NOS Assistant Administrator Weekly Update

Hi everyone,

NOS is a leader in the rapidly advancing field of geographic information systems (GIS). This week, staff from several NOS programs are participating in the annual Esri International User Conference. More than 15,000 professionals from 132 countries and representing nearly every commercial sector, government organization, and non-profit field are attending. A number of enhancements to the Esri software and services suite were highlighted during the conference with many potential positive impacts to our mission activities.

On Sunday, NOAA Administrator Dr. Kathryn Sullivan addressed the Executive Seminar highlighting the role geospatial technologies and open data play in meeting the NOAA mission. On Monday, Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker addressed the conference, talking about expanding economic opportunity in the United States through open data. Dr. Sullivan followed soon after with a discussion about the importance of NOAA data and apps to making communities more resilient. It is great to hear about these two distinguished leaders talking about a topic of such importance to us here at NOS.

NOS staff play lead roles in the use of GIS in NOAA for the benefit of the entire organization and our partners. We provide half of the funding for the NOAA geospatial information officer, lead the implementation of the NOAA-wide enterprise license agreements with Esri and Google, and chair a number of cross-NOAA teams such as the Integrated Ocean and Coastal Mapping team.

Here are just a couple of examples of how NOS programs provide coastal intelligence using GIS:

Thank you,

Holly A. Bamford, Ph.D.
Assistant Administrator for Ocean Services and Coastal
Zone Management, National Ocean Service

Around NOS

Ships Slow Down for Cleaner Air and Safer Whales

Global shipping companies will participate in the Vessel Speed Reduction Trial Incentive Program for Santa Barbara Channel. Reducing ship speeds to 12 knots or less cuts emissions of smog and other air pollutants, and greatly reduces the likelihood that a ship strike on a whale will be fatal.  The trial is an opportunity to explore innovative approaches and partnerships in a non-regulatory setting to maintain vibrant maritime commerce in a more environmentally sensitive manner. The VSR zone extends from Point Conception to the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach and traverses through the Santa Barbara Channel and Sanctuary. The trial period is from July 1 to October 31, 2014, to coincide with the seasonal migration of endangered blue, humpback, and fin whales as well as the summer ozone season when atmospheric conditions are affected by air pollution.

Contact:  Sean Hastings  

Telling the Stories Behind the Numbers of the U.S. Fishing Industry

A new online information resource, a story map, brings home the message about the U.S. commercial fishing industry that employs 120,000 people. Highlighted cases include the Maine lobster industry, menhaden harvest and processing in the Chesapeake Bay, traditional oystering in the Apalachicola Bay, commercial fishing in Alaska, and seafood operations and markets in Seattle. The map-based storytelling is fun, compelling, and helps users better understand the stories and spatial attributes behind the economic data.

Contact: Jeffery Adkins

Advancing Climate Preparedness in New England Communities

New England residents recently participated in climate adaptation workshops. Findings from the New England Climate Adaptation Project were used to identify ways in which coastal communities in these states can decrease vulnerability and enhance resilience to climate change. The workshop was designed by trainers from National Estuarine Research Reserves in New England, the Consensus Building Institute, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Science Impact Collaborative. The science collaborative was sponsored the New England Climate Adaptation Project.

Contact: Dwight Trueblood

Large Harmful Algal Bloom in Western Lake Erie Predicted This Summer

NOAA and its partners from several Ohio universities predict western Lake Erie will have a large bloom of cyanobacteria, a toxic blue-green algae, in late summer. The predicted bloom is expected to be smaller than last year's intense bloom and considerably less than the record-setting 2011 bloom. Bloom impacts will vary across the lake's western basin, but tourism and fisheries are both likely to be negatively affected. Harmful algal blooms were common in western Lake Erie between the 1960s and 1980s. After a lapse of nearly 20 years, blooms have been steadily increasing over the past decade.

Contact:  Richard Stumpf

Highlighting OR&R Activities in New England

The annual North Atlantic Regional Collaboration Team met at the Norrie Point Environmental Center of the Hudson River National Estuarine Research Reserve to broaden regional NOAA's understanding of OR&R activities and coordinate NOAA participation in the Urban Water Federal Partnership. Participants learned about NOAA's work in and around the Hudson River Watershed including efforts on contaminant assessment/remediation and NRDA activities regarding Hudson River PCBs, Marathon Battery, and Quanta Resources Superfund Sites. OR&R also provided information on emergency response roles and issues of transporting oil on the Hudson.  

Contact: Simeon Hahn  

Emergency Response for Arthur

NGS collected pre- and post-event oblique imagery as well as video imagery on July 2 to 4 of Tropical Cyclone Arthur's track from Cape Henry, Virginia, to Cape Hatteras, North Carolina. This was the first time NGS collected oblique imagery for emergency response. Oblique imagery provides a different aspect of viewing, improving the visibility of vertical structures, such as the sides of buildings, rather than just the tops of structures.   

Contact: Gretchen Imahori

NOS Assistant Administrator

NOS Assistant Administrator
Dr. Holly Bamford

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