His next stop was the first event attended by Andersen and Testroet-Bergeron, a site visit to one of the Nation's seven Urban Waters Partnership sites in New Orleans. Jean Lafitte National Park personnel hosted the hour-long event. The project is known as the Lafitte Corridor and is intended to connect Lake Pontchartrain and the Mississippi River. Salazar brought diverse members of the community to the outdoor podium during the event to share their visions of the Urban Waters greenway development and their visions of working together in partnerships to help make the greenway project work effectively. USGS participates in the Urban Waters partnerships throughout the country along with a host of other federal agencies led by EPA. The second event Andersen and Testroet-Bergeron attended was a DOI employees meeting at the New Orleans offices of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management. Approximately 300 BOEM employees attended the event, as well as a few National Park Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service personnel. The Secretary provided his perspectives on working in Washington and recognized some longevity achievements among BOEM personnel at that office. The Secretary also asked for questions from the floor. Andersen encouraged the Secretary to highlight and support the importance of the Gulf of Mexico when he returned to Washington. Salazar recalled his extensive experience with the Gulf, especially during the Deepwater Horizon event, and pledged to help Congress and the Administration recall what the Gulf has experienced and to offer as much help as Washington can offer. Salazar concluded his remarks by encouraging the federal employees present, saying they are doing good work and that "our best days are ahead of us." (Matthew Andersen; Lafayette, La.; 337-266-8501)

  • NWRC Judges School Science Fair: USGS National Wetlands Research Center Information Specialist Gabrielle Bodin and Five Rivers contractors Heather Baldwin and David Guilbeau judged the Lafayette Christian Academy Seventh Grade Science Fair on December 14, 2011. The judges viewed more than 50 projects from a broad range of scientific disciplines. NWRC assists the academy with its science fair annually. (Gabrielle Bodin; Lafayette, La.; 337-266-8655)

Press Inquiries/Media - Broadcast and Film

  • USGS National Wetlands Research Center scientists Karen McKee and Brady Couvillion were interviewed by telephone on December 12, 2011, by Andrea Stewart, a producer with Toronto-based Stornoway Productions. They are producing a documentary series focused on watershed issues in North America. McKee and Couvillion answered questions about issues relevant to the Mississippi River Delta and its coastal wetlands, including subsidence, sea-level rise, sediments, and climate change.  They were also asked to describe ongoing research on these topics and how that information is used to make decisions about wetland management and restoration. McKee explained how current research is contributing to a better understanding of how coastal wetlands respond to rising sea level as well as how changes in atmospheric CO2 concentrations and climate may influence the resilience of wetlands in this subtropical region. Couvillion discussed his recently released report, Land Area Change in Coastal Louisiana from 1932 – 2010. (Karen McKee; Lafayette, La.; 337-266-8662)

Press Inquiries/Media - Online

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