RPI’s broad natural resources expertise combined with a focus on quantitative analyses by highly experienced staff allow us to bring a unique and rigorous approach to ecological and environmental assessment projects. In undertaking projects, RPI combines interdisciplinary skills that include applied sciences, geospatial analyses, and resource knowledge to better understand and help solve specific environmental issues.

Our Services:

  • We develop approaches and tools that integrate stakeholder input and participation into innovative solutions to specific issues in urban, rural, coastal, and marine settings
  • We conduct robust ecological and geomorphological field surveys and interpret the results to inform and provide answers and solutions to the end users
  • We formulate and implement methodologies for assessing ecological and environmental impacts from spills or legacy contamination (e.g., heavy metals, priority contaminants) providing the scientific basis that supports site evaluations and inform appropriate actions

We have demonstrated experience in the following areas:

  • Ecological surveys in aquatic and terrestrial environments
  • Environmental Impact Studies and Assessments
  • Design and Implementation of Environmental Monitoring Programs
  • Non-Point Source Impairment Analysis and Remediation
  • Chronic and Emergency Marine Debris Mapping and Remediation
  • Vessel Grounding Impacts and Remediation
  • Water Resources and Floodplain Management

Related Projects:

  1. Oiled Shoreline Survey – Saudi Arabia
  2. Environmental Assessment and Monitoring Keta Sea Defense Works Project
  3. Jeddah Coastal Pollution Assessment
  4. NOAA Marine Debris Program’s Abandoned and Derelict Vessel InfoHub
  5. SCDHEC projects
  6. Coastal Remediation and Restoration Project, Saudi Arabia
  7. West Africa Gas Pipeline
  8. Potentially Polluting Wrecks in U.S. Waters
  9. Pago Pago Coral Reef Grounding Impact Assessment
  10. Caribbean and Pacific Islands Abandoned Vessel Surveys
  11. Artificial Reefs Site Selection and Design Study
  12. Abu Dhabi Habitat Mapping Change Analysis
  13. National Park Service Contingency Planning
  14. Floodplain and Instream Habitat Analysis in Support of Minimum Flows and Levels (MFLs) for the St. Marks River Rise, Wakulla, and Sally Ward Spring Systems
  15. Chemical Aquatic Fate and Effects (CAFE)
  16. Route Selection and EIS for Electrical Transmission Corridor, Costa Rica
  17. Identification and Quantification of Hazardous Materials and Other Man-made Debris after Hurricane Laura
  18. Minimum Flows and Levels Support to the Suwannee River Water Management District
  19. Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion Environmental Impact Statement (EIS)

Related Publications: Fate and Effects of Oil Spills

Bejarano AC, Farr JK, Jenne P, Chu V, Hielscher A. 2016. The chemical aquatic fate and effects database (CAFE), a tool that supports assessments of chemical spills in aquatic environments. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry. 35(6):1576-1586.

Bejarano, A.C. and A. Mearns. 2015. Improving environmental assessments by integrating Species Sensitivity Distributions into environmental modeling: examples with two hypothetical oil spills. Marine Pollution Bulletin. 93(1-2):172-182.

Bejarano, A.C., and M.G. Barron. 2014. Development and practical application of petroleum and dispersant interspecies correlation models for aquatic species, Environmental Science and Technology. 48 (8): 4564-4572.

Bejarano, A.C., J. Clark, and J.M.Coelho.  2014. Issues and challenges with oil toxicity data and implications for their use in decision making: a quantitative review. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry. 33 (4): 732-742.

Bejarano, A.C., E. Levine, and A. Mearns. 2013. Effectiveness and potential ecological effects of offshore surface dispersant use during the Deepwater Horizon oil spill: a retrospective analysis of monitoring data. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment. 185: 10281-10295.

Bejarano, A.C. and J.K. Farr. 2013. Development of short acute exposure hazard estimates: a tool for assessing the effects of chemical spills in aquatic environments. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry. 32 (8): 1918-1927.

