Volume 5 Issue 1
November 2010

Welcome to another issue of the Woods Hole Group Newsletter. This electronic newsletter has been one of the keystones of our public outreach, but has recently become part of a more robust package.

Please also visit the updates to our website at www.woodsholegroup.com. The site presents basic public information on the Company, our Mission and our scientific and engineering practices. It is a great way to find out who we are and what we do for our clients. It may also give you some insight about why we do what we do.

We recently introduced two additions to our media program. First, we initiated a new Facebook page which we use to communicate to our clients and partners, as well as the general public, providing information of a time-sensitive nature. We encourage you to follow this page as a source of breaking stories about environmental news and issues, as well as information about the Company itself. Company information includes job postings, applications about our expanded internship program, and appearances at trade shows and professional conferences.

Second, we have also begun to publish an online blog, 2Fathom, as a way to look at environmental issues and to provide more in-depth reporting on issues of interest to our customers and our political stakeholders. Edited by Environmental Scientist Joe Famely, 2Fathom is designed to present an overview of complex environmental subjects in a clear and objective manner. The first subject was a series of articles on coastal erosion.

Thank you for taking the time to read this Newsletter.

Dennis Aubrey

Improved Models for Designing Habitat Restoration Projects

Coastal wetland habitat restoration often involves enhancement of restricted tidal flows, particularly in the northeast USA.  Many salt marsh habitats have been deprived of full tidal inundation with salt water as a result of roadway or other crossings (Figure 1), typically where undersized culverts or other flow control structures have been installed. On Cape Cod alone, the Cape Cod Commission identified 114 tidal restrictions for improvement (Link to Cape Cod Tidal Atlas). This is an expected result of a lack of priority on, or understanding of, the tidal flows at the time the infrastructure was constructed many decades ago.  The priority may have been on installing the road with limited consideration for wetland impacts. In other cases, the flow control infrastructure was constructed as a reaction to potential storm flooding with the intent of limiting the incoming storm surge.  However, in certain situations, the flow control structure also had the unintended impact of increasing flooding potential by reducing the drainage ability of the wetland system. Following large rainfall events, storm water may be trapped inland and cause flooding.

Figure 1. Composite Flow Control Structure (Culvert with Tide Gate).

As such, there are numerous consequences related to tidal restrictions, including loss of salt marsh habitat, proliferation of invasive species, reduced access for migratory fish, reduced water quality, exacerbated upland flooding due to ponding of stormwater, and development of infrastructure within the historic marsh plain.  Effects of tidal restrictions can be dramatic, as shown by Figure 2, illustrating the tidal water surface elevation up (offshore in the bay – blue line) and downstream (in the marsh – red line) from a culvert in a salt marsh.  Figure 2 shows the downstream (offshore) high tide elevation reaches approximately 7 ft NAVD88; however, the tide only reaches approximately 0 ft NAVD88 upstream of the undersized culvert.  In this example,  there is adequate natural downstream tidal fluctuations for a healthy salt marsh, but the culvert severely restricts the flow.   At certain high tides, more than 6 feet of water is prevented from flowing upstream which could benefit the marsch ecology. This example also illustrates the restricted draining that occurs during larger rainfall events. Around March 24, there was a rapid increase due to rainfall and subsequent slow decrease of water in the upstream (red) observations. It took several days for the precipitation to drain from the system. Overall, the result has been a conversion of the upstream marsh from a healthy diverse habitat with thriving salt marsh grasses, active fish nurseries, and feeding birds into a near stagnant area dominated by invasive species, such as Phragmites australis.  

Figure 2. Example of a tidal restriction.  The blue water surface elevation (WSE) time series shows data downstream of the culvert, while the red water surface elevation shows data upstream of the culvert.

As the state of science and computing power have improved, numerical models have become more commonplace for planning and designing coastal wetland habitat restoration projects.  When properly applied, models can help to design projects to achieve restoration objectives. Objectives may include a certain number of acres restored, expanding the intertidal zone, and improving the salinity regime. Models also can be applied to improve the design of flow control structures to allow tidal waters to wet/dry the upstream marsh, while also minimizing potential upland flooding.  Most available models, however, fail to incorporate the physics governing flow through structures.  Often, existing models treat structures as open channels or simple pipe flow, depend upon limiting computational or empirical assumptions, and/or do not make calculations dynamically within the model.

