NOS Assistant Administrator Weekly Update

This weekend, the Office of National Marine Sanctuaries is celebrating “Get into Your Sanctuary” with special events at each national marine sanctuary, the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument, and even at the proposed Wisconsin-Lake Michigan sanctuary. If you will be near one of these amazing places, I encourage you to stop by this weekend!

From June 13 to 16, directors and subject experts from NOS’s navigation services offices—Center for Operational Oceanographic Products and Services; Integrated Ocean Observing System Program; National Geodetic Survey; and Office of Coast Survey—traveled to Cuba for meetings kicking off implementation of the work plan agreed to in March. The work plan is part of a Memorandum of Understanding between NOS and Cuba’s National Office of Hydrography and Geodesy.  Among a range of activities, the four NOS offices are looking forward to coordinating electronic navigational charts production and facilitating international charts; improving tides and currents monitoring and forecasting; and collaborating on geodetic challenges.

Finally, I would like to congratulate the Ocean Today team and the Marine Debris Program for their creative approach to communicating about marine debris. The 15-minute video, “Trash Talk,” which highlights the causes and solutions of marine debris, was nominated for a regional Emmy by the National Capital Chesapeake Bay Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences in the category of Informational/Instructional Program or Special.

Thank you,

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

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Around NOS

NOAA Research Highlighted at Coral Reef Symposium

This week, many NOAA coral reef scientists are at the 13th International Coral Reef Symposium to share their research and discuss how scientific findings can advance coral reef sustainability. NOAA presentations take a close look at the managing and monitoring of bleaching events, new research on water quality and reef health, citizen science reef projects, and many other topics. More than 2,500 participants from 70 nations are in attendance. Learn more by visiting the conference website or follow Facebook and Twitter for the latest news during the meeting.


NOAA Leads Key Topics at International Coral Reef Symposium

This week, NCCOS staff led special sessions and gave several individual presentations at the 13th International Coral Reef Symposium in Honolulu, Hawaii. The symposium is one of the largest international gatherings that bring together researchers, managers, policy makers, non-governmental organizations, and the general public to share and discuss recent scientific information on coral reefs. The special sessions addressed the latest findings on mesophotic coral ecosystems (30–150 meters deep), including their role in sustaining shallow-water reefs; underwater acoustic ecology; and acoustic sampling surveys. Individual presentations focused on coral reef monitoring, pollution, socioeconomics, biogeographic assessments, and spatial ecology.


Coast Survey Works with Cruise Industry on Contemporary Chart Updates

Coast Survey is taking charting discussions to a new level with the cruise line industry, starting by briefing association officials and company representatives last week. During a maritime safety meeting with Cruise Line International Association (CLIA) staff and representatives of major U.S. cruise lines, Coast Survey representatives explained NOAA’s paradigm shift from traditional chart “editions” to continuous chart downloads. Learning how NOAA’s new approach to chart updates can improve transit efficiency was at the forefront of discussions. CLIA and OCS are meeting next month for technical discussions on future charting priorities, crowdsourcing, and chart adequacy.


Proposed Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary Expansion Announced

Building on more than 30 years of scientific studies, NOAA announced a proposal to expand Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary to protect additional critical Gulf of Mexico habitat. The plan lays out five expansion scenarios, ranging from no expansion of the 56 square mile sanctuary, to one bringing it to a total of 935 square miles. In NOAA’s preferred scenario, the sanctuary would expand to 383 square miles to include 15 reefs and banks that provide habitat for recreationally and commercially important fish, as well as a home to 15 threatened or endangered species of whales, sea turtles, and corals. The public is invited to comment on this proposal from June 10 to August 19, 2016. There will also be five public meetings held in Texas, Louisiana, and Alabama. Comments collected during this process will be used to develop a final environmental impact statement.


NOAA Presents at Alaska Mapping Executive Committee Strategy Planning Meeting

NGS Director, Juliana Blackwell, presented at the Alaska Mapping Executive Committee Strategy Planning Meeting in Anchorage this week where she provided a NOAA update, including geospatial framework, shoreline mapping, and the Gravity for the Redefinition of the American Vertical Datum project. The meeting wrapped up with a tour of the Alaska Tsunami Warning Center and a discussion at the Continuously Operating Reference Station.


Insurance Industry Educated About Useful Storm and Flooding Data

CO-OPS presented at the Reinsurance Association of America during a workshop on how the federal government can share data and products like water level information of critical importance to the insurance community. This workshop is one result of a 2014 roundtable the Obama Administration hosted with insurance and reinsurance industry leaders to discuss the economic consequences of increasingly frequent and severe extreme weather. CO-OPS presented an overview of its products and services, emphasizing the extensiveness and accessibility of its data such as sea level trends, extreme water levels, nuisance flooding, and the new inundation dashboard project.


NOS Assistant Administrator

NOS Assistant Administrator
Dr. Russell Callender

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