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Weekly Highlights


From: Gabrielle Boudreaux Bodin
Subject: Weekly Highlights, USGS National Wetlands Research Center, October 4, 2012  

Departmental/Bureau News - Current

  • Hurricane Isaac Flood Inundation Products: The International Charter was activated on August 31 in response to Hurricane Isaac’s flooding of coastal Louisiana and Mississippi. In reply to the charter call, Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) data from Radarsat-1, Cosmo-SkyMed, and TerraSAR-X were made available. NWRC obtained both pre- and post-Hurricane Isaac scenes from TerraSAR-X, a high resolution radar satellite. NWRC’s Remote Sensing Applied Research (RSAR) team processed the two scenes to a common calibration factor, enabling direct comparison. RSAR then created graphics portraying the flooding extents on September 4. The flood inundation maps were uploaded to the USGS Hazards Data Distribution System (HDDS) site along with a file explaining the parameters and algorithm used for data calibration and generation of the maps. (Amina Rangoonwala; Lafayette, La.; 337-266-8558)

  • University of Louisiana at Lafayette Partnership: On October 2, USGS NWRC Director Phil Turnipseed and Branch Chiefs Tom Doyle and Scott Wilson met with David Borrok, Director of the School of Geosciences and of the Institute of Coastal Ecology and Engineering. Discussions focused on continued collaboration between the institutions and expanding opportunities for UL Lafayette student interns. Dr. Borrok was selected as Director of the School of Geosciences effective with the fall 2012 semester. His appointment represents a new collaborative opportunity for the University and NWRC. (D. Phil Turnipseed; Lafayette, La.; 337-266-8501)

  • NCSU Assistant Professor Presents Seminar on Salt Marsh Restoration: Michael Burchell, an Assistant Professor and Extension Specialist with the Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering at North Carolina State University, presented a seminar, “Advancing Salt Marsh Restoration in Eastern North Carolina: A Case Study at North River Farms,” on October 3, at the USGS National Wetlands Research Center. Dr. Burchell’s research focus is on wetland restoration, riparian buffers, constructed wetlands, and innovative methods for storm water treatment. One of his program goals is to improve the design and implementation of restoration projects to maximize ecosystem services. NWRC Director Phil Turnipseed and Branch Chief Greg Steyer met with Burchell to discuss collaborative work between NC State University and NWRC. (D. Phil Turnipseed; Lafayette, La.; 337-266-8501)

  • Geomorphic Impacts of Hurricane Isaac on Whiskey Island Shorebird Habitat: On October 5, USGS NWRC Director Phil Turnipseed and Geographer Christopher Wells presented information during an Intra-Agency Webinar on the geomorphic impacts of Hurricane Isaac on Whiskey Island shorebird habitat. NWRC conducted terrestrial LiDAR surveys on Whiskey Island in Terrebonne Parish, Louisiana one week prior to the landfall of Hurricane Isaac and again one week after landfall. The role of microtopographical changes in foraging patterns of shorebirds is being investigated by comparing terrestrial LiDAR surface features from before and after the storm’s passage. The Webinar attendees form a group that is active in pushing the technological envelop of multi-stage LiDAR data to aid emergency managers in the preparation, warning, and response to hurricanes. (D. Phil Turnipseed; Lafayette, La.; 337-266-8501)

  • Hurricane Isaac Storm Damage and Marsh Dieback Assessment: On October 5, USGS NWRC Director Phil Turnipseed, Ecologist Camille Stagg, Geographer Chris Wells, and University of Louisiana at Lafayette researcher Tommy Michot met to discuss their provisional assessment of Hurricane Isaac storm damage and marsh dieback. The assessment was based on data collected during a USGS-USFWS flyover of southeastern Louisiana on September 12. The NWRC and UL Lafayette are applying methodology and techniques developed by the NWRC to assess and document the extent of marsh dieback, termed “brown marsh” or “sudden marsh dieback,” in Terrebonne and Barataria basins, Louisiana. Previous reports of sudden marsh dieback in the spring and summer of 2012 indicate that the dieback in this area has been increasing over time and may be the result of a combination of stressors. (Gabrielle Bodin; Lafayette, La.; 337-266-8655)

  • NWRC Director Gives Presentation on Land Loss: USGS NWRC Director Phil Turnipseed will give a presentation during the 66th Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies Conference, October 7-10, in Hot Springs, Arkansas. The conference provides a unique opportunity for State agencies to meet and discuss conservation and landscape management. His presentation, “Sportsman's Paradise Lost: A tale to be determined,” examines the unique state of land loss in coastal Louisiana, as well as restoration and protection science engaged by the NWRC to help mitigate the loss. (D. Phil Turnipseed; Lafayette, La.; 337-266-8501)

  • LMVJV Fall Management Board Meeting: USGS NWRC Director Phil Turnipseed will participate in the Lower Mississippi Valley Joint Venture Management Board Fall Meeting hosted by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission and the Southeast Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies in Hot Springs, Arkansas on October 10. Turnipseed has been a managing board member since the fall of 2011. (D. Phil Turnipseed; Lafayette, La.; 337-266-8501)

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