Bejarano, A.C., J. Michel, J. Rowe, Z. Li, D. French McCay, L. McStay, and D.S. Etkin. 2013. Environmental Risks, Fate and Effects of Chemicals Associated with Wind Turbines on the Atlantic Outer Continental Shelf. U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation, and Enforcement, Gulf of Mexico OCS Region, New Orleans, LA. OCS Study BOEM 2013-213. 181 pp. Available from: http://www.data.boem.gov/PI/PDFImages/ESPIS/5/5330.pdf

Michel, J., A.C. Bejarano, C.H. Peterson, and C. Voss. 2013. Review of Biological and Biophysical Impacts from Dredging and Handling of Offshore Sand. U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Herndon, VA. OCS Study BOEM 2013-0119. 236 pp. Available from: http://www.data.boem.gov/PI/PDFImages/ESPIS/5/5268.pdf

Hale, J.C., D. Cormack, L. Cotsapas, T.M. Montello, O. Langman, J.J. Gabriel, and J. Michel. 2011. Relationships between key indicators of environmental condition and degrees of oiling in sediments in salt marsh habitats: A balance between contamination and ecological recovery by natural processes. Proc. 2011 International Oil Spill Conference, American Petroleum Institute, Washington, D.C., 14 pp.

Bejarano, A.C. and J. Michel. 2010. Large-scale risk assessment of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in shoreline sediments from Saudi Arabia: Environmental legacy after twelve years of the Gulf War Oil Spill. Environmental Pollution 158:1561-1569.

Michel, J., Z. Nixon, J. Dahlin, D. Betenbaugh, M. White, D. Burton, and S. Turley. 2009. Recovery of interior brackish marshes seven years after the Chalk Point oil spill. Marine Pollution Bull. 58:995-1006.

Michel, J., Z. Nixon, and L. Cotsapas. 2006. Evaluation of oil remediation technologies for lingering oil from the Exxon Valdez oil spill in Prince William Sound, Alaska. Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Restoration Project Final Report (Restoration Project 050778), National Marine Fisheries Service, NOAA, Juneau, AK, 47 pp. + appendices.

Michel, J., M.O. Hayes, C.D. Getter, and L. Cotsapas. 2005. The Gulf War oil spill twelve years later: Consequences of eco-terrorism. Proc. 2005 International Oil Spill Conference, American Petroleum Institute.

Michel, J., D. Etkin, T. Gilbert, J. Waldron, C. Blocksidge, and R. Urban. 2005. Potentially Polluting Wrecks in Marine Waters: An Issue Paper for the 2005 International Oil Spill Conference. American Petroleum Institute, Washington, D.C., 76 pp.

Lord, C. and J. Michel, 2003. Conceptual models for assessing the risk of seafood tainting during oil spills. Proc. 2003 International Oil Spill Conference, American Petroleum Institute Publ. No. 14730 A.

Walker, D., J.C. Coleman, K. Michel, and J. Michel. 2003. Oil in the Sea: Changes in the nature of sources and inputs since 1985. Proc. 2003 International Oil Spill Conference, American Petroleum Institute Publ. No. 14730 A.

Hayes, M.O. and J. Michel. 1999. Factors determining the long-term persistence of Exxon Valdez oil in gravel beaches: Marine Pollution Bull., Vol. 38, pp. 92-101.

Michel, J. and M.O. Hayes. 1999. Weathering patterns of oil residues eight years after the Exxon Valdez oil spill: Marine Pollution Bull., Vol. 38, pp. 855-863.

Michel, J. and C.B. Henry, Jr. 1997. Oil uptake and depuration in oysters after use of dispersants in shallow water in El Salvador. Spill Science & Technology Bull. 4:57-70.

Zengel, S.A. and J. Michel. 1996. Vegetation cutting as a clean-up method for salt and brackish marshes impacted by oil spills: a review and case history of the effects on plant recovery. Marine Pollution Bulletin, Vol. 32, No. 12, pp. 876-885.

Hayes, M.O., J. Michel, T.M. Montello, D.V. Aurand, A.M. Al-Mansi, A.H. Al-Momen, T.C. Sauer, and G.W. Thayer. 1993. Distribution and weathering of shoreline oil one year after the Gulf War oil spill: in Marine Pollution Bulletin, Vol. 27, pp. 135-142.

Zengel, S., J. Weaver, I.A. Mendelssohn, S.A. Graham, Q. Lin, M.W. Hester, et al. 2021. Meta-analysis of salt marsh vegetation impacts and recovery: a synthesis following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Ecological Applications, https://doi.org/10.1002/eap.2489.

