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Scientific Diving

About Scientific Diving at EPA

EPA diver Chuck Protzmann collects a sediment sample to measure the amount of "blue" carbon sequestered in the sediments within seagrass beds to help us better understand this carbon source as it relates to climate change.EPA's diving program dates back to 1970 when the Agency was first created. Our first dive units were established in Seattle and Gulf Breeze, Florida, to support EPA's monitoring, research, and emergency response efforts.

In 2016, we conducted 946 dives involving 65 divers in 9 diving units across the country.

What is scientific diving?

At EPA, our divers are generally data gatherers, note takers, photographers.

We observe and document changes to aquatic environments, many of which are linked to human activities.

Below are some examples of the diverse type of work that we do:

Working with other agencies

Our divers primarily support EPA's programs, but we also participate in joint diving activities under formal reciprocity agreements with a variety of organizations, including other federal and state agencies, universities, and private sector groups.

In the past, EPA has established reciprocity agreements with organizations such as:

  • U. S. Department of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
  • U. S. Geological Survey
  • Alaska Department of Fish and Game
  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
  • Scientific Diving International
  • Oregon State University
  • Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries
  • Oregon Coast Aquarium
  • University of Washington

If your agency or organization is interested in conducting a joint diving project with EPA, please contact Sean Sheldrake (, 206-553-1220.

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