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EPA’s Ocean-Going Research Vessel Visits Newport, RI


The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management are offering the media and the public a free open house tour of EPA’s Ocean Survey Vessel “Bold,” on July 5, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the State Fish Pier 9, in Downtown Newport, RI. This will be the Bold’s first visit to Rhode Island.

All ages are encouraged to stop by to watch sampling demonstrations, see animals and organisms recently collected
offshore, and explore the Bold’s state of the art technological features and capabilities. The public is invited to take advantage of this unique opportunity to gain a first hand glimpse into EPA’s efforts in ocean monitoring and coastal studies in Narragansett Bay and other locations throughout the country. Scientists and staff from the EPA New England Regional Office, the EPA Office of Research and Development, the Narragansett Bay Estuary Program, and Coastal America will be aboard to answer questions and guide visitors through the ship and its onboard laboratories.

The OSV Bold is a converted U.S. Navy 224-foot ocean surveillance ship specifically designed to help EPA monitor and assess the impacts of pollution and the health of our ocean and coastal waters. The Bold collects water and sediment samples, fish, and other organisms to be processed and analyzed in onboard laboratories or onshore. The vessel also conducts surveys to support management of dredged material disposal areas and to collect information about ocean bottom habitats and the organisms that live in estuaries such as Narragansett Bay and in areas further offshore.

Earlier this summer, the OSV Bold was used by scientists from EPA, the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection, and the National Undersea Research Center (NURC) at the University of Connecticut to conduct a bottom or “benthic” survey of Stratford Shoal in Long Island Sound using technologies such as side-scan sonar and video cameras. The ship also has supported surveys to determine PCB levels in organisms inhabiting artificial reefs, assessed the size and severity of the Gulf of Mexico dead “hypoxic” zone where dissolved oxygen levels could be too low to support much underwater life, and has monitored dredged material disposal sites off the coast of Florida.

The Bold’s next survey will begin July 6 in Rhode Island Sound, where ORD scientists will collect winter flounder, a commercially and recreationally important species to the state, to help determine the importance of near-shore habitats in maintaining these offshore populations. The ORD scientists are based at the EPA National Health and Environmental Effects Research Laboratory, Atlantic Ecology Division in Narragansett, RI.

“We are delighted to welcome the OSV Bold and its crew to the waters of Rhode Island. The Bold is an excellent example of how EPA uses technology to help protect the marine environment through monitoring and research. This is a great opportunity for the public to get a firsthand look at how we protect ocean and coastal waters,” said Robert W. Varney, EPA Regional Administrator.


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