Woods Hole Group has developed in-house models to improve treatment of flow control structures, including complex hydraulics (e.g., sub- and supercritical flow, hydraulic jumps, flow reversals, contractions, etc.) associated with structures in a tidally forced environment.  Due to the required need to manage multiple goals (e.g., improved tidal range without impacting existing infrastructure that may have been in the historic marsh plain), clients are increasingly interested in unique designs that include customized flow control structures.  These types of structures allow for more refined restoration designs, and are more conducive to long-term adaptive management strategies to account for uncertainties in design, active storm water management, and future sea level rise response.

Woods Hole Group has developed the ability to simulate these structures using a range of modeling tools, from basic analytical models to more complicated fully 3-dimensional models of hydrodynamics, salinity, and water quality.  Restoration modeling has been completed on projects that incorporate unique flow control structures, such as:

  • weirs
  • sluices
  • culverts (box, circular, sleeved)
  • combined sluice and flap gates
  • duckbills (Figure 3)
  • flap gates (Figure 3)
  • inverted weirs
  • abrupt contractions
  • self-regulated tide gates

Models for various structures have been calibrated to real field observations, including measurement of water surface elevation, velocity, and salinity, observed at locations where actual structures of these types are installed.

Figure 3. Sample Structures that Cause Tidal Restrictions (Duckbill and Flapgate).
This experience and capability allows for cost-effective assessment of a proposed restoration project prior to design and construction. Models provide the ability to assess impacts, improve management, evaluate alternatives, and accurately design proposed restoration structures and/or scenarios.  Representation of the flow control structures, either existing or proposed, is usually a key component of the restoration effort, and must be determined accurately prior to developing a design and gaining the confidence of local stakeholders.  As such, Woods Hole Group has developed these in-house capabilities to better serve restoration planners and managers for wetland restoration projects.

Submitted By:

Robert P. Hamilton, Jr.
Vice President/Coastal Engineer


Kirk F. Bosma, P.E.
Team Leader/Coastal Engineer


The Delaware office remains a NOAA centric office focused on Operations and Maintenance contracts for NOAA PORTS and other real-time data collection initiatives.  Woods Hole Group has been involved in NOAA PORTS since the mid-90s and the Delaware office was established in 2003 when Woods Hole Group won the Delaware River and Bay PORTS O&M contract. Presently the office has expanded to include five (5) staff members based in Dover, DE and an additional technician in Gloucester, VA.

The Delaware office directly services three PORTS systems under contract by Woods Hole Group, including the Delaware River and Bay PORTS, Chesapeake Bay PORTS and New York/New Jersey Harbor PORTS.  In addition to performing the routine service for these three systems, the Delaware office provides support for two other PORTS contracts outside the Mid-Atlantic region; including Narragansett Bay, RI and Lake Charles, LA. 

Woods Hole Group has performed a variety of services over multiple years, including equipment installation, operation, and maintenance. Ensuring continous flow of data every 6 months, for subsequent NOAA quality review and internet broadcast, requires a commitment to regular field service. Timely reporting also is essential to document servie activities and equipment condition. Annual Inspections also are required. Woods Hole Group recently completed inspections for the 15 stations in Delaware and New York in August, and all required documentation was submitted to NOAA.

In the last year, the Delaware office has focused on establishing the ability to perform geodetic leveling surveys required by NOAA during Annual Inspections of water level stations. Two of the Delaware technicians attended a NGS training course last March in Corbin, VA.  Since that time Woods Hole Group has invested in a new leveling gun (a Leica DNA03) to meet new requirements by NOAA and purchase or upgrade other essential leveling equipment.  Technicians will continue to work with NOAA CO-OPS personnel in further developing our abilities with geodetic leveling task to allow Woods Hole Group to expand this type of business.

