Geological expert to discuss preservation of Louisiana wetlands

The former head of the U.S. Geological Survey will discuss the importance of restoring the wetlands of Louisiana today in Sid Richardon Building, Room 217.Charles “Chip” Groat, professor and Jackson Chair in the Jackson School of Geosciences at the University of Texas at Austin, was appointed as head of USGS by President Clinton and was retained by President Bush.

Groat said the USGS is a federal science organization with about 10,000 people doing research in geology, biology, hydrology and geography.

Groat will be speaking at 11:30 a.m. on “Buffering Hurricane Impacts: The Case For Coastal Restoration in Louisiana.”

Groat said he hopes students will benefit from this by “gaining a better understanding of how geologic and ecosystem processes affect the safety and economic well-being of large numbers of people.”

“I will use Hurricane Katrina to demonstrate the points I will be making,” he said. “I will concentrate on the importance of restoring the wetlands of Louisiana, which are being lost at an alarming rate.”

Ranjan Muttiah, assistant professor of the Center for GIS and Remote Sensing at TCU, said the purpose of having this event is to bring world-renowned speakers to campus.

Muttiah said Groat was chosen as the speaker because he is considered to be an important figure in the world of earth sciences.

“They (students) are going to understand how a scientist thinks through problems and find out how the scientific community interfaces with the political establishment,” Muttiah said. “It’s a great opportunity for students to hear somebody of national and international prominence.”

Stephanie Eady, a graduate student in environmental science who is doing her thesis on the wetlands of Louisiana, said she will be attending the seminar.

Eady said the event is important because devastation can happen anywhere, and a lot of it could be lessened scientifically by conserving the wetland.

“It’s (problems related to coastal areas) just a very real thing,” Eady said. “It’s something we’re going to have to face as a community.”

At USGS, Groat held his position for six and a half years.

This seminar is open and free for everyone. Pizza will be provided.