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St. Petersburg Hosts Geochemical Processes Workshop

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photograph of the workshop organizers
Organizers of the Geochemical Processes Workshop with St. Petersburg Team Chief Scientist and host Lisa Robbins. Left to right: Marilyn ten Brink, Lisa Robbins, Keith Kvenvolden, and Peter Swarzenski.
A U.S. Geological Survey workshop on Geochemical Processes of Coastal Contaminants was held June 12th-14th at the Center for Coastal and Regional Marine Studies in St. Petersburg, FL. Keith Kvenvolden (CMGP—Menlo Park), Marilyn ten Brink (CMGP—Woods Hole) and Peter Swarzenski (CMGP—St. Pete) co-organized the event. Approximately 30 USGS scientists who have a strong interest in the geochemistry, transport, and effects of coastal contaminants attended the workshop. The meeting provided a forum for geochemists, sedimentologists, and contaminant biologists in all divisions to clarify objectives that address the geochemical processes and interactions of contaminant substances and their transport within coastal systems on a nationwide scale. Participants included CMGP scientists from all three centers, plus colleagues from BRD (Scott Carr, Ginger Garrison), GD (Tom Cronin, Bill Orem) WRD (Rick Hooper, Art Horowitz, Scott Phillips, and Ben McPherson).

Goals of the workshop were to:

  • identify and prioritize important national issues and information needs for understanding contaminant flux, mobility and impact on ecosystem health;
  • identify the approach and methodology best suited to address these questions and define our role as USGS scientists in meeting research needs;
  • develop a national and interdivisional infrastructure within the USGS for interdisciplinary research in coastal contaminants.

photograph of the workshop participants
Participants of the 2001 Geochemical Processes Workshop.

After introductory remarks by Lisa Robbins (Team Chief Scientist—St. Pete) and Marilyn ten Brink, Keith Kvenvolden moderated a series of presentations that described ongoing geochemical projects along our Nation's coastline, region by region. In the afternoon a discussion ensued on key coastal geochemical processes, parameters and problems. Data gaps, criteria for prioritizing research, and limits to predictive abilities were discussed. Wednesday morning we broke up into three sub-groups, each tasked to define our view of a national plan for coastal contamination studies and how to implement these views. Salient conclusions of discussions include the following:

    workshop participants in the St. Petersburg Field Center courtyard
    In the courtyard: Workshop participants enjoyed the opportunity for informal discussions at the evening social held in the courtyard of the St. Petersburg facility.
  • We need to create nationwide infrastructure for geochemical research on contaminants in coastal regions. A USGS-wide interest group, communications system, advisory team, dialogue with management, and outreach materials are required.
  • Fundamental geochemical issues that threaten coastal environmental quality have been identified. Needs differ on regional scales but issues exist nationwide, sound scientific criteria exist to prioritize research, and dialogue with regional environmental managers is critical.
  • Understanding the past behavior and prediction of the future fate and impact of contaminants in coastal systems are overarching goals. Compilation of existing data nationwide, sensitivity testing for processes, and a balance of characterization and process studies are all needed to meet this goal.

On Thursday, a writing team (John Bratton, Marilyn ten Brink, Ellen Mecray (CMGP-Woods Hole), Sid Mitra (CMGP-Menlo Park), Bill Orem (GD ERP) and Peter Swarzenski (CMGP-St. Pete) transcribed and summarized the proceedings of the workshop. Input from approximately 30 additional contaminant scientists throughout the USGS who were unable to attend the workshop will be included in the final workshop report and recommendations.

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Mapping Puget Sound

Biscayne Nat'l Park

Glacier Bay Cruise

Tripod Deployment

Outreach GIS Group Teaches Science

Juneteenth Celebration

Meetings Geochemical Processes

Geologic Discipline EMAC

Wetlands Meeting

Awards Closing the Circle

Staff & Center News Eric Thompson

NAGT Summer Interns

Woods Hole Interns

Jerry Parker Memorial

Gaye Farris Re-Elected to STC Exec Board

Publications "Natural Gas Hydrates" Book

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Updated May 06, 2014 @ 02:18 PM (THF)