Volume 4 Issue 2
December 2009

Welcome to the latest issue of the Woods Hole Group Newsletter for 2009!

In the daily responsibilities of doing business, forecasting in a struggling economy, and focusing on our employees' well-being, it is also important to stay focused on our core beliefs at Woods Hole Group. We are advocates for the responsible stewardship for the environment. We believe that development and stewardship can be compatible, and with the intelligent application of science and engineering, we can help achieve that compatibility.

Once in awhile something brings home that primary objective, preserving the environment for our children and their children. In August, we saw things in our own backyard that demonstrated forcibly the need for action. On August 19th we sited a fish kill in Buzzards Bay, with hundreds of dead menhaden and bluefish floating on the surface. Whether they were dumped by a fishing vessel or killed by some unknown cause, it is not a sight easily forgotten. If tempted to forget, the sight of dead fish floating to shore the next week kept the event in our minds. A week later, a "rust tide" showed up in Buzzards Bay, another sign that we have an excess of nutrients in this large open estuary. This is not what we like to see in our waters, and we have redoubled efforts to reach out to other organizations to contribute to a solution. We ask that you do the same in your own home, in your own local waters. They all need the help.

On the business front, we are pleased to announce that Woods Hole Group is thriving despite the difficult economic times. Our clients continue to ask us to help address their marine environmental issues. In this issue, Bob Hamilton talks about our US Army Corps of Engineers Task Order Contract and the challenges and opportunities it brings to our staff. You'll also find updates on the global perspectives as represented by our offices in the Middle East, perspectives that have resulted in expanded capabilities and business offerings for that sector of the world. We hope that you are all able to weather the economic storms and wish you success and prosperity as 2009 winds to a close.

Thank you for taking the time to read this Newsletter.

Dennis Aubrey

Diverse Work with USACE New England District

In October 2008, Woods Hole Group was awarded a Task Order Contract with the US Army Corps of Engineers New England District (USACE).  The contract has up to five (5) $3M dollar contract periods, and is extendable throughout the North Atlantic Division, which includes the New England, New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Norfolk Districts.  Now, one year into the program, the work has proven to be diverse, interesting, and to have a meaningful contribution on Corps operations and the environment.  Woods Hole Group currently has 20 active Task Orders on the contract.  A selection of project highlights are summarized in the following three articles.

New Bedford Harbor PCB Remediation and Monitoring

New Bedford, MA has been the most active area of work for Woods Hole Group to date on the USACE Contract. The USACE and US EPA have extensive operations in New Bedford related to the characterization and remediation of contaminated sediments in New Bedford Harbor.


The City and Port of New Bedford have maintained an interesting history1. During the early settlement period, the population was relatively low, and the primary activity was agriculture along the Acushnet River region. With the advent of the whaling industry came significant commerce and population growth. At its peak in 1957, more than 300 whaling vessels operated out of New Bedford, making it the world’s leading whaling port, and the fourth largest vessel district in the USA. Extensive construction and port infrastructure developed along with the local work force as a result of the whaling activity. As the whaling industry waned in the late 1800s, the community textile industry flourished in New Bedford up to the Great Depression. In the post-depression era, the fishing industry expanded along with industrialization of New Bedford. To help rebound the economy, the City attracted electronic component manufacturers, which made significant contributions to the World War II effort and beyond. Manufacturing of electronic components, however, involved the use of polychorinated biphenyls (PCBs). At its peak in the early 1970s, PCB usage in and around New Bedford exceeded 2 million pounds per year. PCBs were released to the environment, and accumulated in high concentrations in the sediments of New Bedford Harbor. PCBs were later found to have adverse effects on ecology and human health, and are persistent in the environment. Consequently, approximately 18,000 acres of New Bedford Harbor and adjacent Buzzards Bay have been declared a Superfund Site, and closed to commercial and recreational fishing.

