Michelle Rau

Ms. Rau has been with ANAMAR since 2002 and has worked in the field of environmental science since 1992.  She has a B.S. in Natural Resource Conservation and an M.S. in Soil and Water soil science, wildlife ecology, plant taxonomy, field sampling methods, technical writing, and meeting organization and facilitation.  As Operations Manager.../Project Manager at ANAMAR, Ms. Rau supervises staff and manages field efforts, develops and tracks budgets, ensures projects are completed on time and within budget, executes project tasks according to scopes of work, prepares project deliverables, and communicates with clients and subcontractors on a regular basis.  Ms. Rau has been with ANAMAR since 2002 and has worked in the field of environmental science since 1992.  She has a B.S. in Natural Resource Conservation and an M.S. in Soil and Water soil science, wildlife ecology, plant taxonomy, field sampling methods, technical writing, and meeting organization and facilitation.  As Operations Manager/Project Manager at ANAMAR, Ms. Rau supervises staff and manages field efforts, develops and tracks budgets, ensures projects are completed on time and within budget, executes project tasks according to scopes of work, prepares project deliverables, and communicates with clients and subcontractors on a regular basis. Ms. Rau has been with ANAMAR since 2002 and has worked in the field of environmental science since 1992.  She has a B.S. in Natural Resource Conservation and an M.S. in Soil and Water Science, both from the University of Florida. She has a broad range of academic and professional experience in wetland ecology, water quality, soil science, wildlife ecology, plant taxonomy, field sampling methods, technical writing, and meeting organization and facilitation. More

Military Ocean Terminal Sunny Point: Army's Primary East Coast Deepwater Port

MOTSU FILEminimizerMany of us probably don’t think about the importance of dredging in relation to national security and maintaining access to our military bases and terminals.  Maintaining access to navigation basins, access channels, and berthing areas is a critical component in our nation’s ability to accomplish its military and national security mission.  When these waterways and berthing areas become shoaled, the immediate capacity of a facility or base to transport materials and personnel is reduced or delays are incurred until full project capabilities are restored through dredging. 

ANAMAR recently sampled and tested dredge material at the Military Ocean Terminal Sunny Point (MOTSU), which is one of the largest military terminals in the world.  It is a high-security facility that is constantly patrolled by boats with armed soldiers.  And for good reason—MOTSU is the key ammunition shipping point on the Atlantic coast for the Department of Defense and is the Army's primary east coast deepwater port.  As the world's largest military terminal, Sunny Point ships more explosive cargo and equipment to the nation's armed forces and allies than any other facility.  The mission of the facility is to be prepared to quickly and effectively support the U.S. military and allies through the shipment of munitions, ordnance, or other military materials in response to any global situation or military requirement.  The maintenance of navigation depth at MOTSU is a prerequisite to maintaining a high state of operational preparedness at the facility.

Built in 1951, the terminal serves as a transfer point between rail cars, trucks, and ships during the import or export of weapons, ammunition, explosives, tanks, and military equipment for the U.S. Army.  MOTSU sprawls across 8,600 acres on the west side of the Cape Fear River, near the towns of Boiling Spring Lakes and Southport.  A vast majority of MOTSU’s real estate is longleaf and loblolly pine forest, which provides a barrier between shipping operations and the general public.  To prevent harm to the surrounding community, there is a 2,100-acre buffer zone on Pleasure Island (Carolina, Kure, Wilmington, and Fort Fisher beaches) and a 4,300-acre buffer in Brunswick County.  Despite its isolation, Sunny Point is an impressive facility.  Its three huge docks can handle several ships simultaneously.  Large cranes and 62 miles of tracks within the terminal move military supplies and explosive cargo.  The two most controversial cargoes shipped through the terminal were World War II nerve gas in 1970 and European spent nuclear fuel rods in 1994.

Sources:

Mims, Bryan.  2015.  Secrets of Sunny Point.  Our State Magazine.  May 26, 2015.  https://www.ourstate.com/military-ocean-terminal-sunny-point/.  Accessed 01/02/18.

Wikipedia.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Military_Ocean_Terminal_Sunny_Point  Accessed 01/29/18.

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2014 Mouth of the Columbia River Deep Water Site and Shallow Water Site Monitoring Series, Part 4 of 4: Fond Memories

Part 4 of our Oregon adventure series is dedicated to capturing the scenic beauty of the Oregon coast and the fun, sometimes silly, side of the job. The comradery that develops amongst the team members during field efforts of this type is one of the bonuses of the job. Sharing the experience of being out at sea for a week and successfully completing sampling operations is always memorable and gives you a sense of teamwork and accomplishment. It is a privilege to have the opportunity to work on a project like this, and it sure beats sitting in the office!

