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Weekly Highlights


From: Gabrielle Boudreaux Bodin
Subject: Weekly Highlights, USGS National Wetlands Research Center, December 8, 2011  

Departmental/Bureau News - Current

  • New Mapping Technique Provides for Daily Monitoring of Small Areas: A new mapping technique was developed that provides for daily monitoring of small areas by USGS National Wetlands Research Center scientist Elijah Ramsey, and Amina Rangoonwala and Terri Bannister of Five Rivers, LLC.  Their article, published in the November issue of PE&RS, documents how common identifiable features (down to 17 km2) forming somewhat continuous polygons can be accurately mapped with daily MODIS satellite sensor.  This simple adaption translates the power of daily monitoring from regional to small areas of interest. (Elijah Ramsey; Lafayette, La.; 337-266-8575)

  • Performance of Satellite Radar Sensor Systems in Producing Inundation Maps Documented: The performance of satellite L-band and C-band radar sensor systems in producing coastwide inundation maps of Louisiana was documented in a USGS Open File Report by Yukihiro Suzuoki (ASci Corporation, Inc), Elijah Ramsey III (USGS National Wetlands Research Center) and Amina Rangoonwala (Five Rivers, LLC).  Forty-six inundation maps were produced each covering from half to the entire coastline from 2007 to 2008 and included water levels ranging well below the surface to >1.5 m above the ground surface.  The L-band mapping performance accuracy was high at 84% (n=160), while C-band performance accuracy was low at 62% (n=245).  Both C- and L-band mapping performances suffered from a lack of suitable reference scenes and the frequent contamination of reference sites (marsh surrounding water level gauges) by trees and shrubs, extensive open water, and roughened water surfaces.  In addition, C-band performance was lowered by range brightening from far to near range, and a high variety of scene orientations and coverages. (Elijah Ramsey; Lafayette, La.; 337-266-8575) 

  • NWRC Staff Participates in Discussion of Coupling Hydrodynamic, Sediment Transport and Soil Biogeochemistry Models for Coastal Louisiana Ecosystem Restoration at LSU: USGS National Wetlands Research Center research ecologist Hongqing Wang was invited to participate in an open discussion on coupling hydrodynamic, sediment transport, and soil biogeochemistry models for coastal restoration and risk assessment at Louisiana State University’s Center for Computation and Technology (CCT) on December 2, 2011. The event was hosted by Q. Jim Chen, Professor of LSU's Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, and Honggao Liu, Deputy Director of LSU's CCT, Steven Brandt of CCT and Jian Tao, research scientist at CCT. Hongqing Wang presented the ongoing wetland morphology modeling for the State of Louisiana's 2012 Master Plan, introduced CWPPRA's Coastwide Reference Monitoring System (CRMS), and discussed the issues and future collaborations in coupling physical and ecological process-driven models including data collection and sharing through cyber-infrastructure, document and source codes concurrency management such as Subversion (SVN), and application of parallel programming/computing capability at LSU CCT for executing complex ecosystem-level model simulation and visualization. (Hongqing Wang; Baton Rouge, La.; 225-578-7482)

  • USGS Participates in State of the Gulf of Mexico Summit: NWRC Director Participates on Gulf of Mexico Summit Steering Committee: USGS National Wetlands Research Center Director Phil Turnipseed, Deputy Director Matthew Andersen, Branch Chiefs Thomas Doyle, Greg Steyer, and Scott Wilson, Administrative Assistant Jeniefer Pryor, and Librarian Cassie Thibodeaux participated in the State of the Gulf of Mexico Summit hosted by the Harte Research Institute December 4 – 8, 2011, in Houston, Texas. Turnipseed participated in the steering committee that organized the conference. Steyer presented “Wetland Assessments of Coastal Restoration Efforts using Multimetric Indices.” Pryor and Thibodeaux staffed a booth to educate attendees about coastal land change and other USGS science. One highlight of the conference occurred when former First Lady Laura Bush spoke at a luncheon about marine sanctuaries created by former President George W. Bush. Focused on action, SGM 2011 brought together leaders in government, industry, science, and non-governmental organizations to assess current conditions and build sound strategies for the future. (D. Phil Turnipseed; Lafayette, La.; 337-266-8501)

  • Research on Sediment Deposition from 2011 Flood Highlighted at AGU Meeting: Research conducted by USGS National Wetlands Research Center scientist Karen McKee was highlighted at the American Geophysical Union (AGU) Fall Meeting 2011 in San Francisco, Calif., held December 5 – 9, 2011. The work, which documented deposition of river sediment into coastal marshes of the Atchafalaya, Terrebonne, Barataria, and Mississippi River (Birdsfoot) basins, was reported in a special session on the Great Mississippi River Flood of 2011 by Nicole Khan, Ph.D. candidate, University of Pennsylvania. The work was also the focus of a press conference held on December 6 during which Khan fielded questions about the joint University of Pennsylvania-USGS project entitled “RAPID: Connecting the Historic 2011 Mississippi River Flood to Marsh Sedimentation on the Delta” funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation. This work on marsh sedimentation will be combined with offshore investigations of sediment plume dynamics and development of models that will ultimately inform plans for restoration of the Mississippi River Delta. (Karen McKee; Lafayette, La.; 337-266-8662)

  • Briefing on Wetland Assessments at Acadia National Park: USGS National Wetlands Research Center scientist James Grace will brief the National Park Service on work being done regarding wetland assessments at Acadia National Park on December 9, 2011. In addition to Grace, other USGS-affiliated scientists involved include Don Schoolmaster and Glenn Guntenspergen. Partners in this work from the NPS include Brian Mitchell and Kate Miller from the NPS I&M's Northeast Temperate Network. They will also provide information to the NPS Resource Management staff from Acadia National Park at this briefing. The work has been funded by the USGS Status and Trends Program through their NPS support program. (James Grace; Lafayette, La.; 337-266-8632)

  • Annual LAMP Meeting to be Held at NWRC: The 2011 annual meeting of the Louisiana Amphibian Monitoring Program (LAMP) will be held at the USGS National Wetlands Research Center on December 10, 2011. LAMP is the state chapter of the North American Amphibian Monitoring Program (NAAMP) that is based at the USGS Putuxant Wildlife Science Center. The annual meeting of LAMP volunteers is used to review any recent changes in frog call survey protocols, provide updates on frog call monitoring routes that are being run or routes that need to be run, and to get LAMP volunteers excited about running their routes during the upcoming survey season. The meeting is also used as an opportunity to distributed LAMP training CDs.  This year, they also plan to distribute the first edition of the new LAMP bumper sticker. There will also be a presentation on a recent survey conducted by the NAAMP on the status and attitudes of NAAMP frog call survey volunteers in other states. (Jacoby Carter; Lafayette, La.; 337-266-8620)

  • NWRC Staff to Meet with Caddo Lake Institute: USGS National Wetlands Research Center Director Phil Turnipseed, Wetlands Ecology and Forest Ecology Branch Chief Thomas Doyle, and scientists Larry Allain and Richard Day will meet with their cooperators at the Caddo Lake Institute December 12 – 14, 2011, in Jefferson, Texas. The group will attend the Institute’s annual Environmental Flows Workshop, discuss floristic inventory, as well as discuss finding a method to get the Louisiana side of Caddo Lake designated as a RAMSAR site (as the Texas side is already designated).  (D. Phil Turnipseed; Lafayette, La.; 337-266-8501)

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