EPA is taking action to clean-up New Bedford Harbor, and has enlisted help from USACE New England District and Woods Hole Group. In Upper New Bedford Harbor, PCB-contaminated sediments are being actively remediated. Sediments are dredged from the harbor, treated, and disposed offsite. To date, nbapproximately 340,000 cubic yards of contaminated sediment have been removed from New Bedford Harbor. Along with American Redevelopment and Recover Act funds (economic stimulus package), the remediation process has been expedited in 2009. During the remediation process, Woods Hole Group is monitoring water quality to help ensure side-effects of the remediation process are minimized.

This monitoring includes deployment of field crews to measure the concentration of sediments in the water column as well as dissolved oxygen levels during the dredging operation. Woods Hole Group also is collecting and testing sediments before, during, and after the dredging operation to monitor changes and document clean-up levels. To date, the Woods Hole Group monitoring crews have worked cooperatively with EPA and USACE staff, as well as the dredging crews, to achieve safe and efficient remediation efforts. Woods Hole Group will have a crew onsite for more than 60 days from June through November, 2009.

In addition to monitoring the environment before, during, and after the remediation efforts in the Harbor, EPA also has been proactive about monitoring long-term trends of environmental conditions throughout the New Bedford Superfund Site. Termed, the Long-Term Monitoring (LTM) Program, EPA designed a scientifically rigorous sampling program to gauge the response of the system to the PCB clean-up within New Bedford Harbor. LTM began in 1993, and includes some 78 stations distributed throughout New Bedford Harbor and surrounding areas of Buzzards Bay. The sampling regime was designed to be probabilistic, unbiased, and repeatable. Previous sampling events were completed in 1993 (baseline), 1995 (after PCB hotspot remediation), 1999, and 2004.

Woods Hole Group just completed the most recent LTM sampling in September, 2009. Two crews of three people on vessels, supported by land-based personnel, collected sediment samples for grain size analysis and analytical chemistry from the 78 sites. The sampling teams also collected and sorted three benthic invertebrate samples for laboratory enumerations and identification at each site. Oceanographic parameters (e.g., conductivity, temperature, and depth) were measured as well. Faced with challenging wind and rain conditions, the crews completed the mission in consecutive long days, on-schedule. High quality samples were collected, while the team had some fun and built camaraderie along the way.

In the ensuing weeks and months, Woods Hole Group will be working with its team members to analyze and report the data to USACE and EPA. With this long-term dataset, EPA can evaluate the response of New Bedford Harbor and surrounding regions to the ongoing remediation efforts.

In addition to the remediation and long-term monitoring, the Woods Hole Group team is maintaining and updating the New Bedford database, and also developing a Remedial Investigation/Feasibility Study (RI/FS) for portions of the Superfund Site. This collective work will support the ongoing remediation efforts, and help plan and monitor future efforts with the goal of restoring the ecological value of the region for years and generations to come.

1USEPA Research Report 600/R - 96/097 from October 1996 provides more details.

Long Island Sound Dredge Material Management Planning

In addition to extensive work in and around New Bedford Harbor, Woods Hole Group is supporting the USACE for its initiative to develop a Dredged Material Management Plan (DMMP) for dredge material management planning in Long Island Sound. Due to the prevalent commerce and recreation along Long Island Sound in both Connecticut and New York, there is an important requirement to maintain adequate navigation depths in many ports, harbors, waterways, navigation channels and approaches. In addition to vital waterways in Norwalk, Rye, and New Rochelle, there are approximately 50 federally-authorized channels and harbors in the region along with countless private navigable waterways.

A DMMP is being developed to evaluate a full range of alternatives for the management of sediments dredged from navigation projects in the Long Island Sound region. Woods Hole Group is helping USACE with certain aspects of the DMMP process. We recently performed an updated literature search of current scientific research since 2005, and we are incorporating these materials into a database.

