The U.S. Geological Survey will welcome Congressman Brian Higgins onboard one of its newest large research vessels in Buffalo on Thursday.
Media are invited to tour the USGS Great Lakes Science Center's Research Vessel (R/V) Muskie while the vessel is temporarily docked in Buffalo. Journalists may join Buffalo's Congressman Higgins and officials from the Great Lakes Fishery Commission onboard the R/V Muskie.
The new large research vessel enables USGS Lake Erie Biological Station researchers to provide scientific information on the health and population status of Lake Erie's living resources. Such research is used by federal, state, and tribal resource managers to protect the area's $7 billion annual commercial and sport fisheries.
In 2011, the new R/V Muskie replaced the ageing R/V Musky II, which had been the primary USGS research platform on Lake Erie since 1960. The new vessel provides a safe and reliable platform for scientists, and is equipped with state-of-the-art scientific instrumentation to improve the understanding of deep-water ecosystems and fishes in Lake Erie for ecological management purposes.
The R/V Muskie is designed to support up to a five day mission with sleeping accommodations for six. It includes all the necessary features to support a wide variety of aquatic science projects in the open water and near-shore areas of Lake Erie, including electronic navigational and scientific equipment, onboard sample processing and storage facilities, and a 3G/4G cellular modem and WiFi communications network.
The USGS awarded an $8.2 million contract to the Great Lakes Towing Company in 2010 for the construction of two new Great Lakes research vessels—the R/V Muskie and Lake Ontario's R/V Kaho—to replace the oldest vessels in the USGS fleet. Funding for the contract came from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
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