We are pleased to announce that Adrian Pitts has joined the RBI team. Adrian is an environmental scientist with over 17 years experience specializing in aquatic resources impact assessments. Along with extensive knowledge in CEQA/NEPA, he is skilled at developing strategies for evaluating project effects on native and specials status fish and aquatic species, and conducting the evaluations using state-of-the-art tools. Adrian brings this vital skill set to help RBI clients navigate the increasingly complex state and federal environmental regulations and compliance documentation procedures facing them today.
Dr. Ellen Preece was recently elected to serve on the North American Lake Management Society (NALMs) Board to represent Region 9 (California, Nevada, Arizona and Hawaii). In this role, Dr. Preece will be a regional voice for the preservation and protection of lakes. Within the NALMs organization Dr. Preece was appointed the grants, marketing and fundraising committee chair. She will work with other board members to raise money for research on lake ecology and management, to promote public awareness of lake ecosystems and to promote information exchange on managing lakes and watersheds.
RBI presented new research at the North American Lake Management Meeting November 1-4, 2016. Dr. Ellen Preece presented research from her recently published paper in the journal Harmful Algae. The paper entitled, “A review of microcystin detections in Estuarine and Marine waters: Environmental implications and human health risk,” reviews the expansion of microcystin producing cyanobacteria and the transport of contaminated inland waters to estuarine and coastal marine environments. The phenomenon of microcystins occurring in coastal waters has only recently received attention, yet it constitutes a major worldwide environmental threat to aquatic resources and human health. To read Dr. Preece's full article follow the link below:
For decades, Washington state health officials have warned that swimming in or drinking from lakes containing high levels of microcystins is dangerous, but little is known about the effects of eating fish from waters contaminated with the liver-damaging toxins. As the warming effects of climate change and runoff from farms and industrial projects contribute to rising levels of microcystins in lakes across the Northwest, scientists in the School of the Environment (SoE) launched the first-ever study to assess whether Washington freshwater fish are accumulating enough microcystins to be hazardous for human consumption. For more information on Ellen's ground breaking research:
Dr. Ellen Preece of RBI was invited to present at the EPA Region 10 Harmful Algae Blooms (HABs) workshop in Seattle, WA, March 29-30th. This meeting brought together scientists, federal, state and local governments, tribal representatives and health department personnel to discuss HABs along the west coast of North America. Presenters discussed information on exposure risks and health effects, monitoring and assessment approaches, the role of climate change in toxin production, potential tools for controls HABs, and the need for further research to better understand the role of HABs in a changing environment. Ellen’s talk focused on the transfer of cyanotoxins (blue green algae toxins) from freshwater lakes to marine environments.
The RBI family welcomes its newest member! Congratulations to Kindel and Paul Bedore on the recent birth of their new daughter! Amy Ann Bedore was born on November 28th weighing 6 lbs. 5 oz.
Dr. Ellen Preece attended the 8th Symposium on Harmful Algae in the U.S. in Long Beach California, November 15-19, 2015. This symposium provided a forum for scientific exchange and technical communication on all aspects of Harmful Algae Bloom research in the United States. Ellen presented a talk “Transfer of the Harmful Algal Toxin, Microcystin, From Freshwater Lakes To Puget Sound, Washington, and Toxin Accumulation in Marine Mussels Mytilus trossulus. She also presented a poster on the same topic.
RBI has been selected by the Central Valley Clean Water Association (CVCWA) and it member agencies to lead the Phase IIa eDNA Pilot Study to evaluate the use of eDNA for determining the presence/absence of freshwater mussels in receiving waters for Central Valley POTWs. The USEPA's recent 2013 ammonia criteria, which are used by the Central Valley Water Board to establish effluent ammonia limits for each POTW's NPDES permit, requires a determination of whether freshwater mussels are present or absent in the POTW's receiving waters to determine the appropriate effluent ammonia limits. Environmental DNA (eDNA) is a revolutionary, accurate, and highly cost-effective approach that has been demonstrated by numerous recent scientific studies to be highly effective for detecting rare or cryptic species, such as freshwater mussels, that are difficult to detect using traditional visual survey methods. The presence or absence of a given species is determined by analyzing receiving water samples, using real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction (PCR) methodology, for trace amounts of genetic material that all aquatic organisms release into the water column. As lead consultant, RBI is responsible for developing the study plan, overseeing all field data collection, and preparing a report to summarize the findings. Data collection will be conducted in October 2015. The findings from this pilot study will be used to develop guidance for conducting eDNA assessments to determine presence or absence of freshwater mussels in POTW receiving waters throughout the Central Valley. The Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board will use the mussel presence/absence determinations for developing NPDES permit ammonia limitations for each POTW.
RBI presented new research at the American Fisheries Society Annual Meeting August 16-20, 2015. New staff member, Dr. Ellen Preece presented research from her paper newly published in the journal of Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety. The paper, entitled “Transfer of microcystin from freshwater lakes to Puget Sound, WA and toxin accumulation in marine mussels (Mytilus trossulus),” focuses on toxins associated with harmful algae blooms (HABS) caused by cyanobacteria (or blue green algae) that ultimately lead to human food safety issues. The study did confirm freshwater to marine transfer of relatively low levels of microcystins and recommended further investigation.
This summer has been a time of growth for the RBI team with the addition of two new staff members. First, we welcome Dr. Ellen Preece. Ellen earned her Ph.D. from Washington State University where she studied limnology and fisheries biology, with a focus on salmonids. Her dissertation research involved assessments of microcystins in Puget Sound mussels. Ellen brings diverse expertise and experience to RBI's Water Quality and Fisheries Departments. We also welcome Cyle Moon, M.S. Cyle is an Environmental Engineer with experience in wastewater treatment, water quality monitoring and modeling, and hydrology. Cyle brings a diverse background and innovative approaches to RBI's Environmental Engineering and Water Quality Departments. Both Ellen and Cyle are ready to help provide timely and effective solutions to meet your project needs.