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
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.
The video that should appear in this space cannot be displayed because your browser does not support embedded objects.
A Different Delta Force – USGS and U.S. Department of State Assist in Mekong Delta
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.
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.
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.
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...
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...
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.
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
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...
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.