Michel, J. (Editor). 2021. Oil Spill Effects Literature Study of Spills of 500–20,000 Barrels of Crude Oil, Condensate, or Diesel. Anchorage, AK: US Department of the Interior, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management. OCS Study BOEM 2021-048. 220 pp.

Michel, J. (Editor) 2021. Oil Spill Effects Literature Study of Spills of Greater than 20,000 Barrels of Crude Oil, Condensate, or Diesel. US Department of the Interior, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Sterling, VA. OCS Study BOEM 2020-058. 326 pp.

Fegley, S R., and J. Michel. 2021. Estimates of losses and recovery of ecosystem services for oiled beaches lack clarity and ecological realism. Ecosphere 12(9):e03763. 10.1002/ecs2.3763. https://esajournals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/ecs2.3763

Zengel, S., N. Rutherford, B.M. Bernik, J. Weaver, M. Zhang, Z. Nixon, and J. Michel. 2021. Planting after shoreline cleanup treatment improves salt marsh vegetation recovery following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Ecological Engineering 169: 106288.

Fleeger, J.W., D.S. Johnson, S.A. Zengel, I.A. Mendelssohn, D.R. Deis and S.A. Graham. 2021. A macroinfaunal ecosystem engineer may facilitate recovery of benthic invertebrates and accompanying ecosystem services after an oil spill. Estuaries and Coasts, https://doi.org/10.1007/s12237-021-00978-3.

Bernik, B.M., C.Y. Lumibao, S. Zengel, J. Pardue, and M.J. Blum. 2020. Intraspecific variation in landform engineering across a restored salt marsh shoreline. Evolutionary Applications 14: 685-697. https://doi.org/10.1111/eva.13148.

Fleeger, J.W., D.S. Johnson, S. Zengel, I.A. Mendelssohn, D.R. Deis, S.A. Graham, et al. 2020. Macroinfauna responses and recovery trajectories after an oil spill differ from those following saltmarsh restoration. Marine Environmental Research 155: 104881.

Deis, D.R., J.W. Fleeger, D.S. Johnson, I.A. Mendelssohn, Q. Lin, S.A. Graham, S. Zengel, and A. Hou. 2020. Recovery of the salt marsh periwinkle (Littoraria irrorata) 9 years after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill: size matters. Marine Pollution Bulletin 160: 111581.

Fleeger, J.W., M.R. Riggio, I.A. Mendelssohn, Q. Lin, D.R. Deis, D.S. Johnson, K.R. Carman, S.A. Graham, S. Zengel, and A. Hou. 2019. What promotes the recovery of salt marsh infauna after oil spills? Estuaries and Coasts 42: 204-217.

Zengel, S., J. Weaver, S.L. Wilder, J. Dauzat, C. Sanfilippo, M.S. Miles, et al. 2018. Vegetation recovery in an oil-impacted and burned Phragmites australis tidal freshwater marsh. Science of the Total Environment 612: 231-237.

Nixon, Z. and J. Michel. 2018. A Review of distribution and quantity of lingering subsurface oil from the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill. Deep Sea Research Part II. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.dsr2.2017.07.009

Michel, J., S.R. Fegley, J.A. Dahlin, and C. Wood. 2017. Oil spill response-related injuries on sand beaches: When shoreline treatment extends impacts beyond the oil. Marine Ecology Progress Series 576:201-218, doi: 10.3354/meps11917.  https://www.int-res.com/abstracts/meps/v576/p203-218/

Zengel, S., J. Weaver, S.C. Pennings, B. Silliman, D.R. Deis, C.L. Montague, et al. 2017. Five years of Deepwater Horizon oil spill effects on marsh periwinkles, Littoraria irrorata. Marine Ecology Progress Series 576: 135-144.

Zengel, S., S.C. Pennings, B. Silliman, C. Montague, J. Weaver, D.R. Deis, et al. 2016. Deepwater Horizon oil spill impacts on salt marsh fiddler crabs (Uca spp.). Estuaries and Coasts 39: 1154-1163.

