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Weekly Highlights

MEMORANDUM

From: Gabrielle Boudreaux Bodin
Subject: Weekly Highlights, USGS National Wetlands Research Center, May 6, 2010  

Departmental/Bureau News - Current

  • NWRC Response to the BP Deepwater Horizon Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill: The staff of the USGS National Wetlands Research Center is assisting with response to the oil spill from the BP Deepwater Horizon in the Gulf of Mexico. NWRC has organized oil response science teams: Wildlife – Aquatic, Wildlife – Avian, Wetlands, Seagrasses, and Landscape Analysis and Data Integration. The Science Response Vehicle has been deployed and is operational at the Venice, La., Operations Center. An aerial survey of seagrasses was conducted in southeast Louisiana. An internal Oil Spill Wildlife Operational Plan was provided to the USGS representative to U.S. Northern Command. NWRC is working with National Aeronautics and Space Administration on the mission and processing requirements for the use of Uninhabited Aerial Vehicle Synthetic Aperture Radar (UAVSAR) over coastal wetlands. A series of forecast maps for the National Park Service (NPS) was produced using the latest National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration data. NWRC is developing a comprehensive National Biological Information Infrastructure (NBII) Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill Response site that aggregates information for U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and NPS land managers. NWRC is also developing an oil spill bibliography at the request of partners and staff scientists which will be published on the NWRC Web site. NWRC staff was also contacted by several media outlets. (Scott Wilson; Lafayette, La.; 337-266-8644)

  • Students from St. Francis Elementary To Visit NWRC: Sixteen fifth grade students from St. Francis Elementary in Iota, La., will view a presentation on Louisiana’s coastal wetlands and tour the USGS National Wetlands Research Center to view scientists at work on May 10, 2010. (Gabrielle Bodin; Lafayette, La.; 337-266-8655)

  • NWRC To Exhibit at Atchafalaya Welcome Center: The USGS National Wetlands Research Center will have an exhibit on Louisiana’s coastal wetlands at the Atchafalaya Welcome Center in Butte La Rose, La., in celebration of National Tourism Week May 10 – 14, 2010. (Gabrielle Bodin; Lafayette, La.; 337-266-8655)

  • NWRC Scientist To Address the Research Center for Eco-Environmental Sciences of the Chinese Academy of Science: USGS National Wetlands Research Center scientist Beth Middleton and Jiang Ming of Key Laboratory in Wetland Ecology in Changchun, China, will travel to the Sanjiang Plain in northeastern China for field research, May 12 – 20, 2010. The research is designed to look at the potential of seed banks and bud banks to be used in the restoration of converted farm fields to wetlands. Middleton is currently on special assignment as a visiting senior professor with the Key Laboratory of Wetland Ecology in Changchun, China. (Beth Middleton; Lafayette, La.; 337-266-8618)

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

  • On May 4, 2010, Erika Grieder with The Economist called the USGS National Wetlands Research Center asking what will happen as the oil reaches the coast as far as plants and soil. She was referred to the Joint Information Center and a University of Louisiana at Lafayette professor who specializes in that area. (Gabrielle Bodin; Lafayette, La.; 337-266-8655)

  • On May 6, 2010, Francois Duckett of the Associated Press emailed Karen McKee asking about illustrations or diagrams showing zonation of animals across areas likely to be impacted by oil as well as showing currents in the Gulf of Mexico. McKee referred him to sources where these illustrations might be found, including the USGS library. (Karen McKee; Lafayette, La.; 337-266-8662)

Press Inquiries/Media - Broadcast and Film

  • On April 29, 2010, a reporter with ABC Radio in northern California called the USGS National Wetlands Research Center to ask what makes this oil slick particularly dangerous to coastal ecosystems. They were referred to the Joint Information Center as directed by the USGS Office of Communications. (Gabrielle Bodin; Lafayette, La.; 337-266-8655)

  • On April 30, 2010, Mary Colwell, a reporter with BBC Natural History Unit Radio, emailed Tom Doyle of the USGS National Wetlands Research Center wanting a live interview with a biologist who knew the area well and could describe the scene as dawn broke on Tuesday and what their fears were for the wildlife. She was referred to the Joint Information Center. (Gabrielle Bodin; Lafayette, La.; 337-266-8655)

  • On May 5, 2010, Katie Johnson with KLFY (Lafayette, La., CBS affiliate) came to the USGS National Wetlands Research Center to ask if there was any truth to the rumor that the dead sea turtles being found are because of shrimpers removing their Turtle Excluder Devices. She was referred to the Joint Information Center. (Gabrielle Bodin; Lafayette, La.; 337-266-8655)

Press Inquiries/Media - Online

  • On May 4, 2010, Brandon Keim from Wired.com emailed Karen McKee of the USGS National Wetlands Research Center asking to know more about the underlying dynamics regarding the oil spill and coastal wetlands — how the spill might cause a critical transition or regime shift, and what regional ecosystems might look like if that comes to pass. He also asked about the possibility of protecting some areas as "seeds" for a future rebirth, should there be wide-scale catastrophic damage. McKee offered to answer the questions after receiving clearance to do so, but the reporter had already received the information from another source. (Karen McKee; Lafayette, La.; 337-266-8662)

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