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Press Release

U.S. Department of the Interior
U.S. Geological Survey
National Wetlands Research Center
700 Cajundome Blvd.
Lafayette, LA 70506

Contact: Gabrielle Boudreaux Bodin
Phone: 337-266-8655
Fax: 337-266-8541
For Release: January 31, 2000

USGS Partnership Publications Win Five Awards Plus Best of Show

Lafayette, La.--Publications edited and produced by the U.S. Geological Survey's National Wetlands Research Center, in partnership with other federal and state agencies, received five awards, plus Best of Show, at the recent Society for Technical Communication's Houston Chapter competition. The chapter received entries from government and private industry in several states.

Center staff members producing the winning publications were Gaye S. Farris, chief of technology and informatics; Beth Vairin, writer-editor; Sue Lauritzen, visual information specialist; and Rhonda Davis, editorial assistant. Contractors who worked on various winning projects include Tammy Charron, Mary Catherine Hager, Martha Hixon and Shannon Price, editors; Diane Baker, Megan Barras and Natalie Gormanous, graphic artists; and Carey Hamburg, Web designer.

Robert E. Stewart, director of the center, located in Lafayette, La., said, "I believe these awards are a reflection of the caliber of editors and artists in Lafayette. They know how to take good scientific information and data and make it both attractive to the eye and accessible to the intended readership. Because they can do this so well, they attract federal and state partners who want them to work on their publications."

Winning publications included "Invasive Plants: Changing the Landscape of America," "Status and Trends of the Nation's Biological Resources," "Making a World of Difference: Recent USGS Contributions to the Nation," "Caring for Coastal Wetlands" and "Coast 2050: Toward a Sustainable Coastal Louisiana, an Executive Summary."

Farris said, "We entered this competition to receive written feedback from our editorial and graphic peers that we can use to improve how we present science and related issues to the public. We are delighted that we did so well in the competition, which does not rank one publication against another, but instead judges each product against a criteria for merit, excellence, or distinction, the highest category."

"Invasive Plants: Changing the Landscape of America" was named Best of Show in the Technical Publications Competition. It also merited a Distinguished Award in the book category and thus will be entered into the society's international competition, with winners to be announced in May. This publication was previously named one of the 18 federal Notable Government Documents of 1998 by the American Library Association's Government Documents Round Table. It is available for $15 from the Government Printing Office (go to and then click on Access to Government Information Products, Online Bookstore and Sale Product Catalog).

The 109-page book, illustrated with glossy photos and short descriptions, describes more than 200 plants imported into the United States that are threatening crops and normal biodiversity by growing and reproducing faster than other plants. The National Wetlands Research Center produced the book, authored by Randy G. Westbrooks, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Whiteville, N.C., for the Federal Interagency Committee for the Management of Noxious and Exotic Weeds, made up of 17 federal bureaus and agencies.

The book was published with a grant from the National Wildlife Refuge System, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Among the collaborative staff were Lissa Fox, National Park Service editor, Harpers Ferry, W.V. and William P. Gregg, USGS, Reston, Va., technical reviewer.

Receiving an Award of Excellence in the book category was the USGS two-volume "Status and Trends of the Nation's Biological Resources." The volumes summarize the various ecosystems of the United States. In addition to the Lafayette staff, others involved in production from USGS were Mike Mac, project manager, Reston, Va.; Catherine Hacker, technical editor, Eureka, Calif.; Paul Opler, managing editor, Fort Collins, Colo.; and Greg Allord, Madison, Wis., print manager. Peter Doran, Bureau of Land Management, Denver, Colo., was the designer. The 964-page book is available through the Government Printing Office for $98. The book will be on the Web and on CD-Rom sometime in the near future.

Receiving an Award of Excellence for on-line books was "Making a World of Difference: Recent USGS Contributions to the Nation." This site gives readers a sample of various earth and life science projects the USGS is conducting. This site previously received a GovSpot Spotlight award for being an outstanding government site. USGS committee members in Reston, Va., who worked with the Lafayette staff, were Olivia Ferriter, Gail Wendt, Jon Campbell and John Keith.

The Center received two Awards of Excellence for information materials. Both are booklets produced for the Louisiana Coastal Wetlands Conservation and Restoration Task Force, made up of five federal agencies and the Office of the Governor, and the Louisiana State Wetlands Conservation and Restoration Authority, made up of seven state agencies.

The booklet, "Caring for Coastal Wetlands," describes the present wetland loss of coastal wetlands and restoration under the Coastal Wetlands Planning, Protection and Restoration Act. "Coast 2050: Toward a Sustainable Coastal Louisiana, an Executive Summary" delineates coastal wetland restoration needs of the future.

The Society for Technical Communication has 24,000 members worldwide dedicated to making technical information understandable and available to those who need it. The International Competition will take place in Orlando Fla., May 21-24.

All of the USGS winning documents will eventually be available through the National Wetlands Research Center's Web site at

As the nation's largest water, earth and biological science and civilian mapping agency, the USGS works in cooperation with more than 2,000 organizations across the country to provide reliable, impartial scientific information to resource managers, planners and other customers. This information is gathered in every state by USGS scientists to minimize the loss of life and property from natural disasters, to contribute to the sound conservation, economic and physical development of the nation's natural resources and to enhance the quality of life by monitoring water, biological, energy and mineral resources.

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