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From the Chesapeake Bay to the Arizona Desert
USGS at the National Conference on Ecosystem Restoration
Released: 8/1/2011 11:00:00 AM

Contact Information:
U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey
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Phone: 703-648-4333

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BALTIMORE, Md. -- USGS scientists gather at the 4th National Conference on Ecosystem Restoration from August 1-5. See USGS highlights at NCER below.  For more information, visit the 2011 NCER meeting website

Special Events

Monday, 8/1, 1 p.m. -- Harborside Ballroom, 4th Floor
Opening Plenary: Welcoming keynotes
The Honorable Jo-Ellen Darcy, Assistant Secretary of the Army (Civil Works)
Benjamin Cardin, Senator, State of Maryland
Martin O'Malley, Governor, State of Maryland
David J. Hayes, Deputy Secretary, Department of the Interior
Session moderated by Suzette Kimball, Deputy Director, USGS and Don Boesch, President, University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science

Tuesday, 8/2, 5 p.m. -- Harborside Ballroom, 4th Floor
USGS Plenary "Listening Session" with State & Federal Agency Representatives
Lynn Wingard, lwingard@usgs.gov
This session will inform stake-holders, cooperators and agency representatives about the USGS mission-oriented science planning teams currently in place and request feedback and questions.

Wednesday, 8/3, 6 p.m. -- Harborside Ballroom A & B, 4th Floor
Public Lecture:  Science to inform Chesapeake Bay restoration efforts -- a discussion of land use, water quality, fish and wildlife conditions
USGS scientists Peter Claggett, Vicki Blazer, and Alicia Berlin will discuss the new science and cooperative efforts to understand ecosystem health and to restore the nation’s largest estuary and its watershed.

Thursday, 8/4, 8:30 a.m. -- Harborside Ballroom, 4th Floor
Plenary Session: Linking land and ocean
Larry Robinson, Assistant Secretary for Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere
Kameran Onley, Director of U.S. Marine Policy, The Nature Conservancy<
Dave White, Chief, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service
Session moderated by Suzette Kimball, Deputy Director, USGS

Friday, 8/5, 10:30 a.m. -- Harborside Ballroom A & B, 4th Floor
Closing Plenary: Restoration after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill

Lisa Jackson, Administrator, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Garret Graves, Chair, Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority of Louisiana
Don Boesch, President, University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science
Session moderated by Suzette Kimball, Deputy Director, USGS

Oral Presentations and Posters

Monday, 8/1 3:30 p.m. -- Essex room, 4th Floor (Presentation)
Stephen Faulkner, faulkners@usgs.gov
USGS researchers are developing a method for estimating the regional supply of sequestered terrestrial carbon and other ecosystem services in the Mississippi Alluvial Valley to incorporate the social cost of carbon. This approach estimates the total expected regional resource value of carbon and associated ecosystem services for different combinations of forest and agricultural lands. One objective is to include both the change in ecosystem services based on land-use management and policies that create an incentive to convert agricultural lands into forest and the aggregation of the supplied services into a regional estimate for input into a landscape scale assessment.

Monday, 8/1, 4 p.m. -- ESSEX, 4th Floor (Presentation)
Where is the water in the San Pedro River Basin?
Darius Semmens, dsemmens@usgs.gov
How are natural and human activities forecasted to change semiarid regions and ecosystems? The AGAVES project will model and predict the consequences of natural and human-induced change on ecosystem services in semiarid regions. Climate change and population growth are expected to compound already scarce water availability in the San Pedro River Basin. Scientists are using an ecosystems services approach to identify the costs and benefits associated with alternative future scenarios.  These scenarios are based on different combinations of stressors, including climate change, urbanization and water augmentation achieved by extending the Central Arizona project canal.

Monday, 8/1 -- Tuesday, 8/2 -- Grand Ballroom (Poster Session)
Coastal Societal Vulnerability Index for the northern Gulf of Mexico
John Brock, jbrock@usgs.gov
The Gulf of Mexico has been identified as highly vulnerable to sea-level rise that could damage nearby human populations and infrastructure. Using the Coastal Societal Vulnerability Index, USGS researchers have pinpointed areas most vulnerable to arm coastal managers with information they can use in their efforts to minimize potential damage.

Tuesday, 8/2, 2:20 p.m. -- Harborside D & E, 4th Floor (Presentation)
Adaptive management to improve water quality decisions in the Chesapeake Bay:
Scott W. Phillips, swphilli@usgs.gov
The Chesapeake Bay and many estuaries in the nation have been adversely affected by excessive nutrients, resulting in low dissolved oxygen, loss of submerged aquatic vegetation, and toxic algae. Using improved techniques, the USGS has found that nutrients from human sources have slowly declined during the past decade, while annual loads have increased.

