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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: December 4, 2007



USGS Hosts International Delta Roundtable Meeting

DRAGON logoMore than 150 scientists from 10 nations attended the International Delta Roundtable Meeting held Nov. 28-30 in Lafayette, La., at the Cajundome Conference Center and the U.S. Geological Survey’s National Wetlands Research Center. 

Nations represented were the United States, Canada, the Netherlands, Egypt, Russia, China, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, and Thailand.  There were 22 invited speakers and 55 technical working group presenters.  For a complete list of topics, see http://dl.cr.usgs.gov/dragon.

Among the speakers were Tim Petty, deputy assistant secretary, Department of the Interior; Susan Haseltine, USGS associate director for biology; Larry Schweiger, president, National Wildlife Federation; Michael Reuter, The Nature Conservancy; Jeb Barzen, director of field ecology, The International Crane Foundation; Richard Lowerre, Caddo Lake Institute president; and Karen Siderelis, USGS chief information officer.
 
The meeting provided a forum for integrating the work of scientists from many different disciplines who are addressing complex issues related to the effective and sustainable management of deltas and large rivers. 

A major goal of the meeting, according to meeting organizer Gregory Smith, USGS National Wetlands Research Center director, was to create a community of scientists worldwide who will share information that promotes sound ecological forecasting to sustain the world’s deltaic systems.

Smith explained, “The reason for sharing information and learning from the work of others is that rivers and deltas have geologic, hydrologic, and biological processes which form extremely dynamic environments.  And these environments are significantly altered by human development and major coastal storms such as Hurricane Katrina.”

The National Wetlands Research Center was the host of the meeting.  The center demonstrated a Web-enabled system, the Delta Research And Global Observation Network (DRAGON), that it is developing to integrate data on deltas and rivers from throughout the world.  Go to http://deltas.usgs.gov for more information on the DRAGON project.

A highlight of the meeting was an evening activity called “Stories of the Deltas,” which featured speakers telling personal stories of a delta or river that had influenced their lives, thereby integrating traditional and practical knowledge with science.

A smaller group of international and U.S. scientists participated in a field trip that followed the meeting.  In Louisiana they toured the devastation from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in New Orleans and at the delta of Mississippi River.  In Florida they visited the USGS Florida Integrated Science Center in St. Petersburg, the Big Cypress National Preserve, Key Largo, and the Everglades.

Assisting the center in planning technical sessions and in a follow up field trip were other USGS centers including the Columbia Environmental Research Center in Missouri, the Upper Midwest Environmental Sciences Center in La Crosse, Wisc., and the Florida Integrated Science Center in St. Petersburg.

Partners and sponsors include the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Park Service, International Crane Foundation, Caddo Lake Institute, Great Lakes Fishery Commission, University of Louisiana at Lafayette, and  HDR Engineering, Inc.  

Follow-up meetings to the International Delta Roundtable are being organized in Ethiopia and Hong Kong.

Image of Delta Roundtable Banner
The DRAGON project banner welcomes scientists from 10 nations to the International Delta Roundtable Meeting in Lafayette, La., at the Cajundome conference center. Photo by Gene Nelson, USGS.

Image of Gregory Smith, USGS National Wetlands Research Center Director
Gregory J. Smith, USGS National Wetlands Research Center director, explains the Delta Research And Global Observation Network (DRAGON), a Web-enabled system to integrate data about large rivers and deltas of the world, at the International Delta Roundtable Meeting. Photo by Gene Nelson, USGS.

Image of Karen Siderelis, USGS Chief Information Officer
Karen Siderelis, USGS chief information officer, discusses data integration at the International Delta Roundtable Meeting. Photo by Gene Nelson, USGS.

Image of Timothy R. Petty, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Water and Science
Timothy R. Petty, deputy assistant secretary for water and science, discussed the Department of the Interior's commitment to conservation and the need for accessible data. Photo by Gene Nelson, USGS.

Image of Larry Schweiger, President and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation
Larry Schweiger, president and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation, spoke about the importance of deltas. Photo by Gene Nelson, USGS.

Image of Jeb Barzen, Director of Field Ecology, The International Crane Foundation
Jeb Barzen, director of field ecology, The International Crane Foundation, gave insights into working collaboratively abroad. Photo by Gene Nelson, USGS.

Image of DRAGON Logo
Image by Andrew Smith and Christina Boudreaux.


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