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Weekly Highlights


From: Gabrielle Boudreaux Bodin
Subject: Weekly Highlights, USGS National Wetlands Research Center, March 13, 2014

Departmental/Bureau News - Current

USGS Scientists Deliver Keynote Address: USGS NWRC ecologists Ken Krauss and Camille Stagg gave a keynote address to kick off the Australian Mangrove Society 2014 Conference held February 24-25 in Townsville, Australia. Their presentation, “Evaluating ecological function in mangrove and tidal salt marsh restoration projects: examples from the US Gulf Coast,” outlined collaborative studies investigating the success of two restoration projects in Florida and Louisiana. They presented a theoretical context for the evaluations and related them to strategies that might be used by Australian wetland scientists in the future. The conference was held at James Cook University, and attended by scientists, land managers, environmental consultants, and policy specialists from a number of countries. (Ken Krauss, Lafayette, La.; 337-266-8882)

Scientists Lead Wetland Restoration Workshop Session: USGS scientists Ken Krauss, Sarai Piazza, and Greg Steyer, along with North Carolina State University engineering professor Michael Burchell II, presented a session during a two-and-a-half day workshop on Re-establishing science in the rehabilitation and monitoring of mangroves and tidal salt marshes. The first three sessions focused on the role of government, community/citizen groups, and NGO/corporate entities on facilitating successful tidal wetland restoration. The USGS led the final session, entitled, “The role of scientists in tidal wetland restoration.” The workshop was attended by approximately 40 participants from Australia, Singapore, Germany, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam, China, and Jamaica. (Ken Krauss, Lafayette, La.; 337-266-8882)

NWRC Participates in GOMA PIT Meeting: USGS NWRC Branch Chief Scott Wilson and Ecologist Kate Spear participated in the Gulf of Mexico Alliance Ecosystems Integration and Assessment Priority Issue Team webinar on March 5. Spear gave an update on the Emergent wetlands status and trends in the Northern Gulf of Mexico: 1950-2010 report, which provides scientists, managers, and citizens with valuable baseline information on emergent wetlands along the Gulf of Mexico coast. Emergent wetlands provide a multitude of resources, including plant and wildlife habitat, commercial and recreational economic activity, improved water quality, and natural barriers against storms. (Kate Spear; Lafayette, La.; 337-266-8645)

Emeritus Discusses Science Communication Tools and Strategies: USGS NWRC Scientist Emeritus Karen McKee gave a seminar March 7, at Louisiana State University School of the Coast and Environment (SC&E). Her talk, Communication tools and strategies for the 21st Century scientist, covered ways for scientists to increase online visibility of their research products through visual media and media-sharing platforms, as well as social networking and blogging. She will lead follow-up group discussions about science communication with SC&E graduate students and faculty March 12-13. (Karen McKee; Lafayette, La.; 337-266-8500)

NWRC Recognized for Contributions to Educational Program: USGS NWRC Information Specialist Gabrielle Bodin accepted a plaque, on March 12, on behalf of the center from the staff of the Lafayette Parish School System’s Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP). The plaque was given to NWRC in appreciation for the center’s support of the program since its inception in 2008. NWRC provided professional development activities for teachers and opportunities for students in the program to learn about NWRC science. GEAR UP is a Federally funded grant initiative that provides students with the skills, access, preparation and information needed to enter and succeed in post-secondary education. The current grant is completing its cycle and the school system intends to reapply to continue this successful program. (Gabrielle Bodin; Lafayette, La.; 337-266-8655)

Partners Discuss State Wildlife Action Plan Revisions: Staff from the Gulf Coastal Plains and Ozarks Landscape Conservation Cooperative (USFWS Science Coordinator John Tirpak and USGS scientist Mike Osland) and the Gulf Coast Prairie LCC (USGS contractor Blair Tirpak) will meet with staff from the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries at the USGS National Wetlands Research Center, on March 17, to discuss updates to Louisiana’s State Wildlife Action Plan. LDWF is looking to LCC staff for information on how to incorporate climate change into their planning effort. The LCC staff members are located at NWRC. (John Tirpak; Lafayette, La.; 337-266-8565)

Staff Attend State of the Coast Conference: USGS NWRC staff will participate in the State of the Coast Conference in New Orleans, on March 18-20. The 2014 State of the Coast conference will provide an interdisciplinary forum to exchange information on the dynamic conditions of Louisiana’s coastal communities, environment, and economy and to apply that information to existing and future coastal restoration and protection efforts, policies, and decision-making. As part of the conference, the Coastal Wetlands Planning, Protection and Restoration Act Task Force is presenting I remember... CWPPRA personal reflections: environmental portraits and oral histories of Louisiana’s coastal wetlands stakeholders. This educational project, funded by CWPPRA, highlights eleven coastal stewards who shared oral histories with USGS NWRC contractors and CWPPRA staff members Cole Ruckstuhl and Susan Testroet-Bergeron (Five Rivers Services). The oral histories were captured by NWRC contractor Kathy Ladner (Five Rivers Services) and intern Taylor Suir. CWPPRA provides funding for coastal restoration projects in Louisiana as well as support for public education initiatives related to land loss in Louisiana. NWRC staff attending includes Marc Comeaux, Craig Conzelmann, Beth Middleton, Michael Osland, Sarai Piazza, Gregg Snedden, and Hongqing Wang. NWRC contractors Ruckstuhl and Testroet-Bergeron will also attend, as will Scott Mize of the Louisiana Water Science Center. (Phil Turnipseed; Lafayette, La.; 337-266-8501)

Partners Meet on GCPO LCC Flow Characterization Project: Staff from the Gulf Coastal Plains and Ozarks Landscape Conservation Cooperative (USFWS Science Coordinator John Tirpak) and the Gulf Coast Prairie LCC (USGS Contractor Blair Tirpak) will meet with USGS staff from the Georgia and Arkansas Water Science Centers (Jacob LaFontaine and Rheannon Hart, respectively) as well as the National Research Program (Lauren Hay) at the USGS National Wetlands Research Center on March 19. This is the kick-off meeting for the Technical Advisory Team affiliated with a project recently funded by the GCPO LCC, Assessment of water availability and streamflow characteristics in the Gulf Coastal Plains and Ozarks Landscape Conservation Cooperative for current and future climatic and landscape conditions. GCPO and GCP LCC partners from various Federal, State, and non-governmental agencies and organizations will be in attendance to ensure research products reflect the needs of on-the-ground managers seeking to make informed decisions regarding flow. LCC staff members are located at NWRC. (John Tirpak; Lafayette, La.; 337-266-8565)

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