CSA Ocean Sciences Inc. Project Wins Prestigious U.S. Department of Interior Award

The honor recognizes the firm's extensive contributions to research conducted among mid-Atlantic canyons.

CSA Ocean Sciences Inc.'s (CSA's) project Atlantic Canyons – Pathways to the Abyss won the Department of Interior's Partners in Conservation Award for work performed in conjunction with 16 other institutions to study mid-Atlantic deepwater canyons over the last 4 years. Presented to the firm by Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell, the award recognizes and celebrates collaborative research involving numerous partners whose work produces outstanding conservation results. These partnerships often consist of diverse entities such as Federal, state, and local governments combined with private for-profit and nonprofit institutions, other nongovernmental entities, and individuals.

In order to conduct this research, CSA and its partners utilized robotic underwater vehicles with high-definition video and still imagery cameras, benthic landers, and instrumented mooring, along with traditional sampling methods such as box corers, water samplers, and benthic trawls. Included among the major results was the discovery of an expansive deepwater coral habitat near the mid-Atlantic outer continental shelf. Also of considerable scientific value, the partnership located one of the largest deep-sea mussel communities known to feed on the methane gas seeps found among the canyons. In addition to this biological research, the partnership located and investigated numerous historic shipwrecks, including several of the "Billy Mitchell Fleet," a group of decommissioned German and American naval vessels that were used in 1921 to test the effectiveness of aircraft against naval vessels.

CSA helped to gather and assemble unprecedented data for the region with the knowledge that the research will guide the decisions made by offshore energy management teams. Alan Hart, Ph.D., CSA's Executive Vice-President, Science, (pictured on the left)  commented, "This is a tremendous honor for our project team and CSA. The information gained through this project will serve as an important part of the knowledge base that will be used in determining the way forward for energy development of the Atlantic coast. Results from deep-sea communities and historical shipwreck studies off the mid-Atlantic coast will strengthen the protection and conservation of these habitats from potential impacts related to energy development."

CSA is currently involved with several other studies that focus on the characterization and conservation of deepwater biological communities offshore Mozambique, New Zealand, and Cyprus for which several field sampling and analytical methods used during the Mid-Atlantic Canyons study are being used.

CSA Ocean Sciences Inc. specializes in consulting services for Federal, State, and private industry clients in multidisciplinary projects, integrating science and technology to evaluate environmental activities throughout the world. CSA offers a wide variety of services related to environmental management and community planning to support clients working in marine, estuarine, wetland, freshwater, and terrestrial habitats throughout the United States and overseas.