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Weekly Highlights

MEMORANDUM

From: Gabrielle Boudreaux Bodin
Subject: Weekly Highlights, USGS National Wetlands Research Center, November 17, 2011  

Departmental/Bureau News - Current

  • USGS Scientist Receives Three Lifetime Service Awards:  This fall, USGS National Wetlands Research Center scientist Randy Westbrooks received three lifetime service awards for his work in developing invasive species Early Detection and Rapid Response capacity across the United States and Canada over the past 26 years. In mid-September, Westbrooks was named the 2011 Cooperator of the Year by the North American Weed Management Association at its annual conference in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.  In mid-October, Westbrooks was given a Lifetime EDRR Service Award by the Beach Vitex Task Force at its annual symposium and planning conference at Hobcaw Barony in Georgetown, S.C.  In early November, Westbrooks was given the Les Mehrhoff EDRR Service Award by the National Association of Exotic Pest Plant Councils at its annual meeting in Tallahassee, Fla. Mehrhoff was the Director of the Invasive Plant Atlas of New England Project from its inception in 1999 until he died in December, 2010.  For more information about the USGS National EDRR Capacity Development Program, contact Westbrooks at rwestbrooks@usgs.gov. (Randy Westbrooks; Whiteville, N.C.; 910-648-6762)

  • USGS NWRC Participates in the 2011 Natural Areas Association Early Detection and Rapid Response System (EDRR) Symposium:  On November 2, 2011, USGS National Wetlands Research Center scientist Randy Westbrooks gave the opening presentation in a National EDRR Symposium that was held at the 2011 Natural Areas Association conference in Tallahassee, Fla.  The title of Westbrooks’ presentation was “A Blueprint for Development of National Early Detection and Rapid Response Systems for Invasive Plants in the United States and Canada.”  The session featured speakers from across the U.S., and highlighted several different EDRR initiatives and data management systems. This included the CHIP-N Lower Ohio River Valley Survey Project, the Florida Python Patrol, the New York Invasive Species Tracking and Management System, as well as strategies for early detection and reporting by citizen scientists.  Data management Systems that were showcased included EDDMapS (U-GA), the Florida Invasive Plants Geodatabase, and the California Invasive Plant Risk-mapping System.  The session concluded with a panel discussion on ways to further develop and implement the principles of EDRR at the national, state, and local levels. For more information about the USGS National EDRR Capacity Development Program, contact Westbrooks at rwestbrooks@usgs.gov. (Randy Westbrooks; Whiteville, N.C.; 910-648-6762)

  • NWRC Librarian Selected as Non-Depository Libraries Representative: During the Louisiana Federal Depository Libraries Council (LFDLC) meeting held November 4, 2011, at the USGS National Wetlands Research Center, NWRC Librarian Linda Broussard was selected as the Non-Depository Libraries Representative. She will hold this office through June 30, 2013. Broussard previously held the position of Government Information Users Representative for two consecutive terms.  (Linda Broussard; Lafayette, La.; 337-266-8692)

  • NWRC meets with Gulf Coast Preservation and Reclamation Organization: On November 7, 2011, USGS National Wetlands Research Center Director Phil Turnipseed, Wetlands and Forest Ecosystem Branch Chief Thomas Doyle, and Research Ecologist Camille Stagg met with Gulf Coast Preservation and Reclamation Organization to discuss using rice and wheat refuse as a coastal wetland restoration and reclamation tool. The Gulf Coast Preservation and Reclamation Organization is a non-profit corporation devoted to preservation and reclamation of the Gulf of Mexico coast.  The group discussed science opportunities in potential future applications of the method in coastal Louisiana. (D. Phil Turnipseed; Lafayette, La.; 337-266-8501)

  • NWRC Scientist Presents Paper on Mangrove Vulnerability: USGS National Wetlands Research Center scientist Karen McKee presented an invited paper at the 21st Biennial Conference of the Coastal and Estuarine Federation held in Daytona Beach, Fla., on November 7, 2011. The paper, “Mangrove Vulnerability to Sea-Level Rise Differs Among Sedimentary Settings,” will be given in the symposium, “Mangrove-Dominated Ecosystems:  A Biogeographic Comparison of Structure and Function.” Co-authors include Ken Krauss (NWRC) and Donald Cahoon (USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center). (Karen L. McKee; Lafayette, La.; 337-266-8662)

  • NWRC Meets with State of Louisiana Water Institute and Baton Rouge Area Foundation: On November 8, 2011, USGS National Wetlands Research Center Director Phil Turnipseed, Deputy Director Matthew Andersen, and Coastal Restoration Assessment Branch Chief Gregory Steyer, along with USGS Louisiana Water Science Center Director George Arcement met with State of Louisiana Water Institute and Baton Rouge Area Foundation representatives John Spain and Kyle Graham (Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority) in Baton Rouge, La. The meeting was to discuss the roles of the USGS and the Water Institute in the future in coastal Louisiana, as well as future science opportunities and collaborative opportunities for the two agencies in restoration and protection science in coastal Louisiana. Also in attendance were Crystel Slaughter (BRAF) and Lucila Silva (Brown & Caldwell). (D. Phil Turnipseed; Lafayette, La.; 337-266-8501)

