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About Scientific Diving at EPA

EPA diver Chuck Protzmann collects a sediment


sample to measure the amount of "blue" carbon
sequestered in the sediments within seagrass beds to
help us better understand this carbon source as it
relates to climate change.

EPA's diving program dates back to 1970 when the Agency was first created. Our first dive units were established in Seattle
and Gulf Breeze, Florida, to support EPA's monitoring, research, and emergency response efforts.

In 2016, we conducted 946 dives involving 65 divers in 9 diving units across the country.

What is scientific diving?


At EPA, our divers are generally data gatherers, note takers, photographers.

We observe and document changes to aquatic environments, many of which are linked to human activities.

Below are some examples of the diverse type of work that we do:

Sampling submerged drums of unknown materials


Mapping illegal underwater dump sites
Studying benthic communities at dredged material disposal sites
Inspecting waste discharges from seafood processing facilities
https://www.epa.gov/diving/about-scientific-diving-epa 10/29/2017, 11:29 PM

Assessing the health of seagrass meadows, coral reefs, and other important marine habitats

Working with other agencies


Our divers primarily support EPA's programs, but we also participate in joint diving activities under formal reciprocity
agreements with a variety of organizations, including other federal and state agencies, universities, and private sector groups.

In the past, EPA has established reciprocity agreements with organizations such as:

U. S. Department of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration


U. S. Geological Survey
Alaska Department of Fish and Game
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Scientific Diving International
Oregon State University
Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries
Oregon Coast Aquarium
University of Washington

If your agency or organization is interested in conducting a joint diving project with EPA, please contact Sean Sheldrake
(sheldrake.sean@epa.gov), 206-553-1220.

Related information
What it takes to be an EPA diver
Where our dive units are located