NOS Assistant Administrator Weekly Update
Recently, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) sent a note of gratitude to the National Geodetic Survey team responsible for collecting more than 10,000 images of impacted areas following Hurricane Matthew. FEMA recognized the team’s “unflinching and admirable actions” and went on to say, “Your tireless efforts and scores of flight hours...continue to serve FEMA individual assistance, public assistance, and recovery programs. The images document the storm’s impacts and the suffering of thousands of disaster survivors and will help FEMA analyze conditions and damages over the coming weeks as we seek to extend federal assistance to these affected citizens. Your personal sacrifices and hardships are appreciated and recognized, and we are grateful for your service and professionalism.”
A popular internal funding program is back! The NOAA Preserve America Initiative Internal Funding Program is designed to stimulate efforts within NOAA to preserve, protect, and promote the agency's heritage assets. Learn more about the program, previous projects, and how to apply.
W. Russell Callender, Ph.D.
Ocean Services and Coastal Zone Management,
National Ocean Service
What does this month’s full moon have in common with this Emmy® Award-winning team?
Did you see the full moon this week? Keep an eye out because once a month, during every full moon, the Ocean Today team will release a new set of videos showcasing discoveries, wondrous animals, and people around the world who love and care about the ocean. This month’s collection features bioluminescence. Learn more here!
Studying the Impacts of Sea Level Rise on Hawaii Island
An NCCOS-funded Ecological Effects of Sea level Rise project led by The Nature Conservancy on the Big Island of Hawaii is predicting the effects of sea-level rise on unique and historic Hawaiian groundwater-fed pools, wetlands, and fishponds. Data from the project will support mapping and app development with various sea level rise scenarios. Fishponds have cultural significance to native Hawaiians and are integral to the state’s watershed and land stewardship system. These waterbodies occur throughout the west Hawaii coastal corridor and support numerous endemic species while providing key ecosystem services to natural and human communities. Other partners include the National Park Service and local communities, groups, and agencies.
‘Seaside with a Scientist’ at Grand Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve
The “Seaside with a Scientist” event at Mississippi’s Grand Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve transported dozens of adults and children by boat deep into the estuary to learn firsthand about scientific research. Connecting Grand Bay Reserve scientists to members of the local community improves people’s understanding about what the reserve is doing to protect and conserve estuaries. Some projects currently under way study how a local bird species is affected by environmental changes, how “blue carbon” is stored within marshes, and how prescribed burns can improve maritime pine savannas. Chevron Corporation partnered with the Grand Bay Reserve to hold the special event, which was part of National Estuaries Week.
American Cyanamid Settlement Agreement Released for Public Comment
NOAA, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection released for public comment a settlement agreement with a potentially responsible party for contamination related to the American Cyanamid Superfund Site located on the Raritan River in Bridgewater, New Jersey. The facility was used for the manufacture of chemicals, dyes, and pharmaceuticals, and for coal tar distillation, starting in the early 1900s. The settlement agreement, which addresses liability natural resource injuries only, includes (1) reimbursement of the Trustees’ past assessment costs, (2) removal of the Weston Mill Dam in Franklin Township and Manville Borough, (3) monitoring before and after the dam’s removal, (4) an analysis of fish passage alternatives for the Island Farm Weir and the design of a Trustee-approved alternative, and (5) reimbursement of future Trustee oversight costs. Public comments on the Consent Decree will be accepted until December 16.
Whale Alert App Benefits Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary
Busy shipping lanes that coincide with whale feeding areas, breeding regions, and migratory routes present an immense threat of ship strikes to whales. With the free Whale Alert app, mariners and the public have a user-friendly tool directly on their iPads or iPhones that displays “whale safety zones.” The app also allows users to report any live, dead, or distressed whale sightings to the appropriate response agency. Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary is now using the near real-time data submitted via both the Whale Alert and SpotterPro apps to complement its monthly marine mammal aerial survey of shipping lanes in the Santa Barbara Channel. Eleven endangered blue whales and two humpback whales were spotted during the last survey—the highest number of individuals recorded this year. Whale Alert is a collaboration among government agencies, academic institutions, nonprofit conservation groups, and private companies.
Geodesy’s Role in the National Park Service
NGS’s Alaska Regional Geodetic Advisor attended the National Park Service’s (NPS) Centennial Science and Stewardship Symposium in Fairbanks, Alaska, to participate in outreach events highlighting the role of geodesy in the NPS. A presentation highlighted the reestablishment of Denali’s summit elevation and included posters showcasing progress on the 2016 NOAA Preserve America Project, Technology in the Wilderness. A NOAA/NPS partnership to install new water level stations in Alaska’s national parks was also discussed.