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Weekly Highlights


From: Gabrielle Boudreaux Bodin
Subject: Weekly Highlights, USGS National Wetlands Research Center, July 22, 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 continues to provide on-site geospatial support to the Venice Operational Center. Work is continuing on delineated high-resolution land/water information for LA SCAT team / La Oil Spill Office. (Scott Wilson; Lafayette, La.; 337-266-8644)

    Other oil spill-related activity:

    • NWRC staff is working with the State of Louisiana Oil Spill Office on a Louisiana Freshwater/Brackish protocol for the Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) Seagrass team. (Scott Wilson; Lafayette, La.; 337-266-8644)

    • USGS researchers are re-visiting past marsh bird transects to sample for additional crab burrow densities. Crab burrow density surveys were completed in Cameron and Rutherford Beach. The sampling is part of the NRDA effort.  (Clint Jeske; Lafayette, La.; 337-266-8652)

    • NWRC scientist Jill Jenkins was invited to present and discuss the potential use of biomarkers technology for oil spill damage assessment to the Louisiana Oil Spill Office in Baton Rouge on July 20, 2010. She and other USGS researchers met with NRDA Trustees for the State of Louisiana to discuss the use of biomarkers for determination of exposure and injury. Most biomarker work has focused on determining exposure, and Trustees were interested in translating biomarker measurement of exposure to injury.  (Jill Jenkins & Clint Jeske; Lafayette, La.; 337-266-8500)

    • Researchers reviewed the raptor NRDA work plan and continued working on development of standard operating procedures for implementation of the shorebird work plan in Louisiana. (Clint Jeske; Lafayette, La.; 337-266-8652)

    • The NWRC Safety officer is coordinating potential field trip for the USGS Industrial Hygienist to acquire air samples.  (John McCoy; Lafayette, La.; 337-266-8627)

  • ULL Upward Bound Students Visit NWRC: Approximately 40 high school students participating in the University of Louisiana at Lafayette Upward Bound Program toured the USGS National Wetlands Research Center on July 14, 2010, to learn about Louisiana’s coastal wetlands and research being conducted at the center. (Gabrielle Bodin; Lafayette, La.; 337-266-8655)

  • LMS Partnership Project Teachers To Visit NWRC: Approximately 35 Louisiana Math Science Partnership Project teachers from Lafourche Parish, La., will visit the USGS National Wetlands Research Center on July 23, 2010. The teachers will tour the center to learn about science at NWRC, coastal wetland issues in Louisiana, and receive lessons they can use in their classrooms. The LMS Partnership Project helps to educate Louisiana’s teachers by providing content-rich professional development in math and science. Approximately 40 school systems collaborate with nine universities and various scientific and community resource centers to provide training for teachers.  This year, NWRC and the Coastal Wetlands Planning, Protection and Restoration Act program were chosen to participate in the LMS program. The statewide program works directly with 600 teachers directly impacting over 15,000 students. (Susan Bergeron; Lafayette, La., 337-266-8623)

Agency Work on Presidential Initiatives

  • “Forecast Mekong” Video Distributed at U.S. Department of State Event: A video, “Forecast Mekong: Navigating Changing Waters,” and its accompanying brochure produced by a team at the USGS National Wetlands Research Center were distributed to Foreign Ministers' staffs and the press at the U.S. – Mekong Ministerial on July 22, 2010. The event was hosted by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Hanoi, Vietnam, with her counterparts from Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, and Thailand. The USGS was mentioned prominently by Secretary Clinton in her remarks. Secretary Clinton referenced the work USGS is doing to develop a decision support tool to show the impacts of dam construction and climate change on the Mekong River Delta. The video is a form of science diplomacy requested by the U.S. Department of State to educate policy-makers and citizens in Southeast Asia about the vital importance of the Mekong River and delta in maintaining food security and livelihoods in the region. The video also seeks to make policy-makers aware of the potential impacts of climate change on people and the environment of the Mekong delta. The video has been added to the USGS Multimedia Gallery at (Janine Powell; Lafayette, La.; 337-266-8501)

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

  • Reporter David Fahrenthold of the Washington Post contacted USGS National Wetlands Research Center scientist Karen McKee on July 13, 2010, about the effects of oil marsh grasses. She agreed to do the interview, but was not re-contacted. (Karen McKee; Lafayette, La.; 337-266-8662)

  • Reporter Claire Taylor of the Daily Advertiser contacted the USGS National Wetlands Research Center on July 14, 2010, to inquire about research the center is conducting regarding impacts of the oil spill. She was given the appropriate contacts within the center, but has yet to interview them. (Gabrielle Bodin; Lafayette, La.; 337-266-8655)

  • Reporter Deborah Zabarenko of the Thomson Reuters interviewed USGS National Wetlands Research Center scientist Karen McKee on July 15, 2010, about coastal wetlands and oil spill effects. (Karen McKee; Lafayette, La.; 337-266-8662)

  • Reporter Deborah Zabarenko of the Thomson Reuters contacted USGS National Wetlands Research Center scientist Karen McKee on July 21, 2010, about whether a particular site has become oiled and why she did not see any mosquitoes during her trips to the marsh. (Karen McKee; Lafayette, La.; 337-266-8662)

  • Virginia Burkett, USGS Chief Scientist for Global Change Research, assisted Hugh Westrup (editor) of Current Science magazine develop an article about the complexities of subsidence, wetland loss and sea level rise in the Mississippi Delta. Burkett and Denise Reed (University of New Orleans) are quoted extensively in this piece that is targeted for middle and high school students.  (Virginia Burkett; Many, La.; 318-256-5628)

Press Inquiries/Media - Broadcast and Film

  • USGS National Wetlands Research Center scientist Jacoby Carter was contacted by a producer with Pangolin Pictures which is producing a documentary about nutria for National Geographic. The producer wishes to speak to Carter about issues surrounding the presence of nutria in the U.S., as well as about the animals specifically and their potential role as carriers and spreaders of disease. (Jacoby Carter; Lafayette, La.; 337-266-8620)

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