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The Whiptail Lizard
The Cnemidophorus lizard, also known as ‘The Whiptail Lizard,’ belongs to the Teiidae Familia and is most famously known for being an all-female species. Whiptails reproduce by means of parthenogenesis, a word derived from the Greek words parthenos meaning ‘virgin’ and genesis meaning ‘birth’. Parthenogenesis is a form of asexual reproduction whereby an embryo develops without fertilization. A component process of parthenogenesis is apomixis, which is very common in plants, e.g., perennials.
The movie Jaws, released June 20, 1975, was a box office blockbuster with a plot that revolved around a great white shark wreaking havoc around a fictional island called Amity Island off Long Island, New York. Based on the 1974 novel of the same name by Peter Benchley, the film included impressive underwater video shot by diving and spear-fishing aficionados Ron and Valery Taylor. The shark was filmed in waters off Australia and the video included a scale model of a dive cage, complete with a small-framed actor, which made the great white seem bigger by comparison.
However, Jaws was not the first to feature great white sharks in their natural habitat. The film Blue Water, White Death is a documentary of sharks in their natural habitat and included the first underwater video of great white sharks ever presented. Released on June 1, 1971, Blue Water, White Death was released 4 years before the movie Jaws. Similar to Jaws, Blue Water, White Death includes video shot by Ron and Valerie Taylor along with footage by underwater photographer Stan Waterman. The film took a full 9 months to complete, during which time the film crew, lead by filmmaker and photojournalist Peter Gimbel, traveled between the waters off South Africa and Australia in search of great white sharks. While the video was made using technology of limited quality compared to today’s standards, the scenes in the film are spectacular for their time. The adventures of the crew were also documented in the book Blue Meridian: the Search for the Great White Shark (1971) by award-winning writer Peter Matthiessen.
Q: When is collecting a grab sample better suited than a core sample?
A*: One potential problem with core sampling is low recovery when trying to collect a sample of poorly consolidated material. This is often due to losing material from the bottom of the core barrel during barrel retrieval. If the sediment is not fairly consolidated, there is not enough friction to hold the sediment to the inside walls of the core barrel. While core catchers can be installed to prevent the material from falling out of the bottom of the barrel, in unconsolidated material they often prevent the material from entering the core barrel at all. In most cases where shallow penetration (2-3 feet) is desired, a grab sampler is better suited for sample collection than a core sampler. In extremely unconsolidated material the grab sampler is even better suited as it is more likely to collect fine material that may not enter the core barrel at all, and a heavily weighted grab sampler may penetrate 1-2 feet into the material under its own weight.
NOAA is giving the public until March 11 to comment on regulations concerning the protection of marine mammals during Navy training and testing in waters off California and Hawaii
Florida DEP gives the public until Feb. 12 to comment on how new water quality standards would be implemented.
Many of us first come to Gainesville to be a Gator at the University of Florida, and really know very little about the city or county we are living in. However, after the degree is earned and the future’s wide open, there are a fair number of us who decide to make Gainesville home because they have come to realize it’s also a nice place to live. Everyone (a least everyone who watches SEC football) knows about The Swamp – our football stadium where “only the gators come out alive”. Well, that may not always be the case, but the name does reflect the landscape. >Alachua County is dotted with swamps, creeks, and lakes where gators reside and thrive. A good bit of effort has been made by various entities to protect these watersheds and the natural communities that surround them. This conservation effort has resulted in lots of really nice places to go for a walk in the woods with dogs and friends. Exploring these areas is one of my favorite past times. There are a couple of gems in particular where I go regularly and hardly ever see anyone else...probably because for most of the year they are bug-ridden swamps where the mosquitoes and ticks rule. But, if you can stand a little buzzing in your ears and wear long pants and boots, the beauty of the swamp is captivating. This blog series is dedicated to showcasing some of the lesser known gems where the real swamps are.
One of my favorite swampy gems is Gum Root Park which is a 741-acre park that is mostly floodplain swamp, with a canopy of cypress and gum trees. This park is about 10 minutes from downtown and is a great place if you’re looking for a little solitude and a nice walk in the woods. Gum Root Park features trails through a variety of natural communities, including blackwater stream, floodplain swamp, xeric hammock, baygall, pasture, and pine flatwoods. Adjacent to hundreds of acres of state conservation land, Gum Root is a great location for birding and wildlife viewing.
Hatchett Creek lazily runs through this floodplain swamp before emptying into Newnans Lake (aka Lake Pithlachocco). I love to come here during different times of the year because the water level is always fluctuating. During dry times of the year, the creek and the swamp are completely dry and you can walk the sandy creek bed all the way to Newnans Lake. Since we had a pretty wet summer (thanks to Tropical Storms Beryl and Debbie), the creek is still full of black, slow-moving water and the swamp is, well, it’s swampy. It’s a serene landscape, but sometimes also feels a bit spooky...walking next to the creek wondering if there’s a gator hiding in the dark water, moving through the maze of cypress knees, looking out and seeing the high water line mark on all the trees, and realizing that at one time the water was probably waist to chest deep. It gives you an appreciation for how important swamps are; you can clearly see how they retain the floodwaters. I am glad the value of this land was realized and is protected.
So, if you’re ever in this neck of the woods and looking for a place off the beaten path to walk around and you don’t mind the company of a few mosquitoes, I highly recommend visiting this little gem. Next time, we’ll visit Prairie Creek on the other side of Newnans Lake.
The Cook Island Marine Park is a designated 411,000-square-mile marine sanctuary, the largest ever designated by a single country. The sanctuary has is richly diverse with species such as manta rays, blue whales, rare seabirds, and several species listed as threatened on the International Union For Conservation of Nature’s Red List of Threatened Species™. The ecosystem of the reserve varies from coral reefs to underwater mountains, which will allow many species with diverse ecological needs to thrive. Different zones of the park will implement varying levels of protection (e.g., some zones will not allow fishing, and some will allow tourism and carefully monitored fishing. The Cook Islands are 15 islands with a self-governing parliamentary democracy in the South Pacific Ocean 2012 miles northeast of New Zealand and about 3,000 miles south of Hawaii.
The glass frog (Hyalinobatrachium pellucidum) is an endangered species of the Centrolenidae family. This frog gets its name because of its translucent skin and is native to the subtropical/tropical environments of the Amazonian slopes of the Ecuadorian Andes. Only about the size of a thumbnail, the glass frog is presumed to lay its eggs on vegetation near local bodies of water. This frog is endangered due to lack of natural habitat.
Citation: Luis A. Coloma, Santiago Ron, Diego Cisneros-Heredia. 2010. Hyalinobatrachium pellucidum. In: IUCN 2012. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2012.2.
Q: The physical results for sediment I’m evaluating for offshore disposal show that the material is over 90% sand. Do I need to perform chemical and bioassay analysis on this material?
<A*: Tier I evaluations begin with a comparison of existing physical information on the proposed dredged material with the three exclusion criteria of 40 CFR Section 227.13(b). If the dredged material meets at least one of these criteria, additional testing is not required. The three exclusion criteria are indicated below:
(1) The dredged material is composed predominately of sand, gravel, rock, or any other naturally occurring bottom material with particle sizes larger than silt, and the material is found in areas of high current or wave energy such as streams with large bed loads or coastal areas with shifting bars and channels; or>
(2) The dredged material is for beach nourishment or restoration and is composed predominately of sand, gravel, or shell with particle sizes compatible with material on the receiving beach; or
(3) When: a. The material proposed for disposal is substantially the same as the substrate at the proposed dump site; and b. The site from which the material proposed for disposal is to be taken is far removed from known sources of pollution so as to provide a reasonable assurance that such material has not been contaminated by such pollution.
*Information was obtained from The Southeast Regional Implementation Manual (SERIM) for Requirements and Procedures for Evaluation of the Ocean Disposal of Dredged Material in Southeastern U.S. Atlantic and Gulf Coast Waters The Southeast Regional Implementation Manual (SERIM) for Requirements and Procedures for Evaluation of the Ocean Disposal of Dredged Material in Southeastern U.S. Atlantic and Gulf Coast Waters was prepared by the US EPA Region 4, and the US Army Corps of Engineers – South Atlantic Division, with assistance from ANAMAR Environmental Consulting, Inc. in accordance with federal authorities.
Good grammar is important in business dealings, whether spoken or written. Here are a couple of guidelines to help you communicate effectively.
Reflexive Pronouns: Me, Myself, and I
When you’re unsure of whether to use me or I in a sentence that includes you and at least one other person, just think of how you would use it if you were talking about only yourself.
Incorrect: Will you please make hotel reservations for John and I?
Correct: Will you please make hotel reservations for [John and] me?
Correct: John and I need you to make hotel reservations for us.
Myself is correct only when you are the subject and the object of the sentence and you are emphasizing the action. The sentence below is correct, but would be fine without myself.
