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Weekly Highlights

MEMORANDUM

From: Gabrielle Boudreaux Bodin
Subject: Weekly Highlights, USGS National Wetlands Research Center, March 20, 2014

Departmental/Bureau News - Current

Field Study Verifies Weather Radar Assessment of Bird Movements: USGS NWRC researchers Wylie Barrow, Michael Baldwin, and Lori Randall have released a report entitled, Application of ground-truth for classification and quantification of bird movements on Migratory Bird Habitat Initiative sites in southwest Louisiana: Final Report. This document describes a field study designed to ground-truth a larger-scale, weather radar assessment of bird use of managed agricultural lands in southwest Louisiana. Portable marine radar, thermal infrared imagery, and visual observations were used to assess diurnal and nocturnal bird use of management areas. The team used visual detections to quantify diurnal bird species composition, abundance, behavior, and habitat use. In the evenings, they quantified bird activity, flight behavior, and habitat use using the portable radar system and thermal infrared camera. (Wylie Barrow; Lafayette, La.; 337-266-8668)

Survey Examines Migratory Bird Use of Lands Enrolled in USDA Initiative: USGS NWRC researchers Michael Baldwin, Wylie Barrow, and Lori Randall authored a paper in the Southeastern Naturalist entitled, Assessment of bird response to the Migratory Bird Habitat Initiative using weather-surveillance radar. This study used weather-surveillance radar data to examine bird use of agricultural lands prior to, and concurrent with, enrollment in the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service Migratory Bird Habitat Initiative. Lands enrolled in this program were managed to provide temporary habitat for migrating and wintering waterfowl, shorebirds, and other waterbirds along the northern Gulf of Mexico. Results indicated that birds responded favorably to this management relative to pre-management years and to surrounding non-flooded agricultural lands. (Wylie Barrow; Lafayette, La.; 337-266-8668)

Map Depicts Vegetation Types in Coastal Louisiana: USGS NWRC Geographer Steve Hartley coauthored a USGS Scientific Investigations Map titled Vegetation types in coastal Louisiana in 2013. During the summer of 2013, the U.S. Geological Survey, Louisiana State University, University of Louisiana at Lafayette, and the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Coastal and Nongame Resources Division jointly completed an aerial survey to collect data on vegetation types in coastal Louisiana. Plant species were listed and quantified. On the basis of species composition and abundance, each sampling station was assigned a marsh type: fresh, intermediate, brackish, or saline (saltwater) marsh. The current map presents the data collected during this effort. (Steve Hartley; Lafayette, La.; 337-266-8543)

South Korean Delegation Visits U.S. to Learn about Nutria Research: USGS NWRC Ecologist Jacoby Carter hosted a delegation of South Korean scientists on March 12-14. Jong-Min Kim and Do-Hun Lee from the South Korea National Institute of Ecology and Sung-Kyu Lee of the South Korea Ministry of Environment visited NWRC to learn about U.S. nutria control and eradication programs and to establish institutional ties for collaborative research on invasive species issues in general. The visitors expressed an interest in establishing a formal working relationship. (Jacoby Carter; Lafayette, La.; 337-266-8620)

Hurricane Sandy Research Principal Investigators Meet: USGS NWRC scientists Kate Spear and Elijah Ramsey attended the Hurricane Sandy principal investigator meeting in Reston, Virginia, held March 18-20. USGS scientists leading Hurricane Sandy research met with DOI partners to look for efficiencies and collaborative opportunities in implementing science response; to define shared objectives; and to connect programs, projects, and science centers to effectively engage with and disseminate products to stakeholders. Long-term goals include improving the framework for sustained USGS storm/resilience/coastal efforts and developing integrated risk and vulnerability assessments addressing both physical and biological components. (Kate Spear; Lafayette, La.; 337-266-8645)

GC-CESU Steering Committee Meets: USGS NWRC Branch Chief Scott Wilson participated in the annual Gulf Coast Cooperative Ecosystem Studies Unit (GC-CESU) steering committee meeting via teleconference on March 19. The GC-CESU facilitates collaborative research, education and technical assistance pertaining to the human and natural environment, within and beyond the region, among Federal and State agencies, universities and non-governmental organizations. (Scott Wilson; Lafayette, La.; 337-266-8644)

GOMA Federal Work Group Meets: USGS NWRC Director Phil Turnipseed, Branch Chief Scott Wilson, Ecologist Kate Spear, and Geographer Emeritus Larry Handley participated in the Gulf of Mexico Alliance (GOMA) Federal Work Group Webinar on March 20. Presentations were made by Jamie Rhome, team leader for the National Hurricane Center Storm Surge Unit, and Cristina Carollo, Assistant Research Scientist for the Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi and Coordinator for GOMA’s Ecosystem Integration and Assessment (EIA) Team. Carollo presented various EIA projects, including NWRC’s Emergent Wetlands Status and Trends in the Northern Gulf of Mexico report. GOMA is a partnership of the states of Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas, with the goal of significantly increasing regional collaboration to enhance the ecological and economic health of the Gulf of Mexico. GOMA has identified priority issues that are regionally significant and can be effectively addressed through increased collaboration at local, State, and Federal levels. (Kate Spear; Lafayette, La.; 337-266-8645)

USGS Participates in State of the Gulf of Mexico Summit: USGS NWRC Director Phil Turnipseed, scientists Beth Middleton and Kate Spear, Branch Chief Scott Wilson, Gulf Coastal Plains and Ozarks LCC Ecologist Mike Osland, and Gulf Coast Joint Venture Coordinator Barry Wilson will participate in the State of the Gulf of Mexico Summit 2014, March 24-27, in Houston, Texas. The Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi is hosting the biennial event which brings together public and private sector leaders from the five U.S. Gulf States and Mexico to address the environmental and economic health of this valuable marine resource. The annual Gulf of Mexico Alliance (GOMA) all-hands meeting is being held in conjunction with the Summit this year. Spear and Scott Wilson are members of the GOMA Ecosystems Integration and Assessment Priority Issue Team. (Gabrielle Boudreaux Bodin; Lafayette, La.; 337-266-8655) 

NWRC Attends LWF Conservation Achievement Awards Banquet: USGS NWRC Director Phil Turnipseed will attend the Louisiana Wildlife Federation 50th Annual Governor’s State Conservation Achievement Awards Banquet to be held at the Lake House Reception Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, on March 29. The weekend meeting, expected to be attended by more than 100 participants, will include a reception and dinner. Governor Bobby Jindal is anticipated to be the keynote speaker at the Saturday evening banquet, which will recognize 2013-2014 conservation efforts across Louisiana. (Gabrielle Boudreaux Bodin; Lafayette, La.; 337-266-8655)

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