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Weekly Highlights

MEMORANDUM

From: Gabrielle Boudreaux Bodin
Subject: Weekly Highlights, USGS National Wetlands Research Center, April 3, 2014

Departmental/Bureau News - Current

USGS Scientists and LCC Staff Welcome New Gulf Coast Vulnerability Assessment Coordinator: Staff from the Gulf Coastal Plains & Ozarks LCC, including U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Science Coordinator John Tirpak and USGS NWRC Research Scientist Mike Osland, and the Gulf Coast Prairie LCC, including USFWS Coordinator Bill Bartush, Wildlife Management Institute Science Coordinator Cynthia Edwards, and NWRC Geographer Kristen Kordecki, met with the new Gulf Coast Vulnerability Assessment Coordinator Amanda Watson on April 2 – 3.  Watson was joined by other staff from Mississippi State University’s Northern Gulf Institute to discuss how to align the GCVA with ongoing efforts in all four Gulf LCCs, the Gulf of Mexico Alliance Habitat Conservation and Restoration Team, and broader gulf restoration activities. The GCVA is a Gulf-wide initiative to identify and assess habitat and species vulnerabilities in a consistent manner that will provide the information needed to identify opportunities to restore functional ecosystems and create adaptation strategies. Staffs of the GCPO and the GCP LCCs are housed at the USGS NWRC. (John Tirpak; Lafayette, La.; 337-266-8565)

MsCIP Public Workshop Held: The Mobile District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers hosted a public workshop to discuss release of the draft Supplement to the Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement for the Mississippi Coastal Improvements Program (MsCIP). The workshop included a number of stations staffed by subject matter experts to discuss the tentatively selected plan and the analyses utilized, as well as to answer questions from members of the public. Greg Steyer and Michelle Meyers staffed the station on the MsCIP Monitoring and Adaptive Management Program. The workshop was held April 3 in Biloxi Mississippi. (Michelle Meyers; New Orleans, La.; 504-862-1374)

NWRC Meets with Northrop Grumman to Discuss NWRC Aviation Plan: On April 4 USGS NWRC Director Phil Turnipseed and NWRC Senior Geographer Christopher Wells met with Lou Vogler, Manager, Special Mission Aircraft Business Development at Northrop Grumman Technical Services, to discuss a variety of issues related to developing increased remote sensing capabilities at the NWRC.  This meeting was to discuss program concepts, main missions, sensors and operations, and priorities for the development and phasing of a suite of remote sensing instruments to be placed into the new Quest Kodiak NWRC is tentatively planning on acquiring for use primarily in the Gulf of Mexico region. Turnipseed is currently planning an upgrade to the NWRC aviation program. The new equipment is needed for research, modeling, and mapping in a wetland landscape. Difficulties encountered with using Lidar technology alone in very wet areas can be overcome through a combination of remote sensing instrumentation. (Gabrielle Boudreaux Bodin; Lafayette, La.; 337-266-8655)

GCPO and GCP LCC Staff Work with Ozarks States to Integrate their State Wildlife Action Plans into the Ozark Highlands Comprehensive Conservation Strategy: Gulf Coastal Plains & Ozarks LCC Science Coordinator John Tirpak (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service) and Gulf Coast Prairie LCC GIS Specialist Blair Tirpak (USGS NWRC Contractor) met with staff from Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, Missouri Department of Conservation, Oklahoma Department of Wildlife and Conservation, Central Hardwoods Joint Venture, and the USFWS’s National Wildlife Refuge System at Ozark Plateau National Wildlife Refuge in Colcord, Oklahoma, to discuss further development of the Ozark Highlands Comprehensive Conservation Strategy (OZH CCS).  The OZH CCS is a collaborative effort to unify the vision of conservation across the Ozark region in these three states. The goal of this effort is to spatially identify regional Conservation Opportunity Areas for ultimate inclusion in each state’s State Wildlife Action Plan. This process being piloted in the Ozarks is a test case for the approach the GCPO LCC plans to take for conservation design across its entire geography. This approach will be detailed and discussed in depth at the GCPO LCC’s Spring Steering Committee meeting, scheduled for April 22 – 24 in Nacogdoches, Texas. Staffs of the GCPO and the GCP LCCs are housed at the USGS NWRC. (John Tirpak; Lafayette, La.; 337-266-8565)

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