Correct: I made the reservations myself.
What types of invertebrates can be identified from the remains contributing to the sediment in continental slope waters? An ANAMAR biologist set out to learn just what groups of invertebrates could be identified from sediment collected in the deep waters off Port Everglades Harbor, Florida. The sample was collected using a custom-made bucket sampler that was towed a short distance across the sediment surface in 664 feet of water off Port Everglades Harbor (Fort Lauderdale), Florida.
About 2 gallons of the sediment was sieved through a 2-mm screen. An additional 15 ounces of the sediment was wet-sieved with a 0.8-mm fine-mesh screen to uncover the remains of smaller invertebrates. The sample matrix was mostly greenish-gray silty fine sand, most of which was washed away during the sieving process. The remaining shells and other hard objects were left to dry over a few week’s time. The remains were then identified and photographed.
So what was found?
The sample contained:
Are any of these remains fossilized?
Northwest Florida Water Management District proposes 11-year delay in setting minimum flow levels for Wakulla and many other springs.
Q: Where could I find information on initiating a Sampling and Analysis Plan (SAP)?
A: In the SERIM* – Sampling and Analysis Plan (SAP)/Quality Assurance Project Plan (QAPP)
The SAP is the main source of information about the proposed dredging project’s sampling design/approach and quality assurance/quality control (QA/QC) measures associated with sample collection and dredged material analysis. The SAP is equivalent to the Draft QAPP and will be used in the development of the testing contract Scope of Work (SOW). The Draft QAPP or (SAP) should be coordinated with EPA prior to initiation of the SOW. It is EPA’s policy that all environmental data used in decision-making be supported by a QAPP (EPA, 2000). Therefore, a final QAPP should also be coordinated with EPA prior to initiation of sampling. Sampling and testing should be coordinated far enough in advance of dredging to allow time for testing and data review (see Section 2.2).
*Information was obtained from The Southeast Regional Implementation Manual (SERIM) for Requirements and Procedures for Evaluation of the Ocean Disposal of Dredged Material in Southeastern U.S. Atlantic and Gulf Coast Waters. The SERIM was prepared by the US EPA Region 4, and the US Army Corps of Engineers – South Atlantic Division, with assistance from ANAMAR Environmental Consulting, Inc. in accordance with federal authorities.
Florida Leaders Organized for Water (FLOW) is holding a meeting January 14, 2013 in Lake City to discuss proposed legislations geared towards helping to protect Florida’s water by implementing permanent solutions for developing sustainable water quality/quantity. The meeting is free and open to the public. Click on the link below for more details.
Florida has a variety of springs that range from trickles to massive outputs of water, such as Wakulla, Silver, and Manatee springs that discharge millions of gallons per day. Florida’s springs are at risk due to many factors, including excessive water consumption, sewage treatment and disposal, wastewater and agricultural activities (e.g., farming, fertilizer and pesticides application). One of the aquifer’s greatest threats stems from phosphates and nitrates that migrate into it as a byproduct of wastewater and agricultural runoff. When these compounds seep into the aquifer, they resurface at groundwater discharge sites and cause hypoxia (depletion of oxygen), which in turn stimulates the growth of phytoplankton and cause algae to bloom. Hypoxia has a devastating effect on the balance of many plant and animal species that inhabit the springs. Another huge factor in the aquifer’s crisis is water depletion, which occurs when more water is pulled out of the aquifer than the amount of recharge (rainwater) flowing into it. The depletion of water levels can have multiple devastating effects, including increased water salinity, which occurs when groundwater levels fall below sea level and underlying saltwater flows in, and flow cessation in the springs and rivers. This Tampa Bay Times interactive article has more information. This photo was taken at Silver Glen Spring in the Ocala National Forest (courtesy of Stacie Greco).
As we start this new year, let’s not forget about Florida’s threatened and endangered species. Below is a link to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commissions’ list of threatened and endangered species reviewed and approved from their 2011 meeting:
In search of giant fish: What was Hemingway's most coveted game fish?
Papa Hemingway, as he preferred being called over Ernest, was an avid fisherman throughout his life. He purchased his famous sport fishing boat, the 38-foot Pilar, in 1934 from a company in Brooklyn, New York, for $7,495. Hemingway named the vessel after a nickname given to his then-current wife Pauline. The Pilar came fitted with a flying bridge, a live well, and a special modification of the transom to allow large fish to be hauled into the vessel. Hemingway fished in the Florida Keys and off Cuba and the Bahamas. He was particularly fond of fishing the Gulf Stream, where he often targeted tuna and marlin.
His well-honed techniques at successfully landing big tuna and marlin, coupled with his propensity to fish the Gulf Stream using heavy tackle and the many photos of him with landed heavyweights, suggest that Hemingway was most interested in large tuna and marlin. Anyone having read The Old Man and the Sea probably would guess that Hemingway held a special spot in his heart for marlin. While speaking of fishing, he often would mention wanting to land a “grander”, a term that refers to 1000-pound-class marlin. Although the largest of the marlins—Indo-Pacific blue marlin—are legendary heavyweights often referred to as granders, Hemingway’s fishing exploits are outside of the range of that species. Similarly, the massive black marlin is absent from Hemingway’s area of exploit. Instead, Hemingway coveted the huge Atlantic blue marlin of the Gulf Current, and he targeted them in his Key West-Havana-Bimini fishing triangle. Although the Atlantic blue marlin averages only between 300 and 400 pounds, the species’ maximum size of over 12 feet and robust body puts it well into the grander category. The International Game Fish Association (IGFA) all-tackle angling record, a 1,282 pound monster, was landed off St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Unfortunately, the weights of some of Hemingway’s biggest marlin remain unknown to this day due to the depredations of sharks while landing the marlin.
Of the tunas, Hemingway probably most eagerly sought the yellowfin, blackfin, bigeye, and Atlantic bluefin tunas, all of which can be caught in Hemingway’s Key West-Havana-Bimini fishing triangle. Although all of these tunas reach impressive sizes worthy of the most skillful and resourceful of anglers, one species is perhaps the most coveted of all the tunas. The Atlantic bluefin is often referred to simply as a “giant”. With a maximum size of over 10 feet, coupled with a torpedo-shaped body made of pure muscle, the Atlantic bluefin may well have been Hemingway’s most prized fish. The IGFA all-tackle record tipped the scales at about 1,497 pounds for a giant bluefin caught off Nova Scotia in 1979.
In celebration of Hemingway’s passion and aptitude for big game fishing, the Hemingway International Billfish Tournament is held each year near Havana, Cuba, where anglers target marlin, tuna, wahoo, dolphinfish, and other heavyweights over a several-day period. A full-size replica of Hemingway’s Pilar, complete with several fighting chairs, can be seen on display at the Worldwide Sportsman store in Islamorada, Florida. The original Pilar is on display in the Museo Ernest Hemingway in Cuba, near Havana.
The Florida Department of Environmental Protection and The Air Force agree to utilize state land and state aquatic areas for the deployment of communication equipment and non-hazardous training. Click on the link below to read further:
Recycling Christmas trees
Around the world people are finding ways to put their once-decorative Christmas trees to better use. Here are some ideas for post-holiday uses for our old fir friends:
Re-using wrapping paper
Here are a few ideas on how to re-use gift wrap after the holidays:
What animals can be found in the sediment at Canaveral Harbor, and what can they tell us about the age of the sediment?
Although harbor sediment is often subjected to physical, chemical, toxicological, and bioaccumulation analysis, the biological properties often go unnoticed and unappreciated during such testing. What can the biological properties—the critters inhabiting the sediment—tell us about the age and history of the sediment? An ANAMAR biologist set out to learn just that by sieving extra material from a recent sediment sampling event at Canaveral Harbor, Florida.
About 12 gallons of extra sediment sampled from the harbor was wet-sieved with a 2-mm screen to uncover modern and fossil animal remains. The sample matrix was mostly gray-green colored clay, which was washed away during the sieving process. The remaining shell hash component in the sieve showed that it contained the remains of at least mollusks. The shells and other hard objects were left to dry over a few week’s time. The remains were then identified and photographed.
So, what was found?
The sample contained:
Are any of these remains fossilized?
It is not always easy to differentiate a fossil from the remains of modern animals, especially when considering the remains of mollusks having calcium carbonate shells. However, we can say with certainty that the limpet shell is a fossil because the species Diodora floridana lived only during the Pleistocene (it has been extinct for thousands of years [Peterson and Peterson 2008]). The Florida flatcoil shells may also represent fossils as they appeared to contain consolidated mineralized material filling the internal voids and were much darker than modern shells of this species. The finetooth shark tooth also represents a fossil, although this species still occurs around Florida. Most shark teeth found in sediment or on the ground are fossils because, although sharks are abundant in today’s oceans and they continually lose and replace teeth throughout their lives, it takes a build-up of teeth over thousands or millions of years for them to be numerous enough to be easily found.