 

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Sunrise

 

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Sunset

 

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Captain Ron "Yogi" Briggs and Mate Jeff Lawrence of the 'Pacific Storm'

 

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James McMillan - USACE Portland District

 

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Robert Mooney (MTS), Seth Jones (MTS), Jason Sietz (ANAMAR) - in deep thought

 

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Holy Mackerel! That looks yummy!

 

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Tired Crew

 

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Life vest works!

 

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The Team (from left to right): Capt. Ron "Yogi" Briggs, Ryan Reyes (Pacific Storm), Jeff Lawrence (Pacific Storm), Jason Sietz (ANAMAR), Robert Mooney (MTS), Seth Jones (MTS), Robin Jones (MTS), Joel Salter (EPA), Michelle Rau (ANAMAR), James McMillan (USACE), and Ken Serven (Pacific Storm)

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2014 Mouth of the Columbia River Deep Water Site and Shallow Water Site Monitoring Series, Part 3 of 4: Epifaunal Trawls

Part 3 of our Oregon adventure series describes the epifaunal trawl sampling efforts that were part of the June and October surveys.  During the two surveys, the team conducted four 10‑minute trawl tows at each of three drop zones inside the DWS for a total of 12 trawl tows.

The objective of the study is to characterize the epifaunal community (both invertebrates and fishes) at drop zones within the DWS, including a comparison of taxonomic richness and diversity between zones and with previous monitoring survey results. 

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Getting ready to deploy the trawl.

 

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Deploying the trawl.

 

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Sorting the catch.

 

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A Pacific sanddab (Citharichthys sordidus) from a trawl catch. Some of the scales have rubbed off. Note the orange-yellow spots.

 

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Egg capsule of the big skate (Raja binoculata) from the trawl catch. This one measured 256 mm, which is rather large for skates in general but is only average size for the aptly-named big skate.

 

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This spotted ratfish (Hydrolagus collier) and smelt (Osmeridae) from a trawl catch were measured and released.

 

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A staghorn sculpin (Leptocottus armatus) being measured.

 

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Boney fishes were measured as standard length (from tip of nose to end of vertebral column).

 

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A scallop shell was part of a trawl catch.

 

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A small octupus was caught during trawling. It was recorded and released.

 

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This large sea anemone retracted its tentacles following capture in a trawl.

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2014 Mouth of the Columbia River Deep Water Site and Shallow Water Site Monitoring Series, Part 2 of 4: Grab Sampling

Part 2 of our Oregon adventure series describes the grab sampling effort that was part of the June and October surveys.  During the two surveys the team collected benthic samples at 40 locations in and around the drop zones of the DWS .  During the October survey, the team collected sediment samples from 45 locations for physical and chemical analysis.  We used a Gray O’Hara modified box corer to collect samples at water depths ranging from 178 to 279 feet.

The objectives of the study were to:

  • Provide a physical characterization of the benthic habitat
  • Assess levels of chemicals of concern
  • Characterize the benthic invertebrate community

 

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Deploying the grab sampler. The ropes helped keep the sampler from swinging and ensured that it reached the water surface safely. The sampler weighed 600 lbs.

 

 

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Emptying a sample into a decontaminated stainless steel pan.

 

 

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An intact sample in the box core.

 

 

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Washing the benthic sample through a 0.5-mm-mesh sieve box.

 

 

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The remaining material (organisms plus coarse sediment) was decanted into a jar and fixed with 10% buffered formalin solution.  Sample organisms were later taxonomically determined at the lab.

 

 

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Homogenizing a sediment sample prior to containerizing in glass sample jars.

 

 

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An unlucky Dungeness crab caught in the box corer. 

 

 

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The box corer stand also makes a nice throne.

 

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2014 Mouth of the Columbia River Deep Water Site and Shallow Water Site Monitoring Series Part 1 of 4: Dungeness Crab Sampling

Occasionally ANAMAR gets to participate in some pretty cool surveys. Our work along the Oregon coast in 2014 was definitely one of those projects that make our job seem like an adventure—a fun and exciting one complete with incredible scenery, a mixed bag of weather conditions, a great team of people, and whale sightings!

Management of dredged material and ODMDSs is a shared responsibility of EPA and USACE under the CWA and MPRSA. The overall objective of this monitoring program is to assess the extent and trends of environmental impacts from disposal of dredged sediments at the Mouth of the Columbia River Deep Water Site and Shallow Water Site (MCR DWS and SWS). In June and October 2014, scientists from ANAMAR and USACE Portland District, EPA Region 10, Marine Taxonomic Services, and the crew of the R/V Pacific Storm (owned by Oregon State University) conducted two surveys of the MCR DWS and SWS. The two surveys were designed to assess the status of the physical, chemical, and biological environment within previous, current, and future drop zones. The surveys were conducted using the R/V Pacific Storm, which allowed the team to stay on location for the duration of the two surveys. The June survey took 6 days to complete and the October survey took 4 days to complete.

