NOS Assistant Administrator Weekly Update

Hi everyone,

I would like to take a moment to congratulate all of our Gold, Silver, and Bronze Medal awardees as well as NOS’s recipient of the Distinguished Career Award.

The Gold and Silver Medals are the two highest honor awards that can be granted by the Secretary of Commerce. Following are the NOS recipients.

Gold Medal recipients for excellence in collaborating with the USCG and the maritime industry to move shipping lanes away from endangered whale feeding grounds:

Sean Hastings (NOS), Karen Reyna (NOS), Michael Carver (NOS), Lisa Wooninck (NOS), Jessica Redfern (NMFS), Monica DeAngelis (NMFS), Elizabeth Petras (NMFS), Stephanie Altman (OGC), Trisha Bergmann (Office of International Affairs)

Silver Medal recipients for outstanding effort, expertise and creativity to develop CetSound an internationally recognized, innovative visual representations of human-induced underwater noise impacts on marine mammals.

Leila Hatch (NOS), Julia Harrison (NMFS), Megan Ferguson (NMFS), Jason Gedamke (NMFS), Sofie Van Parjis (NMFS), Karin Forney (NMFS)

The Bronze Medal is the highest honor award granted by the Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere and recognizes superior performance. Following are NOS recipients.

For embodying NOAA's spirit of environmental stewardship by leading citizen volunteers to monitor phytoplankton, reducing coastal hazards:

Stephan Morton

For elevating NOAA's mission to protect and interpret our Nation's maritime history by commemorating the 150th anniversary of the loss of the USS Monitor:

David Alberg, James Delgado, Lauren Heesemann, Joseph Hoyt, Pam Plakas
Shannon Ricles, Vernon Smith

For performing a highly complex and unusual geodetic survey of unprecedented accuracy of the Washington Monument:

Roy Anderson, Mark Armstrong, Don Breidenbach, Steve Breidenbach, Eric Duvall, Mark Eckl, Kendall Fancher, Philippe Hensel, Ajit Singh, Dru Smith

For planning and completing vital capital improvement projects that resulted in safer operations and cost savings at NOAA's Hollings Marine Laboratory*:

Martin Burnett, Cleve Robertson, Sr., Kevin Corcoran, Colden Battey, Mike Sellers
Karen Laskowski

*I would like to recognize the efforts of team member Cleve (“C.J.”) Robertson, Jr., who provided invaluable support to these projects.

For the first operational implementation of the High Frequency Radar Web Product for the National Ocean Service:

Gregory Dusek, Christopher Paternostro, Paul Fanelli, Zhong Li, Patrick Burke
Jack Harlan

For delivering technology to improve NOAA's Arctic preparedness and leading technology standardization and best practices:*

Amy Merten, Kari Sheets, Michele Jacobi

*I would like to recognize the efforts of team members Chander Ganesan, Robert St. Lawrence, and Zachary Winters-Staszak, whose contributions were indispensable to this project.

For extraordinary support of the State of Alaska and NOAA during the ALASKA SHIELD exercise, making it a major success in disaster preparedness:

Amy E. Holman (NOS), Aimee M. Fish (NWS), Cynthia C. Preller (NWS)

For implementing environmental and ecological services targeted to improve human health, promote safe marine navigation, and build coastal resiliency:

Cristina Urizar (NOS), Adria Schneck-Scott (NOS), Allison Allen (NOS), Brian LaMarre (NWS), Daniel Noah (NWS), Charles Paxton (NWS), Michael Gittinger, Richard Davis (NWS), Todd Barron (NWS), Bryan Mroczka (NWS), John McMichael (NWS), Ernest Jillson (NWS), Nicole Carlisle (NWS)

For producing NOAA's first 5-year research and development plan using a rigorous process and inclusive engagement of NOAA scientists and stakeholders:

Jawed Hammedi (NOS), Neil Christerson (OAR), Gary Matlock (OAR), Derek Parks (OAR), Barry Reichenbaugh (OAR), Rick Rosen (OAR), Avery Sen (OAR), James Shambaugh (OAR), Nathalie Valette-Silver (OAR), Shelby Walker (OAR), John Ewald (OCEA), Eric Bayler (NESDIS), Deborah Riddle (NESDIS), Sara Veasey (NESDIS), Felipe Arzayus (NMFS), Frank Schwing (NMFS), Stephan Smith (NWS)

For awarding a $71.5 million 10-year acquisition in record time and restoring critical data collection capabilities lost in Superstorm Sandy:

Ellen Clark (NOS), Joseph M. Welch (NOS), Brian A. Johnson (NOS), Tom Landon (NOS), Jack Salmon, Jr. (AGO), Margaret A. Rankin (AGO), Brendon Johnson (AGO), Timothy Wamplerk (AGO), Ed Weber (OGC)

The Distinguished Career Award honors cumulative career achievement of sustained excellence, rather than a single defined accomplishment, in specific categories. The following is the NOS recipient.