Most of the remaining shells are Holocene in age (modern). Overall, the shells within the sediment range in age from Holocene (recent) to the Pleistocene (12,000 to 2.6 million years ago), based on the taxonomy of the animal remains. The presence of the land snail Polygyra septemvolva among the remains of the marine animals suggests that the sediment had been mixed with other deposits originating from terrestrial sources.
Peterson, C. and B. Peterson. 2008. Southern Florida’s Fossil Seashells. Blue Note Publications, Inc., Cocoa Beach, FL.
"The first rule of any technology that is used in a business is that automation applied to an efficient operation will magnify the efficiency. The second is that automation applied to an inefficient operation will magnify the inefficiency." - Bill Gates
Need to be more efficient? Start with the basics and learn some of these keyboard shortcuts for common actions. (You can get the full list of keyboard shortcuts by going to the Word help menu (F1) and searching for “keyboard shortcuts.”) Connie never fails to impress us with these...
Repeats your very last keystroke or command (works in other MS Office programs too). You can use it multiple times in a row if you don’t press any other keys! You must have your function keys locked on for this to work.
CTRL + C
CTRL + X
CTRL + V
CTRL + E
CTRL + L
CTRL + R
CTRL + F
CTRL + G
Go to (page number)
CTRL + H
Search and replace
CTRL + N
Creates a new blank page
CTRL + P
Brings up the “Print” menu
CTRL + S
Save (file update without exiting)
CTRL + Y
CTRL + Z
ALT + O, E
Brings up the “Change Case” menu
ALT + A, R
Brings up the “Table Properties” menu
ALT + O, P
Brings up the “Paragraph” menu
ALT + I, B
Brings up the insert “Break” menu (page break, section break, etc.)
Did you know?
When viewing a drop-down menu, you can execute a command without using the mouse. Just hold the ALT key while pressing the key coinciding with the underlined letter in the command you want to use.
An interview with the Army Corps of EngineersDistrict Commander Lt. Col. Ed Chamberlayne about the effects of the Charleston deepening and glimpse of sampling operations aboard the Artemis (Athena Technologies).
Save the date! The 2013 Friends of O'Leno Chili Cookoff and Springs Celebration will be held at O'Leno State Park, north of High Springs, Florida, on March 23. The ultimate fusion of outdoor and culinary adventure, it's a day to celebrate the natural beauty of Florida's springs, hear some great music, and sample winning chili while supporting the treasure that is O'Leno State Park.
Ferdinand Magellan was the first European in history to reach the Pacific Ocean from the Atlantic Ocean by way of traveling a 373-mile-long passage (which later became known as the Magellan Strait) located south of South America and north of Tierra Del Fuego. His crew departed from Seville, Spain, on August 10, 1519, and consisted of a fleet of 5 ships and 237 men. Ferdinand’s goal was to develop a spice trade route from Spain to the Spice Islands (Maluku Islands, Indonesia). After navigating through the strait, Ferdinand landed in the Philippines where he converted Raja Humabon, the raja of Cebu, to Christianity. Humabon then issued an order for all the island tribes to convert to Christianity and to bring supplies for Magellan and his crew. Lapu Lapu, the chief of Mactan Island, was noncompliant with Humabon’s request, thus instigating the Battle of Mactan on April 27, 1521. Magellan was killed during the battle and the rest of his men fled and continued their voyage to the Maluku Islands. Upon landing in Maluku, the fleet consisted of only 2 ships and 115 men. The crew traded with the Sultan of Tidore and tried to continue their voyage. However, one of the ships started to take on water and was later shipwrecked during a storm. The last surviving ship and its crew voyaged on, finally landing back Seville, Spain, on September 6, 1522. Only 18 of 237 men and 1 of 5 ships were left of the fleet but were awarded the entitlement of the first ship/fleet to circumnavigate the globe with its 37,560-mile expedition.
Analysis from initial and ongoing post-storm sampling will continue through the coming weeks to provide scientific assessments of how the chemical and biological quality of streams and other water bodies are affected. Results can be found here.
UN Climate Change Conference Resumes in Doha, Qatar
Nearly 200 countries will be represented at the talks, which will focus on emissions reduction and the economic burden of rich vs. poor nations. What do you think? Weigh in at https://twitter.com/ANAMAR_Env or our LinkedIn page.
<pThe Mayflower used a very mathematical process to navigate to America. A compass was used to chart the ship’s direction, and the log and line method was used to measure speed and distance traveled. The log and line method was a rope containing strategically placed knots that was attached to a log and then thrown off the stern of the boat. As the boat would move, the rope would pull from the log while an hour glass was used to measure a certain length of time. When the hour glass became empty, a sailor would then ring a bell and another sailor would count the number of knots that had passed. When the knots/time were compared, seamen could tell the distance traveled and at what speed, later being known as nautical knots.
Savannah Harbor Expansion
Asst. Secretary of the Army Jo-Ellen Darcy issued the Record of Decision for the Savannah Harbor Expansion (SHEP) Project.
"The Record of Decision affirms that this is a project of national significance," said GPA Executive Director Chris Foltz. "It is a major milestone culminating what has been a 15-year effort."
Charleston Harbor Sampling Operations
Weather and currents have been keeping things interesting. This week we are sampling in the Drum Island Reach and Hog Island Reach, which is near the confluence of the Cooper and Wando Rivers, making for strong currents. The moon phase is now a waxing crescent, which beats the new moon last week for conditions. The material contains a great amount of Cooper Marl, which characterizes the foundation bearing stratum of the Ravenel Bridge.
The field team was joined by Lt. Colonel Chamberlayne, Charleston District Commander, on Friday - photos and news story here; sampling underway in Mt. Pleasant Reach and the Wando River Basin. Be sure to follow our Twitter feed for real-time updates.
The Panama Canal, one of the ‘seven wonders of the world,’ is a 48-mile, two-lane passageway/toll-way connecting the Caribbean Sea (Atlantic Ocean) to the Gulf of Panama (Pacific Ocean). Its location is advantageous for transcontinental (east-west) trade routes—the canal saves ships approximately 7, 800 miles by allowing them to pass through Panama instead of traveling around South America. Due to the canal’s high demand, a $5.25 billion expansion has been approved that will create a third lane, predicted to be complete in 2015 (around 100 years after the Panama Canal was first completed). It will also entail deepening the Culebra Cut, a man-made canal that connects the Gulf of Panama to Gatun Lake (a man-made lake located 85 feet above sea level along a 21-mile stretch of the Panama Canal) and widening and deepening Gatun Lake. Due to the lake’s altitude, there are three locks in each lane that raise and lower the ships as they pass through the canal. This project will double the Panamax (maximum size of transit ships), thus increasing the canal’s gross income. The Panama Canal Authority has numerous water quality control monitors in place and claims to have the ability to accurately assess Panama’s water quality. However, some speculators still worry about water salinity and other impacts the third lane will have on Panama’s drinking water.
Fun Fact: The highest canal fee ever charged was $375,600 for the Luxurious Pearl, and the lowest fee ever charged was $0.36 to Richard Halliburton, who weighed in at 150 lbs and swam the whole length of the canal.
ANAMAR salutes all the first responders involved in the wake of Hurricane Sandy - our thoughts and prayers are with all affected.
Over the weekend, sampling was completed in the Anchorage Basin in the lower harbor and sampling began in the entrance channel. Depending on tidal currents and wind velocity/direction, sampling may include the lower harbor and/or the entrance channel over the next couple of days. Sampling at the offshore reference station is underway. The photo above is from the North Charleston Widener area and shows some of the calcareous clay being encountered - a rather sticky situation!
Sunday 10/28: Today both winds and tide conspired to work against us. High winds in the morning made it impossible to go out at daybreak and strong outgoing tides made it impossible to collect core samples until almost 4:00 in the afternoon. We were able to collect the site water for the upper harbor. Tomorrow we will be working in Daniel Island Reach. The window of workable tides will be from daylight until late morning and mid afternoon until sunset.
This week in history:
The position of the sunken Confederate Submarine "H L Hunley" is discovered
On October 25, 1970, Dr. E Lee Spence found the shipwreck of the 40-foot-long confederate submarine H.L. Hunley which sank following a fatal blow to the 204-foot-long union blockade ship USS Housatonic on Febuary 17, 1864, just outside Charleston Harbor, South Carolina during the civil war. This event was the first recorded submarine to sink an enemy warship.
