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Oceans Conference to Spotlight Gulf Cleanup

Cindy Dohner, Southeast regional director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, will discuss the natural resource damage assessment process in the Gulf of Mexico at a January conference.
Cindy Dohner, Southeast regional director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, will discuss the natural resource damage assessment process in the Gulf of Mexico at a January conference.
Credit: USFWS
On a beach in the Gulf of Mexico, Cindy Dohner, Southeast regional director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, fields a reporter’s questions about  natural resource recovery after the 2010 oil spill.
On a beach in the Gulf of Mexico, Cindy Dohner, Southeast regional director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, fields a reporter’s questions about  natural resource recovery after the 2010 oil spill.
Credit: USFWS

Cindy Dohner, Southeast Regional Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, will discuss the natural resource damage assessment process and restoration challenges after the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico as a panelist at "Our Changing Oceans" national conference in January in Washington, D.C.

The conference, convened by the National Council for Science and the Environment (NCSE) and cosponsored by the National Wildlife Refuge System, brings together more than 1,000 science, education, business and government leaders to explore connections between science and decision-making on high-profile environmental issues.

This year's conference will focus on the threats and challenges facing the world's oceans. The entire first day of the conference, January 19, will be devoted to the Gulf of Mexico oil disaster, in which the Fish and Wildlife Service has been designated a natural resources trustee. The conference will be held in the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center.

Dohner's panel will discuss activities tied to the ongoing National Resource Damage Assessment and Restoration (NRDAR) efforts in the Gulf. NRDAR is a legal process to determine the restoration needed to compensate the public for harm to natural resources from an oil spill or other release of a toxic substance. Teams of biologists, including some from the National Wildlife Refuge System, are collecting data on birds, fish, marine mammals and sea turtles, coral and water quality, among other areas, to complete this assessment. Biological sampling is being conducted both on and off national wildlife refuges in the Gulf region. Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge in Alabama and Breton National Wildlife Refuges in Louisiana were among refuges directly impacted by the spill.

Learn more about the NRDAR process.

The next two days of the conference, January 20 and 21, will focus on strategies to meet ocean challenges such as climate change and acidification. Conferees will also discuss strategies for the new National Ocean Policy initiated in July 2010 by President Obama to better meet the nation's stewardship responsibilities for our ocean, coasts and the Great Lakes.

The conference will include the Waves of Change Ocean Expo, open and free to the general public. The expo will spotlight novel programs and initiatives on ocean science, conservation and education. The Refuge System will have an exhibit in the expo.

Learn more about the conference.

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