Working with our teaming partners, we also are conducting an updated inventory of significant archaeological and historic sites in the region. Additionally, the team is conducting an economic data update to estimate the significance of navigation-dependent industries within the harbors and channels of Long Island Sound. This information will be used to assess the social and economic impacts on the region if channels are unable to be maintained. Impacts will be assessed related to commercial fishing, deep draft vessel navigation/cargo, and recreational activities. Collectively, the information developed by the Woods Hole Group team will help the USACE evaluate dredging and dredged material disposal alternatives and impacts, as part of the overall dredge material management planning process.

Other USACE Projects

While New Bedford Harbor and Long Island Sound have been the focus of attention, USACE has enlisted the services of Woods Hole Group to support a number of other federal projects. A handful of these are described below:
Buttermilk Bay Dredging (Bourne, MA): Collected and analyzed sediment cores for planning an upcoming dredging project.
Elizabeth Mine Remediation (South Stafford, VT): Superfund remediation of former coppress mining sites. Woods Hole Group team is recovering mining artifacts and monitoring onsite conditions.
Milford Pond Restoration (Milford, MA): Sampled and testing sediment cores in the pond to assess sediment quality (e.g., chemistry and grain size) for suitability of disposal. Also testing sediment dewatering properties and evaluated potential for onsite dewatering using geotextiles or belt filter press methods.
Fisherville Pond (Grafton, MA): Sediment sampling and chemical analysis to support restoration project involving excavation of 100,000 cubic yards of impounded sediment behind a historic mill dam.
Mystic Harbor (Mystic, CT): Obtained sediment and water samples for bioaccumulation and toxicity studies along with analytical chemistry for evaluation of an upcoming dredging project.
Piscataqua River (NH): Current measurements using an acoustic Doppler current profiler (ADCP) over the course of several tidal cycles to characterize river current velocities and flow rates.
Saco Bay/Camp Ellis Beach (ME) : Collection of geotechnical and archaeological information to support engineering design of proposed shore protection structures.



The global economic crisis has cast its shadow over many economic sectors throughout the world. Included in this gloom and uncertainty are many sustainable development initiatives, including environmental protection. Exceptions exist, of course, but one can demonstrate that sustainable development efforts have taken a back seat in many countries as a result of the severely stressed national and regional budgets.

One of the exceptions is the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The national budget of $127 billion exceeds that of any previous year, and is based on an oil price in the mid-$40s, a safe bet under most scenarios. Regardless of the oil price, the KSA has committed to its higher budget even to the extent of spending in deficit if need be. With the current price of oil in the upper $70 range and with strong indications it may rise even higher this year, the KSA national budget is poised to lead to yet another year of major budget surplus. Qatar also has a sizzling economy, but its 2009-2010 budget represents a small decrease over previous years and reflects a larger decrease in total revenues.

The KSA stands out within the Middle East. Whereas some Middle East countries are struggling with reduced budgets and deficits, the KSA has vowed to continue major developments while exerting prudence in undertaking new developments. Although new development has decelerated, the 2009 budget includes an INCREASE of 36% in capital projects over last year (including both continuing ongoing projects as well as new projects). Dubai, for instance, has seen stoppage on tens of billions of dollars worth of development projects, and the other Emirates have followed suit. The KSA is set on continuing a strong pace of development in spite of the economic downturn.

How has this economic crisis affected sustainable development efforts in the KSA? There are many dimensions to this question, but one iconic indication is that the King Abdullah University for Science and Technology (KAUST) opened in September 2009 with a LEEDS (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Platinum rating. This single project is the largest of all Platinum LEEDS projects throughout the world. The recognition that this highly visible project dedicated by King Abdullah should be performed to LEEDS platinum standards (the highest such designation) is an indication that the Kingdom wishes to take a lead in sustainability stewardship. Presently, the KSA is pushing for LEEDS platinum certification for other big projects, clearly leading the world in certification for large projects.

Further emphasis on environment found its way into the KSA budget in other ways. Although the national Environmental Agency has not yet seen the major budget increases of other Ministries in KSA, the environmental focus has found its way into other Ministries and organizations within the KSA. A major focus, in particular, is taking place at the Municipality level, focusing on sanitary, trash collection, solid waste, and other environmental projects. Water supply and utilization, including reuse, are taking on new importance, as the Kingdom refines its sustainable water strategy through a newly organized approach.