The Housatonic was part of the Anaconda Plan (Proclamation of Blockade Against Southern Ports), a strategy that President Lincoln issued on April 19, 1861, requiring the closure of 3,500 miles of Confederate coastline and twelve major ports, including New Orleans and Mobile, the top two cotton exporting ports, prior to the civil war, as well as the Atlantic ports of Charleston, Wilmington, and Savannah. The H L Hunley was controlled by the 21st Alabama Infantry Regiment and sank on a total of three occasions, claiming the lives of 21 crew members during its use by the Confederate Army. The Hunley, a hand crank propelled submarine, held a crew of seven enlisted confederates and one officer the day of its attack on the Housatonic, claiming all eight lives onboard, while only two officers and three men from the Housatonic died as a result of the attack. The whereabouts of the Hunley remained a mystery until the discovery of the wreckage in 1970.
Dr. Spence's 1995 book, Treasures of the Confederate Coast includes a chapter on his discovery of the Hunley along with a map showing the wreck's location. On August 8, 2000, the sub was excavated and broke water for the first time in well over a century and still contained the remains of its crew, composed of Lieutenant George Dixon (Commander), Frank Collins, Joseph Ridgaway, James Wicks, Arnold Becker, Corporal C. F. Carlsen, C. Lumpkin, and Augstus Miller. The position of the crew’s remains indicated that the men died at their stations and were not trying to escape from the sinking submarine. After 4 years of research the remains of the crew were laid to rest in 2004 at Magnolia Cemetery in Charleston. The Hunley now rests in a conservation laboratory at the Warren Lasch Conservation Center in Charleston. In 1873, the Army Corps of Engineers declared the Housatonic (then, marked by a buoy) to be an hazard to commercial ships entering and leaving the harbor and awarded William Virden a salvage contract to reduce the height of the vessel. In 1999, Staff from the Underwater Archaeology Branch of the National Park Service, along with the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, excavated the ship’s remains where artifacts now are being conserved in the Naval Historical Center’s conservation laboratory.
Sampling continues in Charleston Harbor
During yesterday's sampling in the harbor we found a shark tooth!
USCG Marine Safety Information Bulletin - Sector Charleston
Dredging 2012 ANAMAR Speaker Times
Tuesday 10/23 at 3:30 PST: Development of a Regional Guidance Document for Dredged Material Evaluation (Nadia Lombardero and Chris McArthur-EPA)
Wednesday 10/24 at 10:30 PST: Inner Shelf Marine Geologic Formations of the South Atlantic Bight: Regulatory Implications and Methods for Project Solutions (Christine Smith and Bill Aley, P.G.)
Thursday 10/25 at 8:30 PST: Jacksonville ODMDS Designation - Site Selection Process and Characterization Studies (Michelle Rau)
In support of the Charleston Harbor Deepening (Post-45), ANAMAR will be sampling the Upper Harbor, Lower Harbor, and Entrance Channel portions of Charleston Harbor in October and November. Follow us at @ANAMAR_Env for real-time field reports!
Dredging 2012 Conference - San Diego, CA
The Dredging 2012 conference starts Monday, October 22! Michelle Rau, Nadia Lombardero, and Christine Smith will be presenting on topics ranging from the NEPA process behind ODMDS site designation to the regulatory implications of marine geologic formations of the South Atlantic Bight. Stop by the ANAMAR booth and say hello to the ladies!
The eight species of freshwater mussels listed below were recently designated by USFWS as either endangered or threatened, and all live in Florida or Alabama. These freshwater mussels may look uninteresting and have weird or funny common names, but these animals can live for centuries and they serve as indicators of the health of a river system. Photo courtesy of Dick Biggins, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
ENDANGERED, with Designated Critical Habitat:
Alabama pearlshell Margaritfera marrianae
Round ebonyshell Fusconaia rotulata
Southern kidneyshell Ptychobranchus jonesi
Choctaw bean Villosa choctawensis
THREATENED, with Designated Critical Habitat:
Tapered pigtoe Fusconaia burkei
Narrow pigtoe Fusconaia Escambia
Southern sandshell Hamiota australis
Fuzzy pigtoe Pleurobema strodeanum
A total of 1,494 linear miles of stream/river channels in Florida and Alabama are being designated critical habitat for these eight species. Major rivers include the Escambia, Yellow, Mobile, and Choctawhatchee rivers.
Counties in Florida affected:
Bay, Escambia, Holmes, Jackson, Okaloosa, Santa Rosa, Walton, Washington
Counties in Alabama affected:
Barbour, Bullock, Butler, Coffee, Conecuh, Covington, Crenshaw, Dale, Escambia, Geneva, Henry, Houston, Monroe, Pike
The fourth specialty conference on dredging and dredged material disposal, Dredging 2012, which will be taking place in San Diego, CA, October 22-25, 2012. Dredging 2012 is a 4-day technical specialty conference organized by PIANC USA and the Coasts, Oceans, Ports and Rivers Institute of the American Society of Civil Engineers (COPRI ASCE). More information at http://dredging12.pianc.us/.
We are excited to announce that from October 9 through 11 ANAMAR will be attending a Western Dredging Association (WEDA) workshop in Miami Beach at the Eden Roc Renaissance Hotel. This workshop will aid in bringing together fellow members of the Association of Dredgers from North, Central, and South America for an exchange of information on dredging, navigation, marine engineering, and construction. Seven chapters will be attending from WEDA’s Eastern Chapter, Gulf Coast Chapter, Midwest Chapter, Pacific Chapter, Mexico Chapter, Brazil Chapter, and Panama Chapter. ANAMAR's WEDA membership is with the Eastern Chapter.
Naval Station Mayport is a major U.S. Navy port area located on the east coast of Florida at the mouth of the St. Johns River. The turning basin, berthing areas, and entrance channel are periodically maintained to remove dredge material that has built up. Upcoming maintenance dredging is scheduled to occur in two separate events. ANAMAR was contracted to perform sampling and analysis of this maintenance material. The first phase of sample collection was completed in September, and it is anticipated that the second sampling event will take place next spring. These data are used to evaluate the suitability of the dredge material for ocean disposal in the Jacksonville ODMDS. During the sampling event, pods of dolphins were seen congregating near the mouth of the St. Johns River just outside the entrance to Naval Station Mayport.
At first glance, Mayport is a small fishing town east of Jacksonville, FL and south of Fernandina Beach. However, this community is host to a naval base where large projects will be undertaken throughout the coming decade. Development of its ports will help optimize the space used to berth ships and maximize the capabilities of this base and the Jacksonville Fleet Concentration Area. Mayport is strategically located within 6 hours of other major naval bases along the Atlantic coast. Aged ships are steadily being decommissioned as room is made for destroyer and combat ships that are to be deployed to Mayport beginning in 2013.
Site water collected, sampling complete.
Sampling vs. Florida Weather
During a delay in operations due to a passing squall, it was noted that the space shuttle orbiters have a steep angle of descent during landing. Captain Bill, who knows how to keep things interesting during a storm delay, commented that they “glided like a homesick manhole cover” on their approach back to Earth. Sampling near Canaveral is always special. Weather permitting, the Endeavour will be leaving Kennedy Space Center and hitching a ride on a 747 for its final flight to California on Wednesday. All eyes on the weather, as usual…
The importance of epifaunal trawl surveys in assessing community composition and determining levels of anthropogenic impacts (such as at a dredged material disposal site).
Epifaunal organisms are those which live on the surface of the substrate, including both sessile (e.g., seagrasses, corals, barnacles) and mobile organisms (e.g., crabs, shrimps, fishes). The benthic ocean environment is one of two major realms of the marine environment (the second being the pelagic realm), and the importance of the benthic environment and the organisms associated with it cannot be overstated. Benthic epifauna are immensely important for human consumption and for recreational opportunities (e.g., sport fishing, diving). Epifauna also play a vital role in marine ecology. In addition, these organisms serve as indicators of chemical contamination as many harmful contaminants such as heavy metals, pesticides, PCBs, and PAHs accumulate in their tissues when these analytes are present in the surrounding sediments and water column. Benthic epifauna are often also prey items for larger, pelagic species which are in turn consumed by people or used for sport. Due to the role that benthic epifauna play in the marine ecosystem and their commercial importance, the health and productivity of epifaunal communities fuel the economy through seafood sales and aquatic recreation.
Epifaunal communities can experience disturbances through either natural or man-made causes, or a combination of the two. It is important to understand these effects and take steps to ameliorate negative impacts when they are identified as originating from the actions of man. Epifaunal surveys provide the means to assess benthic community health and identify temporal or spatial changes. Survey data is commonly used to:
Epifaunal surveys can also help identify, monitor, and assess:
ANAMAR has been awarded a 5-year contract with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers–Seattle District to perform navigation support and environmental services in the Pacific Northwest, including Alaska, Washington, Idaho, Montana, and Oregon. Tasks will include the collection and analysis of sediment, water, and biotic samples, oceanographic surveys, fisheries studies, and development of documentation for various regulatory criteria, including the National Environmental Policy Act, the Clean Water Act, and the Endangered Species Act.
Taxonomic, biogeographical, and physiological factors affecting bioaccumulation of contaminants of concern: Why is it unwise to compare results between taxa, between geographic regions, or even between life stages?
