NOS Assistant Administrator Weekly Update

Hi everyone,

Earlier this week, the White House launched the Climate Resilience Toolkit. This website was designed to help decision makers find and use tools, information, and subject matter expertise to build climate resilience.

The toolkit offers information from across federal agencies to increase the ability of communities to understand and manage climate-related risks and opportunities, and to help communities and businesses become more resilient to extreme events.

I would like to acknowledge the outstanding work of the Office for Coastal Management in supporting the development of the toolkit. Much of the website's design and content, such as the direct connection to case studies, was patterned after the NOAA Digital Coast, which also supplied tools such as CanVis and the Coastal Change Analysis Program's Land Cover Atlas. The Office for Coastal Management led the Coastal Flood Risk Theme Team and helped develop the content for that focus area, including case studies, tools, and other resources. Staff members took part in stakeholder engagement on coastal flood risk and provided links to training courses that are used on the site. They also provided web map services from Digital Coast that are employed by the Climate Data Explorer. Congratulations to all who were involved in this effort!

Thank you,

W. Russell Callender, Ph.D. 
Acting Assistant Administrator 
Ocean Services and Coastal Zone Management, 
National Ocean Service

Where is the newest Habitat Focus Area?

NOS Highlight

NOAA has chosen Kachemak Bay, located in south-central Alaska, as the next Habitat Focus Area under NOAA's Habitat Blueprint program. Kachemak Bay is a National Estuarine Research Reserve, a state of Alaska critical habitat area, and the location of NOS's Kasitsna Bay Laboratory. Kachemak Bay will serve as a testing area to improve use of NOAA mapping, ocean observation, and model information, with the goal of developing new tools for habitat assessment and state and federal shellfish and groundfish management.

Around NOS

Northwest Navy Tribal Council Receives Update on ESI Maps

In early November, OR&R presented at the Northwest Tribal Council meeting, held at Everett Naval Station. The council, established in 2003, serves to strengthen Navy-tribal relations in western Washington. OR&R was asked to familiarize the audience with NOAA's Environmental Sensitivity Index (ESI) maps, and to provide an update on their status in Washington State. With ESI work on the outer coast just wrapping up, data is expected to be publically available by year's end, which was welcome news, as the last update to the Washington coast maps was done in 1985. This meeting also provided OR&R with the opportunity to acknowledge tribal support during the data collection phase and to thank them for their contributions.  In attendance at the November meeting were representatives from eight western Washington tribes, the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission, the U.S. Coast Guard, the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers, and the U.S. Navy.


Animation Shows Ecosystem Services in Action

To help people understand what ecosystem services are, and the importance of sustaining them, NOAA's Office for Coastal Management developed a short, interactive animation to visualize how beach dunes, wetlands, shellfish beds, seagrass, and living shorelines can buffer storm impacts for coastal communities. The animation introduces key terminology such as ecosystem service, green infrastructure, and gray infrastructure, by showing these features in the landscape. These visualizations help audiences understand the concepts of ecosystem services and gray or green infrastructure by showing how they function during a coastal storm, and also encourage thoughts on managing natural infrastructure.


U.S. – Philippines Dialogues Focus on Resilience, Storm Inundation, Biodiversity, and Ocean Acidification

NOAA scientists recently joined a U.S. delegation trip to the Republic of the Philippines to discuss current and future collaborative efforts between the two countries to address scientific and technological issues. The shared interests include climate change, biodiversity, disaster risk reduction, and resilience. Successful case studies of joint efforts between NOAA and Philippine researchers, such as partnerships between NOAA and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) on corals and storm surge inundation as well as separate partnerships with NOAA on ocean acidification impacts were featured prominently to highlight the importance of a continued relationship between the US and the Philippines.  


Innovative Management Approach Guides Marine Spatial Planning

Two decades of close collaborations with scientists and marine resource managers have resulted in an innovative tool to support marine spatial planning, a comprehensive approach to coastal zone management. The Biogeographic Assessment Framework (BAF) was developed by NCCOS to provide a decision support process for comprehensive and efficient management of coastal and marine environments around the world. Integrating multiple types of information, such as resource use and ecosystem characterization, this tool turns data relevant to the area of concern into visualized products easily understood by planners and coastal managers. The framework is flexible, multi-disciplinary, and can be scaled across different geographic areas at the state, regional, or national level. A detailed description of the framework along with two management applications will be published in the 2015 edition of Marine Policy.


Providing Training to More than 1,000 Customers/Partners

For several years, NGS has provided surveyors, engineers, and other users a method of computing survey-grade single-point GPS positions through the use of its Online Positioning User Service (OPUS).  To provide further service, NGS developed OPUS Projects software as an extension of that online service, allowing users to complete an entire GPS campaign or project online. In FY2014, NGS trained more than 1,000 customers and partners in OPUS Projects.   These classes provide a key step in instructing participants in the use of this excellent resource, as they must complete the training to gain access to OPUS Projects. The classes often allow participants to gain continuing education credits (CEUs) towards their continuing education requirements, as well.  The main goal of this effort is to empower customers and enable them to conduct survey work more efficiently and effectively in preparation for new datums that NGS will release in 2022.


Bleaching of Threatened Coral Observed on Florida Keys Research Expedition

A team of divers with NOAA's Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary recently conducted a multi-objective excursion to Sand Key reef, with the main objective of capturing pictures of pillar coral using the Catlin Seaview Survey's high-definition 360° camera.  This cutting-edge camera system is currently on loan to the sanctuary for use in documenting reefs as well as outreach and education. The images captured by the team revealed severe bleaching of pillar coral, a species that NOAA recently listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act.  While documenting this effect of climate change, the research team maximized their time by conducting diving requalification and performing underwater inspections of damaged mooring anchors.


NOS Assistant Administrator

NOS Acting Assistant Administrator
Dr. Russell Callender

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The joys of mentoring are a theme throughout this week's story from the Great Lakes region.  A strong love of place and family has brought Sarah Lowe back home to delve into the problem of marine debris.

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