  • Briefing on Biomonitoring of Freshwater Diversions in La.: USGS National Wetlands Research Center scientist Jill Jenkins provided a briefing for officials with the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries and the Louisiana Office of Coastal Protection and Restoration on November 8, 2011, in Baton Rouge, La. The briefing was an update of her work related to biomonitoring of Davis Pond Freshwater Diversion compared with findings for Caernarvon Freshwater Diversions. The diversions are located on the Mississippi River near New Orleans. (Jill Jenkins; Lafayette, La.; 337-266-8607)

  • Glencoe Charter School Students Learn About Science Careers and La.’s Coastal Wetlands: USGS National Wetlands Research Center Information Specialist Gabrielle Bodin presented information about science careers and Louisiana’s coastal wetlands to approximately 60 sixth graders from Glencoe Charter School in Glencoe, La., on November 8, 2011, as a component of the school’s 9th Annual Business and Community Open House. (Gabrielle Bodin; Lafayette, La.; 337-266-8655)

  • NWRC Director Participates in Ecosystems Center Director Call: On November 10, 2011, USGS National Wetlands Research Center Director Phil Turnipseed participated in a conference call of the USGS Ecosystems Mission Area Center Directors to discuss the future of the CD Forum and the need for a new facilitator, the upcoming Center Director meeting (February 9 – 13, 2012) and other National agenda items. (D. Phil Turnipseed; Lafayette, La.; 337-266-8501)

  • NWRC Staff Participates in the National Science Teachers Association Annual Convention: The National Science Teachers Association invited NWRC Five Rivers Services contractor Susan Testroet- Bergeron to prepare a Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) presentation for this year’s annual event that was held in New Orleans the week of November 10, 2011. The presentation highlighted STEM, Louisiana wetlands restoration, and student success. The presentation for this national audience emphasized Louisiana land loss issues, coastal restoration efforts, and instructional techniques tied to real time online field-gathered statistics used in Coastal Wetlands Planning, Protection and Restoration Act’s Coastwide Reference Monitoring System. (Susan Testroet-Bergeron; Lafayette, La.; 337-266-8623)

  • NSTA Event Attendees Learn About Louisiana Wetland Invasive and Native Species: USGS National Wetlands Research Center Information Specialist Gabrielle Bodin educated student, parent, and teacher attendees of the National Science Teachers Association Science Matters Community Event about invasive and native species found in Louisiana’s coastal wetlands. The event, attended by approximately 500 people, was held in New Orleans, La., on November 12, 2011. (Gabrielle Bodin; Lafayette, La.; 337-266-8655)

  • USGS Meets with State of Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority to Discuss Barrier Island Comprehensive Monitoring:  On November 14, 2011, USGS National Wetlands Research Center Director Phil Turnipseed, Coastal Restoration Assessment Branch Chief Greg Steyer, USGS Louisiana Water Science Center Director George Arcement, USGS Gulf Coast Coordinator Alyssa Dausman, and USGS Coastal and Marine Geology personnel Jack Kindinger, Jim Flocks, and Nathaniel Plant met with the State of Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority in Baton Rouge, La., to discuss Barrier Island Comprehensive Monitoring (BICM) and its future in the northern Gulf of Mexico barrier island chains. BICM and a new BICM2 program were discussed. The group briefly discussed the new NWRC effort to build a comprehensive science proposal on diversions, marsh creation, and barrier island berms. (Phil Turnipseed; Lafayette, La.; 337-266-8501)

  • NWRC Director Participates in Urban Waters Pilot Project Conference Call: USGS National Wetlands Research Center Director Phil Turnipseed participated in a Department of the Interior coordination conference call for the Urban Waters Pilot Project for the New Orleans/Lake Pontchartrain area on November 14, 2011. This effort is to better coordinate federal actions in concert with community-based organizations and state, local and regional governments to improve environments and economics of underserved urban water areas. One of the keynote presenters at the meeting was Tom Fry, Senior Advisor for America’s Great Outdoors (AGO) in the Office of the Secretary, who will update the participants on recent accomplishments of the AGO. (Phil Turnipseed; Lafayette, La.; 337-266-8501)

  • ULL Architecture Students Visit NWRC: Students from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette (ULL) School of Architecture and Design (SOAD) visited the USGS National Wetlands Research Center and the adjacent Estuarine Habitat Coastal Fisheries Center on November 14, 2011, to study the buildings’ architectural design. Professor Hector LaSala and faculty member Carl Trimble accompanied the third-year students on a tour of the facilities led by NWRC Librarian Linda Broussard. The students also visited the neighboring Louisiana Immersive Technologies Enterprise building.  All three projects were designed by the same architectural firm and are located in ULL’s Research Park. SOAD is actively involved in developing relationships with the community, and faculty and students are frequent visitors to the science center. (Linda Broussard; Lafayette, La.; 337-266-8692)

