USGS launches border environmental health Web site
USGS launches border environmental health Web siteBY KEVIN GARCIAThe Brownsville HeraldMarch 31, 2005 — Environmental border data is now readily available at a Web site launched Wednesday by the U.S. Geological Survey.The USGS held a presentation at the ITEC Campus of the University of Texas at Brownsville and Texas Southmost College to promote the agency’s Web site on U.S.-Mexico’s environmental health along the border.“The border is an area of rapid growth both economically and population-wise,” said USGS biologist Denny Buckler. “The area is also unique in that it is an area that is on the fringe of several animal ranges from both sides of the border. It is also very important to migration routes.”The USGS tracks human, animal, plant, pollution and geological data because they are all connected, Buckler said. The Web site — borderhealth.cr.usgs.gov
— makes that data readily available and easily accessible by providing a single resource to governmental, educational and private interests. Such extensive data previously required expensive equipment and extensive prior knowledge.“From a public health standpoint it will help us identify clusters of disease or environmental trends that affect diseases,” said Joe Hinojosa, environmental manager for Brownsville, who attended the seminar. “We can access data at a moment’s notice to better inform the public.”He added that the binational nature of the information will help agencies coordinate across county, state and country lines.This was what attracted Alfonso Martinez Muñoz, delegate for the Secretariat of Environment and Natural Resources (SEMARNAT), a Mexican government agency that tracks pollution and natural resources.“Environmental factors don’t recognize political boundaries,” Martinez said. “If we don’t take care of the natural resources available to the people, we could have problems.”He added that the new USGS Web site could be a powerful tool to make that happen.“All of this information is very important in order to make better decisions,” Martinez said.U.S.-Mexico Border Environmental Health InitiativeOn the Web: http://email@example.comZDROJ:http://www.brownsvilleherald.com/ts_more.php?id=64391_0_10_0_C
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