National Conference on BP Oil Spill in the Gulf to be Held at National Aquarium, Baltimore

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Symposium to focus on the need to improve Natural Resource Damage Assessment methods and procedures

We cannot undo what has been done to the Gulf, but it is vital that we continue to understand and document the damage, much of which may not be evident until years in the future.

As the Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill continues, scientists are increasingly committed to quantifying long-term effects. Since 2010, independent researchers have been collecting data to quantify chronic impacts of this disaster on natural resources in the Gulf of Mexico.

To present the latest research outcomes and initiate dialogue among key assessment entities, NRDA for the Gulf: Improving Our Ability to Quantify Chronic Damages, will be held at the National Aquarium November 2 – 4th.

The National Aquarium Conservation Center, Mote Marine Laboratory and Johns Hopkins University, along with the National Wildlife Federation, will host the two-day gathering of scientists, attorneys, policy makers, NGOs, government leaders and others to assess the latest scientific data, and explore its value for the Gulf NRDA. In 2010, the NACC, Mote and JHU came together to conduct their own study to address potential impacts to the Gulf coast’s natural resources that could result from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

“In light of our recent findings regarding the presence of petroleum contaminants in the Gulf, there are reasons to give serious consideration to expanding the use of our approach in impacted areas as soon as possible.” Erik Rifkin, PhD, Interim Executive Director of the National Aquarium Conservation Center.

Senator Ben Cardin, who serves on the Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee, and chairs its Water and Wildlife Subcommittee and the International Environmental Protection Subcommittee of the Foreign Relations Committee, will give the keynote address.

“We cannot undo what has been done to the Gulf, but it is vital that we continue to understand and document the damage, much of which may not be evident until years in the future,” said Sen. Cardin. “Our priority is to ensure that the natural resource damage assessment and subsequent restoration efforts employ best practices to minimize impacts and guarantee an effective, thorough restoration. That is the only way we can be sure we will restore the health of the Gulf Coast region and a cherished way of life to its people.”

Symposium presentations will focus on increasing our ability to assess causality between the release of oil and injured resources and/or lost human use of those resources and services.

Experts such as University of Maryland’s Donald Boesch, a member of the President’s commission on the oil spill; Ed Bouwer, Hopkins’ Abel Wolman Professor of Environmental Engineering; and Michael Crosby, senior researcher at Mote Marine Laboratory, are among the distinguished speakers. EPA’s Susan Holdsworth, NOAA’s Gunnar Lauenstein, as well as Garret Graves, of Louisiana’s coastal protection and restoration authority, are representative featured presenters.

A panel of community recovery and restoration leaders will conclude the symposium with perspectives from those personally affected by the spill, and discuss opportunities and challenges involved in the NRDA process.

In January 2012, a summary of the symposium’s findings on approaches to improving our ability to quantify chronic damages to natural resources will be forwarded to participants, government trustees, and regulatory and advisory agencies.

NRDA for the Gulf is presented by the National Aquarium Conservation Center, Johns Hopkins University and Mote Marine Laboratory and is supported by the National Wildlife Federation.
Those interested in more information or to register for the symposium, visit http://aqua.org/symposium.html or call 410-659-4207.

Media interested in attending the conference may contact Amy Burke Friedman at aburke(at)profilespr(dot)com or 410-243-3790.

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Amy Burke Friedman
The National Aquarium
410-243-3790
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