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Weekly Highlights

MEMORANDUM

From: Susan Horton
Subject: Weekly Highlights, USGS National Wetlands Research Center, June 7 2007

Departmental/Bureau News

USGS Participates in Galveston's Hurricane Drill: On June 6, USGS National Wetlands Research Center (Lafayette, LA) director Greg Smith met with John Simsen, coordinator of Galveston County's (TX) Office of Emergency Management as part of a mock hurricane preparedness drill. Smith, along with Gene Nelson, Wayne Norling, and Steve Hartley, demonstrated the science response capabilities of NWRC. The Science Response Vehicle (SRV) they used for the demonstration is equipped for rapid deployment in response to natural disasters throughout the United States. In 1900, Galveston County was hit by a hurricane that remains the deadliest (est. 6000 - 9000 lives lost) natural disaster in U. S. history. Galveston County's emergency management facility, where the demonstration was held, is the first in the Nation to combine a National Weather Service office with an emergency management department of local government. The building has been designed to withstand a Category 5 hurricane. Smith and Simsen will continue to discuss opportunities for further cooperation. (Greg Smith, Lafayette, LA, 337-266-8501)

USGS and U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) Host Coastal Hurricane Response Workshop: USGS and USFWS hosted a workshop, “Coastal Hurricane Science Response: Coastal Texas,” held June 6 in Clearlake, TX, for coastal natural resource managers and scientists from Federal, State, and local agencies. The purpose of the workshop was to review lessons learned from hurricanes Katrina and Rita, to identify post-storm needs of natural resource managers, and to learn how to better integrate science operations with existing human-assistance operations. (Greg Smith, Lafayette, LA, 337-266-8501)

Notable Congressional Activity

USGS Will Brief Representative Melancon on Science Response Vehicle (SRV): On June 6, Congressman Charlie Melancon’s (D-LA-3) office contacted the USGS National Wetlands Research Center (NWRC) for information about the Science Response Vehicle (SRV) that was used during the aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. When he returns from Washington, DC, in August, Congressman Melancon plans to meet with NWRC director Greg Smith, tour the vehicle, and learn how the SRV could possibly assist his district, which includes several of Louisiana’s coastal parishes most vulnerable to storms.

USGS Scientist Responds to Climate Change Questions: USGS scientist Virginia Burkett was asked to review her testimony from an April 17 U. S. House of Representatives’ Committee on Science and Technology hearing, “The State of Climate Change Science 2007: The Findings of the Fourth Assessment Report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Working Group II: Climate Change Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability.” Burkett is also responding to additional questions for the record by June 15.

Press Inquiries/Media

The USGS National Wetlands Research Center (Lafayette, LA) provided information and land loss maps for a story on Louisiana’s disappearing wetlands to possibly air June 8 on The Weather Channel.

On June 5, USGS scientist Virginia Burkett was interviewed by Geotimes magazine for a story on the implications of climate change for restoring and maintaining the Louisiana coast.

USGS scientists Tom Doyle, Clint Jeske, and Tommy Michot and USGS geographer John Barras were interviewed about the effects of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita on Louisiana’s wetlands and wildlife, for a June 3 story in The Daily Advertiser (Lafayette, LA).

Gaye Farris, Information Branch Chief, and Scott Wilson, Acting Spatial Analysis Branch Chief, from the USGS National Wetlands Research Center (NWRC) were interviewed about NWRC’s Science Response Vehicle (SRV) for a story published June 4 in Houma Today (LA).

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