Gulf Guardian Award Winners 2007
Individual Category - 3rd Place
|Individual Name:||Barbara Viskup||
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|Company:||Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality|
For over 10 years Ms. Barbara Viskup, an Environmental Scientist with the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) has been monitoring the coastal waters of Mississippi in order to determine the health of our coastal estuaries. These years of experience provided her with the skills she needed to respond to and document the many water quality impacts that resulted when, on August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina plowed through Mississippi, Louisiana and Alabama causing the nation’s worst natural disaster on record. Ms. Viskup, and her multi-agency emergency team, working in coordination with experts in her Jackson office, began a regular sampling program of the major rivers in Mississippi and documented many bodies of anoxic waters, numerous finfish kills and several shellfish kills as well as stranded dolphins. In October and November she and her team sampled the tissues from local seafood species to make sure that they were safe for consumption and coordinated a bacteriological monitoring program with the aid of the United States Geological Society. This data was used to estimate the magnitude of the environmental and economic destruction that was associated with Hurricane Katrina and will be used in the future to plan for the ecological recovery of our coastal waters.