Bioaccumulation patterns of metals and other contaminants can vary significantly even among taxa sharing the same major taxonomic group and this point should not be overlooked when comparing tissue analysis data. For example, barnacles (cirripedia) are known to accumulate zinc from solution without any significant amount of excretion (Rainbow 2007). All zinc taken in by the diet of a barnacle accumulates in the body as zinc pyrophosphate granules and results in some of the highest accumulated concentrations (e.g., to at least 50,000 mg/kg) of any metal in any taxa (Rainbow 2007). On the opposite end of the spectrum is the grass shrimp, Palaemon elegans, which shares the class crustacea with barnacles but is able to regulate its body concentration of zinc at about 90 mg/kg almost regardless of the dissolved concentrations it is exposed to (Rainbow 2007). This is because the rate of uptake is balanced by that of excretion, allowing the body concentration to remain unchanged (Rainbow 2007).
Species-specific bioaccumulation influences are not limited to invertebrates. A study of total arsenic concentrations in marine fish tissue from stocks in the Caribbean and the Mediterranean seas found that species-specific characteristics, rather than geographical location, influenced bioaccumulation levels (Fattorini et al. 2006). It is recommended that bioaccumulation studies carefully select the taxa to be used in any comparison.
Further, the selection of similar size classes and season of capture (as it relates to reproductive state and maternal transfer of contaminants) may reduce variability somewhat. Positive relationships between bioaccumulated mercury concentrations and fish size (length, weight) and fish age have been documented in Florida populations of red drum (Sciaenops ocellatus; Adams and Onorato 2005), spotted seatrout (Cynoscion nebulosus; Rider and Adams 2000), and king mackerel (Scomberomorus cavalla; Adams and McMichael 2007). Trophic status also plays an important role. Apex predators such as bull sharks (Carcharhinus leucas) have been documented to have up to two orders of magnitude greater PCB concentrations than lower trophic-level fish species in Florida (Johnson-Restrepo et al. 2005). Factors discussed above should be considered when choosing a test subject for future monitoring and comparisons.
Sources Cited Above:
Adams, D.H. and R.H. McMichael. 2007. Mercury in king mackerel, Scomberomorus cavalla, and Spanish mackerel, S. maculatus, from water of the south-eastern USA: regional and historical trends. Marine and Freshwater Research 58:187–193.
Adams, D.H. and G.V. Onorato. 2005. Mercury concentrations in red drum, Scianops ocellatus, from estuarine and offshore waters of Florida. Marine Pollution Bulletin 50:291–300.
Fattorini, D., A. Notti, and F. Regoli. 2006. Characterization of arsenic content in marine organisms from temperate, tropical, and polar environments. Chemistry and Ecology 22(5):405–414.
Johnson-Restrepo, B., K. Kannan, R. Addink, and D.H. Adams. 2005. Polybrominated diphenyl ethers and polychlorinated biphenyls in a marine foodweb of coastal Florida. Environmental Science & Technology 39(21):8,243–8,250.
Rainbow, P.S. 2006. Trace metal bioaccumulation: Models, metabolic availability and toxicity. Environment International 33(2007):576–582.
Rider, S.J. and D.H. Adams. 2000. Mercury concentrations in spotted seatrout (Cynoscion nebulosus) from northwest Florida. Gulf of Mexico Science 18(2):97–103.
The second mobilization attempt for sediment sampling at Port Canaveral is scheduled to begin next week, after the first attempt was sidelined by Tropical Storm Isaac. Even though the tropics are not completely free of threats, and Hurricane Leslie is slowly zeroing in on Bermuda, there are currently no expected delays in the project schedule. The current mobilization efforts actually have a time advantage because the field equipment is packed and ready to go. More updates from the field will follow soon.
Seven Nationally and Regionally Significant Infrastructure Projects to be Expedited
The White House recently announced that 7 nationally and regionally significant infrastructure projects will be expedited to help modernize and expand 5 major ports in the United States, including the Port of Jacksonville, the Port of Miami, the Port of Savannah, the Port of New York and New Jersey, and the Port of Charleston. According to the White House press release, the 7 projects that will be expedited by Executive Order are listed below.
Coordinating Agency: US Army Corps of Engineers
Target date for completing all Federal permit and review decisions: September 2015
Under its planning modernization process, the Army Corps is implementing an aggressive planning schedule for the Charleston Harbor Feasibility Study that will examine the benefits and costs of deepening the Federal navigation channel for Charleston Harbor from its existing depth of 45 feet to a maximum of 50 feet to accommodate larger cargo vessels and other ships, ultimately facilitating a more efficient movement of goods. The study is expected to be complete within 3 years – much earlier than the over 10 year average.
Coordinating Agency: US Army Corps of Engineers
Target date for completing all Federal permit and review decisions: April 2013
The Army Corps is completing a feasibility study to examine the benefits and costs of deepening the Federal navigation channel at the port from its existing authorized project depth of 40 feet up to maximum project depth of 50 feet to accommodate larger cargo vessels and other ships. The Army Corps is applying its modernized planning process for potential long-term infrastructure investments to this ongoing study, and expects to complete its recommendations for improvements several years earlier than originally anticipated. The Port of Jacksonville plans to construct a new Intermodal Container Facility concurrently with the navigation improvements that will vastly improve the efficient movement of goods.
Jacksonville Intermodal Container Facility
Coordinating Agency: US Department of Transportation
Target date for completing all Federal permit and review decisions: July 2013
A new Intermodal Container Facility (ICTF) at the Port of Jacksonville will increase the capacity of the port to handle containers that arrive or depart by rail, and thereby will reduce truck traffic on local and regional roads. The ICTF will include a five-track rail yard, two wide-span electric cranes, and a paved area for stacking containers and several support uses, including a road a gate for truck movement of cargo, a parking area, and storm water retention facilities. The facility will also use zero-emission, wide-span electric cranes for all lift operations. This $45 million project is being financed through a public-private partnership, including US Department of Transportation TIGER grant funding of $10 million serving as an example of the expanded outreach and coordination by DOT to help non-traditional grantees navigate the environmental review process, from start to finish, in an efficient manner to meet the aggressive timelines associated with an innovative funding program. This port-side investment compliments the ongoing work by the Corps of Engineers helping maintain and increase the economic competitiveness of the port as expansion of the Panama Canal commences in the coming years.
Coordinating Agency: US Army Corps of Engineers
Target date for completion of all Federal permit and review decisions: August 2012
The Army Corps is working with the Port of Miami to construct an authorized project that involves deepening the Federal navigation at the port from its current depth of 42 feet to a depth of 50 feet. The project would enable the port to accommodate larger cargo vessels and other ships, ultimately facilitating a more efficient movement of goods. Through a progressive partnership with the State of Florida, which has provided all of the funds needed to construct this project, the time frame for its construction has been advanced by years. The Corps expects to complete the deepening of the Federal navigation channel by late 2012. Related infrastructure improvements include landside investments funded in part by the Department of Transportation.
Coordinating Agency: US Army Corps of Engineers
Target date for completing all Federal permit and review decisions: November 2012
The Army Corps has completed a feasibility report that examined the benefits and costs of deepening the existing channel at Savannah Harbor from its current depth of 42 feet to a depth of 47 feet. The proposed project would enable the Port of Savannah to accommodate larger cargo vessels and other ships, ultimately facilitating more efficient movement of goods. The study involved a multiyear collaborative effort with the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Interior and the Department of Commerce, all of whom must also approve the final report. As a result of this collaboration, the project includes an extensive mitigation plan, which is an integral part of the recommended improvements and are intended to restore, preserve, and adaptively manage the surrounding ecosystem, which includes the Savannah National Wildlife Refuge.
New York and New Jersey Harbor
Coordinating Agency: US Army Corps of Engineers
Target date for completing all Federal permit and review decisions: May 2013
The Port of New York and New Jersey is the largest port on the East Coast. Through the port’s major container terminals, waterborne cargo moves to all parts of the United States and throughout the world. The Army Corps is in the final stages of constructing an authorized project that will deepen existing Federal channels that provide access to four container terminals to a depth of 50 feet, enabling the navigation channel to accommodate larger cargo vessels and other ships, ultimately facilitating a more efficient movement of goods. The Corps expects to complete this $1.6 billion project in 2014. In order to fully realize the potential economic returns from this improvement to the navigation channel, the Port also plans to raise the Bayonne Bridge.
Bayonne Bridge Raising
Coordinating Agency: US Coast Guard
Target date for completing all Federal permit and review decisions: April 2013
The Port of New York and New Jersey plans to raise the height of the Bayonne Bridge by 2016 in order to provide enough vertical clearance to allow access to the Port's main container terminals by larger container vessels able to transit to the Port of New York/New Jersey due to deepening of the New York Harbor's navigation channels by the Army Corps of Engineers. This project, which is estimated to cost $1 billion paid with the Port Authority funding, involves raising the roadway from 151 feet to 215 feet above mean high water, while preserving the bridge's historic arch. Effective coordination between the Port Authority and the Coast Guard (the federal coordinating agency) and with other Federal agencies, is anticipated to reduce the overall permit decision-making and review timelines by several months.