Other major sustainability initiatives include alternative energy, water use rationalization, green building, and carbon sequestration (a demonstration project in the Saudi oil fields is slated to begin soon). Clearly, the Saudi government is focused on improving its sustainability profile in the world community. Investment opportunities in sustainable development in the KSA are expanding rapidly. WHGME is poised to assist the KSA and the Middle East Region in achieving sustainability through its varied service offerings.

David G. Aubrey, Ph.D.
General Manager

Our contact information is:
Woods Hole Group - Middle East
Diplomatic Quarter
P.O. Box 94704
Riyadh 11614
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
P: 966 1 483 2080
F: 966 1 483 2090


Woods Hole Group has a long history of designing, installing and operating environmental measurement systems on a range of platforms from fixed production platforms and FPSOs on the continental shelf to semi-submersibles and drillships in deep water.  That tradition continued this year with the award of contracts for ADCP systems on four new-build drillships in the Gulf of Mexico.

The first award was from Chevron for design, fabrication, installation and commissioning of ADCP deployment systems on the Transocean Discoverer Clear Leader (DCL) and the Discoverer Inspiration (DIN).  Chevron has a long term charter of these drillships and intends to operate them in the deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico.  

These deployment systems are improved versions of the unique moonpool deployment system developed by Woods Hole Group in 2000 for the Transocean Discoverer Spirit, which is still in operation today.   The system is based on a two rail (I-beams) track attached to the side of the moonpool.  The ADCP is mounted in a carriage, which rides a sled along the rails to its deployed position at the base of the moonpool.  The advantages of the system over the more conventional ‘over the side’ deployment system include more accurate data and less frequent service visits.  Also, the moonpool deployment system allows the ADCP to remain in place and collect high-quality data during severe storms, when an over-the-side system would have to be removed from the water to avoid damage. 

The DCL system was installed and commissioned in July 2009 and the DIN system is scheduled for installation in early 2010.

The second award was from BP America for design, fabrication, installation, commissioning, monitoring and servicing ADCP systems on the first two of Pride International’s sixth generation, ultra deepwater drillships under construction in South Korea - the Deep Ocean Ascension and the Deep Ocean Clarion.  The Deep Ocean Ascension is due into the Gulf of Mexico in June 2010 and will be joined by the Deep Ocean Clarion in December 2010.

The identical measurement systems involve a downward-profiling TRDI 38kHz Ocean Observer ADCP and a TRDI upward-looking 300kHz Workhorse ADCP.   Together these sensors will obtain current data from the near surface to about 1000m below the sea surface.  The ADCPs will be mounted on a spreader bar suspended over the side using a dual-cable gantry mechanism mounted on a platform projecting outward from an upper deck on the drillship.  The current profile data will be transmitted in near real time to the National Data Buoy Center in accordance with the requirements of MMS NTL No. 2009-G02 as well as to WHG for system performance monitoring.

These systems will be among the first in the Gulf of Mexico to utilize Teledyne-RDI’s underwater electronics housing for the 38kHz Ocean Observer.  This will permit the use of electromechanical support cables, rather than separate suspension and electrical cables, providing increased reliability and ease of deployment.

The current profiles collected with all of these ADCP systems will be used for operational purposes and to fulfill the Minerals Management Service requirement to report in real time current profiles from drilling and production platforms operating in water depths greater than 1000m.  For offshore energy exploration and production, real-time deep water current data guides effective and safe drilling operations.  Beneath the surface of the ocean, discrete masses of water move at different speeds at different depths. These strong currents can present hazards to drilling operations, especially as drilling moves into increasingly deeper water. The forces on risers can increase dramatically due to currents associated with the Loop Current and its eddies in the Gulf of Mexico.

Current data can also be used to develop defensible engineering parameters for the design of offshore facilities.  Both real-time and historical oceanographic and meteorological data are critical components of daily drilling operations and long-term planning.

