The Certified Environmental Professional

The Certified Environmental Professional
July-August 2015
The Monthly Newsletter of the Academy of Board Certified
Environmental Professionals
President’s Message
Webinars – Conferences of the
A View from the Water
Mark F. Gerber, CEP
Certification Review Board
Note from the Editor
As we’ve listened to the membership of ABCEP and polled incoming CEPs,
we’ve received feedback on many things. One of the items we’ve received
feedback on is the relevance and currency of the essay questions that CEP
applicants must respond to as part of the application process, and some
downsides to being restricted to certifying in a particular Functional Area.
Newsletter Policy
In the interest of presenting material on
which our members can formulate their
own views regarding environmental
representing a variety of viewpoints.
Whereas there may be limitations
which trammel inquiry elsewhere, we
take the position that it is through
continual and fearless sifting and
winnowing of information from various
sources can the truth be found.
Should you take issue with an article
appearing in this Newsletter, you are
encouraged to submit an article with
your viewpoint which will be published
in a future issue.
For almost two years, the ABCEP Board of Trustees has been working to
revise and to update this portion of the CEP Exam as well as make the
Functional Areas something that serves more as a guide than a CEP
pathway of progress. As you may remember during your own application
process, you selected a “Functional Area” in which to become certified.
There were six Functional Areas: Assessment, Documentation, Operations,
Planning, Research, and Education.
These Functional Areas serve two purposes.
Guide applicants to essay questions that were more pertinent to
their field of expertise and experience.
Create an identifier in which the applicant would be associated
through their CEP certification.
The ABCEP Board of Trustees formed a task force two years ago to address
the concerns with the CEP Exam questions and Functional Areas.
This task force met with experts in academia
(American Public University) and other
organizations to formulate new questions and
reformulate the old ones. The task force worked
with a committee from the International Society
of Sustainability Professionals (ISSP) to develop
the Sustainability Functional area and associated
exam questions.
The result - a good, solid, and relevant set of
essay questions and Functional Areas. One of the
recommendations from the task force was to do
away with the certification within a particular
functional area and only use the functional areas
as guides in the application process to direct
applicants to the essay questions that are
pertinent to them in their career path. As a result,
future CEP’s will not be constrained to be
certified in a particular Functional Area but will
only use the Functional Areas to guide their
application process.
I’m pleased to announce that these changes will
take effect on September 1, 2015. Any applicant
that submits their initial fee and associated
application after September 1 will be able to
utilize this new process.
We’re very excited and pleased to be able to help
our CEPs through the application process by
keeping the process relevant. As usual, the ABCEP
Board of Trustees’ doors (phones and emails) are
always open to CEPs who have questions and we
are always in need of volunteers to assist with our
committee efforts.
You can also contact Andrea Bower at the ABCEP
Office ([email protected]) and, of course, you can
always contact me at (208) 716-4921 or
[email protected]
Mark Gerber is a Principal Scientist at
Ophis Environmental LLC in Idaho Falls, Idaho
The importance of
mentoring is undeniable.
Mentoring is an integral part
of a CEP-IT’s learning and
development throughout their
professional careers, and it can be
especially helpful during times of change or
challenging environmental stewardships. Now is a
good time to revive CEP’s interest in mentoring,
teach them new mentoring skills, and invigorate
mentoring practices.
Currently, ABCEP has a mentor assignment rate
of 100% - every request for a mentor is satisfied!
The challenge is that many mentors are assigned
to more than one mentee.
As of June 2015:
31 CEP/CEP-IT mentors
56 mentees (people requesting mentors)
Average assignments per mentor = 1.87
Applicants under the new essay process will be
looking for guidance and support. Helping
another person fulfill their goals can be just as
rewarding as achieving a personal milestone. The
relationship need not be profound or long-lasting
to be effective, but the better the two know each
other, and the more committed they are to their
developmental purpose, the more they both
benefit from the process.
Please contact Andrea Bower at the ABCEP Office
([email protected]) to volunteer or find out more
about the CEP/CEP-IT mentoring process.
