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Several U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) scientists were among the more than 800 attendees at Coastal Zone 2007, a biennial conference held this year in Portland, Oregon, from July 22 to 26. The meeting, billed as the largest international gathering of ocean- and coastal-management professionals in the world, was organized by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and drew representatives from Federal, State, and local governments; academia; nonprofit organizations; and private industry to share their knowledge of issues affecting the world’s coasts and oceans and to discuss strategies for addressing those issues.
Participants came from most of the 30 States that border the Pacific Ocean, the Atlantic Ocean, the Gulf of Mexico, and the Great Lakes. Other attendees came from Canada and from more distant locales, including Vietnam, Japan, Australia, South Africa, Nigeria, and nearly a dozen European countries.
Field trips and training sessions were offered on Sunday, July 22, and the conference formally opened on Monday, July 23. The Monday morning plenary session began with remarks by Vice Admiral Conrad C. Lautenbacher, Jr., U.S. Navy (Ret.), the NOAA administrator, who introduced two keynote speakers with long and distinguished careers in public service: Leon Panetta, former congressman, White House chief of staff to Bill Clinton, and chair of the Pew Oceans Commission, who is now director of the Leon and Sylvia Panetta Institute for Public Policy and cochairman of the Joint Ocean Commission Initiative; and William Ruckelshaus, former head of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), acting director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Deputy Attorney General of the United States, and member of the U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy, who is now strategic director of the Madrona Venture Group and chair of the Puget Sound Leadership Council. Panetta spoke of the need for a coordinated national ocean policy and urged U.S. accession to the United Nations (U.N.) Convention on the Law of the Sea. Ruckelshaus discussed the ongoing effort of the Puget Sound Partnership to develop the 2020 Action Agenda, a long-term plan to restore and manage the complex ecosystems of Puget Sound and the surrounding watersheds.
From Monday through Thursday, participants presented short talks in concurrent sessions on such widely varying topics as fisheries management, renewable energy from the ocean, tsunami-inundation modeling, beach erosion, and more. Talks by scientists currently or recently with the USGS included "GIS Data for the Seaside, Oregon, Tsunami Pilot Study to Modernize FEMA Flood Hazard Maps" (Florence Wong), "The Hawaii Tsunami Risk Assessment Project" (Nathan Wood), "Pharmaceuticals and Personal Care Products Detected in Streambed Sediments of the Lower Columbia River and Selected Tributaries" (Elena Nilsen), "Assessing Shoreline Change Trends Along U.S. Pacific Northwest Beaches" (Peter Ruggiero, now with Oregon State University), "Variations in Community Vulnerability to Tsunamis in the Pacific Northwest" (Wood), and "The Relationship of Imperviousness and Landslides in Seattle, Washington" (George Xian).
During a 2-hour poster session on Tuesday evening, the USGS was represented by Jane Reid ("Integration of Seafloor Point Data in usSEABED"), Alan Allwardt ("The Coastal Change Hazards Node of the USGS Coastal and Marine Knowledge Bank"), and retiree John Dingler ("Reestablishing a Wetland in Tomales Bay, California, from Diked Farm Land").
Additional opportunities to meet and share ideas were provided by social gatherings centered around light meals. Several of these gatherings took place in the Exhibit Hall, where attendees could browse 30 booths presented by Federal, State, local, and private organizations. Helen Gibbons and Laura Torresan set up and staffed a USGS booth, with relief provided by Alan Allwardt, Jane Reid, and Sam Johnson. They fielded questions from visitors and gave away fact sheets and other handouts from the Coastal and Marine Geology Program and the Terrestrial, Freshwater, and Marine Ecosystems Program, the two USGS programs that provided funding for Coastal Zone 2007.
Many USGS personnel who could not attend the meeting provided handout materials and contributed as coauthors of talks and poster presentations. To view abstracts and a detailed program, visit URL http://www.csc.noaa.gov/cz/ and click on "CZ 07 Proceedings."
With its emphasis on management issues, Coastal Zone 2007 was a somewhat unusual conference for USGS scientists, but it provided excellent opportunities to discover what types of USGS information are valued by coastal managers. Mark your calendars and consider attending the next Coastal Zone conference, to be held in Boston, Massachusetts, in 2009.
in this issue:
Scientists Meet Managers at Coastal Zone 2007
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