EcoRigs is a non-profit 501 (c) corporation. Its mission is to save retired platforms from removal to be redeployed for use in sustainable fisheries, recreational fisheries, fish sanctuaries, renewable energy, sequestration of greenhouse gases, and other beneficial environmental applications.
Members include Steve Kolian, Paul Sammarco, Scott Porter, Michael Boatright, Jim Flagg, Toby Armstrong, Roy Lindsey, Edwin Cake, Debi Turnell, Susan Forsyth, James "Rip" Kirby, Charles Reith, Chuck Bedell, and Dean Schweinler. Toby Armstrong, Jim Flagg, Dean Schweinler, Tom McPhee, John Forteir, and Scott Porter supplied the underwater photography. A short biography of some of the team members is available below.
Steve Kolian grew up commercial fishing in the Gulf of Mexico and received his graduate degree from Tulane University in Environmental Science. Steve is interested in redeployment of retired oil and gas platforms for use in sustainable fisheries and renewable ocean energy applications. He has conducted several years of research into Japanese Marine Habitat Enhancement technology. Mr. Kolian is also interested in fish ecology with emphasis on recruitment dynamics, artificial reefs as part of a larger comprehensive culture fishery, marine stock enhancement, telemetry of reef fish in orientation to reef habitats, and food energetics and population dynamics of reef ecosystems.
Scott Porter has over 21 years experience as an investigative biologist with an environmental survey company – EcoLogic Environmental. He began as an oil field consultant whose zone of study includes the coastal Gulf States with a concentration in the Louisiana's estuaries and petroleum platforms. Through his services as an independent survey biologist specializing in biological resource analysis, the P I has collected over 5,000 biological reef samples and has over 3,000 scuba dives from 1988-2009. Mr. Porter holds a degree in Marine Biology. He has discovered new species on the platform that have yet to be documented in the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean. Mr. Porter is one of the best field biologist in the Gulf of Mexico.
Dr. Paul W. Sammarco is a Professor at the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium (LUMCON) in Chauvin, Louisiana, USA. He has been conducting research on coral reef ecology for 30 years, in the western Atlantic (Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and the Bahamas) and on the Great Barrier Reef, Australia. He has served an Assistant Professor at Clarkson University (NY), a senior research scientist at the Australian Institute of Marine Science, and Executive Director and a Research Professor at LUMCON. He also served as the Director of Environmental Research for the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet in Australia for several years. He has worked at the margins of ecology and evolution and at the interface of physics, chemistry, geology, and mathematics for many years. With respect to work on Gulf of Mexico, Dr. Sammarco is currently conducting an interdisciplinary study to determine sources and sinks of coral larvae. Working with US Department of the Interior – Minerals Management Service, he is attempting to demonstrate the expansion of Caribbean corals into the Gulf of Mexico through their colonization of offshore oil and gas platforms.
Mr. Boatright has been culturing and selling coral and ornamental fish for the last several years. He owns and operates Marine Gadens, LLC a 13 acre aqua farm and Reef Keeper’s Coral Outlet. Mr. Boatright distributes coral collected from sources all over the world to aquarium enthusiasts across the country. He is a certified professional diver in the Gulf of Mexico and has been working on offshore platforms for over 30 years. His diving certifications include FEMA: Professional Development Series, Emergency Management, Texas Tech, Emergency Management, Dive Rescue Specialist 1 & 2 Public Safety Scuba Safety, Hyperberic Medicine Course, Certified SAT Diver, Emergency Medical Technician Paramedic.
Toby Armstrong is a professional photographer specializing in diversity. He has provided many of the images shown on EcoRigs.org.
You can find more of his photography here.
As the Eco Rigs representative to the SCUBA Industry, Jim Flagg brings 55 years of scuba diving experience, a university education in geology and experience as an oilfield roughneck working on offshore drilling platforms and landbased operations.For 25 years Jim Flagg worked in the SCUBA Industry as a sales and tech rep and diving instructor. He wrote many technical and travel articles for various publications and he was the VIDEO EDITOR for a major Dive Industry magazine.Jim won awards for his Photography and Videography skills.Plus, he was a championship winning motorcycle and ski racer.