Woods Hole Group Leveling at Brandywine Shoal Light Water Level Station.

The effort to diversify and expand the role of the Delaware office has started to show positive results in recent months.  The Delaware office is currently supporting the Rehoboth Outfall Project in Rehoboth, DE assisting in the deployments and recoveries of current meters systems and CTD profiles that will continue over the next year.

Additional new projects include the James River Project and Kinder Morgan Wind System.  We have been working with OceanTechUSA, assisting in the shop testing and installation of temporary water level stations for the Army Corps of Engineers along the James River in Virginia. The initial sets of installations are approaching recovery and will be deployed at new locations along the James River.  Woods Hole Group expects this work will continue throughout the next year at three month intervals.

In addition, the Delaware office is in final stages of acceptance and approval for the installation of a real-time wind monitoring system for the Kinder Morgan Fairless Hills Terminal to meet Pennsylvania air quality permit requirements related to activities at the terminal.  The system has been designed and the final details are being specified at this time.  We will install the wind system this fall.

Submitted By:

Clinton Hare, Ph.D
Business Operations Manager/Oceanographer


Woods Hole Group Opens a New Office!

Woods Hole Group has announced the opening of its second Massachusetts office, located at 57 Route 6A in Orleans, MA. The new facility will serve as an extension and satellite office of Woods Hole Group's headquarters in Falmouth.

The Orleans location was opened in an effort to provide additional resources to its Lower Cape clients and in response to deteriorating beach conditions in the area. It will offer the same services and resources through the company's global network, and it will primarily focus on providing coastal sciences, engineering and planning services.

With offices in Falmouth, Delaware and Texas, the Orleans facility is Woods Hole Group's fourth domestic office. Peter Markunas will be the lead person in the new office, and Beth Hays, Environmental Permitting Specialist, will also work there.

Woods Hole Group Solar Panel Project.

Woods Hole Landholdings (WHLH) has announced it has equipped the headquarters of Woods Hole Group with a solar panel installation. The company has teamed up with Beaumont Solar for the renewable energy project, and utilized solar panels from Sun Power. The solar power system has 176 panels and occupies approximately 2,400 square foot of space on the roof.

David Aubrey, owner of WHLH, said that the company has taken initiatives to help develop more sustainable and renewable energy by equipping its office building with the solar panel installation.

WHLH leveraged a grant from the Federal government through the Stimulus Bill as well as a rebate from the Massachusetts Renewable Energy Trust to build the solar panel installation. Direct current will be generated by the solar photovoltaic panels by converting the solar radiation. The power generated from the system will meet up to 40% of the electricity requirements of the building. Within a period of five years, the total cost of the system will be paid back. WHLH is also adopting another energy saving initiative to save more than 50% of electricity used for lighting by upgrading its exterior as well as interior lighting systems. A similar solar project for its corporate offices is also recommended by Woods Hole Group, Middle East in collaboration with Beaumont Solar in Saudi Arabia.

Woods Hole Group is proud to announce that since activation on December 10, 2009, our PV system has generated 42,300 kilowatt hours (kWh) and offset approximately 53,000 lbs of CO2 emissions. Twenty-six tons of avoided emissions are equivalent to the following:

  • Consumption of 2,700 gallons of gasoline
  • Consumption of 56 barrels of oil
  • Use of 1,000 propane barbecue cylinders

Woods Hole Group Internship Program.
WHG had a new summer intern again this year. Jimmy Doyle is a sophomore at URI, majoring in Ocean Engineering and worked as a jack-of-all-trades.  He’s done everything from installing water sensors to installing the new air conditioner for the WHG server room. Jimmy said he loves working at Woods Hole Group because he gets to travel and work outdoors so much. 

Jimmy, Dave Bailey, and Mike Walsh went on a field trip to install three water level sensors in the Rocky Neck State Park in East Lyme, Connecticut.  This is part of a pro-bono project for “Save the Sound,” sponsored by the Connecticut Fund for the Environment.

When asked about the value of his internship at WHG, Jimmy said that the experience helps his resume and he looks forward to returning next summer!