This four-part blog series covers the different types of samples that were collected during the surveys and attempts to tell the story and capture the “cool” factor via photos. Part1 describes the Dungeness crab sampling effort that was part of the June survey. The team deployed and retrieved crab pots twice at 24 locations within the DWS and 12 locations within the SWS to assess the status of this commercially and recreationally important species. The data collected will help assess the crab population and abundance in these areas.

 

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We measured the carapace width and noted the sex of each crab.  We also inspected each crab and noted any that showed damage to the exoskeleton or signs of past infections.

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The Martin County Hurricane and Storm Damage Reduction Project

The Martin County Hurricane and Storm Damage Reduction Project

The Martin County Hurricane and Storm Damage Reduction Project is a federal project that authorizes construction of a protective and recreational beach along 4 miles of shorefront southward from the St. Lucie County line to near the limit of Stuart Public Beach Park (R-1 to R‑25). The project was initially constructed in 1996 and subsequently rebuilt in early 2005 after direct hits by hurricanes Frances and Jeanne. The most recent renourishment was completed in April 2013 and involved the placement of approximately 510,000 cy of material along the 4-mile project area. The beach renourishment project is designed to provide storm damage protection to structures that would otherwise be threatened by chronic shoreline retreat and storm-induced beach erosion while maintaining an area suitable for recreation and wildlife habitat.

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The east coast of Florida (including Martin County) supports one of the highest nesting densities of loggerhead, green, and leatherback sea turtles within the southeastern United States. This particular beach renourishment event was unique in that it was selected as a pilot project to study the potential benefits of adjusting the traditional beach nourishment design template to ameliorate some of its negative effects on nesting sea turtles. This effort is supported by Florida Department of Environmental Protection, Martin County, and the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service, among others. The plan was to construct alternating traditional and “turtle-friendly” segments so monitoring could be implemented in a controlled environment to scientifically verify the performance of the turtle-friendly template without compromising storm-damage-reduction benefits. This construction project design included alternating equal-length segments of shoreline using the historical template with an experimental milder slope construction template. The experimental “turtle friendly” template consists of a construction berm commencing landward at an elevation of +6.5 NAVD88 with a 1 on 50 slope then 1 on 20 to MHW. One-time comprehensive monitoring will be conducted to determine if statistically significant improvements in nest densities and hatchling production can be achieved through modifications to the traditional construction template.

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Since ANAMAR prepared the Supplemental EIS for this project, we were interested in seeing the project come to fruition. We were invited to visit the site during construction and we have included some pictures from our trip. We hope the turtles like their new beach!

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Prairie Creek Preserve

Prairie Creek Preserve

As promised, here’s another swampy gem that I enjoy exploring…Prairie Creek Preserve. This property is adjacent to the Gainesville-Hawthorne Trail near Rochelle (about 10 miles east of Gainesville) and encompasses about 368 acres that were acquired from five owners from 2004 to 2008, primarily with funds from Florida Communities Trust.

The Prairie Creek Watershed drains Newnan's Lake (a 6,000-acre lake west of the city) from the south on its way to Paynes Prairie and Orange Lake. Historically, the river drained into Paynes Prairie state preserve, providing the Prairie basin with much needed water. But in the early 1940s, Camp's Canal was constructed by the Camp family to divert most of the water to Orange Lake in order to block Prairie Creek from flooding the Prairie (www.gainesvillecreeks.org).

The Prairie Creek Preserve tract offers several miles of trails that wind through mixed hardwood hammocks, planted pine trees, and natural wetlands. The three main trails in the preserve are named for land conservation activists Jane Walker, Kathy Cantwell, and Susan Wright. The Jane Walker trail is one of my favorites. It’s about a 20- to 30-minute walk one way through a hardwood hammock that transitions into a cypress swamp and ends at the peaceful Prairie Creek. There is a picnic table that offers a place to sit for a spell and enjoy the scenery.

This trail system is not always accessible; sometimes it’s performing its natural function by storing flood-waters and providing a slow recharge to the aquifer. I love seeing the swamp full of water. When I walked here last spring, the creek was completely dry. It really gives you an appreciation for how dynamic the system is from season to season. I recommend a nice walk in the woods followed by a live concert at the Prairie Creek Lodge.

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