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U.S. Department of the Interior
U.S. Geological Survey
National Wetlands Research Center
700 Cajundome Blvd.
Lafayette, LA 70506

Contact: Gabrielle Boudreaux Bodin
Phone: 337-266-8655
Fax: 337-266-8541
For Release: June 10, 2003



USGS Plays Major Role in Society of Wetland Scientists Meeting

The U.S. Geological Survey’s National Wetlands Research Center, headquartered in Lafayette, La., is playing major scientific and planning roles in the 24th Annual Meeting of the Society of Wetland Scientists taking place June 8-13 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in New Orleans. More than 650 scientists from throughout the world are expected to attend.

Research scientists from the center are presenting 28 papers and 20 poster sessions covering topics from brown marsh to wetland loss to coastal restoration. Thirteen USGS scientists are chairing symposia, and nine are guiding field trips to their research sites and other wetland areas.

Additionally, Dr. Rebecca Howard helped with the planning as a member of both the international board and the regional (South Central) hosting chapter’s board. Other USGS scientists instrumental in the planning were Ronald Boustany, South Central Chapter board member and chair of Student Travel Awards; Stephen Faulkner, chair of the Student Paper and Poster Competition; and Patti Rafferty, chair of special events.

The center has encouraged minority student involvement by enabling students from Southern University to travel to the meeting.

Of special interest will be the symposium on the scientific basis for creating and restoring wetlands using dredged sediments, scheduled for 8:30 a.m. to noon both Thursday and Friday in the Cabildo A room, according to Ed Profitt of USGS, chair. Eminent scientists speaking are Joy Zedler and Irv Mendelsshon. Dr. Zedler, University of Wisconsin, has written books and numerous papers on restoring saline wetlands and is associate editor of the Ecological Society of America’s “Ecological Applications.” Following her will be keynote speaker Dr. Mendelsshon of the Louisiana State University. After his talk will be a series of talks by scientists engaged in wetland restoration in Louisiana and elsewhere.

A focus will be wetlands created at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Sabine National Wildlife Refuge in the Calcasieu estuary of southwestern Louisiana. This area has been the site of cooperative research among scientists at the USGS National Wetlands Research Center, graduate students from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, and faculty and students from McNeese State University. Research topics have included vegetation dynamics; restoration genetics; mammal, bird, insect, and marine invertebrate use of the sites; sediment accretion and soil development; and levels of contaminants in soil and biota.
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Another presentation of special interest Thursday will be “100 plus years of land change for coastal Louisiana: 1932-2050” by James B. Johnston and others at 2:30 p.m. in the Burgundy AB room. John Barras will be presenting USGS work on documenting wetland loss (for press release, maps and a video on this topic, see http://www.nwrc.usgs.gov/special/landloss.htm).

USGS will have two exhibits (23 and 24) at the SWS meeting displaying USGS work related to wetlands. The center exhibit will also be serving nutria sausage, part of a federal and state partnership to find an economic solution to wetland damage caused by an introduced species.

The exhibit will also feature interactive educational CD’s as well as CD’s containing the contents of two USGS award-winning books, “Our Living Resources” and “Status and Trends of the Nation’s Biological Resources.” USGS maps of coastal Louisiana wetland loss will be available at exhibit 23 and at the exhibit of the Louisiana Coastal Wetlands Conservation and Restoration Task Force (12).

To contact a USGS scientist for an interview or for more information, see Susan Horton at exhibit 23.

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