Tuesday, 8/ 2, 2:20 p.m. -- Harborside D & E, 4th Floor (Presentation)
Toxic chemicals and fish health in Chesapeake Bay tributaries
Vicki Blazer, vblazer@usgs.gov
The author will discuss some impacts of toxic chemicals and emerging contaminants on selected fish species and describe ongoing research.  USGS is monitoring effects of stressors in parts of the Chesapeake Bay watershed to help improve fish health.

Wednesday, 8/ 3, 8:30 a.m. -- Waterside B, Lobby Level (Presentation)
Supporting Chesapeake Bay restoration by modeling nutrient and sediment sources and transport
John Brakebill, jwbrakeb@usgs.gov
Nitrogen, phosphorous and suspended sediment: where do they come from and how do they move throughout the watershed into the Chesapeake Bay? Learn how the SPARROW model can shed light on the management of nutrients and sediment in the watersheds of estuaries like the Chesapeake Bay.

Wednesday, 8/3, 10:30 a.m. -- ESSEX, 4th Floor (Presentation)
Confronting climate change through restoration
Michael J. Hooper, mhooper@usgs.gov
The Department of the Interior Natural Resource Damage Assessment and Restoration Program is overseeing 154 projects covering more than 40,000 acres to restore resources damaged by chemical releases and oil spills.

Thursday, 8/4, 11 a.m. -- Harborside D & E, 4th Floor (Presentation)
Placing a Value on Wildlife Habitat
Leslie Richardson, lrichardson@usgs.gov
Easy-to-use value tables place economic value on wildlife habitat and help decision makers justify protection and restoration budgets. In addition, quantifying wildlife recreation use by user days (hunter, angler or viewer) provides decision makers a value basis for habitat loss.

Thursday, 8/4, 1:30 p.m.  -- Kent, 4th Floor (Presentation)
Engaging the public in Louisiana’s coastal restoration
Susan Testroet-Bergeron, bergerons@usgs.gov
Engaging the public is key to promoting ecosystem restoration activities.  Louisiana’s land loss and the urgent need to rebuild a fragile estuarine ecosystem have spawned 149 active restoration projects through the Coastal Wetlands Planning, Protection and Restoration Act Task Force.  Each project begins with organized public participation including a public meeting forum, volunteers, and a website.  This strategy could be easily replicated by other ecosystem management teams throughout the country.

Thursday, 8/4, 2 p.m. -- Dover, 3rd Floor (Presentation)
Potential impacts of climate change and sea-level rise on South Florida’s coastal wetlands
G. Lynn Wingard, lwingard@usgs.gov
Mangroves form the defining ecological structure of South Florida’s coastal wetland and provide many benefits; they protect against storm surge, protect and shelter marine life, and filter and clean water of pollutants before reaching shore.  Mangroves are particularly susceptible to a changing climate and factors such as sea-level rise, storm frequency and intensity, and air and ocean temperatures, among other factors. To provide science-based guidance to managers and policy makers in their efforts to sustain the ecosystem, scientists are estimating former positions of sea-level (obtained from core samples) to forecast likely impacts of future sea-level rise.

Thursday, 8/4 – Friday, 8/5 -- Grand Ballroom (Poster Session)
Targeting sediment sources for restoration
Allen Gellis, agellis@usgs.gov
States have identified sediment as one of the top pollutants in the nation’s water bodies.  Local governments need field-based information to know where sediments are coming from. Sediment fingerprinting combined with sediment budgeting could provide information for small watersheds. In the Chesapeake Bay, this information might help decision makers to reduce erosion and sediment pollution.

Thursday, 8/4 – Friday, 8/ 5 Grand Ballroom (Poster Session)
3-D helps plan restoration in the Everglades
Stephanie  Romañach, sromanach@usgs.gov
EverVIEW provides a 3-D global view of the Earth’s surface and provides a user-friendly framework for natural resource managers, biologists and other USGS partners to visualize and manipulate data for Everglades restoration projects. The EverVIEW tools allow exploration of multiple restoration scenarios and prediction shifts in the distribution of endangered species in response to climate change. Viewers will see examples of EverVIEW models being used in the restoration planning process.

Friday, 8/5, 9 a.m. -- Kent, 4th Floor (Presentation)
Self-regulating populations: What we can learn from mayflies
Don Schloesser, dschloesser@USGS.gov
Decades of pollution have negatively impacted the ecosystem health of the Laurentian Great Lakes. Mayflies disappeared in the region in the 1950s in response to low oxygen in the Lakes, yet rebounded in the 1990s.  A decade of USGS surveys reveal a cycle of mayfly abundances that resemble a “boom-and-bust” pattern; the mayflies reproduce in abundance until limited by some environmental factor such as low oxygen. The mayfly pattern has prompted scientists to test a density-dependent hypothesis, and if proven correct, this hypothesis will contribute to monitoring pollution abatement and improve understanding of lake restoration efforts in the Great Lakes and other water bodies throughout the world.

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