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USGS Circular on Massachusetts Bay-Boston Harbor Project Wins National Association of Government Communicators Blue Pencil Award

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Cover of USGS Circular 1302
Above: Cover of USGS Circular 1302, which recently won a Blue Pencil Award of Excellence from the National Association of Government Communicators. See the report online. A copy of the printed report may be ordered by calling 1-888-ASK-USGS or ordering online at the USGS Store (product number 207752). [larger version]

At a ceremony in Albuquerque, New Mexico, on April 29, 2008, U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Circular 1302, "Processes Influencing the Transport and Fate of Contaminated Sediments in the Coastal Ocean—Boston Harbor and Massachusetts Bay," was awarded a 2008 Blue Pencil Award of Excellence in the Technical or Statistical Report category by the National Association of Government Communicators. The Blue Pencil Awards recognize the Government's best in writing and print materials, video, and multimedia communications.

The Circular, edited by Michael Bothner and Bradford Butman, contains 11 independently authored sections that summarize the results of an 18-year multidisciplinary research program designed to develop a predictive capability for sediment and contaminant transport and fate in Massachusetts Bay. The program, one of the first pollution studies carried out by the USGS Coastal and Marine Geology Program, included high-resolution mapping of the sea floor, an 18-year time series of geochemical and oceanographic observations, and numerical modeling of sediment transport and fate. The results of this program contributed to what has become the environmental success story of the Boston Harbor cleanup by providing scientific information that informed the public debate, guided management decisions, and saved taxpayer dollars. The USGS program demonstrates how an understanding of regional geology is important to addressing the fate of contaminated sediment in the coastal ocean, and how scientists and managers can partner to address a serious public issue. The program was carried out in cooperation with the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority, the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, and the U.S. Coast Guard.

The design and layout of the publication were chosen to effectively convey scientific results even to those who only browse the report. The USGS Circular design—of both the printed and the online version—enabled 19 investigators to describe the results of their multiyear research studies in a single reviewed publication that includes an introduction to the issues, a description of the program, a summary of results, and a complete bibliography. The goal for the printed version was to make it sufficiently interesting at first glance to encourage reading and discussion among participants at workshops and scientific meetings and in classrooms. Thus, the Circular includes many full-color figures, maps, and photographs, all in striking detail and with informative captions. Each section was peer reviewed for scientific content; and all contributions were edited, reformatted, and arranged to achieve a consistent appearance throughout the entire document.

A printed book and a set of online PDF files (download from URL http://pubs.usgs.gov/circ/2007/1302/) were the formats selected for delivery. The printed book presents the highlights of the research program in a single, high-quality publication that is attractive for distribution and promotes face-to-face discussions. The online PDF version provides free and unlimited worldwide availability. Approximately 650 copies of the printed Circular have been distributed or ordered, and the online version of the report has received more than 24,000 hits since it was posted in July 2007. Requests for pages from the online version have come predominantly from six domains: unknown (26 percent), Networks (.net, 24 percent), U.S. Government (.gov, 21 percent), Commercial (.com, 8 percent), U.S. Higher Education (.edu, 7 percent), and China (.cn, 5 percent). The report has been enthusiastically received when distributed and used in national, regional, and local venues; and the format has become a publication template for similar USGS research programs seeking to summarize results for a broad audience.

Editing and production of the report were carried out by a team of editors and graphics specialists at the Pembroke Publishing Service Center of the USGS Enterprise Publishing Network. The publications team included Debra Foster, Mary Ashman, Mark Bonito, Ann Marie Squillacci, Christine Mendelsohn, and Barbara Korzendorfer.

Related Sound Waves Stories
USGS Wins 15 Blue Pencil, Gold Screen Awards
June 2006

Related Web Sites
Processes Influencing the Transport and Fate of Contaminated Sediments in the Coastal Ocean—Boston Harbor and Massachusetts Bay - USGS Circular 2007-1302
USGS (U.S. Geological Survey)
Blue Pencil & Gold Screen Awards
National Association of Government Communicators

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Submarine Landslides and Large Earthquakes

Whitings Possible Explanation for Middle East Oil Deposits

USGS Participates in Marine Quest 2008

Law of the Sea Studies

Meetings USGS/DOI Santa Barbara Channel Workshop

USGS Part of Law of the Sea Delegation

Carolinas Coastal Change Processes Project

Awards USGS Circular Wins Blue Pencil Award


July 2008 Publications List

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