For sustained exemplary performance in oil and chemical spill preparedness and response throughout more than three decades of service to NOAA and the Nation:

Glen Watabayashi

Congratulations to all of our award winners,

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

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Around NOS

South Carolina Releases Beach Access and Water Quality App

A recently released mobile app called the South Carolina Beach Guide provides detailed information about South Carolina’s public beach access sites and water quality.  The new South Carolina Beach Guide makes finding beach access and accommodations much easier for visitors.  With a few simple selections, users can explore over 620 public access points along South Carolina's Atlantic shoreline, get detailed directions from a user's address or location, as well as get information about parking, restrooms, handicapped accessibility, and water quality conditions and advisories. This app was developed by the state’s coastal zone management program with funding from OCM.  


“Our Florida Reefs” Website Recognized by the Interactive Media Awards

The Interactive Media Awards recently recognized the “Our Florida Reefs” website with the 2014 Outstanding Achievement Award, the second highest honor of the international competition. Our Florida Reefs engages communities in Southeast Florida, bringing together residents, business owners, visitors, and the broader public to determine the future of their coral reef resources. Designed by Strategic Ocean Solutions and Wacky Puppy Designs, the Our Florida Reefs website is supported by CRCP and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.


Does Oyster Aquaculture Affect Nitrogen Loss from Sediments?

Off-bottom oyster aquaculture (Crassostrea virginica) is currently being investigated for possible effects on nutrient processes of surrounding sediments by the Virginia Sea Grant Research Fellowship Program and NCCOS. The research assesses whether, and to what extent, biodeposition from this type of aquaculture operation stimulates loss of nitrogen from the sediment. Early results from this two-year project suggest that there are greater losses of nitrogen from sediments under aquaculture cages in summer than from bare bottom areas, but they are lower than previously reported results from natural oyster reefs. The measurements will be extended through the year and rates will be confirmed in the conclusion of the project. These research results will be used to inform policy discussions on the use of bivalve aquaculture to mitigate nutrient enrichment of coastal waters.


Scientists Play Major Role in 47th American Geophysical Union Conference

A team of experts represented NGS at the 47th Annual American Geophysical Union (AGU) Meeting in San Francisco, California from December 15 to 19. AGU, the largest Earth and space science meeting in the world, brings more than 24,000 geoscientists together for the advancement of science. NGS gravity science specialists will present on the future of gravimetry. This conference is an ideal opportunity to highlight NGS’ accomplishments and forge international connections to enhance NOAA’s reputation as a leading science and research organization. Experts will also present on NGS’ free publicly-available web utility, the Online Positioning User Service (OPUS), to discuss its capabilities and crowd-sourced sharing functions. Additional NGS work, including horizontal and vertical position changes over time as measured by GPS, will also be presented.


Life-Threatening Entanglement Removed from Humpback Whale

A young humpback whale, heavily entangled in fishing line, was freed from the life-threatening entanglement near Kīhei, Maui on December 10. The response effort was coordinated by NOAA’s Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary and involved trained personnel from the sanctuary, NOAA Fisheries, NOAA Corps, and the Hawaii Wildlife Fund. The entangled whale had multiple wraps of heavy gauge, red monofilament long line wrapped around its tail, with bundles of gear trailing and the lines cutting into the tailstock, resulting in deep wounds. Using knives on a long pole and a cutting grapple, the team was able to remove nearly all of the entangling gear, and it is hoped the remaining line will be shed over time. The recovered gear will be analyzed to better understand the impacts of entanglement, in an effort to reduce the threat in the future. This is the first large whale entanglement response of the 2014-15 whale season as the humpback whales return from summer feeding grounds in Alaska.


Plans in Place for Informing Users and Partners about Web Service Interruption

Critical electrical maintenance will be conducted in Silver Spring that will interrupt web services for many navigational products this weekend. Without electricity, the servers in SSMC3 will be shut down, and Coast Survey will not be able to provide several products from approximately 6 p.m. on December 19 to 6 a.m. on December 21. Raster and electronic navigational charts required for safe navigation will still be available, since these products are hosted elsewhere. Products and services that will be unavailable during this time include updated print-on-demand charts, historical charts, BookletCharts, nowCOAST, ENC Direct to GIS, ENC Online, and the Coast Survey inquiry system.

Contact : and

NOS Assistant Administrator

NOS Acting Assistant Administrator
Dr. Russell Callender

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