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Weekly Highlights

MEMORANDUM

From: Gabrielle Boudreaux Bodin
Subject: Weekly Highlights, USGS National Wetlands Research Center, September 6, 2012  

Departmental/Bureau News - Current

  • NWRC Initiates Science Investigations in Wake of Hurricane Isaac: Hurricane Isaac made landfall in the Mississippi River Delta on the evening of August 28 (the 7th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina) as a Category 1 hurricane with sustained winds greater than 80 mph. Isaac was slow to move, built up a greater than 10-ft. storm surge, and caused widespread flooding and outages across south Mississippi and coastal Louisiana. Following the storm, NWRC conducted several significant activities, including an overflight of the affected region in Mississippi and Louisiana, a terrestrial LiDAR project on Whiskey Island, and a study of secretive bird occurrence and population. Personnel also documented high water storm surge elevations in concert with the USGS Louisiana Water Science Center to determine the magnitude and duration of the surge caused by Isaac. (Gabrielle Boudreaux Bodin; Lafayette, La.; 337-266-8655)

  • NWRC Scientists Assist with Recovery of Storm Surge Sensors: USGS NWRC scientists Chris Wells and William Vervaeke participated in recovery of storm surge sensors in the aftermath of Hurricane Isaac. Wells and Vervaeke spent three days measuring elevations of sensors in and around New Orleans down to Venice, Louisiana. This deployment was done at the request of the USGS Louisiana Water Science Center working with groups from Ruston and Baton Rouge. (William Vervaeke; Lafayette, La.; 337-266-8588)

  • USGS Flyover Shows Storm Damage and Marsh Dieback: USGS NWRC Ecologist Camille Stagg, Geographer Brady Couvillion, and Information Specialist Gabrielle Bodin participated in a flyover of southeast Louisiana to examine storm damage from Hurricane Isaac and to investigate reports of marsh dieback. Ron Boustany, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, also participated in the flight along with Fred Roetker, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, who piloted the aircraft. The flight examined areas from Wax Lake Delta, Louisiana, to Ship Island, Mississippi. Preliminary assessments suggest that Hurricane Isaac damaged coastal wetlands in a manner that is significant, but not unprecedented. The most prevalent observed effects of Hurricane Isaac were expansive wrack fields. Wrack is accumulated organic debris and trash that is transported and deposited by a hurricane’s surge. Large areas of marsh dieback were observed in Terrebonne and Barataria basins in Louisiana. Previous reports of marsh dieback in the spring and summer of 2012, before Hurricane Isaac, indicate that the dieback in this area has increased over time and may be the result of a combination of stressors. (Gabrielle Bodin; Lafayette, La.; 337-266-8655)

  • NWRC Invited to Water Institute of the Gulf Open House: On September 10, USGS NWRC Director Phil Turnipseed will travel to Baton Rouge to attend the first open house reception of The Water Institute of the Gulf. The Water Institute is an independent not-for-profit research organization governed by a board of directors and is not part of any state organization. The Institute is headed by Charles "Chip" Groat (former Director of the USGS). The reception will be held at the Institute's offices in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. (Gabrielle Boudreaux Bodin; Lafayette, La.; 337-266-8655)

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