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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 7, 2002

USGS Technology To Benefit Lake Pontchartrain Basin

The Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation's job of restoring and preserving the Basin just got easier thanks to technology developed by the U.S. Geological Survey's National Wetlands Research Center, headquartered in Lafayette, La.

The technology is essentially a computerized decision support system that helps citizens and officials analyze problems and make decisions about restoration and preservation of the Pontchartrain Basin. The system will be demonstrated at the Bogue Falaya Park in Covington, La. on Jan. 23 at 10:30 a.m.

The system packages 80 geographic datasets with an immense amount of information. That information includes the 2000 U.S. Census records, Federal Emergency Management Assistance flood maps, Coastal Zone Permits, water quality monitoring stations, restoration sites, hydrological patterns, geological surveys, and historical and current habitat maps.

Carlton Dufrechou, executive director of the foundation, said that the first application of the new technology will be to pinpoint sources of pollution above Bogue Falaya Park, near Covington, La. Covington is in St. Tammany, the coastal parish with the most rapidly growing population.

With the computerized system, the foundation and the City of Covington will be able to more readily locate permitted sewage treatment plants, areas of dense population affecting individual streams and bayous, and other potential pollution sources discharging into the Bogue Falaya. Once these sources are identified, monitoring programs will evaluate the extent and nature of environmental damage.

James B. Johnston, USGS/NWRC branch chief of spatial analysis, said, "This system is one of several we've developed to help managers address natural resource issues, not only in coastal Louisiana, but in places like the Everglades and in bays along the Gulf Coast."

The decision support system, according to Bob Stewart, NWRC Director, is similar to one the center developed for the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources to enhance the department's Coastal Zone Management Office in its wetlands permitting process.

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