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University of Houston - Clear Lake
New boats give institute water research capabilities
News Release
Monday, December 27, 2010

HOUSTON — Researchers at the Environmental Institute of Houston at University of Houston-Clear Lake have found a better way to take to the water to accomplish their work by acquiring research vessels purchased with funding provided by a research grant.  

One vessel, a 22’ J.H. Performance outfitted with a 150 HP Yamaha 4 stroke outboard equipped with a hydraulic jack plate, trim tabs and a power pole (shallow water anchor), is designed for shallow-water applications common in many Texas bays.  To aid researchers it offers a large deck for transporting samples and deploying scientific instrumentation in shallow water.  In addition, it offers state of the art electronics including GPS mapping and side scan sonar. 

The second boat, a Center Console 25’ Boston Whaler Guardian outfitted with twin outboard engines, is designed for deep water, offshore research.  To aid researchers it offers a towing package and hand-operated winch and boom and divers doors, for deploying and maneuvering scientific instrumentation in and out of the water and numerous deck lights for night operations.  In addition, it offers state of the art electronics including GPS mapping and side scan sonar. 

Both vessels will allow student and faculty researchers to pursue types of research and environmental monitoring in remote deep and shallow water areas only reachable by boat.

“The significance of acquiring these vessels is that they provide us a platform to conduct near shore research in Texas bays, estuaries and the Gulf of Mexico previously impossible to conduct and significantly extends our capabilities,” said UH-Clear Lake Associate Professor of Biology and Environmental Science George Guillen, who also serves as director of the institute. 

The boats were purchased with funding provided by a research grant awarded to the Environmental Institute of Houston from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality to support the organization’s recently completed National Coastal Condition Assessment project which evaluated levels of contaminants in fish, bottom organisms, sediment and water along the Texas coast. Funded by the Environmental Protection Agency, that project was coordinated with a national assessment of all U.S. estuaries.

Guillen says the boat will be used for future research projects sponsored by external organizations.

Founded at UH-Clear Lake in 1991, the Environmental Institute of Houston supports and conducts research on a variety of environmental topics including wetland restoration, air quality, fisheries conservation, water quality, invasive species, environmental sociology and history. The organization works in partnership with the university to conduct educational seminars and workshops and works with local scientists and the public to evaluate changes in landscape use, demographics and impacts on the local environment.

For more information about the Environmental Institute of Houston at UH-Clear Lake, call 281-283-3950 or visit

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