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Wheeling Resident Received EPA Employee Award


The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s mid-Atlantic region presented the Regional Science Achievement Award to Gregory J. Pond, of Wheeling, at its annual Employee Recognition Ceremony on April 24.

This award is given to recognize outstanding achievements by a professional in engineering or scientific fields in enhancing the scientific foundation of the region’s policy and regulatory initiatives.

Pond, an aquatic biologist in EPA’s Wheeling office, was honored for his work with the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection to develop a wadeable stream index that would help diagnose potential causes of water quality problems.

William Browne, last year’s winner, said that Pond’s statistical model will compare aquatic insects and other freshwater invertebrates from polluted streams with those from unpolluted streams. “While many types of aquatic insects are sensitive to pollutants, others can tolerate high levels of contamination,” Browne said. “Their presence or absence indicates the severity of water quality problems.”

Pond used more than 3,000 samples spanning 1999-2006 in his analysis and applied his extensive knowledge of macroinvertebrate biology, cutting-edge data management tools, and multivariate statistical methods to develop the index.

Besides extensive review by EPA and WVDEP, Pond also convened an independent peer review group to provide additional comments, which included academic stream ecology researchers from West Virginia University and Wheeling Jesuit University. The research group expressed enthusiastic support for the project and indicated they would use it in their future research on stream ecology.

Pond, who joined EPA in 2004, is an active volunteer with the Oglebay Schrader Center and the Triadelphia Middle School to train middle school students to assess aquatic insects in local streams. He is also working with 150 youth in West Virginia’s northern panhandle to develop service learning skills, using the region’s watersheds and monitoring science. He is also a member of the Oglebay Institute’s environmental education committee.

Pond graduated from Unity College in 1993 with a bachelor’s degree in environmental science. He received a master’s degree in biology from Eastern Kentucky University in 1996.

EPA’s mid-Atlantic region covers Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, Virginia, West Virginia and the District of Columbia.


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