  • NWRC meets with USACE Louisiana Coastal Area's Science & Technology Program: On November 15, 2011, USGS National Wetlands Research Center Director Phil Turnipseed, Deputy Director Matthew Andersen, Wetlands and Forest Ecosystem Branch Chief Thomas Doyle, NWRC Spatial Analysis Branch Chief Scott Wilson, and Coastal Restoration Assessment Branch Chief Gregory Steyer, as well as USGS Louisiana Water Science Center Director George Arcement met with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the State of Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority in Baton Rouge, La., for the final board meeting of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Louisiana Coastal Area’s Science & Technology Program (LCA S&T). The LCA S&T has ended as of September 30, 2011. (Phil Turnipseed; Lafayette, La.; 337-266-8501)

  • USGS Presented with Medallion in Honor of Whooping Crane Conservation Efforts: Louisiana’s first Whooping Crane Flash Flock Fiesta Fete was held at the USGS National Wetlands Research Center on November 15, 2011. The event was sponsored by the Science and Spanish Club Network, a coastal environmental program based in Aransas Pass, Texas, working to raise awareness about the endangered Whooping Crane. During the event, Gaila McLaughlin of Aransas Pass presented a Whooping Crane Habitat Commemorative Medallion to Matthew Andersen, Deputy Director of NWRC, in recognition of USGS efforts to help re-establish a non-migratory flock at White Lake Preserve in Vermillion Parish. (Matthew Andersen; Lafayette, La.; 337-266-8501)

  • NWRC Spatial Analysis Branch Hosts Webinar with Gulf of Mexico Alliance Habitat Conservation and Restoration Team: USGS National Wetlands Research Center Geographer Steve Hartley and GIS Specialist Nicholas Enwright (Five Rivers Services) hosted a webinar with the Gulf of Mexico Alliance Habitat Conservation and Restoration Team on November 16, 2011.  Enwright delivered a presentation titled “Developing a Decision Support System for Prioritization of Wetland Restoration in Coastal Louisiana.” (Nicholas Enwright; Lafayette, La.; 337-266-8613)

  • NWRC Senior Management Attend USGS Safety Training Webinar for Managers:  On November 16, 2011, USGS National Wetlands Research Center Director Phil Turnipseed, Deputy Director Matthew Andersen, Wetlands and Forest Ecosystem Branch Biologist and NWRC Safety Officer John McCoy, and Spatial Analysis Branch Chief Scott Wilson attended a USGS Headquarters-led Safety Training Webinar for Managers. The group discussed the role of USGS managers in the critical area of employee and facility safety. As an agency in the Department of the Interior, the USGS is the leader in safety having the least amount of safety related incidents. (John McCoy; Lafayette, La.; 337-266-8627)

  • NWRC Staff Member To Retire After Nearly 21 Years: A retirement luncheon and social were held on November 16, 2011, for Administrative Operations Assistant Jeanette Perret of the USGS National Wetlands Research Center. Perret joined NWRC’s staff during construction of the center in February 1991 and will be retiring at the end of this year. (Phil Turnipseed; Lafayette, La.; 337-266-8501)

  • NWRC Science Forum Held: USGS National Wetlands Research Center Deputy Director Matthew Andersen held an NWRC Science Forum on November 17, 2011. The group meeting consists of scientists whose intent is to advance NWRC science. (Matthew Andersen; Lafayette, La.; 337-266-8501)

  • NWRC Branch Chief Participates in Smithsonian MarineGEO Workshop: USGS National Wetlands Research Center Branch Chief Gregory Steyer attended the Smithsonian's MarineGEO Workshop in Annapolis, Md., November 16 – 17, 2011. He was one of 19 invited participants that are helping guide the Smithsonian in the development of a national and international network of ecological observatories in coastal ecosystems. (Gregory Steyer; Baton Rouge, La.; 225-578-7201)

  • Pot Luck Thanksgiving Luncheon at NWRC: The USGS National Wetlands Research Center staff will gather November 18, 2011, for their annual Thanksgiving Pot Luck Luncheon. This is the one day each year when the staff gathers to share a meal and enjoy each other’s company. (Phil Turnipseed; Lafayette, La.; 337-266-8501)

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

  • USGS National Wetlands Research Branch Chief Thomas Doyle and scientist Camille Stagg were interviewed by Nikki Buskey of the Houma Courier (Houma, La.) about current reports of brown marsh in southern Louisiana, as well as the scientific history of brown marsh events and potential causes for this phenomenon. They also spoke of NWRC's current research efforts to monitor brown marsh dieback and recovery. (Camille Stagg; Lafayette, La.; 337-266-8537)

Press Inquiries/Media - Broadcast and Film

  • USGS National Wetlands Research Center scientist Karen McKee was interviewed by David Heath of the Discovery Channel about wetlands and impacts of hurricanes and sea-level rise. She answered questions about the factors controlling wetland resilience to disturbances such as hurricanes as well as potential beneficial effects of the Mississippi River Flood of 2011. She described ongoing work funded by the National Science Foundation to investigate movement of sediments from the Mississippi and Atchafalaya Rivers during this flood event into near-shore waters and deposition in coastal wetlands.  (Karen McKee; Lafayette, La.; 337-266-8662)

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