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Weekly Highlights

MEMORANDUM

From: Gabrielle Boudreaux Bodin
Subject: Weekly Highlights, USGS National Wetlands Research Center, May 2, 2013

Departmental/Bureau News - Current

French Engineers Discuss Ecological Impacts of Oil and Gas Exploration: A group of engineers from France visited the USGS NWRC on April 25 to learn about the ecological impacts of oil and gas drilling in the off-shore and near-shore areas of Louisiana. The group included industrial safety engineers from the French Ministry of Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy (MEDDE), Philippe Bodenez, Youssoupha Doip, and Lionel Perrette. They were accompanied by Vincent Delporte, the Counselor for Ecology and Climate Change from the French Embassy in Washington, D.C. and Pierre-Antoine Gounand, the Vice Consul, Head of Chancery with the Consulate General of France in New Orleans. Local arrangements were handled by Vanessa Paredes, International Business Specialist with Le Centre International de Lafayette, a division of the Executive Office of the Lafayette Consolidated Government. NWRC Branch Chiefs Tom Doyle and Scott Wilson participated in the discussion; Information Specialist Gabrielle Bodin led a tour of the facilities. (Gabrielle Bodin; Lafayette, La.; 337-266-8655)

Habitat Conservation Programs Meet: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Southeast Region 4 hosted a joint regional meeting of the FWS Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program and the FWS Coastal Program. The meeting was held April 23-25 at the NOAA Estuarine Habitats and Coastal Fisheries Center located within the ULL Research Park in Lafayette, Louisiana adjacent to the NWRC. USGS NWRC partners John Tirpak from the Gulf Coastal Plains and Ozarks Landscape Conservation Cooperative (LCC) and Cynthia Edwards from the Gulf Coast Prairie LCC delivered presentations on GCPO LCC efforts and on carbon sequestration on private lands, respectively. Since the great majority of the Nation's coastal areas are in private hands, conservation of these ecologically important habitats is vital to protecting coastal natural resources. The Coastal Program provides incentives for voluntary protection of threatened, endangered and other species on private and public lands alike. The Partners Program provides technical and financial assistance to private landowners and Tribes who are willing to work with FWS and other partners on a voluntary basis to help meet the habitat needs of DOI Federal Trust Species. The FWS Partners for Fish and Wildlife and the Coastal programs have a conservation impact on approximately 20,000 acres of private wetlands and uplands across the southeastern United States and Puerto Rico annually. (Kristen Kordecki; Lafayette, La.; 337-266-8535)

Meeting with New Interior Secretary, Sally Jewell: On May 2, USGS National Wetlands Research Center Director Phil Turnipseed, USGS Louisiana Water Science Center Director George Arcement, USGS Southeast Region Science Advisor Alyssa Dausman, and other DOI employees attended an all-hands meeting with newly appointed Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell. The meeting was held at the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) regional offices in New Orleans. Secretary Jewell is meeting with field employees as she acquaints herself with DOI activities. (Gabrielle Boudreaux Bodin; Lafayette, La.; 337-266-8655)

Lower Mississippi Valley Joint Venture Management Board Meeting: USGS NWRC Director Phil Turnipseed will participate in a meeting of the Lower Mississippi Valley Joint Venture Management Board on May 6. Turnipseed has been a board member since 2011. The Board will discuss North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA) 2013 grant funds. The group will shape $1M in NAWCA monies for wetland conservation in the LMV associated with the management of avian species. Most of the restoration projects in the LMV involve a combination of reforestation to bottomland hardwoods and water control capabilities that permit precise water level management for wintering waterfowl. Once projects are completed specific management plans are developed to maintain wetland management units at maximum production. Program personnel work extensively with regional biologists and specialists in implementing and evaluating wetland management practices in Wildlife Management Areas. The North American Wetlands Conservation Act of 1989 provides matching grants to organizations and individuals who have developed partnerships to carry out wetlands conservation projects in the United States, Canada, and Mexico for the benefit of wetlands-associated migratory birds and other wildlife. (Gabrielle Boudreaux Bodin; Lafayette, La.; 337-266-8655)

Wetland Management Web Application Demo: Software developers from the USGS NWRC met with staff and members of the Lower Mississippi Valley Joint Venture on May 1 via WebEx. The purpose of the meeting was to demonstrate and review functionality of the Impounded Wetlands Management & Monitoring Application currently under development. The application stores spatial and temporal management related data and will help wetland managers by providing a history of moist-soil states and the effects of prior management decisions. Ryan Twilley (USGS) and Joey Richard (Five Rivers Services) led the demonstration. (Ryan Twilley; Lafayette, La.; 337-266-8604)