Related Publications: Coastal Geomorphology and Environmental Impact Assessments

Michel, J. (ed.). 2012. South Atlantic Information Resources: Data Search and Literature Synthesis. U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation, and Enforcement, Gulf of Mexico OCS Region, New Orleans, LA. OCS Study BOEM 2012-xxx. 805 pp.

Hayes, M.O. and Michel, J., 2011. A Tide-swept Coast: Coastal Geology and Ecology of Georgia. Pandion Books, Columbia, South Carolina, in press.

Hayes, M.O. and Michel, J. 2010. A Coast to Explore: Coastal Geology and Ecology of Central California. Pandion Books, Columbia, South Carolina, 338 p.

Hayes, M.O. 2009. Barrier islands; In: Gillespie, R. and Clague, D. (eds.) Encyclopedia of Islands. Berkeley, Univ. Cal. Press, 82-88.

Hayes, M. O., Michel, J., and Betenbaugh, D. V., 2009. The intermittently Exposed, Coarse-Grained Gravel Beaches of Prince William Sound, Alaska: Comparison with Open-Ocean Gravel Beaches. Jour. of Coastal Research 26(1):4-30.

Barnea, N., J. Michel, B. Bray, Z. Nixon, G. Imahori, and C. Moegling. 2009. Marine Debris Response Planning in the North-Central Gulf of Mexico. June 2009. NOAA Technical Memorandum. 43 pp.

Hayes, M. O. and Michel, J., 2008. A Coast for All Seasons: A Naturalist’s Guide to the Coast of South Carolina. Pandion Books, Columbia, South Carolina, 285 p.

Michel, J., H. Dunagan, C. Boring, E. Healy, W. Evans, J.M. Dean, A. McGillis, and  J. Hain. 2007. Worldwide Synthesis and Analysis of Existing Information Regarding Environmental Effects of Alternative Energy Uses on the Outer Continental Shelf. U.S. Department of the Interior, Minerals Management Service, Herndon, VA. MMS OCS Report 2007-038, 254 pp.

Michel, J., R. Nairn, C.H. Peterson, S.W. Ross, R. Weisberg, and R. Randall. 2007. Critical Technical Review and Evaluation of Site-Specific Studies Techniques for the MMS Marine Minerals Program. Management Service, Herndon, VA. MMS OCS Report 2007-047. 47 pp. + appendices.

Hayes, M.O. 2005. Tide-dominated Coasts; Encyclopedia of Coastal Science. M. Swartz (ed.) Elsevier, pp. 982-984.

Hayes, M.O. 2005. Wave-dominated Coasts; Encyclopedia of Coastal Science. M. Swartz (ed.), Elsevier, pp. 1053-1056.

Hayes, M.O. 2005. Barrier Islands; Encyclopedia of Coastal Science. M. Swartz (ed.), Elsevier, pp. 117-119.

Nairn, R., T. Kenny, F. Marvan, J. Michel, R. Newell, and Nick Bray, 2004. Review of Existing and Emerging Environmentally Friendly Offshore Dredging Technologies. U.S. Department of the Interior, Minerals Management Service, Marine Minerals Division, Herndon, VA. OCS Report MMS 2004-076, 150pp

Michel, J. 2004. Regional management strategies for Federal offshore borrow areas, U.S. East and Gulf of Mexico coasts. J. Coastal Research, 20: 149-154.

Nairn, R., J.A. Johnson, D. Hardin, and J. Michel. 2004. A biological and physical monitoring program to evaluate long-term impacts from sand dredging operations in the United States outer continental shelf. J. Coastal Research, 20: 126-137.

Hayes, M. O. and R.B. Nairn. 2004. Natural maintenance of sand ridges and linear shoals on the U.S. Gulf and Atlantic continental shelves and the potential impacts of dredging. J. Coastal Research, 20:138-148.

Hayes, M.O., W.F. Baird. 2002. Country-wide assessment of coastal erosion and sand-budget analysis for Oman. Proc. International Conference on “Coastal Zone Management and Development, March 18-20, 2002, Kuwait City, Kuwait.

Nairn, R. and M.O. Hayes. 1997. Large scale coastal evolutions in the vicinity of Keta Lagoon, Ghana: in Proc. Intl. Conf. on Coasts Research Through Large Scale Experiments, Univ. Plymouth (Abstract).