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Weekly Highlights

MEMORANDUM

From: Gabrielle Boudreaux Bodin
Subject: Weekly Highlights, USGS National Wetlands Research Center, May 13, 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. The Science Response Vehicle has been deployed and is operational at the Venice, La., Operations Center. NWRC has produced more than 100 maps to support the oil response effort. These maps have been used by the National Park Service (NPS), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, BP, U.S Navy, and other Federal and State agencies. Some include maps used by the Louisiana Governor’s office to identify coastal areas needing protection through boom deployment, maps to NPS staff in Mobile, Ala., for briefing the NPS Director, and a series of forecast maps using the latest National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration data.

    Other activities include:
    • The NWRC staff members are developing near-term and long-term biology science activities plans.
    • A mangrove team led by NWRC scientist Ken Krauss is in Fourchon, La., to visit long-term sites and collect pre-oil data.
    • A seagrass team led by NWRC scientist Jacoby Carter is sampling seagrass beds on the NPS Gulf Islands National Seashore in Mississippi. The work is being coordinated with the Coastal Marine Geology Program, St. Petersburg, Fla. They will sample for 3 days.
    • NWRC Wildlife staff members are in discussions with Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) Wildlife Team on how to evaluate impacts to marsh birds.
    • The Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality has contacted NWRC about aquatic biomarkers to assess animal impacts.
    • NWRC staff members are assisting the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to document offshore sand resources for potential fast-track barrier island projects.
    • NWRC has received an email from the Coast Guard requesting assistance.
    • NWRC scientist Jill Jenkins has been invited to participate on the NRDA Fishery Team to assist with aquatic biomarkers to assess fisheries impacts.
    • NWRC wildlife biologists Clint Jeske and Wylie Barrow are in discussions with NRDA Wildlife team on how to evaluate impacts to marsh birds
    • NWRC staff members were also contacted by several media outlets.

    (Scott Wilson; Lafayette, La.; 337-266-8644)

  • USGS Scientist Presents Keynote on Sea Level Rise: USGS Chief Scientist for Global Change Research Virginia Burkett presented a keynote talk about sea level rise at the "Gulf of Mexico Climate Outreach Community of Practice" workshop in St. Petersburg, Fla., on April 20, 2010.  Her talk focused on sea level history in the Gulf of Mexico, recent trends, future projections and impacts on coastal systems. The meeting of Gulf Coast Sea Grant Directors and approximately 80 other participants was sponsored by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Gulf Coast Sea Grant institutions. (Virginia Burkett; Many, La.; 318-256-5628)

  • USGS Scientist Presents WebEx for USFWS Employees on Climate Change: USGS Chief Scientist for Global Change Research Virginia Burkett presented a WebEx for U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service employees based in Alaska on April 20, 2010.  Her presentation included highlights from the 2009 report "Global Climate Change and Impacts on the United States" that she coauthored and other recent climate change and impact assessment literature.  She concluded her talk with a focus on observed trends and projected future impacts in coastal systems and Alaska. (Virginia Burkett; Many, La.; 318-256-5628)

  • USGS Scientist Participates in Interagency Meeting on “Translaters” of Climate Change Science: USGS Chief Scientist for Global Change Research Virginia Burkett participated in a meeting of the U.S. Interagency Climate Change Adaptation Science Workgroup on April 29, 2010, which met at the National Academies Keck Center to discuss the topic of "Translators" of climate change science.  Burkett served on a panel of science "translators" that was chaired by Margaret Davidson, Director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Coastal Services Center. The goal of this particular workgroup meeting was "to hear directly from individuals who provide translation functions in real world decision-making settings." (Virginia Burkett; Many, La.; 318-256-5628)

  • USGS Scientist Conducts Training for Louisiana Sea Grant Agents: USGS Chief Scientist for Global Change Research Virginia Burkett conducted a training program for Louisiana Sea Grant extension agents in Louisiana on April 30, 2010. Her morning lecture and subsequent interactions with the agents focused on climate change and its potential impacts in coastal Louisiana. She assisted the Sea Grant staff with developing a strategy for explaining key aspects of climate change to coastal residents. (Virginia Burkett; Many, La.; 318-256-5628)