David Szabo, M.S.
Houston Office Manager

Our contact information is:
Woods Hole Group - Houston
10615 Shadow Wood Drive, Suite 100
Houston, TX 77043-2844
P: (713) 468-5075
F: (713) 468-1115


Leslie Fields & Lee Weishar Celebrate 20 years at WHG!

On Thursday, July 30, 2009, the Falmouth staff of Woods Hole Group gathered to congratulate Lee and Leslie for their twenty years at WHG.  Each received a special plaque to celebrate their service.  Determined not to stop there, the Company provided one more special gift.  That Friday, a limo picked them up at their home, took them to the Cape Cod Dinner train for a sunset dinner with champagne.  

Congratulations to both Leslie and Lee.  We are proud to be your colleagues and to work alongside you.




Todd Morrison has joined Woods Hole Group in the role of Senior Ocean Engineer. Todd earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Electrical Engineering from Harvard University in 1981. He was awarded Master of Science and Oceanographic Engineer degrees by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology / Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Joint Program in Oceanographic Engineering in 1994 for work on system identification and state reconstruction of underwater vehicles for control and navigation in an acoustic net. His Doctor of Philosophy degree was conferred in 1997 by the MIT / WHOI Joint Program for work developing acoustic differential travel time instrumentation to study the velocity structure of the continental shelf wave bottom boundary layer. He has also studied mathematics at Yale University (1986/87) and underwater archaeology at Cornell University (1987).

Todd worked as a Senior Field Engineer for Raytheon (1981-86), was a lecturer in mathematics at MIT (1992), and continues a series of appointments as a Visiting and Guest Investigator at WHOI (1997-present). Long term consulting work for Nobska led to the position of Senior Engineer/Vice President for Engineering in 2000. He continues to work as a consultant, developing oceanographic, fisheries, and medical software and instrumentation.

He has been an active Member of IEEE/OES since 1995, and became a Senior Member of IEEE in 2005. He was first elected to the OES AdCom in 2000 and has served as the OES Webmaster since 2001. He has been involved in the OES Current Measurement Technology Conference since 1995 (5 papers and service on the organizing committee) and was the CMTC Financial Chair from 2001 to 2005. During 2004 and 2005, he was a member of the OES Constitution and Bylaws Committee, which produced the current governing documents of the Society. Todd became a member of JOAB, the Joint OCEANS Administrative Board, in 2003 and is the first, and so far only, OCEANS Webmaster. In this role, he coordinates and oversees the ongoing development and use of the web based tools that local organizing committees now employ in running the OCEANS Conferences.

Outside of work, Todd takes an active role in educating the public about ocean science, giving frequent public talks and demonstrations and working with students. He was named the Massachusetts Informal Teacher of the Year for 2000 by the Massachusetts Marine Educators. He, his wife, Hilary, and their children, Abigail and Daniel, live in Falmouth, Massachusetts, where they are active advocates for peace and have, to date, taken in some 500 foster children on an emergency basis. In 2007 they were named a Massachusetts Foster Family of the Year.


Kaitlyn McCartney joined the Woods Hole Group in role of Coastal Engineer. Kaitlyn specializes in the application of field and laboratory research to evaluate and resolve problematic coastal processes. She graduated with her BS in Mechanical and Ocean Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2009.

Ms. McCartney’s work includes the implementation of sediment sampling techniques to analyze and support progress in coastal restoration. She has experience with coastal mooring system instrumentation and deployment, mooring design, floatation/hardware components, analysis of data, programming deployment, and data analysis of oceanographic instruments, including the ADCP and CTD. While at Woods Hole Group, Ms. McCartney has worked on projects involving dredging, restoration and remediation, harbor sampling, tidal/current profiling, and analysis of coastal processes.


Joseph Famely joined the Woods Hole Group in role of Coastal Scientist. Joe will initially be working on the USACE Long Island Sound Dredged Material Management Plan with Leslie Fields and Heidi Clark. Woods Hole Group also looks forward to developing business related to coastal sustainability and climate change adaptation projects in the future, Joe's support.

