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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: November 24, 1997

Award-winning Publication on Wetlands To Be Revised

An educational booklet on wetlands, produced by the Louisiana Sea Grant College Program in Baton Rouge and the U.S. Geological Survey's National Wetlands Research Center in Lafayette, has won its second national award and has been selected by Coastal America to be updated and reprinted. Coastal America is a partnership of agencies dedicated to protecting, preserving and restoring the coastal environment.

"The Fragile Fringe: Coastal Wetlands of the Continental United States" was recently selected by an independent group of judges, including representatives of the National Science Foundation, to receive one of this year's five USGS Shoemaker Communications Awards. The award honors excellence in outreach and education. In 1993, the booklet received an award from the National Association of Government Communicators.

The 16-page publication, with photographs and illustrations to demonstrate wetland resources and processes, has been extensively used in outreach and educational programs of agencies such as the National Park Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the USGS. Through a grant from the Environmental Protection Agency's Gulf of Mexico Program, the Wetlands Center also produced a traveling exhibit and teacher's guide to supplement "The Fragile Fringe."

Authors of the booklet are Dr. Mary C. Watzin, formerly with the National Wetlands Research Center and now with the University of Vermont, and Dr. James G. Gosselink, professor emeritus, Louisiana State University. The text has been cited in awards for its use of such common terms as "kidneys," "resorts" and "soup recipes" to explain wetlands and how they function.

Originally written in 1992, the booklet has had minor revisions and several reprintings since then. The booklet was initially designed as a companion report to the 1991 report, "Coastal Wetlands of the United States: an Accounting of a Valuable National Resource," published by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, also a sponsor of "The Fragile Fringe." The anticipated 1998 version of "The Fragile Fringe" will update all material and include the latest numbers for wetland status and trends.

Wetlands Center participants in the booklet's development and update are Dr. Jimmy Johnston, Project Manager; Gaye S. Farris, editor; Beth A. Vairin, writer; and Sue M. Lauritzen, illustrator. Participants from Louisiana Sea Grant include Elizabeth Coleman, editor, and art directors Ken Varden and Robert Ray.

As the nation's largest water, earth and biological science and civilian mapping agency, the USGS works in cooperation with more than 2000 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, contribute to sound economic and physical development of the nation's natural resources, and enhance the quality of life by monitoring water, biological, energy, and mineral resources.

For further information regarding the booklet, call Gaye S. Farris, Chief of Technical Support at the Wetlands Center, 337-266-8550.

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