Elementary Students Learn About Wetlands Science Through Chinese Language Tour: Approximately 30 kindergarten, first, second, and third grade students, enrolled in the Mandarin Chinese program at Alice Boucher Elementary, toured the USGS NWRC on April 24. Alice Boucher Elementary, located in Lafayette, Louisiana, has been designated a World Languages Academy. The school uses the immersion method to teach children a second language, with all core subjects taught in the chosen language. NWRC Ecologist Jacoby Carter organized and assisted with the tour. Four visiting scientists from China, Xiao-feng Luan, Xi-gang Wang, Xiao-hui Lin, and Lu-zhen Chen, gave presentations about animals in Louisiana’s wetlands and led a tour of the research center in Mandarin Chinese for the students. Dr. Carter and other NWRC scientists prepared the visiting scientists to give the presentations and tour. Contractors Megan Holder, Tiffany Smoak, Kelly Mouton, and Doug Schoewe also assisted. (Jacoby Carter; Lafayette, La.; 337-266-8620)

NWRC Observes Take Your Child to Work Day 2013: On April 25, the children, grandchildren, nephews, and nieces of USGS employees visited various offices as part of the Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day observance. Contractor Geralyn Baptiste brought her granddaughter, while NWRC scientists Richard Day and Ches Vervaeke took the opportunity to educate their daughters about NWRC science. The girls learned about dendrochronology from Branch Chief Tom Doyle, the relevance of algebra to science from contractor Donald Schoolmaster, assisted contractor Tiffany Smoak with fish tank maintenance, and helped Vervaeke with greenhouse work. (Richard Day and Ches Vervaeke; Lafayette, La.; 337-266-8500)

NWRC Job Shadower Experiences USGS Science: USGS NWRC Biologist John McCoy hosted a job shadow student from North Vermilion High School on April 23. The student learned about various areas of research from scientists Camille Stagg and Janelda Biagas, Information Specialist Gabrielle Bodin, contractors Evelyn Anemaet, Jeremy Hefner, and Kelsie Hayes, and volunteer Marianna Goodwin. (John McCoy; Lafayette, La.; 337-266-8627)

University Students Learn About Research: Biology students from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette took a tour of the USGS National Wetlands Research Center led by retired NWRC scientist and now ULL Institute for Coastal Ecology and Engineering Research Scientist Thomas Michot on April 26. In addition to the tour, students learned about various aspects of NWRC research from scientists Wylie Barrow, Chris Wells, Tom Doyle, Jason Dugas, Ches Vervaeke, Camille Stagg, and Lori Randall and contractor Doug Schoewe. (Gabrielle Bodin; Lafayette, La.; 337-266-8655)

Federal Partnership Planning Meeting: On May 7, USGS NWRC Director Phil Turnipseed and Geographer Scott Hemmerling will participate in an EPA-led teleconference and webinar with other Federal leads to begin planning a face-to-face meeting of the Urban Waters Federal Partnership to be held in New Orleans June 5-6. Turnipseed will update the group on work with the University of New Orleans Shea Penland Coastal Education and Research Facility. He will also discuss the provisional geospatial front-end developed by NWRC as well as plans by the NWRC to participate in a National Science Foundation grant awarded to Tulane University to work on urban issues across the eastern part of the United States. The Lake Pontchartrain Urban Waters Federal Partnership pilot project supports local restoration efforts. Goals include enabling safe public access, restoring essential facilities and structures, and providing environmental education to the community. Federal partner agencies are working with the City of New Orleans, other interested municipalities, Louisiana State agencies, and local non-governmental agencies to make these goals a reality. (Gabrielle Boudreaux Bodin; Lafayette, La.; 337-266-8655)

Peer Exchange Program: USGS NWRC Branch Chief Tom Doyle will participate in a U.S. DOT Federal Highway Administration peer exchange to discuss climate change adaptation issues for the transportation sector focused on extreme events. The FHWA is interested in approaches to conduct climate change and extreme weather vulnerability assessments of transportation infrastructure and to analyze options for adapting and improving resiliency. Doyle will illustrate USGS tools and applications for modeling hurricane frequencies and sea-level rise along the Gulf Coast. The Gulf Coast peer exchange will take place May 6-8, in Tallahassee, Florida. (Thomas Doyle; Lafayette, La.; 337-266-8647)

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