Solutions for Progress 

Monitoring for freshwater mussel presence in rivers using environmental DNA

October 31, 2020

RBI congratulates Ellen Preece for her article published in Environmental DNA.  The article is entitled "Monitoring for freshwater mussel presence in rivers using environmental DNA." The following is a brief excerpt:

In 2013, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) updated its national
recommended water quality criteria for the protection of aquatic life from the
toxic effects of ammonia in freshwaters. From its updated national dataset,
USEPA determined freshwater mussels in the family Unionidae were the most
sensitive taxa to ammonia. Thus, it has become necessary to determine whether
freshwater mussels exist in waterbodies near discharge locations from
Publically Owned Treatment Works (POTWs), to ensure that POTWs are regulated
appropriately with regard to ammonia levels in their treated effluent. However,
because mussels are notoriously difficult to detect using traditional survey
methodologies, most POTWs have not determined whether freshwater mussels exist
in their receiving waters. Environmental DNA (eDNA) presents a promising
methodology to survey for freshwater mussels in POTW receiving waters. We
developed and validated a quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) assay
for the three freshwater mussel taxa that are currently known to exist in
California's Central Valley.

To find out just how they accomplished this feat, click the following link for the complete article.

RBI welcomes Dustin Lee to the RBI Team!

September 8, 2020

RBI is pleased to announce the addition of a new Environmental Engineer to the RBI team. Dustin Lee joined us in September.  He is an environmental engineer who earned his Master’s degree from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. His studies focused on environmental topics such as wastewater, water & air quality, and water resources.  Dustin brings this background, as well as, experience using software including ArcGIS and the computer languages such as Python and R. Prior to meet our client needs.

RBI unveils a new website service area!

August 13, 2020

Learn about the new and innovative projects developed by the scientists and engineers at RBI in the area of Cyanobacteria Harmful Algal Blooms (cyanoHABs) and see what we can do to meet our clients needs.

Cyanobacteria Harmful Algal Blooms

RBI welcomes Sherryl Smith to the RBI team!

April 15, 2019

We are excited to welcome Sherryl Smith to the RBI team!  Sherryl is a business analyst specializing in the energy industry.  Sherryl brings over 17 years of expertise and knowledge of energy industry standards, including project management, and documentation of business processes to meet the needs of RBI clients in the Power Department.

RBI welcomes Cameron Irvine to the RBI team!

March 2, 2018

We are pleased to announce that Cameron Irvine has joined the RBI team!  Cameron Irvine is a senior environmental scientist with over 20 years of experience focused on investigating the effects of contamination on aquatic resources.  Cameron has led successful investigations to identify the cause of toxicity at municipal waste treatment facilities and multiple industrial discharges, including toxicity reduction evaluations that led to the identification of novel toxicants and completion of the TRE.  Mr. Irvine has also developed and led field and laboratory pilot remediation studies to identify successful treatments protective of environmental exposure from contaminants.  From his broad project experience, Cameron has developed an insight into state and federal regulations that will make him a valuable resource supporting RBI's government and industry clients during remedial investigations and discharge (NPDES) permit negotiations. 


Dr. Ellen Preece Elected Region 9 Director of the American Lake Management Society

January 17, 2017

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 Presents at North American Lake Management Meeting 2016

November 4, 2016

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:

More on Dr. Ellen Preece's Work with Microcystins

April 25, 2016

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:

RBI Presents at EPA Region 10 Harmful Algae Blooms (HABs) Workshop

April 11, 2016

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.

Follow the link below for further cyanoHAB work by Dr. Preece and the entire RBI team:

Cyanobacteria Harmful Algal Blooms

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