Delta Research And Global Observation Network (DRAGON)

DRAGON News Archive

Forecast Mekong Video Released

The great deltas of the world are among our most heavily populated and agriculturally productive landscapes, yet these low-lying coastal areas are extremely vulnerable to climate change and development impacts. An international challenge is to transform these vulnerable ecosystems to resilient ones. Through comparative studies and ecological forecasting, such as what is being done with the Mississippi and Mekong Rivers, we can work towards balancing natural landscape functions with economic development to produce healthy ecosystems and sustainable deltas.

The video below is a form of science diplomacy requested by the U.S. Department of State to educate policy-makers and citizens in Southeast Asia about the vital importance of the Mekong river and delta in maintaining food security and livelihoods in the region. The video also seeks to make policy-makers aware of the potential impacts of climate change on people and the environment of the Mekong delta.

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A Different Delta Force – USGS and U.S. Department of State Assist in Mekong Delta

Satellite Image of the Mekong and Mississippi River Deltas The U.S. Geological Survey is bringing its broad scientific understanding of the Mississippi Delta to bear on a similar river delta a half a world away, the Mekong River Delta of southeast Asia. Through the U.S. government’s Lower Mekong Initiative, the USGS Delta Research and Global Observation Network (DRAGON) partnership will use its experience with the Mississippi River and its expertise in earth science modeling to help the Mekong countries assess how climate change and human activities could impact the ecology and food security of the Mekong basin.  More...

DRAGON Expands with “Forecast Mekong”

On July 23, 2009, in Phuket, Thailand, USGS scientists met with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and the foreign ministers from Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, and Vietnam to view a video on “Forecast Mekong.” This first-ever group meeting of the Secretary and the ministers highlighted the increasing cooperation between the United States and Lower Mekong countries in the areas of environment, health, education, and infrastructure development.

Part of the Delta Research and Global Observation Network (DRAGON) Partnership, “Forecast Mekong” is an interactive data integration, modeling, and visualization system to help policy makers, resource managers, and the public understand and predict outcomes from climate change and development projects in the Mekong River Basin. When fully developed by the USGS, in partnership with local governments and universities throughout the Mekong region, the Forecast Mekong program will provide a valuable planning tool to visualize the consequences of climate change and river management.

The United States will spend more than $7 million in 2009 on environmental programs in the Mekong Region, and the Forecast Mekong effort will be among the funded programs.

DRAGON Asia Summit 2009: A Huge Success

The purpose of the DRAGON Asia Summit was to forge new global partnerships to develop the science needed to inform decision making in the Mekong, Mississippi, and other large river and delta systems around the globe. The 2009 DRAGON Asia Summit took place June 22 – 25 in Siem Reap, Cambodia, and was attended by more than 130 scientists from 11 nations, two U.S. ambassadors, and three ministers from Cambodia. During the Summit, information, data, and tools were presented in 23 plenary presentations and in 54 technical presentations. Pre-conference short courses on knowledge integration and mapping and on climate change were also offered, as well as a field trip to the dynamic Tonle Sap Lake.

The DRAGON Partnership has grown tremendously because of this gathering of scientists, policymakers, and natural resource managers. The work performed at the Summit provides the partnership with an expanded network and direction for the future and supports a scientific approach to addressing the issues challenging the planet’s dynamic delta ecosystems.

   Click here for more information on the DRAGON Asia Summit.

Upstream Dams 'Threaten Mekong'

Reported by Radio Free Asia

Vietnamese environmental experts have sharply criticized plans by Laos, China, and Thailand to build a cascade of dams along the upper reaches of the Mekong River, which flows through six countries, including Vietnam.  More...

Vietnam starts $112 million climate change program

Reported by Mai Vong, Thanh Nien News

Vietnam’s environment agency formally launched its VND 1.96 trillion (US $112.44 million) program to protect the country from the effects of climate change on Monday 12 January 2009. Scientists from the US and Vietnam will study the impact of climate change on the Mekong Delta and other low-lying river regions around the world. Gregory Smith, head of the National Wetlands Research Center of the US Interior Department, said the aim of the joint study is to gather large-scale data sets to help model the impact of rising sea levels and worsening cyclonic storms on river deltas, man-made structures and communities.  More...

DRAGON Institute-Mekong to be established at Can Tho University, Vietnam

Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung and President George W. Bush welcomed the commencement of the Delta Research and Global Observation Network (DRAGON) project in Vietnam, which will establish an institute at Can Tho University to cooperate on training and research to produce healthy ecosystems and sustainable deltas.  More...


Image of Grand Isle, Louisiana after Hurricane Gustav  

Hurricane Gustav

Hurricane Gustav hit the coast of Louisiana on Sept. 1, 2008, damaging wetlands and several barrier islands off the coast of the Mississippi River's Deltaic Plain. To learn more, go to http://www.nwrc.usgs.gov/hurricane. Aerial photography will be continuously added to the site.


USGS biologists conduct aerial surveys of Mississippi River oil spill

At the request of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), USGS Pilot/Biologist Tommy Michot and Biologist Wylie Barrow conducted aerial surveys of the area impacted by the June 23, 2008 oil spill on the Mississippi River.  More...

  Image of tug boats pulling large booms in the Mississippi River

World map with insets of the Mississippi and Mekong river deltas  

Deltas in crisis: the Irrawaddy Delta in Myanmar (Burma)

Tropical Cyclone Nargis formed into a tropical cyclone on 27 April 2008, in the central Bay of Bengal about 360 miles off the southeast coast of India. The United Nations has estimated that up to 2 million people have been affected by the storm.  More...

DRAGON II (Addis Ababa, Ethiopia) and III (Bangkok, Thailand) in April and May, 2008

DRAGON II was held in conjunction with International Symposium, yy V, Great Lakes of the World and Rift Valley Lakes: Sustainability, Integrity and Management conference, April 26-30, 2008 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. A DRAGON III workshop was held in conjunction with the Southeast Asia University Network and an international wetland training course in Bangkok, Thailand, in May 2008.  More...

DRAGON IV held in Brazil in July 2008

A symposium entitled “USGS Delta Research and Global Observation Network: Large River Floodplains and Deltas in South America” has been organized by Dr. Beth Middleton, USGS National Wetlands Research Center. The DRAGON IV symposium was held in conjunction with the 8th Intecol Wetlands Conference in Cuiaba, Brazil, July 20-25, 2008. The purpose of the symposium was to continue to develop a world community of practice focused on delta and large river science.


Oil spill threatens Mississippi River delta

On July 23, 2008, a massive oil spill occurred in the Mississippi River when a 600-foot tanker collided with a barge carrying No. 6 fuel oil near New Orleans, Louisiana. The spill affected a 100-mile area from New Orleans to the mouth of the river in the Gulf of Mexico.  More...

  Satellite image showing portions of the Mississippi River affected by the recent oil spill

DRAGON community contributions

Dr. Michiel van der Meulen has a recent publication in the Journal of Soils and Sediments that focuses on stakeholder relationships and aggregate extraction plans in the Dutch Rhine and Meuse Rivers.

van der Meulen, Michiel J., Rijnveld, Marc, Gerrits, Lasse M., Joziasse, Jan, van Heijst, Max W.I.M., and Gruijters, Stephan H.L.L., 2006, Handling Sediments in Dutch River Management: The Planning Stage of the Maaswerken River Widening Project : Journal of Soils and Sediments, vol. 6, no. 3, p. 163-172.

If you have a paper or dataset to add to the DRAGON network, please click the Data Upload tab on the DRAGON Web site for instructions.


Delta Research and Global Observation Network (DRAGON)