Maine DEP biologist receives international Environmental Stewardship Award

Posted June 08, 2011, at 7:28 p.m.

AUGUSTA — A biologist with the Maine Department of Environmental Protection has been honored by an international scientific society for her work in furthering the protection of freshwater habitats.

Susan Davies, a senior biologist who serves as the water quality standards coordinator for the department in its Bureau of Land and Water Quality, was presented the 2011 Environmental Stewardship Award by the Society for Freshwater Science at its annual meeting last week in Providence, R.I.

Formerly the North American Benthological Society, the recently renamed Society for Freshwater Science is an international scientific organization whose purpose is to promote further understanding of aquatic ecosystems and in particular, the role of plant and animal communities in lake and stream bottoms in the larger well-being of the watershed. It is made up of 1,800 members from more than 40 countries.

Davies was specifically cited for collaborating with Susan Jackson of the federal Environmental Protection Agency to develop a model or “yardstick” of freshwater biological condition, termed the Biological Condition Gradient, that helps to simplify complicated ecological changes that take place when freshwater habitats are damaged by disturbance. While the model is largely based on Maine’s biological approach to managing rivers and streams, the method has been increasingly used across the country and internationally.

In 2003, the 28-year veteran of the department and fellow Maine DEP biologists David Courtemanch and Leon Tsomides also were recognized with an Environmental Merit Award for Lifetime Achievement from Region 1 EPA.

For information about the Maine Department of Environmental Protection’s biomonitoring efforts, visit www.maine.gov/dep/blwq/docmonitoring/biomonitoring. For information about the Maine DEP, visit www.maine.gov/dep or call 287-7688.

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