  • USGS Scientist Presents Public Lecture on Climate Change Impacts: USGS Chief Scientist for Global Change Research Virginia Burkett presented a public lecture at Louisiana State University's Howe-Russell Auditorium on April 30, 2010.  Her late afternoon lecture about "Climate Change Impacts on Low-Lying Coastal Systems," advertised in the Baton Rouge Morning Advocate, was hosted by the Southern Climate Impacts Planning Program (a regional climate impacts program sponsored by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration).  (Virginia Burkett; Many, La.; 318-256-5628)

  • NWRC Scientists Coordinate Efforts with Partners Regarding Seagrass Beds Along the Northern Gulf of Mexico: USGS National Wetlands Research Center Research Ecologist Jacoby Carter, Research Wildlife Biologist Tommy Michot, and Geographer Chris Wells participated in a conference call on May 10, 2010, with National Park Service (NPS) partners from Gulf Islands National Seashore and other scientists concerning coordination of efforts to describe and sample seagrass beds managed by NPS and others along the northern Gulf of Mexico. The group also discussed rapid response aerial observation scope and methods and also mapping long-term changes to seagrass beds as a result of the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill. (Tommy Michot; Lafayette, La.; 337-266-8664)

  • NWRC Scientist Judges Environmental Awareness Art & Language Arts Contest: USGS National Wetlands Research Center Wildlife Biologist Clint Jeske served as a judge on May 10, 2010, for Louisiana’s Eighth Environmental Awareness Art & Language Arts Contest sponsored by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Environmental Education Commission. Entries from students from throughout the state focused on the theme “Carbon Footprints: Tread Lightly on Louisiana.” (Clint Jeske; Lafayette, La.; 337-266-8652)

  • NWRC Scientist To Address the Northeast Forestry University in Harbin, China: USGS National Wetlands Research Center scientist Beth Middleton will address the Northeast Forestry University in Harbin, China on May 14, 2010.  The title of her presentation is “Climate change and wetlands.”  She 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)

  • Abbeville High School Students To Visit NWRC: Approximately 30 tenth grade students from Abbeville High School’s Pre-advanced Placement Biology Class will visit the USGS National Wetlands Research Center on May 18, 2010. They will view a presentation on Louisiana’s coastal wetlands and tour the center to learn about the work of NWRC scientists. (Gabrielle Bodin; Lafayette, La.; 337-266-8655)

Newspapers/magazines/wires, etc.

  • On May 10, 2010, Seth Borenstein of the Associated Press contacted Virginia Burkett to ask about why it is it ecologically unique and some key facts about the coast, its wetlands, fisheries value, etc.  He wanted to know if people here were concerned about the oil spill; he asked if people underestimated the importance of the Gulf of Mexico. He asked about the fragility of the northern Gulf of Mexico environment. Burkett provided him with the requested information and also referred him to Abby Sallenger at the USGS St. Petersburg office. (Virginia Burkett; Many, La.; 318-256-5628)

  • On May 10, 2010, the USGS National Wetlands Research Center provided a list of NWRC subject matter experts for Catherine Puckett to forward to Seth Borenstein of the Associated Press who is working on an overview story of the Gulf of Mexico. (Gabrielle Bodin; Lafayette, La.; 337-266-8655)

Press Inquiries/Media - Broadcast and Film

  •  On May 7, 2010, Christian Chapelle of the CBS Evening News contacted the USGS National Wetlands Research Center to request maps of coastal Louisiana from the 1980s and now. They were provided with the requested information. (Linda Broussard; Lafayette, La.; 337-266-8692)

Press Inquiries/Media - Online

  • On May 13, 2010, Brandon Keim from Wired.com emailed Karen McKee of the USGS National Wetlands Research Center asking about what ecologists think about the use of dispersants right now, especially Corexit and what systems are in place to monitor their impacts. McKee referred Keim to a colleague at Louisiana State University who studies effects of dispersants on wetlands. (Karen McKee; Lafayette, La.; 337-266-8662)

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