NOS Assistant Administrator Weekly Update

Communities looking to build resilience to storms—from hurricanes to river flooding—need a lot of information. One of the key things that they need is accurate height information. The National Geodetic Survey (NGS) is undertaking a 15-year project called Gravity for the Redefinition of the American Vertical Datum, or GRAV-D, to improve height accuracy. Once the GRAV-D airborne survey is completed and the new vertical datum is released, elevations accessed through NOAA's Continuously Operating Reference Station network will be accurate to within one inch, resulting in improved inundation mapping, better monitoring of sea levels, and more accurate heights for the surveying community in support of the construction of highways, bridges, and suburban development, among other improvements.

Recently, NGS reached a major milestone—50 percent of all GRAV-D data have now been collected. Congratulations to all involved in this accomplishment! Additionally, the program is exploring ways that new technologies can support the GRAV-D effort. NGS recently tested a gravity-measurement device on an unmanned aircraft. An unmanned plane can more easily obtain GRAV-D data in remote locations, and has the potential to greatly reduce the costs associated with data collection.

On another note, I hope you follow next week’s HAB awareness online outreach campaign. A highlight will be the Harmful Algal Bloom Reddit “Ask Us Anything,” which will feature Karen Kavanaugh from the Center for Operational Oceanographic Products and Services and Dr. Richard Stumpf from the National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science. Follow the campaign on the NOS website, Facebook, and Twitter.

Thank you,

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

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Around NOS

GRAV-D Project Reaches Major Milestone

NOAA’s Gravity for the Redefinition of the American Vertical Datum (GRAV-D) project reached the 50 percent mark this month toward its goal to collect data for the United States and territories. The project measures gravity from an aircraft to support more accurate height measurements. Once complete, GRAV-D will provide an estimated $240 million in annual savings from improved floodplain management, and an additional $282 million in savings from activities that benefit from more precise elevations, including coastal resource management, construction, agriculture, and emergency planning. The project is on track to complete data collection by 2022.


Russian Exchange Participants Meet with OR&R

Last week, OR&R leadership met with six individuals from Russia participating in an exchange program titled “Arctic Environmental Protection and Innovative Solutions to Oil Pollution, Prevention, and Response.” The exchange is part of the U.S. State Department’s International Visitor Leadership Program. Participants possess expertise across Russia’s oil and gas sectors, and include researchers from government and industry, emergency responders, and waste-management specialists. They were particularly interested in U.S. laws and enforcement mechanisms, international cooperation and activities, use of satellite imagery in response activities, and environmental sensitivity indexing. The program opened this month in Washington, DC, and the group will hold subsequent meetings with other organizations and agencies, including the Arctic Research Council, American Petroleum Institute, U.S. Department of the Interior Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, U.S. Coast Guard, and OR&R staff in Seattle and Anchorage.


Report Highlights Extreme Water Level Scenarios for U.S. Department of Defense Sites

CO-OPS contributed to a groundbreaking report, released this week, which highlights sea level rise and extreme water level scenarios for U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) sites worldwide. CO-OPS data and scientific expertise were keys to determining extreme water level scenarios at regional scales for the military sites. The Coastal Assessment Regional Scenario Working Group, a multi-agency group under the auspices of DoD's Strategic Environmental Research and Development Program, produced the report.


Workshop Addresses Nighttime Boat Detection Data in the Philippines

A workshop for 54 officials in the Philippines addressed nighttime fishing boat detection data from NOAA’s Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite. The Philippines Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources will use the data to monitor fishery closures, marine protected areas, municipal waters, and Exclusive Economic Zone incursions. The information can be collected for monthly or yearly summaries and can be used in plans for regulatory and enforcement activities. The National Centers for Environmental Information provided the workshop as part of NOAA and the U.S. Agency for International Development’s Mission Support Partnership in the Asia Pacific.


Spotlight on Resilience Tools and Projects on Tybee Island, Georgia

At a recent workshop on Tybee Island, Georgia, the Southeast and Caribbean Climate Community of Practice learned about climate and hazard resilience tools and took a field trip to observe the island’s sea level rise adaptation projects. The living shoreline, tide gate, and beach replenishment projects complement the city council’s sea level rise adaptation plan. Participants also shared best practices and lessons learned for vulnerability assessments and the Community Rating System for resilience. NOAA partners in the workshop included OCM and the Southeast and Caribbean Regional Collaboration Team.


NOS Assistant Administrator

NOS Assistant Administrator
Dr. Russell Callender

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History, archaeology, and the protection of our nation's treasured resources have long been the passions of Office of National Marine Sanctuaries division chief and NOAA diver Kate Thompson.

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