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National Research Council Wraps Up Review at St. Pete

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The National Research Council's Committee evaluation of the Coastal and Marine Geology Program completed its site visits to the three centers on Tuesday, February 23, in St. Petersburg. There will be one more meeting of the Committee in Washington, DC, during the week of March 15th, at which time it will complete its business.

Monday morning, February 22nd, the Committee heard from Pat Leahy on the good news/bad news scenarios of the FY 2000 budget. He elaborated on the seriousness of the $3.5 million cut in the Coastal and Marine Geology budget that has been submitted in the President's budget for a second straight year. Dave Russ talked about the roles of the Regional Geologists and Program Coordinators in the newly formed structure in the Geologic Division. Jeff Williams, after an introduction, fielded a number of questions from the Committee on a variety of subjects, including the roles of the USGS and NOAA.

Gene Shinn led the scientific presentations of the Environmental theme in the afternoon with coral projects, past, present, and future. He was followed by Bob Halley on studies in Florida Bay and the role of the center in the South Florida Restoration Program. The Environmental theme was wrapped up by Jack Kindinger, who discussed pollution studies in Lake Pontchartrain (Kindinger) and the wetlands of the northeastern Gulf of Mexico and panhandle (Terry Edgar and Ellen RaabeRick Stumpf's former project).

Abby Sallenger discussed the Hazards theme including the Lidar project on coastal erosion and on hurricanes (Sallenger), west-central Florida Erosion Study (Guy Gelfenbaum), South Carolina Coastal Erosion Study (Mark Hansen), National Coastal Assessment (Chris Barton), probabilistic approach to hurricane occurrence (Barton), and hurricane impact on barrier islands (Sallenger).

Rob Wertz discussed our data management and the newly formed coordination among the three centers on data management. He pointed out that the meeting of data managers from each of the centers is to be held on an annual basis.

The Committee members (and most of the center) adjourned to a reception in the sediment laboratory and then were taken to the Renaissance Vinoy Hotel for an elegant dinner.

Tuesday morning, the "outside speakers" were introduced and each gave an excellent presentation on the scientific relationship developed between them and the USGS and how each has benefited. The speakers were Peter Betzer, University of South Florida, Carlton Dufrechou, the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation, and Ron Hoenstine, Florida Geological Survey.

As with all the centers, we at St. Pete enjoyed their company and look forward to an exhilarating report on their findings.

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