EPA's New Leader Drops In

Gina McCarthy (left) surveys the Rhode River on a cruise with SERC director Tuck Hines.

Less than a week after her confirmation, the  new head of the Environmental Protection Agency visited the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center on her first official trip outside Washington on July 24, 2013.

Gina McCarthy, a "wicked smaht" Boston native, has advised both Democratic and Republic governors, including 2012 presidential candidate Mitt Romney. While in Massachusetts, she worked with government and industries to help clean up Boston Harbor. She spent her last four years heading the EPA's air and radiation office, where she combatted climate change via tougher air pollution regulations.

Her visit to SERC included a cruise on the Rhode River and a walk across the Global Change Research Wetland, where ecologist have created a "marsh of the future." On the wetland, ecologists are raising carbon dioxide and nitrogen inside dozens of plastic chambers to see how the marsh will grow in the year 2100. They're also tracking whether coastal marshes will be able to build soil fast enough to keep up with sea-level rise. While SERC researchers uncover the impacts of climate change, McCarthy will have her hands full backing up President Obama's plans to keep it in check.