Environmental Lectures

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By Jennifer Pollack

Oyster reefs are important components of healthy ecosystems within U.S. Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico estuaries. Oysters filter and clean bay waters, create fish habitats and protect shorelines from erosion. They also provide recreational fishing opportunities and support a robust seafood industry, generating over $19 million in Texas in 2014. However, oyster reefs are severely degraded compared to historic levels, with estimates of over 85% lost. Sink Your Shucks – an oyster shell recycling and reef restoration program – works with restaurants and seafood wholesalers to reclaim shucked shells and return them to Texas bays to rebuild the habitat. Using these shells, over 14 acres of reef have been restored and 1,700 volunteers engaged.

Dr. Jennifer Pollack is an Assistant Professor of Marine Biology at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi. Her research focuses on conservation and restoration of marine habitats. Pollack also works with restaurant and seafood wholesalers to recycle oyster shells for restoring oyster reefs. The program, Sink Your Shucks, recently recycled its one millionth pound of oyster shells, which have been used to restore over 14 acres of oyster reef habitat in the Texas coastal bend.

By Ed Saade

The Seabed 2030 initiative is being facilitated by the General Bathymetric Chart of the Oceans (GEBCO) project in partnership with The Nippon Foundation (NF) as a means to inform global policy, improve sustainable use and advance scientific research. Fugro is leading the marine survey industry in support of NF-GEBCO Seabed 2030, a global initiative to produce a definitive, high-resolution bathymetric map of the entire world’s ocean floor by the year 2030. Much less than 20 percent of the world’s oceans are mapped using modern survey techniques.

Edward J. (Ed) Saade is president of Fugro USA and regional director of Fugro’s Marine Division in the Americas. Appointed to these positions in 2014, he currently oversees a staff of 1300, operating from eleven primary offices located as far north as Alaska, and as far south as Brazil. Mr. Saade has over 40 years of surveying and engineering services experience, including formative assignments in Alaska between 1975 and 1995. Mr. Saade holds a bachelor’s degree in geology from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and completed Ph.D. courses and research in marine geophysics at the Hawaii Institute of Geophysics. He is a California Professional Geophysicist and is an author/co-author of over 70 reports and studies related to seafloor geology and sub-bottom conditions.

By Tom Gillette

On March 24, 1989, Exxon Valdez, an oil tanker bound for Long Beach, CA, struck Bligh Reef in Prince William Sound, Alaska at 12:04 a.m. local time, and spilled 260,000 barrels of crude oil in the first couple tides. Many consider it to be one of the most devastating human-caused environmental disasters in history. The Valdez spill was the largest ever in US waters in terms of volume released until 2010, with the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

Tom Gillette was the Exxon Shipping Company External Affairs Manager at the time of the spill, and thereafter acted as a litigation consultant. He will be sharing the lessons to be learned from the circumstances surrounding the grounding, and its subsequent events. He will also be presenting original investigation documentation and damage assessments, along with updates on her repairs and reassignments.

Check out our Historical Lectures too!