Posts Tagged ‘Judy Huang’

When talking to anglers, the first question a group like the EPA might ask is, “what are you catching?” While this is a great thing to know from an environmental perspective, when it comes to an angler’s health a more important follow-up question is “What are you eating?” and further, “How are you eating them?” These questions haven’t been asked seriously in nearly 20 years! Since the consumption of certain fish species in the Palos Verdes Shelf area can be a threat to public health, we have begun implementing a Consumption Study program. Judy Huang, EPA Program Manager, explains one of the most important outcomes of the consumption study is “to inform the public of risks associated from eating certain seafood originating from the Palos Verdes Shelf and be able to use this information as a tool to make informed choices about the food they cook and eat.”

Over the course of the study (February 2012 – January 2013), six survey administrators are collecting stories from the diverse Southern California population between Santa Monica and Seal Beach in English, Spanish, Chinese, Tagalog and Vietnamese. For comprehensive data, the surveyors interview anglers one-on-one across all modes of fishing: Piers, jetties, beaches, intertidal zones, private boats, and fishing charters, over the course of a year to gather data during all seasons. Weekdays and weekends, rain or shine and with clipboards and educational props such as fish models in hand, our surveyors ask anglers questions about their fishing experience, knowledge of the DDT contamination off the PV Shelf and whether they have seen posted contamination warnings. If an angler has fish in his bucket, the surveyors ask to examine the fish along with asking a series of questions about the consumption of those particular fish.

The information being gathered is crucial for us to best mitigate the risks to anglers from contaminated catches. The better we understand what seafood consumption habits currently are, and how well tactics have worked over the past 20 years, a more informed decision can be made about what should be adjusted in the future to create a healthier fishing experience for everyone.

What kinds of fish do you eat? And how do you prepare it? We’d love to know!

For FCEC’s Partners Meeting on January 24, we acknowledged some changes in our team: the departure of Howard Wang, who has been with the project since 2008, Mark Gold moving from Heal the Bay to join UCLA’s sustainability team, and of course, saying goodbye to our outgoing Project Manager, Carmen White, and welcoming Judy Huang in her place.

In her parting words, Carmen acknowledged FCEC as a cutting edge program and noted that the important connections created between community members, local, state and federal agencies has made this program what it is today.

After Judy was announced as the new project manager, each of the Partners took a moment to introduce themselves and their roles in FCEC. Following these announcements and introductions, the Partners presented updates on several programs and discussed two great successes of recent projects: the Pier Sign Evaluation and updated Tip Card. We are happy to report that the pier signs are working, and anglers are taking away the key messages of the pier signs.

Coupled with the updated Tip Card, that now provides a link directing people to safe fish to eat in other areas, FCEC’s efforts are starting to see strong signs of influence in anglers making safe and informed choices of the fish they catch and eat.

And speaking of eats, check out our Partner’s Meeting slideshow below to see how our meeting was an event that called for cake!

 

 

Americans have come to use the Hawaiian, “Aloha,” as a word to mean both hello and goodbye. It’s a pleasant, if not an entirely accurate, translation. It’s also very fitting for us at this moment as we say Aloha to both Judy Huang and Carmen White, FCEC’s incoming and outgoing Project Managers.

For the last year, Carmen White has provided our group with remarkable leadership in broadening FCEC’s educational and community outreach. We offer her all our gratitude for her efforts.

As we wish Carmen farewell, we are pleased to welcome Judy Huang to her new role. We sat down with FCEC’s new Project Manager to ask her what she sees for the future of the group.

FCEC: Hi Judy, can you share a little of your background with us?

Judy Huang: While I have a lot of work and educational experience with environmental science—I graduated with a degree in chemical engineering from UC Berkley—I also recognize the importance of engaging and activating communities through outreach.

Like Carmen before me, I’m coming from the EPA. I’ve been with their superfund division for 6 years. Prior to that, I had worked for the San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board for 13 years where I worked on sites addressing a variety of topics including: waste water treatment plant discharge, stormwater permitting, wetland restoration and superfund site cleanup.

FCEC: What other superfund sites have you worked on and what do they share in common with the Palos Verdes Shelf Superfund Site?

Judy Huang: I was the Formerly Used Defense Site (FUDS) Regional Coordinator, so a lot of them have been things like closed military facilities. Interestingly, the work I did with Fort Ord, to address the cleanup of munitions, earned the distinction of being the first privatized cleanup on a military base.

I’ve done a lot of work on sites in Hawaii that have a lot issues in common with PV Shelf. The Pearl Harbor Naval Air Station and the Del Monte Oahu Plantation both dealt with pesticide cleanups stemming from soil, sediments and groundwater contamination.

While not a superfund site, an offshore munitions study site in Hawaii called Ordinance Reef examined the impact of munitions to human health in the environment. Similar to the PV Shelf consumption study, we had to determine if the seafood was safe to eat. The study looks at how the population prepares their food, and where they caught their fish. The best part of the site was working with the community. Unlike the PV Shelf, everyone in the community could actually see the munitions in the water when they went diving, so everyone was very engaged and aware.

FCEC: What are you looking forward to most about working with the Fish Contamination Education Collaborative on the PV Shelf Project?

Judy Huang: I’m looking forward to learning from the project! First there is the learning opportunity dealing with the technical challenge with the underwater cap. But I’m also looking forward to learning from community outreach. It’s a large component and challenging to implement and enforce. It’s unlike other superfund sites, in that respect.

FCEC: What are your thoughts on the current FCEC outreach efforts and program as a whole?

Judy Huang: PV Shelf is one fast moving project. Based on the Partners meeting we had, I’m impressed with how many people FCEC managed to reach. It’s been impressive to see how excited partners are, and how much pride and ownership they have towards their role in the project.