Sea Level Rise Impacts Steering Committee.
Kirk Bosma, P.E., Coastal Engineer, is currently an active member of the steering committee for development of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s technical guidance on how to incorporate sea level rise impacts into site-specific tidal wetland restoration planning and design.

Louisiana Emergency Preparedness .
Nate Dill, Coastal Engineer, provides ADCIRC modeling expertise to CERA Coastal Emergency Risk Assessment and is responsible for activating the ADCIRC Surge Guidance System, which provides near real-time hurricane storm surge predictions for pending storms along the Louisiana coastline. CERA provides guidance directly to the Louisiana Governor's Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (GOHSEP).



Mike Walsh Mike Walsh recently started working at the Woods Hole Group Falmouth office.

Mike Walsh lives and grew up in an area of Marshfield called Green Harbor, a coastal town about halfway between Cape Cod and Boston. He attended Marshfield High School and later earned a Bachelor of Science in Geography with an Environmental Concentration from Bridgewater State College.

What he enjoys most about living in Marshfield is certainly the ocean, but also its relatively central location on the coast and proximity to Boston. The central location makes for quick and easy trips to most anywhere in New England.

While he enjoys most any activity on the water, surfing is the one he has been doing the longest. However, because New England is not exactly a "surfer's paradise", surfing has, in turn, spurned another hobby, which is traveling. Mike has done some extensive traveling to both the tropics and the northern and southern latitudes in search of waves and adventure.


Teresa Coy recently started working at the Woods Hole Group Falmouth office in the position of Administrative Assistant.

Teresa is still working at the May Institute's Crisis Stabilization Unit in Hyannis one day a week (over the weekend). The Crisis Stabilization Unit (CSU) is a 10-bed hospital diversion program in Hyannis, for adults with major mental illness. The program helps to stabilize an individual in crisis and serves as an alternative to hospitalization. It is also utilized as a step-down from a hospital.

Teresa grew up in Brockton and has lived in Mashpee for over two years. She loves beaches and shares her home with her dog, Nash.

Prior to working at the May Institute, Teresa spent many years working in financial services with clients from all over the world. She found it interesting dealing with all the different cultures.


Daniel Rodgers received his Merchant Mariner Credentials this summer! Congratulations Captain Dan!

Woods Hole Group in November 2010...

5th National Conference on Coastal and Estuarine Habitat Restoration
Woods Hole Group is a Benefactor for the event.
November 13-17
Galveston, TX

Exhibitor Booth #: 919

Dr. Lee Weishar, Kirk Bosma, and Robert Hamilton, Jr. will all be presenting at the conference and available in the booth during various periods. Please find below a brief description of their presentations:

Salt Marsh and Anadromous Fish Run Restoration Design Process at

Stony Brook, Brewster, Massachusetts

Robert Hamilton, Woods Hole Group

Build It and They Will Come: Why Wetlands Form Is Important in
Restoring Wetlands

Lee Weishar, Woods Hole Group

Restoration of the Herring River Estuary System in Wellfleet,
Massachusetts: Hydrodynamic Modeling and Visualization

Kirk Bosma, Woods Hole Group

If you plan to attend the conference, please plan to stop by and see us!

Woods Hole Group Scientists & Engineers on the Conference Circuit...
Dr. Lee Weishar attended the Sea Level Rise 2010 Conference in Houston, TX on March 1-3, 2010.

Todd Morrison and Clint Hare attended the Naval Research Laboratory Expo in Washington, DC on March 10, 2010.


Dr. Lee Weishar attended the Coastal Summit 2010 in Washington, DC on March 9-11, 2010.


Dr. Bruce Magnell and David Szabo attended the Oceanology International Conference in London, UK on March 9-11, 2010.


David Walsh presented at The Delaware Estuary Regional Sediment Management Symposium in Philadelphia, PA on March 30, 2010.


Robert Hamilton, Jr. attended the PORTS 2010 Conference in Jacksonville, FL on April 25-28, 2010.


Dr. Bruce Magnell, Todd Morrison, and David Szabo attended the Offshore Technology Conference 2010 in Houston, TX on May 3-6, 2010.