The importance of benthic infaunal surveys in assessing community composition and determining levels of anthropogenic impacts (such as at a dredged material disposal site)
Benthic infauna are animals which burrow within the substrate. The benthic ocean environment is one of two major realms of the marine environment (the second being the pelagic realm). The importance of the benthic environment and the organisms which inhabit it cannot be overstated. Infaunal organisms are essential decomposers of organic matter originating from the water column and river sources. Infaunal organisms are also important forage for larger marine animals, many of which are important sources of food for people. Since many commercially important marine animals consume infauna directly or prey on intermediate infaunal predators, the health and productivity of infaunal communities fuel coastal seafood economies. Infaunal communities can be disturbed due to natural or man-made causes, or a combination of the two. It is important to understand the effects of these disturbances, and take steps to ameliorate negative impacts when they are identified as originating from the actions of man. Infaunal surveys provide the means to assess infaunal community health and identify temporal or spatial changes. Infaunal survey data are commonly used to:
Shingle tube worm photo courtesy of Amanda Bemis and Jenna Moore, Florida Museum of Natural History
Seattle, Tacoma ports will survive Panama Canal widening, USDOT boss says
Worries about the effects of expansion of the Panama Canal on Seattle and Tacoma ports were addressed by U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood, and U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell on a visit to Seattle on August 23.
For the full article, visit The Seattle Times.
Every year in late summer, like a Mexican Luchador wrestler, the surface temperature of the Atlantic Ocean becomes ideal for spawning tropical cyclones that create merciless seas completely inhospitable for field work, or much else, aside from children excited by the cancelled school days and surfers rejoicing in the big waves. The models are in decent consensus and T.S. Isaac should be passing somewhere near (or over) Florida as a hurricane in the next several days, coinciding with scheduled field work in support of the planned Port Canaveral navigation improvements. Hurricane season is a reality and doesn’t respect project timelines--mobilization has been postponed as we await the storm’s passage.
Sampling and Analysis for Planned Port Canaveral Navigation Improvements
As mentioned in last week’s post, the Canaveral Port Authority is planning deepening and widening of the port for improved navigational abilities of large cruise ships, to allow bulk freighters to safely enter the port with a full payload without having to wait for high tide, and to reduce the adverse hydraulic effects on ships and infrastructure within the port under existing conditions. Before the actual expansion can begin, dredge material from the site must tested to determine suitability for disposal at the appropriate Ocean Dredged Material Disposal Site (ODMDS) per requirements established in Section 103 of the Marine Protection, Research, and Sanctuaries Act (MPRSA).
ANAMAR plays a key role in this project by planning and performing analysis of all sediment and water samples collected on site. Dredge material will be tested for physical, chemical, and toxicological parameters to establish suitability for disposal at the ODMDS. Mobilization is underway...stay tuned for details!
After the Space Shuttle Era, Port Canaveral Expansion Expected to be Major Economic Driver for the Region
With the expansion of the Panama Canal expected to be complete in 2014, some American ports are planning for the larger ships (such as Post-Panamax ships and larger cruise ships) that will be able to transit the canal from Asia. In the case of Port Canaveral, the Canaveral Port Authority (CPA) has been pro-active in its preparations and is planning deepening and widening of the port for improved navigational abilities of large cruise ships, to allow bulk freighters to safely enter the port with a full payload without having to wait for high tide, and to reduce the adverse hydraulic effects on ships and infrastructure within the port under existing conditions. Port improvements are expected to add around 7000 direct and indirect jobs to the region. In preparation for the proposed deepening and widening of Canaveral Harbor, CPA is preparing a Section 203 Navigation Study Report and Environmental Assessment to analyze the associated potential environmental effects of improvements to the existing federal navigation project. Read more at: Port Canaveral Main Report
Criteria published by EPA in Title 40 of the Code of Federal Regulations, Part 227.27 (40 CFR 227.27) provides guidance for the evaluation of the liquid, solid, and suspended particulate phases of the proposed dredge material. It defines limiting permissible concentration and describes how it is used to demonstrate compliance and suitability of dredge material for ocean disposal.
Title 40: Protection of Environment
CHAPTER I: ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY (CONTINUED)
SUBCHAPTER H: OCEAN DUMPING
PART 227: CRITERIA FOR THE EVALUATION OF PERMIT APPLICATIONS FOR OCEAN DUMPING OF MATERIALS
Subpart G: Definitions 227.27 - Limiting permissible concentration (LPC).
(a) The limiting permissible concentration of the liquid phase of a material is
Good grammar is important in business dealings, whether spoken or written. Here are a few grammar hints to help you communicate effectively from our editor, Connie Steen...
Use of i.e. and e.g.
• i.e. means that is (think “in explanation”) and clarifies what you’ve just stated
• e.g. means for example (think “eg-sample”) and relates one or more example(s) to give the reader an idea of what you’re talking about, but is less specific than i.e.
Clauses: Which vs. That
Which and that are often used incorrectly, but there’s a simple way to determine which is correct.
• Use which if the point of the sentence is still clear without the clause, which should be set off by commas.
• Use that if the clause is essential to the meaning of the sentence. A that clause is not set off with commas.
o Example: Two skills that are important for my job position are excellent English grammar and spelling, which I have always excelled at and enjoyed.
Confusing words: assure, ensure, insure
assure: to instill with confidence, like a promise
ensure: to make certain
insure: to protect from financial loss by purchasing insurance
Do not worry about the temperature of the samples; I assure you the coolers were fully packed with ice prior to shipping.
To ensure accuracy, all data must undergo our rigorous QA/QC process.
It is wise to insure any equipment that is used in marine environments.
Dredged Material Evaluation 101 - Tier II - IV Testing
Tier II: Chemical Testing
Following an assessment of existing information in Tier I, chemical testing of the dredge material is usually required. Tier II consists of chemical analyses of sediments and elutriates and includes both “conventional” parameters and project-specific COCs identified in the Tier I.
Tier II requires compliance with the LPC, and to demonstrate compliance the ocean disposal of dredged material cannot exceed applicable EPA WQC or state water quality standards outside the disposal site boundaries at any time or within the disposal site boundaries 4 hours after initial mixing. For EPA’s WQC, the acute concentration values [criterion maximum concentration (CMC)] are used. If the analytical results are less than the CMC, the material is in compliance and a numerical mixing model (e.g., STFATE) does not need to be run. If any result exceeds the CMC a numerical mixing model (e.g., STFATE) is run to determine compliance. On a side note, for those who are dying to know more about the inner workings of STFATE, stayed tuned for a blog series by Paul Berman, ANAMAR’s in-house STFATE guru.
There are a couple of options under Tier II for determining compliance with the LPC and/or for screening sediments to assess whether Tier III tests will likely be required. This information will be presented later in Part 3 of this blog series.
Tier III: Toxicity and Bioaccumulation Testing
Tier III testing is used to provide data for an impact assessment of the COCs through use of toxicity and bioaccumulation tests with appropriate sensitive organisms. Both water column toxicity and benthic (whole sediment) toxicity testing are required. The Tier III water column evaluation considers the effects, after initial mixing, of dissolved and suspended contaminants on water column organisms. Whole sediment toxicity tests evaluate the effects of the proposed dredge material disposal on benthic organisms. Bioaccumulation testing (tissue chemistry) is used to determine the potential for uptake of sediment contaminants at the disposal site by benthic organisms.
Tier IV: Further Case-Specific Testing
If a compliance determination cannot be made after completion of the first three tiers, Tier IV testing may be appropriate for exceptional circumstances. An example would be a large project in which non-ocean-disposal options are unavailable or prohibitively expensive, and the project has significant economic or national defense implications. Presently, Tier IV consists of bioassay and bioaccumulation tests to evaluate the long-term benthic impact of dredged material. Tests at this level are selected to address specific project issues. Because these tests are case-specific and require significant time and money to complete, the criteria for determining compliance with 40 CFR 227 should be agreed upon in advance by USEPA and USACE.
Dredge Material Evaluation - Tiered Testing
There’s a lot to know about evaluating dredge material for ocean disposal, so much in fact, that several national and regional guidance manuals have been written on the subject. As a company with core services directly related to sediment evaluations for ocean disposal, we have become quite familiar with these documents and refer to them frequently. This blog series highlights some of the key requirements and procedures for evaluation of dredge material for ocean disposal and will cover (1) the tiered testing approach; (2) limiting permissible concentrations - what it is and how it’s applied to sediment evaluations; (3) Tier II evaluation options. Much of the information presented in this series is adapted or directly excerpted from the guidance documents listed below.
