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Weekly Highlights


From: Gabrielle B. Bodin
Subject: Weekly Highlights, USGS National Wetlands Research Center, December 11, 2008

Departmental/Bureau News - Current

  • Ecosystem Science Meeting for the St. Croix Environmental Association (SEA):  USGS National Wetlands Research Center (NWRC) Director Gregory Smith and Wetland Ecology Branch Chief Thomas Doyle met with SEA Director Paul Chakroff and other NWRC wetland scientists, Ken Krauss, Jacoby Carter, Richard Day, Tommy Michot, and Clint Jeske, on December 1 to discuss monitoring protocols and habitat management ideas for the Southgate Coastal Reserve, a nature preserve on the north shore of the St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands. (Thomas Doyle, Lafayette, La., 337-266-8647)

  • Pattern and Processes in Reef Fish Communities and Their Relations to Marine Reserves Seminar: The USGS National Wetlands Research Center hosted a seminar on December 9 by Dr. Alastair Harborne of the University of Exeter (Devon, UK), Marine Spatial Ecology Laboratory. He provided an overview of his work on coral reef fish communities and how it relates to marine reserves. (Jim Grace, 337-266-8632)

  • Barataria-Terrebonne National Estuary Program (BTNEP) Management Conference Meeting: USGS National Wetlands Research Center (NWRC) scientists Greg Steyer and Craig Conzelmann provided an overview of the Coastwide Reference Monitoring System (CRMS) - Integration and Visualization of Data at the December 10 meeting in Thibodaux, La. NWRC information specialist David Marks, Coastal Wetlands Planning Protection and Restoration Act (CWPPRA) outreach coordinator, and contractor Andre Williams, CWPPRA media specialist, also attended the meeting as BTNEP management council members. The NWRC team also participated in the following presentations: West Bay Sediment Diversion Project Update; Louisiana Wetland Library Collection Enhancement, Fletcher Technical Community College; BTNEP Speaker’s Bureau Project; Lake Fields Restoration, La. Department of Wildlife and Fisheries; Contrasting System-Wide Approaches to Integration: Netherlands and The Louisiana Coast; Beach Monitoring Program, La. Department of Health and Hospitals; 2008 La Fete d’Ecologie, BTNEP.  (David Marks, Lafayette, La., 337-266-8623)

  • National Wetlands Research Center Staff Contributes to Food Drive: USGS National Wetlands Research Center staff contributed nine boxes of food for the annual FoodNet Food for Families event held in Lafayette, La., on December 10. (Debbie Norling, Lafayette, La., 337-266-8654)

  • IUCN-USGS Expert Panel on EDRR at International Ports of Entry: On December 3 – 4, the USGS National Wetlands Research Center (NWRC) and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) from Washington, D.C., convened an Expert Panel on Early Detection and Rapid Response (EDRR) at International Ports of Entry in Charleston, S.C.  The meeting, co-hosted by Randy Westbrooks, an invasive species prevention specialist with NWRC in Whiteville, N.C., and John Waugh, a Senior Fellow with IUCN in Washington, D.C., was attended by representatives from U.S. Customs and Border Protection, USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service Plant Protection and Quarantine (APHIS PPQ), the Environmental Protection Agency, Clemson University Plant Industry Department, the South Carolina State Ports Authority, the City of North Charleston, and Behnkes Nurseries in Beltsville, Md.  The meeting was initially scheduled because of concerns about possible introductions of foreign invasive species at ports of entry under free trade agreements with other countries.  However, another major concern is the lack of Federal regulatory authority and systems to prevent the establishment and spread of introduced foreign invaders that are considered to be non-actionable under the International Plant Protection Convention.  An example is the exotic rasberry crazy ant (Paratrechina sp. near pubens) (taxonomy unclear – thus origin unknown), which was first introduced and became established in the Port of Houston, Tex., and has recently spread into the city of Houston. This prolific new biting ant, which invades and destroys electronic circuitry and wiring systems (the Johnson Space Center in Houston is at serious risk) has been deemed to be non-actionable by USDA APHIS since it is not considered to be an agricultural pest (see for more information). 

    In January, 2009, IUCN and USGS plan to convene a second meeting of the panel to outline an EDRR Pilot Project that will be conducted in the Port of Charleston and a sister port in another country that regularly exports cargo to the United States through Charleston.  The idea would be to set up a survey and monitoring system for early detection of all types of invasive species within a port terminal (EDRR Zone 1 - Ground Zero), in adjacent communities (EDRR Zone 2 – e.g., the City of North Charleston), and around distant sites that receive high risk cargo from the port of entry (EDRR Zone 3 – e.g., free trade zones, bonded warehouses, intermodal container transfer sites, and companies that regularly receive foreign freight).  The ultimate goal is to develop and test EDRR Systems that can be implemented at ports of entry all around the world.
    (Randy Westbrooks, Whiteville, North Carolina, 910-648-6762).

Press Inquiries/Media - Newspapers/magazines/wires, etc.

  • Mark Schleifstein of the Times Picayune in New Orleans contacted the USGS National Wetlands Research Center (NWRC) on December 2 to request a map illustrating subsidence along coastal Louisiana. NWRC staff provided assistance with his request. (Gaye Farris, Lafayette, La., 337-266-8550)

  • National Geographic’s school division contacted the USGS National Wetlands Research Center (NWRC) on December 3 to request a graphic illustrating a Louisiana wetland and the wetland’s environmental qualities of flood protection and water purification. NWRC staff is assisting with the request. (Gaye Farris, Lafayette, La., 337-266-8550)

  • USGS South Central Region Executive Director Stanley Ponce is quoted in an article regarding water quality monitoring stations on the lower Mississippi River.Coastal Work Methods Debated, The Advocate, Baton Rouge, La., December 4, 2008)

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