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March 31, 2008

May 3 Open House to Feature DNR Marine Center Vessels

Deck of Research VesselThe Marine Resources Center Open House will be held on Saturday, May 3 and will provide the public with an opportunity to learn about the vessel operations that are a fundamental lifeline of the work conducted at the Center.
The S.C. Department of Natural Resources (DNR) maintains and operates four research vessels ranging in length from 45 to 110-ft at the Marine Resources Center at Fort Johnson. These vessels provide well-equipped platforms for performing scientific sampling, fisheries monitoring and education by numerous agencies, colleges and universities throughout the country in addition to the ongoing work at DNR. The fleet will be on display during the Open House on Saturday, May 3, with public opportunities for touring the R/V Palmetto, as well as participating in an educational cruise aboard the E/V Discovery a part of the day’s events.

For additional information about the event, visit: www.dnr.sc.gov/marine/openhouse.html. Admission is free and parking and transportation will be provided from James Island Charter High School. The E/V Discovery is a 45-foot fiberglass catamaran and provides marine educators with a tool for conducting quality educational programs to both students and adults. The E/V Discovery is rigged to pull a small otter-trawl, as well as plankton nets and bottom grabs, all enhancing the educational experience of participants while onboard.

R/V Lady Lisa is used for scientic workThe R/V Lady Lisa, a 75-foot St. Augustine Trawler, is also housed at the Marine Center, and is capable of towing two 80-ft trawls. The vessel has accommodations for three crew members and eight scientists, including a complete head and shower, as well as dry storage space for gear and cold storage for scientific samples. The R/V Lady Lisa is the primary sampling vessel for several state and federal projects, and works mostly in near coastal waters between Cape Hatteras, N.C., and Cape Canaveral, Fla. The scope of work conducted onboard includes research with in-water turtles, as well as monitoring the status and trends of a variety of coastal species in the Southeast as part of the SEAMAP project.

The 110-ft R/V Palmetto is DNR's offshore research vessel conducting various projects from the mid-continental shelf to further offshore in the warm waters of the Gulf Stream. This vessel operates around the clock for up to 10 days at sea with a crew of six, and is equipped for housing nine scientists. An air-conditioned wet lab with its own navigational electronics and computer facilities complements the vessel’s ability to deploy and retrieve various instruments and sampling gears. Projects conducted onboard the R/V Palmetto include a reef fish assessment through the Marine Resources Monitoring Assessment and Prediction program (MARMAP), as well as additional work with artificial reefs.

Sampling projects in the tidal rivers, channels, bays and sounds inshore as well as around the jetties of the Charleston Harbor entrance channel and near-shore coastal waters, are conducted by the 52-foot R/V Silver Crescent. The R/V Silver Crescent provides for facilitation of research both inshore and offshore, and is fully rigged to use trawls, fish-traps or longlines. The vessel accommodates five scientists and crew members, and also serves as an education vessel for college and graduate students. The R/V Silver Crescent is the primary research vessel for DNR’s work with adult red drum and crustacean monitoring and management projects.

During the Marine Resources’ Center Open House, exhibits, displays, hands-on activities and seminars will showcase the efforts of DNR to protect, conserve and manage the state's woods and waters, especially marine resources. The DNR will be joined by its partners on the Fort Johnson campus: Hollings Marine Laboratory, NOAA, College of Charleston, and the Medical University of South Carolina.

In addition to the Open House, Fort Johnson will also host the 2008 Harry Hampton Marine Conservation Banquet and Auction, to be held the night before, from 6-9 p.m. on Friday, May 2. Attendees will be able to preview some of the Open House displays, exhibits and activities, as they enjoy heavy hors d’oeuvres, beverages and live and silent auctions.

Tickets for the Harry Hampton banquet and auction are $25 per person or $40 per couple. For information and tickets, call (843) 953-9103 or visit www.hamptonwildlifefund.org/.

DNR protects and manages South Carolina’s natural resources by making wise and balanced decisions for the benefit of the state's natural resources and its people.

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