USEPA and USACE. 2008. Southeast Regional Implementation Manual (SERIM) Requirements and Procedures for Evaluation of the Ocean Disposal of Dredged Material in Southeastern U.S. Atlantic and Gulf Coast Waters. Prepared by EPA Region 4 Atlanta, Georgia, and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers South Atlantic Division Atlanta, Georgia, with assistance from ANAMAR Environmental Consulting, Inc. 904-B-08-001. http://www.epa.gov/region4/water/oceans/documents/SERIM_Final_August%202008.pdf
EPA and USACE. 1991. Evaluation of Dredged Material Proposed for Ocean Disposal – Testing Manual (Green Book). EPA-503/8-91-001. February 1991. http://www.epa.gov/owow/oceans/gbook/gbook.pdf
USEPA New England and USACE, New England District. 2004. Regional Implementation Manual for the Evaluation of Dredged Material Proposed for Disposal in New England Waters. April 2004.
USACE Seattle District, Dredged Material Management Program. 2008. Dredged Material Evaluation and Disposal Procedures (User’s Manual). July 2008.
The Marine Protection, Research, and Sanctuaries Act of 1972 (MPRSA) requires that operations involving the transportation and discharge of dredged materials in ocean waters are to be evaluated to determine their potential impact to the marine environment. The proposed disposal must be evaluated through the use of criteria published by EPA in Title 40 of the Code of Federal Regulations, Parts 220-228 (40 CFR 220-228). 40 CFR 227.27 provides guidance for the evaluation of the liquid, solid, and suspended particulate phases of the proposed dredge material.
EPA and USACE have developed a tiered testing approach to evaluate the suitability of dredge material for ocean disposal. The tiered testing approach consists of successive levels of investigation, each with increasing effort and complexity. The approach provides for efficient use of resources by focusing the least effort on dredging projects where the potential for impacts, or lack thereof, is clear, and expending the most effort on dredging projects requiring more extensive investigation to determine the potential, or lack thereof, for impact.
Tier I: Evaluation/Site History
The purpose of a Tier I evaluation is to determine if existing information on the proposed dredge material is sufficient to demonstrate compliance with regulations and to determine contaminants of concern (COCs). A comprehensive review of existing and readily available information, including site history and all previously collected physical, chemical, and biological data, is required to make this determination. Emphasis should be placed on those activities that took place since the last dredging cycle.
Tier I evaluations include an assessment of whether the physical characteristics of the proposed dredge material meets at least one of the exclusionary criteria, if so, additional testing is not required. In some cases, existing or confirmatory analysis may be used to determine compliance with the limiting permissible concentration (LPC). However, if existing test data are considered inadequate to evaluate the proposed project, new sediment chemical and/or biological testing data are required and the evaluation process moves to higher tiers. Tier I information is summarized in the sampling and analysis plan (SAP) and is used to determine project-specific COCs.
The conference paper series continues with Michelle Rau's explanation of the decisions that go into ODMDS site designation:
The Ocean Dredged Material Disposal Site (ODMDS) selection process involves a multi-faceted approach that requires coordination and planning with multiple entities to ensure sufficient information is gathered, that the studies are well designed and executed properly, and that the results adequately describe the sites that are being evaluated.
It is the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency EPA’s policy to publish and process a National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for all ODMDS designations. Currently, there is a need to either expand or select a new ODMDS at the existing Jacksonville, Florida site. This initiative is a great example of the designation process in action.
After sensitive and incompatible areas in the project area are identified, a map is created to graphically represent the constraints, which may include: shipping lanes and navigation restrictions, essential fish and shellfish habitats and trawling areas, whale corridors, artificial reefs, mineral extraction sites, underwater cables, and distance to the continental shelf.
For the Jacksonville project, two general survey areas were selected by EPA and USACE for additional field research and analysis to further identify and delineate resources in those areas. In the reconnaissance portion of the process, sidescan sonar surveys, single beam bathymetry, underwater video transects, and investigative dives were conducted to determine the presence or absence of hard or live bottom resources or archaeological resources.
These studies were conducted by a mixed team of scientists from ANAMAR, EPA, USACE, and volunteers from University of Florida Museum of Natural History. Having a mixed team of scientists with different areas of expertise contributed to the success of the surveys and the quality of data that was collected. Results from these studies have been incorporated into an EIS that is being prepared for this proposed action. The alternative sites are evaluated in detail in the EIS and one preferred location will be selected for final designation as an ODMDS.
Draft rules for mercury in Florida water
The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) released draft rules regarding the total maximum daily load (TMDL) for mercury in Florida’s waters. In conjunction with the draft rules, public workshops will be held throughout the state during the week of July 23, 2012, to respond to any questions about the rules before finalizing them in August. A copy of the rules and the workshop schedule may be found at http://www.dep.state.fl.us/water/tmdl/merctmdl.htm.
The first abstract in a series of papers to be presented by ANAMAR at the PIANC Dredging 2012 Conference:
Development of a Regional Guidance Document for Dredge Material Evaluation
Understanding all the requirements and procedures for evaluating dredge material for ocean disposal can be a daunting task. With an increasing need for disposal of dredged material due to maintenance, expansion, and limited upland disposal options, there are more entities requesting permits for ocean disposal of dredged material. Therefore, having an updated manual that more clearly explains the process of assessing the suitability of dredge material for ocean disposal is very important.
EPA Region 4 and the USACE South Atlantic Districts developed a Regional Implementation Manual (RIM) that complied with the national guidance in the 1991 Green Book (Evaluation of Dredged Material Proposed for Ocean Disposal – Testing Manual). Revisions to RIM were finalized in 2008 to create what is referred to as the Southeast Regional Implementation Manual or SERIM.
Important topics incorporated in the SERIM include:
The SERIM development team received the EPA Bronze Medal for development of the manual. The Bronze Medal Award is the highest level of employee recognition at the EPA regional level and recognizes achievements that contribute to meeting organizational goals or improving the efficiency, effectiveness, and economy of the U.S. government.
"The ships are coming"
In U.S. Waterways news, the upcoming expansion of the Panama Canal holds large implications of increased traffic of ports along the Gulf of Mexico coast. The Houston and Galveston shipping channels may require further deepening to accommodate post-panamax ships, says William Merrell, a maritime expert at Texas A&M University.
For the full report: http://prn.to/LZ5OGq
What happens if your bioassay lab fails to depurate organisms used for bioaccumulation prior to sending tissues for chemical analysis
During a bioaccumulation test, benthic organisms harvested from areas known to be free of significant contamination are placed in the test sediment for a predetermined amount of time, typically 28 days. At the end of this test period, the organisms are removed from the sediment and sent to a chemical laboratory for analysis. The tissue is then analyzed for pre-determined parameters, and the test results are compared to tissue analyzed from the same group of organisms that were not exposed to the test sediment. The difference between the two groups of tissue is an indication of the amount of contaminants the organisms absorbed from the test material. Since the benthic organisms live in and often consume the sediment, it is important to depurate the organisms before they are prepared for chemical analysis. Depurating involves removing the organisms from the sediment and placing them in a tank without sediment for approximately 24 hours to allow all the test sediment to purge from their gut. If this step is omitted, the sediment in the organism’s gut will also be analyzed with the tissue and the results will be biased high because of the “contamination” from the sediment.
Jason's report from the field...
"We have seen two or three species of hummingbirds, American kestrels, a peregrine falcon, and a bird called the pin-tailed whydah that was rather neat looking. Green iguanas are coming out of all places. Transects through the dry forest have been tricky due to the thick re-growth of trees and vines. Still no signs of the Yellow-shouldered Blackbird anywhere near the project site. The water is beautiful as viewed from a peninsula south of the project area. Gotta get the snorkel and mask wet soon!"
We don't think Jason will find any YSB's underwater, but we can't blame him for trying! Stay tuned for more...
Collecting data for a biological assessment...
As with many new construction projects, there is a possibility that critical species and habitats may be impacted by proposed land development. The NEPA process takes this into account and requires surveys of impact areas to make sure the appropriate fauna are being preserved. The current proposal to build two new wind turbines in Ceiba, Puerto Rico, falls into this situation. The Yellow-shouldered Blackbird and other migratory birds inhabit areas close enough to the site to cause concern, and although the proposed wind energy project is environmentally friendly in its intentions, it may actually do harm if the site is not assessed properly for potential impacts.
Enter Jason Seitz. In support of the NEPA process prior to the wind turbine installation, ANAMAR has been contracted to conduct point counts of the Yellow-shouldered Blackbird population and use Jason's findings to create a Biological Assessment (BA) of the site. Check back to read about his findings from the front lines!
How much does a cooler of sediment and ice weigh?
