NOS Assistant Administrator Weekly Update

Hi everyone,

For the first time ever, NOAA is releasing a framework to advance ecological forecasting efforts as rapidly and efficiently as possible. That framework is called the Ecological Forecasting Roadmap.

Local authorities and members of the public use ecological forecasts to make decisions to protect the health and well-being of a particular area. Ecological forecasts predict likely changes in ecosystems and their components in response to alterations in the physical, chemical, and biological environment and the resulting impact to people and economies.

NOAA has already made progress in key areas such as operational forecasts for harmful algal blooms. The Ecological Forecasting Roadmap will help NOAA coordinate our ecological forecasting portfolio, focused around a small set of priorities at the national level. The ultimate goal is to increase the quantity and quality of timely and actionable information available to resource managers to support decision making.

Line offices across NOAA—NOS; National Weather Service; the Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research; the National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service; and National Marine Fisheries Service—all contribute to ecological forecasting.

Establishing a national forecasting capacity with regionally tailored approaches requires significant effort across NOAA and I am proud that NOS is a leader in this area. The Center for Operational Oceanographic Products and Services, National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science, U.S. Integrated Ocean Observing System program; and the Office of Coast Survey all play important roles in NOAA's ecological forecasting activities. I would like to thank all of those who helped NOAA reach this important milestone.

Thank you,

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

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Around NOS

Scientists Sample Algal Cysts in the Gulf of Maine to Improve HAB Forecasting

This week, scientists from NCCOS and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution completed a nine-day sediment sampling mission in the Gulf of Maine. Researchers examined sediment cores for the presence of cysts of the harmful alga Alexandrium fundyense to improve forecasting of harmful algal bloom (HAB) events along the New England coast for 2015. Forecasts of the extent and severity of Alexandrium blooms depend on a map of the alga's cysts in Gulf of Maine sediments and computer models simulating a range of bloom scenarios based on previous years' ocean conditions. Alexandrium toxins accumulate in shellfish and can cause paralytic shellfish poisoning in humans when consumed. State managers use the HAB forecasts to monitor Alexandrium toxins, ensuring shellfish are safe for human consumption.


Buoy Deployment Contributes to Port of Long Beach's Under Keel Clearance System

NOAA and partners are supporting the development of an Under Keel Clearance (UKC) for the Port of Long Beach pilots by providing a number of standardized environmental observations and forecast products from its operational portfolio. Last week, the Coastal Data Information Program, based at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, deployed a wave buoy located in the separation zone of the San Pedro south bound shipping lane. The newly deployed San Pedro South Buoy, funded by IOOS, will be used operationally by Jacobsen Pilot Service, Inc., which provides piloting services to the Port, for validating wave conditions to ensure the safe transport of vessel traffic transiting at the Port of Long Beach. This buoy is one component of a larger project to ascertain the UKC of commercial vessels.


Green Infrastructure Training Supports Coastal Resilience in Maine

Sea level rise and other coastal hazards are a big concern of Maine's coastal communities. The Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve and Maine Coastal Program convened over 80 Down East and southern Maine coastal planners and officials to learn about improving community resilience and green infrastructure concepts and practices. OCM conducted the Introducing Green Infrastructure for Coastal Resilience training with local speakers sharing information on green infrastructure projects underway in the area. The training and networking opportunity helped local practitioners understand landscape-scale conservation, site-scale, low-impact development, and shoreline techniques to improve coastal resilience practices.


Papahānaumokuākea Unveils Newly Discovered WWII-Era Fighter Plane

On Oct. 16, Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument (PMNM) staff announced the discovery and identification of a P-40 Warhawk fighter plane at Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge in the Monument. A media event was held in the hangar at the Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor, featuring a fully restored P-40, historic murals of Midway Atoll, and pictures from the wreck site. PMNM's Maritime Heritage Program coordinator gave a briefing on her findings and answered questions from the press, and the museum's curator spoke on the importance of this find and his appreciation for the work NOAA does to bring these discoveries to light. Leadership and staff from NOAA's Office of National Marine Sanctuaries and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service also attended the event.

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Submerged Aquatic Vegetation in the Lower Hudson River

Until recently the lower Hudson River estuary supported about 4,450 acres of submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV). In the years since Tropical Storms Irene and Lee in 2011, SAV have declined dramatically and there is concern that the SAV beds may not recover without intervention. SAV are important components of the freshwater and brackish portions of the estuary providing habitat for foraging, spawning, and sheltering from predators for a variety of invertebrates, fish, and wildlife. Earlier this month, OR&R's Assessment and Restoration Division participated in a workshop focused on addressing current declines in SAV, improving response to major future disturbances, and evaluating the feasibility of restoring SAV in the estuary. NOAA was asked to participate because of our involvement in the Hudson River PCB Superfund Site remediation. 


New Video Explains Difference between 'Precision' and 'Accuracy' in Geodetic Surveying

In mid-October, NGS released a new video highlighting the importance of both precision and accuracy in geodetic surveying and the difference between the two terms. Produced as a collaborative effort between NGS and The COMET® Program, the video is aimed at surveying professionals, planners, policy-makers, and others who use mapping products. COMET is a world-wide leader in support of education and training for the environmental sciences.


NOS Assistant Administrator

NOS Acting Assistant Administrator
Dr. Russell Callender

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