Dr. Bruce Magnell presented at the 2010 NortekUSA Users Symposium in Seattle, WA on May 19-21, 2010.


Dr. Bruce Magnell and Robert Hamilton, Jr. attended the Ocean Technology Expo in Newport, RI on May 25-27, 2010.


Dr. Lee Weishar presented at the Society of Wetland Scientists 2010 Annual Meeting Website in Salt Lake City, UT on June 27 - July 2, 2010.


Robert Catalano attended the EBC 5th Annual Ocean Resource Management Conference in Waltham, MA on July 16, 2010.


Dr. Bruce Magnell and Todd Morrison attended the OCEANS 2010 MTS/IEEE Conference in Seattle, WA on September 20-23, 2010.


Robert Catalano exhibited at the North American Offshore Wind Conference & Exhibition in Atlantic City, NJ on October 5-7, 2010.


Dr. Lee Weishar presented at the ASBPA 2010 National Conference: "Celebrating the Diversity of the Coast" in Charleston, SC on October 13-15, 2010.


Dr. Bruce Magnell and Todd Morrison attended the Ocean Innovation Conference 2010 in St. Johns, Newfoundland on October 18-20, 2010.


Dr. Bruce Magnell attended the MACOORA Annual Meeting & Conference in Hoboken, NJ on October 28-29, 2010.


Look for us in 2011 at the following conferences...

OTC’s Arctic Technology Conference (ATC)
Houston, TX
February 7-9, 2011


Relay for Life.

Nadine Sweeney participated in the Relay for Life, sponsored by the American Cancer Society on June 18, 2010. 
Helping Hands for the Plymouth Animal Shelter, Inc.

Cathy Morey, of our Falmouth office, and her husband, Jon, appeared in the Plymouth wickedlocal.com for helping out at the Plymouth Animal Shelter on June 20, 2010.

Also, November 10, 2010 at the On the Rocks Tavern in Plymouth, Cathy and a group of volunteers from the downtown Plymouth area are hosting a “Night for the Paws of Plymouth” Fundraiser.

The Fundraiser proceeds will be given to the Helping Hands for the Plymouth Animal Shelter, Inc., so that an exterior roof can be constructed over the dog enclosure at the shelter. Currently, the dog enclosure area is exposed to the elements, so building an exterior roof over this enclosure will allow the dogs to be protected from the snow, rain, and sun when they are outside in the fresh air.

WHG Corporate Sponsor for Falmouth Commodores.

WHG was a corporate sponsor of the Falmouth Commodores, July 2, 2010.  A great time was had by all the WHG staff who attended what turned into a 12-inning game, with Falmouth winning. Jack Hamilton threw the opening pitch!


National Night Out with the Dennis Police.

Beth participated as a volunteer for National Night Out at the Dennis Police station on August 3rd, handing out goodie bags and bubbles with 911 stickers on them for the kids.

NATIONAL NIGHT OUT is designed to:

  • Heighten crime and drug prevention awareness;
  • Generate support for, and participation in, local anticrime programs;
  • Strengthen neighborhood spirit and police-community partnerships; and
  • Send a message to criminals letting them know that neighborhoods are organized and fighting back.

Along with the traditional displays of outdoor lights and front porch vigils, cities, towns and
neighborhoods 'celebrate' NNO with a variety of events and activities such as:

  • block parties,
  • cookouts,
  • visits from local police and sheriff departments
  • parades, exhibits,
  • flashlight walks,
  • contests, and
  • youth programs.
2010 Pan-Massachusetts Challenge.

Luke and Kirk road in the 2010 Pan-Mass Challenge to raise money for life-saving cancer research and treatment at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.


Peter Markunas was arrested, and later bailed out of jail, to help Jerry's Kids in the fight against Muscular Dystrophy


Kudos to all of them for getting involved in their communities and helping others who are less fortunate.

Keep up the good work!


Thank you for your interest in our newsletter.
We look forward to bringing you the next issue!

Catherine A. Morey
Newsletter Producer & Editor