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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: May 5, 1997



Leading Wetlands Scientist to Speak at National Wetlands Research Center

Dr. William J. Mitsch, Professor of Natural Resources and Environmental Science at Ohio State University, Columbus, will help the National Wetlands Research Center celebrate American Wetlands Month. The noted wetland researcher will speak Tuesday, May 6 at 2 p.m. in the center's conference room on "Can We Restore and Create Wetlands?---Recent Findings from Midwestern USA."

Wetlands Month, designed to increase public awareness about the importance of wetlands, is especially significant in Louisiana, which loses nearly 40 square miles of wetlands each year. Just last Thursday, Governor Mike Foster proclaimed the month as Wetlands Protection and Restoration Month, making Mitsch's topic timely for locals. For nearly 30 years, Mitsch has been showing his long-term commitment to wetlands and reaching out to others about them.

In the early 1970s, when wetlands were still generally thought to be good only for draining and filling, Mitsch conducted pioneering research at the University of Florida on the ability of wetlands to improve water quality. He is now known as an expert on biogeochemical cycles in wetlands and computer simulation models of wetland ecosystems. He is also a pioneer in ecological engineering.

An advocate for wetland preservation, creation and restoration, Mitsch coauthored "Wetlands," a widely used textbook and reference. He has written or edited seven other books and more than 150 scholarly research articles on wetland topics.

Mitsch has not only broken new ground in wetland scientific theory, but has also continued to apply his knowledge to practical problem solving. He was one of the designers and researchers on the Des Plains River Reconstruction project near Chicago and currently manages the Olentangy River Wetland Research Park, a constructed wetland research site at the Ohio State University in Columbus.

In 1992, Mitsch organized and chaired the fourth International Association for Ecology Wetlands Conference in Columbus, one of the largest wetland conferences ever held. He served on the National Academy of Sciences' Wetland Characterization panel during 1993-95 and testified before Congress on his areas of expertise. He was President of the Society of Wetland Scientists for 1995-96 and is founder and editor-in-chief of the "Journal of Ecological Engineering."

Most recently, Mitsch received the 1996 National Wetlands Award for scientific research from the Environmental Law Institute and US Environmental Protection Agency. These awards honor individual citizens who have demonstrated excellence and dedication in the field of wetland protection through programs or projects at the regional, state and local level.

The public is encouraged to attend Mitsch's seminar at the National Wetlands Research Center, 700 Cajundome Boulevard, Lafayette, La. Refreshments will be served at 1:45 p.m. with Dr. Mitsch's presentation at 2:00 pm. Seating is limited, so please call 266-8655 for more information.

The National Wetlands Research Center is part of the U.S. Geological Survey, a federal agency within the Department of the Interior. The center strives to provide the scientific understanding and technologies needed to support the sound management and conservation of the nation's biological resources, focusing on wetlands.

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