Council hires librarian to manage document collection

The council welcomed a new staff member, Alicia Zorzetto, to the Anchorage office on January 10. Zorzetto accepted the position of Digital Collections Librarian, and will be working in the Anchorage office.

Zorzetto has a master’s degree in information and library sciences from the University of Toronto and a master’s in political science from McMaster University in Ontario. Zorzetto has experience managing digital library collections, most recently serving as a systems librarian for the Canadian Forces School of Aerospace Technology and Engineering. Zorzetto also served as a reference librarian at York University’s Leslie Frost Library.

Zorzetto moved to Anchorage in early January from Ontario, Canada. She coached and played basketball for many years, and hopes to resume coaching once she settles into life in Alaska.

Zorzetto will take over management of the council’s document management system. The council has an ever-growing collection of approximately 25,000 digital and physical documents, images and audio-visual files related to the council’s mission. Zorzetto will help improve organization of the current system and develop a plan for managing future documents.

Highlights of recent council activities and news, January 2013

Small leak in loading arm at Valdez Marine Terminal

On November 8, Alyeska informed the council that one of four loading arms on Berth 4 at the Valdez Marine Terminal had developed a small leak, characterized as a “weep.”

New loading arms on Berth 4 were installed this past summer. In response to council inquiry, Alyeska and regulators told the council that the problem appeared to be from an installation defect.

Berth 4 was able to continue operation with the three remaining arms; however, loading was restricted to a lower flow than normal. An Alyeska employee was assigned observe the operational arms to watch for any more weeps.

An inspection of the three remaining arms showed similar wear on two of those three arms due to the defect, but not to the extent of the weeping arm.

Following a thorough inspection and correction of the installation defect, Berth 4 was placed into service with three of the four loading arms in operation.

Permanent repairs of the fourth loading arm is expected to be completed this spring or summer.
Berth 5 has a different design and does not have this problem.

No oil reached Prince William Sound waters from this leak.

Volunteers receive prestigious state travel award

Council volunteers Marilynn and Pete Heddell were presented with the “Spirit of Alaska” award by the Alaska Travel Industry Association on Oct 11.

This annual award is presented to an individual or business that has demonstrated exceptional efforts to support a local community, charity or other organization outside the travel industry. Association members submit nominations and an awards committee selects a winner.

The association cited the Heddells’ commitment to fostering a business friendly environment in Whittier, their public service for numerous organizations and councils in and around Whittier and Prince William Sound, and their mentoring of many local kids through their business.

Marilynn has represented the City of Whittier on the council’s board of directors since 1996. Pete has been a member of the council’s Port Operations and Vessel Traffic System committee since 2000.

Whales, marine debris, waves and invasive species were topics at council’s annual Science Night event

In December, the council hosts Science Night, an annual event with presentations on topics related to marine science in Prince William Sound and Gulf of Alaska.

This year saw nearly 70 attendees at the event.

Jan Straley of the University of Alaska Southeast gave a talk titled “Weaving Through the Food Web with Whales and Fish (or, The Shenanigans of Recovering Whale Populations).

Kate Morse of the Copper River Watershed Project spoke about their Marine Stewardship Expedition program this past summer. During the trip, youth collected and inventoried marine debris in Prince William Sound.

Tobias Schwörer, of the Institute of Social and Economic Research, spoke about work for the council studying the economic impacts of marine invasive species.

Maria Kartezhnikova talked about the effects of waves on transferring cargo at the Valdez Marine Terminal. Kartezhnikova is a student at the University of Alaska Anchorage and did this study as part of her master’s program.

Council volunteer Roger Green and staffers Joe Banta, Anna Carey and Jeremy Robida talked about the council’s efforts to monitor Port Valdez for invasive European green crabs. After off-loading crude oil at a refinery, oil tankers take on ballast water to help stabilize the ship during travel. Invasive species such as green crabs can hitch a ride and invade Prince William Sound when that water is released before the tanker takes on more crude oil.

Next year’s Science Night event will be held in early December.

Community Corner – Outreach activities help us connect with others in our region

Council Outreach Coordinator

On September 29, we participated in the Chugach Regional Education Forum. The goal of the event was to gather educators from the Chugach region to discuss projects and get a better understanding of what educational resources are available in the region.

Participants included teachers and organizations that provide educational services for students. Presentations covered topics such as diversity in the regions’ schools, how traditional knowledge is used in education, and education outreach. Participants learned about the Prince William Sound Science Center, Alaska Sealife Center, the Alaska Sea Otter and Steller Sea Lion Commission, Alaska Geographic, Kachemak Bay Research Reserve and the council. It was a very worthwhile forum and helped firm up connections and relationships among the region.

This year for the first time we had a booth at November’s Alaska Federation of Natives conference, held this year in Anchorage. At this statewide meeting of Native Alaskans and others we were able to reach out to many attendees from the council’s communities and beyond. Some visitors included former Alyeska-council liaison Gary Bader, former council board members Scott Sterling and Pete Kompkoff and many others. Board member Patience Andersen Faulkner and staffer Serena Lopez assisted with the council’s booth.

I attended the Alaska Committee for Noxious and Invasive Plants Management in Kodiak, October 30-November 1. This year marine invasive species were on the agenda. Topics included aquatic invasive species in Kodiak, early detection of zebra and quagga mussels in Alaska, promoting environmental stewardship in rural Alaska, potential impacts to Alaska’s fisheries from Didemnum Vexillum (a tunicate or sea squirt), and invasive species management programs in Alaska.

Staffer Anna Carey took the booth to the Society for Environmental Technology and Chemistry conference in Long Beach, California in November. Carey, board member John French, and the Scientific Advisory Committee’s Debu Misra were able to attend several scientific presentations related to oil spill technology.

In early November, Mark Swanson visited Valdez Elementary School and spoke with several fifth grade science classes. The presentation was part of the Information and Education Committee’s youth involvement project. Swanson talked to the students about the council and the concerns of various users of Prince William Sound. The students participated in facilitated group discussions about those concerns and looked at measures to balance everyone’s common interests.

Also in November, board members John Velsko and Blake Johnson assisted me at the booth at Pacific Marine Expo in Seattle. This conference attracts fishermen and others who live and/or work in the Alaska fishing industry. It is always very well attended.

All of us here wish you a very happy 2013, and a huge thank you to our wonderful volunteers for their hard work in protecting our waters.

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