The U.S. Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS®) Program achieved a significant milestone this month. IOOS certified the Pacific Islands Ocean Observing System (PacIOOS) as its first Regional Information Coordination Entity (RICE).
Certification is an important step for IOOS because it authenticates that the quality of PacIOOS's observing and data management practices conform to NOAA standards. This strengthens the IOOS system as a whole and sets a high standard of quality that IOOS partners within NOAA and other federal agencies can rely on.
Partnerships between federal agencies like NOAA and regional organizations like PacIOOS give us the flexibility we need to keep innovating and meeting our users' needs, even in a challenging fiscal climate. I am proud that this key milestone has been reached. Learn more about PacIOOS and the IOOS Program.
W. Russell Callender, Ph.D.
Acting Assistant Administrator
Ocean Services and Coastal Zone Management,
National Ocean Service
NOAA's Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary will host a television and online event called "Big Blue LIVE," which airs live on PBS from August 31-September 2 at 8-9 p.m. Eastern, with another live feed to the West Coast at 8-9 p.m. Pacific. The production brings together scientists, filmmakers, photographers, and other experts to capture imagery of the diverse marine life that feeds in the sanctuary at this time of year, including whales, sharks, dolphins, seals, sea lions, sea otters, and seabirds.
Thirteen additional National Water Level Observation Network (NWLON) stations were recently added to CO-OPS's Sea Level Trends online. Coastal planners and emergency managers can integrate this information into storm surge models to plan for future storms. The additional stations are located in Cutler, ME; Bergen Point, NY; Tolchester Beach, MD; Wachapreague, VA; Lake Worth Beach, FL; Mobile State Docks, AL; Bay Waveland, MS; New Canal, LA; Bob Hall Pier, TX; Arena Cove, CA; Hammond, OR; Port Moller, AK; and Prudhoe Bay, AK. CO-OPS has measured sea levels in the United States for more than 150 years and NWLON is the nation's authoritative source for sea level trends. More than 140 of NOAA's existing water level gauges have operated for more than 30 years, providing consistent records of sea level change.
Last week, OCS made initial preparations to deploy hydrographic survey equipment to Puerto Rico or the U.S. Virgin Islands in response to Hurricane Danny. OCS mobilizes survey teams to search for underwater debris and shoaling after hurricanes, in order to speed the resumption of oceangoing commerce. When OCS is unable reach an area, like the Caribbean, with its own navigation response team (NRT) vessels, it sends a mobile integrated survey team (MIST), which installs OCS's equipment on a "vessel of opportunity" and begins surveying as soon as possible. NRTs also prepared for possible mobilization on the Gulf and East Coasts, in case Danny maintained strength and headed toward the mainland. With maximum sustained winds of 115 mph, Hurricane Danny was the first major hurricane of the 2015 Atlantic hurricane season. Although Danny has since dissipated, making deployment of the MIST and NRTs unnecessary, OCS is currently tracking Tropical Storm Erika.
At the Ecological Society of America's centennial conference in Baltimore, OCM staff presented information on the session theme, "Science at the Frontier of Understanding 'Natural Infrastructure': Societal Benefits of Healthy Coastal Ecosystems." Talks outlined how climate adaptation can strengthen storm and erosion protection; how healthy ecosystems can support fisheries and other coastal economic sectors; and how natural infrastructure services can boost carbon sequestration and storage efforts. OCM also helped organize the event. These and other presentations explored opportunities to include these benefits in policy- and decision-making that affect coastal ecosystem conservation, highlighting the intersection of environmental and social sciences.
Last week, a NOAA-funded investigation of the relatively healthy deep reefs of Pulley Ridge, off Florida's southwest coast, began its fourth and final expedition. During the two-week mission, the team will launch a remotely operated vehicle from the University of Miami's R/V F.G. Walton Smith to photograph benthic and fish communities and collect fish and invertebrate samples. The researchers will use the collected data to identify whether Pulley Ridge helps sustain coral reef communities in the Florida Keys and Dry Tortugas or vice versa, and to determine whether the area would benefit from further protection. The team presented preliminary results from the project at a recent meeting of the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary Advisory Council to inform the council's discussions. To learn more about this year's expedition, visit the Coral Ecosystem Connectivity 2015 website.
Staff from the NOAA Marine Debris Program participated in an international marine debris workshop in Berlin, Germany, from August 3-5. Currently led by the German government, the G7 nations of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States are working together to address marine debris whether it comes from land or sea. The August workshop was a follow-up to the G7 Summit held in Germany in June, where G7 leaders committed to combat marine debris. The workshop brought together stakeholders and experts to commit to specific, targeted actions within four major marine debris themes: land-based sources, sea-based sources, priority removal actions, and research/education/outreach.
NGS is working closely with stakeholders and professional organizations to raise awareness about the replacement of the North American Datum of 1983 (NAD 83) and the North American Vertical Datum of 1988 (NAVD 88). The Transportation Research Board and the National Society of Professional Surveyors collected input regarding NGS's activities as it prepares to transition to the new reference frames in 2022. Land surveyors, geodesists, and GIS professionals from 30 states and Puerto Rico provided feedback to NGS on new reference frame requirements and concerns. The information collected from the surveys will help NGS better understand and define user requirements when developing new products and services.
NOS Acting Assistant Administrator
Dr. Russell Callender
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