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Weekly Highlights


From: Gabrielle Boudreaux Bodin
Subject: Weekly Highlights, USGS National Wetlands Research Center, May 9, 2013

Departmental/Bureau News - Current

Conservation in the Age of Climate Change: USGS NWRC scientist Beth Middleton has published an invited article in the National Wetlands Newsletter on the subject of conservation in the age of climate change. The National Wetlands Newsletter is a periodical for professionals with an interest in wetlands. The purpose of the article is to describe approaches for wetland management during times of climate change, which may require some rethinking of prevailing philosophies of ecology. For example, gardeners know that certain species and varieties of species grow best in certain growing zones related to climate. This growing zone concept also applies to species in natural ecosystems. One threat of climate change to wetland biodiversity is that some species may be losing the ability to track an appropriate season for flowering, seed production, and growth, impairing their ability to regenerate. Based on genetic constraints, such species may have a limited ability to adjust to changing climates. For biodiversity conservation to be successful in the future, the first order of business is to formulate the goals of such projects regardless of philosophical differences in approaches. If the real goal is to conserve species, then conservation planners may need to put all management options on the table. Despite the uncertainties, with the risk of species losses so imminent, the best strategy may be to throw any dogmatism out the window and use multiple approaches. (Beth Middleton; Lafayette, La.; 337-266-8618)

The Water Institute of the Gulf Assembles Expert Panel: On May 13, the Water Institute of the Gulf will host an expert panel workshop entitled “The role of subsidence in Louisiana coastal restoration and protection planning.” USGS scientists Camille Stagg and Greg Steyer (National Wetlands Research Center) and Jack Kindinger and Jim Flocks (St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center) along with Torbjorn Tornqvist (Tulane University) and Josh Kent (Louisiana State University) will provide introductory talks on recent research on subsidence in Louisiana. The goal of the workshop is to develop a path forward for subsidence research in Louisiana by discussing (among other items) drivers, new methodologies, measurement issues, available data sources, and how subsidence measurements will be used to refine existing Louisiana Coastal Master Plan models. (Greg Steyer; Baton Rouge, La.; 225-578-7201)

Water Institute of the Gulf Report Card Focus Group: On May 16, the Water Institute of the Gulf will host a Report Card Focus Group. USGS NWRC Branch Chief Greg Steyer will participate. Attendees will provide input into the development process for a report card on Louisiana coastal protection and restoration efforts. The purpose of the focus group is to provide feedback on the most effective ways to present information, including layout and aesthetics; the clarity of report card scores; and the relevance of performance measures. (Greg Steyer; Baton Rouge, La.; 225-578-7201)

USGS Science to Support Gulf Restoration: Richard Rebich (Mississippi Water Science Center) and Greg Steyer (USGS National Wetlands Research Center) will give a presentation via the Web on May 16 to the President’s Office of Science and Technology Policy Subcommittee on Water Availability and Quality, about USGS science activities in support of Gulf restoration efforts, on behalf of their USGS co-authors Alyssa Dausman, Phil Turnipseed, and Rachel Pawlitz. All agencies that have purview over water will be represented. The Subcommittee on Water Availability and Quality (SWAQ) was established in 2002 to provide guidance concerning the science and technology needed to assure the availability and quality of water resources of the United States. (Greg Steyer; Baton Rouge, La.; 225-578-7201)

Hurricane Sandy USGS Science Meeting: NWRC Director Phil Turnipseed will travel to USGS Headquarters in Reston, Virginia the week of May 13 to meet with USGS researchers to discuss proposals, monitoring, deliverables, and metrics associated with the Hurricane Sandy Disaster Relief Supplemental Appropriations Spending Plan. Both the NWRC and the USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center submitted proposals to assess and document the ecosystem and geomorphic impacts of Hurricane Sandy on the U.S. Eastern Seaboard from the Carolinas to Maine. This work, expected to begin in 2013, represents a significant new research opportunity for the NWRC. The Disaster Relief Appropriations Act, 2013, Public Law No. 113-2, makes supplemental appropriations for fiscal year 2013 to specified Federal agencies and programs for expenses related to the consequences of Hurricane Sandy. The funding will provide investments in scientific data and studies to support recovery in the region and to increase coastal resiliency and capacity to withstand future storm damage. (Gabrielle Boudreaux Bodin; Lafayette, La.; 337-266-8655)

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