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Meetings

USGS Hosts International Delta Roundtable Meeting


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Delta Research And Global Observation Network project banner
Above: The Delta Research And Global Observation Network (DRAGON) project banner welcomes scientists from 10 nations to the International Delta Roundtable Meeting in Lafayette, Louisiana. DRAGON logo by Andrew Smith and Christina Boudreaux; photograph by Gene Nelson, USGS. [larger version]

More than 150 scientists from 10 nations attended the International Delta Roundtable Meeting held November 28-30 in Lafayette, Louisiana, at the Cajundome Convention 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, with 22 invited speakers and 55 technical-working-group presenters. (For a complete list of topics, visit URL 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, president, Caddo Lake Institute; 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.

Selenga River delta on the southeast shore of Lake Baikal, Russia. Left: Selenga River delta on the southeast shore of Lake Baikal, Russia. "Earth As Art" satellite image courtesy of the USGS National Center for Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Landsat Project Science Office. [larger version]

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."

Jim Flocks addresses scientists Modified Landsat Thematic Mapper image of the Mississippi River Delta (onshore) combined with National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Coastal Relief Model
Above left: USGS geologist Jim Flocks addresses scientists visiting the USGS office in St. Petersburg, Florida, during a postmeeting field trip. He is describing LASED (Louisiana Sedimentary and Environmental Database), which contains decades of geologic data gathered from the Louisiana coastal zone (see "LASED Geodatabase: A Tool to Manage, Analyze, Distribute, and Archive Geologic Data from the Louisiana Coastal Zone"). Flocks' poster complemented an earlier presentation by Shawn Dadisman on "Data Management and Analysis Tools for Geologic and Hazards Information." [larger version]

Above right: Modified Landsat Thematic Mapper image of the Mississippi River Delta (onshore) combined with National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)'s Coastal Relief Model, v. 4, Central Gulf of Mexico (offshore), which depicts a shaded-relief raster image of the bathymetry in the northern Gulf of Mexico. Island chains are reworked and transported remnants of previous deltas that formed in response to sea-level rise. Note large relic Mississippi River valley southwest of the present delta. Map produced from data in LASED (Louisiana Sedimentary and Environmental Database). [larger version]

The National Wetlands Research Center hosted the meeting. The center demonstrated a Web-enabled system, the Delta Research And Global Observation Network (DRAGON), which is being constructed to integrate data on deltas and rivers from throughout the world. (Visit the DRAGON Web site for more information.)

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.

Kristen Hart describes research on turtle populations and behavior Nancy Dewitt and a scientist inspect a fiberglass-resin cast of a crab burrow
Above left: USGS ecologist Kristen Hart describes research on turtle populations and behavior to scientists visiting the USGS office in St. Petersburg, Florida, during a postmeeting field trip. [larger version]

Above right: USGS geologist Nancy Dewitt and a scientist visiting the St. Petersburg FISC office inspect a fiberglass-resin cast of a crab burrow made by USGS ecologist Tom Smith and his research team. The casts are made not only to study the morphology of the burrows but also to shed light on how the burrows affect other ecosystem functions. [larger version]

A smaller group of international and U.S. scientists participated in a field trip after 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 office in St. Petersburg, Big Cypress National Preserve, Key Largo, and the Everglades.

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

Partners and sponsors include the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the National Park Service, the International Crane Foundation, the Caddo Lake Institute, the Great Lakes Fishery Commission, the 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.


Related Web Sites
Delta Research And Global Observation Network
USGS (U.S. Geological Survey)
LASED Geodatabase: A Tool to Manage, Analyze, Distribute, and Archive Geologic Data from the Louisiana Coastal Zone - USGS OFR 2005-1428
USGS (U.S. Geological Survey)
Florida Integrated Science Center - St. Petersburg
USGS (U.S. Geological Survey)
National Wetlands Research Center
USGS (U.S. Geological Survey)
Columbia Environmental Research Center in Missouri
USGS (U.S. Geological Survey)
Upper Midwest Environmental Center
USGS (U.S. Geological Survey)

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Fieldwork
cover story:
Earthquake Damage Near Nuclear Power Plant

Coastal Processes Affect a Restored Tidal Wetland

Coral-Reef Investigation Featured in Molokai Times

Outreach Open House at FISC St. Petersburg

Meetings Workshop on Impacts of Sea Level Rise

International Delta Roundtable Meeting

2007 SACNAS National Conference

Ocean and Coastal Mapping Inventory Workshop

Awards Biologists Honored for Polar Bear Research

Brian Atwater Receives Award, Elected to National Academy of Sciences

Peter Barnes Receives Scientist Emeritus Best Publication Award

Ralph Cheng Receives Distinguished Service Award

Janet Thompson Receives Diversity Award

Staff Samples on the Move

Runners Team Up for Marathon

G.K. Gilbert Helps Celebrate Alumni Reunion

Publications

New Book on Tidal Freshwater Forested Wetlands

Jan. / Feb. Publications List


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