NOS Assistant Administrator Weekly Update


This week, I’m participating in a number of meetings and activities in Hawaii. A focal point of the week is the PRiMO conference. PRiMO, which is short for Pacific Risk Management ‘Ohana, is a consortium of local, national, and regional groups working to improve the resilience of Pacific communities to hazards. The annual conference provides an excellent opportunity for people from the emergency response, hazards, disaster response, and other communities to learn from each other.

In addition to the PRiMO conference, I was honored to have the opportunity to welcome Her Highness Masiofo Filifilia Tamasese of the Independent State of Samoa to the NOAA Inouye Regional Center; observe a shark tagging trip with the Pacific Islands Ocean Observing System; and visit the He’eia Estuary, which has been nominated for inclusion in the National Estuarine Research Reserve System. Before I leave O’ahu this weekend, I will also participate in the Sanctuary Ocean Count, organized by the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary.

I am grateful for the chance to speak one-on-one and in small groups with staff representing programs across NOS’s diverse portfolio. I look forward to the opportunity to meet in person, in an informal setting, with those working at the Inouye Regional Center.

I really appreciate the time and effort that so many people took in helping me prepare for this visit.

Thank you,

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

Ask Us Anything!

NOS Highlight

Oceanographer Tim Battista and Ecologist Chris Taylor from the National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science will participate in a Reddit “Ask Us Anything” event on March 31 at 1 pm (EDT). From March 28 to April 7, Tim and Chris are leading a research expedition in the U.S. Virgin Islands aboard the NOAA Ship Nancy Foster. The science team is using multibeam sonar, scientific echosounder, underwater gliders, a remotely operated vehicle, and other high-tech tools to locate previously unknown seafloor habitats; to map coral reefs in fine detail; and to find “hotspots” where many species of fish gather to spawn in rhythm with the lunar cycle. Learn more about the Reddit event here.

Around NOS

Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve (NERR) Becomes Maine's
First Fully Solar Powered Nonprofit

The Wells NERR in Maine welcomed the spring equinox with a 100-percent solar-powered celebration. With the flip of a switch on March 20, Wells became the first research reserve and the first nonprofit in Maine to be entirely solar powered. The reserve’s three rooftop arrays and one ground-mounted array will generate 73,000 kilowatt hours and offset 90,000 pounds of carbon dioxide each year. Together with local partners, NOAA’s investment in the solar infrastructure enabled the Wells Reserve to meet its sustainability goal two years ahead of schedule, and positioned the reserve as a place-based partner, model, and leader in energy independence.


CO-OPS Posts Storm ‘QuickLook’ for Tropical Storm Bavi

On March 15 - 16, CO-OPS issued its Storm QuickLook product for Tropical Storm Bavi, which passed over the island of Guam. Guam was briefly under a typhoon watch and then a tropical storm warning, and experienced a minor storm surge as the storm passed over. The tide predictions displayed on QuickLook showed that the period of highest storm surge corresponded to the low tide, which reduced coastal flood impacts from the storm. The maximum storm tide could have been up to 6 inches higher if it had occurred during the preceding high tide. The QuickLook team was ready and able to post for this rare, off-season tropical cyclone, providing valuable tidal information during the storm. Storm Quicklook provides a synopsis of near real-time oceanographic and meteorological observations at locations affected by a tropical cyclone. It is used by the National Weather Service and the media during a storm event. 


Environmental Sensitivity Index (ESI): Long Island Update

On March 20-21, NCCOS presented a poster jointly prepared by NCCOS and OR&R at the Long Island Natural History Conference. One of the poster’s prime messages is how heavily ESI maps rely on input from local experts; during an oil spill, responders cannot protect something if they don’t know it is there. Some of the biggest challenges faced when collecting biological and human-use data for ESI maps are identifying the appropriate sources for each species or data type; demonstrating to the identified data experts the necessity and benefits of sharing their data through the ESI venue; coordinating data transfer while minimizing providers’ workloads; and revisiting data providers and other experts during reviews. As part of the Post-tropical Cyclone Sandy ESI effort, NCCOS is working with OR&R to map biological and human-use components for the Long Island Sound ESl, and to coordinate outreach efforts.


First Lesson Released to Educate Users on Heights and Datums with COMET®

In a collaborative effort between NGS and The COMET® Program, the first in a series of training lessons for scientists, engineers, and mapping professionals was released this week. The lesson provides a basic understanding of vertical datums and how to choose the appropriate datum for a given application, with a conceptual introduction to ellipsoidal, geopotential, and tidal datums. COMET is a world leader in education and training for the environmental sciences, and the interactive presentation provides participants with knowledge to better understand the impact of the new datums that NOAA plans to release in 2022.


Scientists and Lawmakers Discuss Progress on Garapan Watershed Conservation Plan

A recent workshop in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands updated the Garapan Conservation Action Plan and incorporated adaptive management strategies to address climate change. NOAA researchers and local government officials focused on the Garapan watershed, which supports a number of communities and drains into nearshore coral reef areas. The workshop led to territory permitting updates that include “climate-smart” adaptation requirements by 2017. Additionally, lawmakers committed to pass legislation that would require developers to include green space and other environmental considerations in order to receive tax breaks. CRCP funded the workshop, which drew more than 40 participants, including the mayor of Saipan and legislators from the Garapan area.


Reports Released on Economic Impact of Recreational Fisheries
Adjacent to California National Marine Sanctuaries

Six peer-reviewed reports have been released that outline trends in recreational fishing from 2004-2012 in the Channel Islands, Cordell Bank, Monterey Bay, and Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuaries. The reports provide information to the public and Sanctuary management about recreational fishing trends and the economic impacts of spending on local area economies. Fact sheets summarizing the reports’ findings are in development.


NOS Assistant Administrator

NOS Acting Assistant Administrator
Dr. Russell Callender

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Writing, mathematics, and creative thinking are all part of a day's work for Billy Sweet, NOAA's Employee of the Month. Read about him in this week's feature.

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