Prior to joining Woods Hole Group, Joe served as Environmental Impact Statement Consultant at Hudson River Valley Resorts. Before arriving at Hudson River Valley Resorts, Joe served as Environmental Scientist at Exponent. Prior to that, Joe served as Environmental Scientist at Menzie-Cura & Associates.

Joe graduated from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies in 2009 with a Masters of Environmental Management degree. He also earned a B.A. (Magna cum Laude) at Bowdoin College in Environmental Studies and Psychology (1999). He studied tropical ecology, environmental science and policy abroad in Costa Rica through the Organization for Tropical Studies (Duke University).


David Bailey joined Woods Hole Group in role of Field Technician. David has experience in scientific diving and research field techniques; including collection of biological and economical fisheries data, laboratory analyses, SCUBA and snorkeling experience, and water quality monitoring. He is AAUS Certified (120 logged dives), is a PADI Certified Advanced Driver, DAN 02 Certified, and has completed Offshore Survival Training. David has a B.S. in Marine Biology - University of Rhode Island, magna cum laude (2008).

Bob Hamilton and Catherine Morey participated on the planning committee of the Northeast Beaches Conference. The conference was held September 21-23, 2009 at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute. Nearly 150 people attended this successful event, which highlighted shoreline issues in the Northeast, helped shore technology and latest research, and helped network the stakeholders. Woods Hole Group authored three presentations at the conference:

* M. Leslie Fields, M.S. - Menauhunt Beach and Dune Nourishment
* Lee Weishar, Ph.D., P.W.S. - Soft Engineering Solutions for Bank Stablization: Do They Exist?
* Tara Marden, M.S. - Sengekontacket Pond Dredging & Beach/Dune Nourishment
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  Peter Markunas, Coastal Engineer, attended the 2nd Annual Coastal Erosion Control Workshop in Hyannis, MA on March 11, 2009.
Dr. Lee Weishar, attended the ASBPA National Coastal Summit in Washington, DC on March 25-27, 2009. In addition to attending the conference, Dr. Weishar was officially appointed to the Board of Directors at the meeting.
Nate Dill, attended the ASCE Louisiana Conference in Baton Rogue, LA on April 14-15, 2009. He presented information on a new Physical Oceanographic Real-Time Monitoring System (PORTS) that Woods Hole Group maintains at Lake Charles for NOAA.
David Szabo, attended the Offshore Technology Conference in Houston, TX on May 4-7, 2009.

Bob Hamilton , attended the Texas Coastal Conference in Galveston, TX on June 4-5, 2009 in preparation for upcoming coastal work along the Texas Gulf Coast.

Todd Morrison and Bruce Magnell, attended the Environmental Sensors Workshop in Falmouth, MA on September 24, 2009.
David Szabo and Bruce Magnell, attended the ADCPs in Action Conference in San Diego, CA on October 5-7, 2009. Woods Hole Group offered a poster on Acoustic Doppler Current Profiles (ADCP), data quality, and relavance of biological reflectors.
Dr. Lee Weishar and Tara Marden, attended the ASBPA National Coastal Conference: Integrating Coastal Science and Policy in St. Pete Beach, FL on October 14-16, 2009. Lee presented a paper on "Wetland Form vs Function: Can We Incorporate Function into Wetland Success Criteria Without Killing Projects?" and Tara presented on "Public/Private Partnership for Dune Restoration at Cow Bay, Martha’s Vineyard, MA".

Todd Morrison and Bruce Magnell, attended the MTS/IEEE Oceans Conference in Biloxi, MS on October 26-29, 2009.

Look for us in 2010 at the following conferences...

Oceanology International 2010
London, UK
March 9-11, 2010


5th National Conference on Coastal and Estuarine Habitat Restoration
Galveston, TX
November 13-17, 2010


Thank you for your interest in our newsletter.
We look forward to bringing you the next issue!

Catherine Morey
Newsletter Producer & Editor