Volunteer to be a
mentor today!
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EPA and others offer many free webinars on a
wide variety of environmental topics. Below are
some links to a few of my favorites.
Melissa (Lisa) Douglas, CEP
As companies and government organizations
tighten their belts, one of the common casualties
is travel/training funding. Many employees
experience difficulty in getting approval to attend
conferences, present papers, or even take
mandatory training like the HAZWOPER refresher.
This puts the onus on the individual to find
innovative and inexpensive means to gain the
continuing education units (CEUs) necessary to
maintain their annual certification requirements
and interact with their peers.
One option for cost-conscious individuals may be
the use of webinars. There are numerous
environmental webinars available covering a
variety of topics. While some are offered for a
fee, many are available free of charge. These can
be watched live where interactive questions are
answered by the experts presenting the
information or they can be viewed on your
schedule. Another plus is that many organizations
will allow you the time to view a webinar even if
they are not willing to fund a week trip to a
conference or training seminar. Training can then
be performed in little segments throughout the
year without a lot of out-of-pocket expense or
using your own vacation time.
The webinar hosts are always looking for
presenters as well. This medium provides a
mechanism to present information to a wide
audience interested in your area of expertise
without ever leaving your office which gives you
another great opportunity to earn CEUs as the
preparer of a paper.
Remember to plan ahead to ensure that you can
meet the requirements for your annual CEP or
CEP-IT certification renewal hours.
Melissa (Lisa) Douglas, CEP is a member of the ABCEP Board
of Trustees
It’s time to start tracking your 2015
Maintenance Hours in CEP-EXPRESS.
The Certified Environmental Professional
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Donald Deis, CEP
As your immediate past president, I have been
the person asking for you to get involved or
reporting to you on recent happenings within the
Academy. I wanted to give you a little insight into
one of my projects. Since 2006, I have had the
fortune to study the seagrass community on the
flood tidal shoals of Sebastian Inlet. Sebastian
Inlet is a beautiful small Atlantic Ocean inlet
located south of Cape Canaveral and connecting
the ocean to the Indian River Lagoon (IRL) (Figure
1). The study began with the development of a
mitigation plan for the construction of a channel
from the Intracoastal Waterway within the IRL to
the ocean through the inlet. The construction of
the channel eliminated some seagrasses and the
mitigation plan was designed to compensate for
the impact to the seagrasses.
Figure 1. Location of Sebastian Inlet along the central east
coast of Florida.
The Certified Environmental Professional
The mitigation plan had several elements and I
am just going to focus on one – we studied the
seagrass species and distribution on the flood
tidal shoals yearly since 2006 using high
resolution aerial imagery and field verification.
We were interested in the seagrass species and
distribution, but we were also interested in
propeller damage (=prop-scarring) caused by
boater activity around the shoals. Prop-scarring of
seagrasses on the shoal was a problem prior to
the completion of the channel and we felt that
the construction of the channel would provide a
marked channel for the boaters reducing propscarring. Sure enough we did find a near
elimination of prop-scarring within three years of
completing the channel.
We started to see cyanobacteria blooms on the
shoals starting in 2010 and rapid erosion of the
seagrasses in 2011. By 2012, +90% of the
seagrasses were lost on the shoals. This was not a
local event; it occurred throughout the northern
IRL. The problem has been suspected to be
caused by cold periods within two sequential
years. This caused a water column algal bloom
beginning in the Cape Canaveral area of the IRL
and the Banana River Lagoon (BRL). Water
transparency was reduced significantly by this
bloom causing the seagrasses to die from deep
water to shallow water. Because all of the water
in the northern IRL and BRL connects to the ocean
through Sebastian Inlet, it took over one year for
the water to exchange and the bloom to begin to
dissipate. I am terribly simplifying this event and
more can be found in Philps et al. 2014.