Sediment samples often must be shipped great distances to the analytical lab, and shipping costs can be surprising when large volumes of sample are collected. It’s easy to underestimate the volume of sample required and how much weight that entails. When large volumes of sediment are required, the samples are often handled in 5-gallon Teflon bags. Sediment weight varies considerably. Silty organic sediment with high water content may weigh as little as 10 pounds per gallon, while sandy material with low water and organic content may weigh closer to 16 pounds per gallon. Sediment samples must be kept chilled during shipment to the laboratory. Typically, this involves packing 5 gallons of sediment properly sealed in a Teflon bag into a cooler, adding about 20 pounds of ice, and shipping via overnight courier. Including the weight of the cooler and the ice, the entire package may weigh 80 to 110 pounds. A typical sediment sample that needs full physical, chemical, and bioaccumulation analysis requires approximately 30 gallons of sample material--the weight adds up quickly! In addition to correctly budgeting the shipping costs to the laboratory, the field team must be sure to have a vehicle capable of safely transporting the weight of all the sample material.
"The United States is a maritime nation."
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Institute for Water Resources recently submitted a report on what's in store and what's at stake with the nation's waterways in light of the Panama Canal expansion: http://bit.ly/MxCzIq
Salt wedge? What’s that? Terry Cake, P.E. elaborates...
A salt wedge occurs when a fresh water river or estuary flows directly into a salt water body. Since fresh water is less dense than salt water, the fresh water “floats” over the heavier salt water, forming a “wedge” of salt water on the bottom of the river or estuary. The wedge is thickest near the mouth and tapers to a thin layer as it extends upstream. The depth and inland extent vary with the flood and ebb of the tides. In some cases, fresh water may be flowing downstream on the surface with salt water flowing in the opposite direction just a few feet below during a flood tide, thus creating a highly stratified system with very little mixing between the fresh and saltwater bodies. As a result, pollutants entrained in the fresh or saltwater layers may not readily disperse and dilute.
Developing a pollution transport model for this situation can be challenging. To accurately evaluate this effect, field investigations such as dye tracer studies or current velocity measurements are performed over complete tidal cycles to gather sufficient information about the circulation characteristics to properly calibrate a model. These inputs provide a more accurate overall picture of existing conditions within these dynamic environments. With careful evaluation of the system, the appropriate data needs can be determined and field activities can be planned efficiently to help expedite interpretation of the results and regulatory acceptance of the model.
This week we continue with Jason Seitz's discussion of bioaccumulation...
The antagonistic relationship between bioaccumulated selenium and mercury toxicity in aquatic organisms and mammals has been documented both in the laboratory (Yang et al. 2008) and in field studies (Cuvin-Aralar and Furness 1991, Khan and Wang 2009). Despite it being one of the best known examples of biochemical antagonism, the underlying mechanisms of this relationship remain poorly understood and in need of further research (Cuvin-Aralar and Furness 1991, Khan and Wang 2009). It has been suggested that selenium provides a protective effect over mercury toxicity, although a possible protective action of mercury over selenium has also been suggested (Cuvin-Aralar and Furness 1991). It appears that selenium in the form of selenocysteine plays an important role in making toxic forms of mercury physiologically unavailable (Prince et al. 2007). The possible formation of primarily non-toxic forms of mercury-selenium compounds such as mercuric selenide may be the best explanation of selenium antagonism upon mercury toxicity (Yang et al. 2008). Direct analytical evidence is needed to confirm metabolic pathways involved, and to better understand this relationship (Khan and Wang 2009).
Since fishes generally tend to bioaccumulate both these analytes, knowledge of this relationship on the cellular level is important to our understanding and predicting the effects of mercury toxicity in the environment and in the consumer. Development of criteria to evaluate the interactions between selenium and mercury would prove useful in avoiding toxic effects of mercury in the consumer as was well as in improving efforts at protecting the environment (Raymond and Ralston 2009).
Cuvin-Aralar, M.L.A. and R.W. Furness. 1991. Mercury and selenium interaction: A review. Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety 21:348–364.
Khan, M.A.K. and F. Wang. 2009. Mercury-selenium compounds and their toxicological significance: Toward a molecular understanding of the mercury-selenium antagonism. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry 28(8):1567–1577.
Prince, R.C., J. Gailer, D.E. Gunson, R.J. Turnger, G.N. George, and I.J. Pickering. 2007. Strong poison revisited. Journal of Inorganic Biochemistry 101:1891–1893.
Raymond, L.J, and N.V.C. Ralston. 2009. Selenium’s importance in regulatory issues regarding mercury. Fuel Processing Technology 90:1333–1338.
Yang, D., Y. Chen, J.M. Gunn, and N. Belzile. 2008. Selenium and mercury in organisms: Intractions and mechanisms. Environmental Review 16:71–92.
This week biologist Jason Seitz shares some knowledge on biological testing...
Bioaccumulation occurs whenever a contaminant is retained by an organism, regardless of the route of exposure, and is the net result of absorption, ingestion, respiration, metabolic biotransformation, growth dilution, and excretion/elimination from the organism (Arnot and Gobas 2006). The assessment of bioaccumulation allows the evaluation and determination of risk levels that toxic contaminants in the environment may pose to humans and the environment (Arnot and Gobas 2006).
Lipophilic contaminants, such as PCBs and certain pesticides, can accumulate in lipids and remain until the fat deposit is burned as energy (Pequegnat et al. 1990) or converted to reproductive cells.
Thus, lipid concentration is a measure of the ability of an organism to store such lipophilic contaminants. When fish convert lipids to developing ova, contaminants such as mercury (in the form of methylmercury) can also be transferred to the eggs (Alvarez et al. 2006). Maternal transfer of methylmercury to egg biomass was estimated to be between 2% and 11% of total mercury in female walleye (Stizostedion vitreum) muscle tissue in a study by Latif et al. (2001). Maternal transfer of methylmercury may substantially lower survival of fish larvae by altering predator-avoidance behaviors compared to unexposed larvae based on a laboratory study by Alvarez et al. (2006) using Atlantic croaker (Micropogonias undulatus). The findings of the Alvarez et al. (2006) study also suggest that bioaccumulation of such analytes by apex predators such as marlin may cause mortality in larvae by maternal transfer. A study by Iannuzzi et al. (2004) of the highly contaminated Passaic River along the New York-New Jersey border found that lipid concentrations were not strongly correlated to contaminant concentrations in blue crab or mummichog (Fundulus heteroclitus) tissue. However, the study did find that lipid concentrations accounted for some of the variability in contaminant levels in white perch (Morone americana) tissue. The Iannuzzi et al. (2004) study differed from the present study in the use of whole carcasses in their sampling scheme. A study by NOAA (1989) found no significant correlation between lipid and contamination concentrations in mussels and oysters taken from 177 sites in coastal waters across the continental United States, with the exceptions of chlordane and dieldrin, which showed significant correlations (r = 0.12). Although NOAA (1989) stated that outside of these two analytes, lipid concentrations “are not related to the organic contaminant levels”, many researchers consider lipid concentrations to play a role in bioaccumulation of lipophilic contaminants in organisms.
Alvarez, M.C., C.A. Murphy, K.A. Rose, I.D. McCarthy, and L.A. Fuiman. 2006. Maternal body burdens of methylmercury impair survival skills of offspring in Atlantic croaker (Micropogonias undulatus). Aquatic Toxicology 80:329–337.
Arnot, J.A. and F.A.P.C. Gobas. 2006. A review of bioconcentration factor (BCF) and bioaccumulation factor (BAF) assessments for organic chemicals in aquatic organisms. Environmental Review 14(2006):257–297.
Iannuzzi, T.J., T.N. Armstrong, J.B. Thelen, D.F. Ludwig, and C.E. Firstenberg. 2004. Chemical contamination of aquatic organisms from an urbanized river in the New York/New Jersey harbor estuary. Human and Ecological Risk Assessment 10:389–413.
Latif, M.A., R.A. Bodaly, T.A. Johnston, R.J.P. Fudge. 2001. Effects of environmental and maternally derived methylmercury on the embryonic and larval stages of walleye (Stizostedion vitreum). Environmental Pollution 111:139–148.
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. 1989. A Summary of Data on Tissue Contamination from the First Three Years (1986–1988) of the Mussel Watch Project. NOAA Technical Memorandum NOS OMA 49, Rockville, MD.
Pequegnat, W.E., B.J. Gallaway, and T.D. Wright. 1990. Revised Procedural Guide for Designation Surveys of Ocean Dredged Material Disposal Sites. Department of the Army, Waterways Experiment Station, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Vicksburg, MS.
Michelle Rau's talk starts at 3:30. Be there! Great talks at WEDA/TAMU 2012 so far!
The women of ANAMAR are presenters at WEDA/TAMU 2012 in San Antonio, TX!
Christine Smith will be presenting at the following times:
Michelle Rau will also be presenting:
Be sure to stop by our booth and say hello!