The interesting part of the study has been
following the recovery of the seagrasses on the
shoals (Figure 2). The seagrasses on the shoals
prior to the die-off were fairly stable in species
distribution with a climax species, Syringodium
filiforme (manatee grass), being the dominant
species, particularly in deeper water. Because the
die-off progressed from deep to shallow, this
species was nearly eliminated from the area.
Halophila johnsonii (Johnson’s seagrass, was
found in low density and occurrence around the
shoals. This species is currently a listed
threatened species and its northern-most
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occurrence along the east coast of Florida is at
Sebastian Inlet.
For more see:
Phlips, E.J., S. Badylak, M.A. Lasi, R. Chamberlain,
W.C. Green, L.M. Hall, J.A. Hart, J.C. Lockwood,
J.D. Miller, L.J. Morris, J.S. Stewart. 2014. From
red tides to green and brown tides: Bloom
dynamics in a restricted subtropical lagoon under
shifting climatic conditions. Estuaries and Coasts
DOI 10.1007/s12237-014-9874-6
Donald Deis, CEP, is immediate past President of ABCEP and
Principal Technical Professional, Infrastructure &
Environment at ATKINS in Jacksonville, Florida.
Figure 2. Predominant seagrass species/species
combinations observed from 2008 to 2014.
Sf = Syringodium filiforme
Sf /Hw = S. filiforme/Halodule wrightii
Hw = H. wrightii
Hw /Hj = H. wrightii/Halophila johnsonii
Hj = H. johnsonii
Total seagrass acreage within the mitigation zone displayed on the
secondary y axis.
Since June 1, 2015:
Halophila johnsonii became the dominant species
on the shoals in 2013. By 2014, we are beginning
to see a mix of seagrasses; however, pioneering
species, H. johnsonii and Halodule wrightii (shoal
grass), still dominate. We are seeing slow
succession of the seagrasses back to the climax
state we were seeing in 2008-2010 and I predict
10-20 years before that occurs.
Since April 1, 2015:
6 CEP Applications have been started
4 CEP-IT Applications have been started
0 CEP Emeritus Applications have been started
3 CEP Applications have been approved
3 CEP-IT Applications have been approved
This project has shown me how hard our job is at
times. What began as a simple study became very
messy because of a “natural” event within the
IRL. I have been fortunate to be a part of a
research community in this area and have been
working with our local water management district
(St. Johns River Water Management District)
researchers and researchers at Florida Atlantic
University (my graduate school alma mater) at
Harbor Branch. We have participated with them
in a series of experimental seagrass transplant
studies that have proven to be interesting.
The Certified Environmental Professional
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Call for Articles!
Interesting projects, exciting research, new study applications – our community
wants to hear about what our CEPs and CEPS-ITs are doing. The Communications
Committee is seeking articles about your interesting projects for upcoming issues.
This newsletter is a fabulous forum to share your insights, opinions, and application
of sustainable solutions and sustainability principles.
Our newsletter is only as strong as our members can make it.
So don’t be afraid and GET INVOLVED!
ABCEP Newsletter
The ABCEP Newsletter is published monthly and is intended to serve four basic
A communication vehicle for the Board of Trustees and ABCEP Committees
to inform and engage with CEPs and CEP-ITs on current activities within
ABCEP and its future direction.
A forum to report on current and emerging environmental issues,
regulation and policy changes, and professional trends.
A forum to provide professional guidance and advice to expand the
professional growth and knowledge of members.
A means for members to communicate with one another on current
accomplishments, interesting projects, or lessons learned on the job with
new approaches and successful problem solving solutions.
A forum to acknowledge, highlight, and welcome active CEPs and CEP-ITs.
All members are encouraged to be active in their profession and affiliated
professional organization. If you have a topic of interest that you would like
presented in the monthly The Certified Environmental Professional newsletter
please submit your topic request or completed article to
Andrea Bower at [email protected] or
Shari Cannon-Mackey, CEP ENV SP, at [email protected]
Thank you,
Shari Cannon-Mackey, CEP, ENV SP
Newsletter Editor
The Certified Environmental Professional
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