NOS Assistant Administrator Weekly Update

Hi everyone,

Here is some important information you need to know.

First, please complete the NOAA Information Technology Security Awareness Course by September 12, 2014. The course is available at It is mandatory for anyone using NOAA computing resources (like logging onto your computer and accessing your NOAA email).

Second, please complete the NOAA Employee Safety and Environmental Awareness Course by September 30, 2014. Because maintaining safe operating practices is paramount, all federal employees are required to take the training. Federal employees must take the course through the Commerce Learning Center website. Contractors and other affiliated staff who have work in government-owned or leased facilities are strongly encouraged to take the course as well. Affiliates may access this course directly through the SECO website. The SECO website provides explicit instructions on how employees and affiliates should proceed.

Thank you for taking the time to complete these important courses.

Thank you,

Holly A. Bamford, Ph.D.
Assistant Administrator for Ocean Services and Coastal
Zone Management, National Ocean Service

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To find out if water levels in the Great Lakes are affected by the gravitational forces of the sun and moon, check out this Ocean Fact.

Around NOS

Sanctuaries Conduct Annual Coral Spawning Research

NOAA's Flower Garden Bank National Marine Sanctuary research team, along with scientists from Oregon State University and the University of Texas at Austin, traveled to the sanctuary to study and document the annual mass coral spawning of its reefs. The event occurred as predicted, with some spawning taking place on the seventh night after the August full moon, Aug. 16, and the majority taking place the following night. Witnesses to this year's event described the spawning event as less prolific than years past. Researchers collected spawn and coral fragments to study genetics, thermal tolerance, and fluorescence in corals. Coral fragments collected under permit spawned on cue in tubs on the deck of R/V Manta. In the Florida Keys, staff from NOAA's Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary also provided operational support for an annual coral spawning cruise conducted by the NOAA Fisheries Service Southeast Science Center, Aug. 12-18, at Horseshoe Reef and Sand Island.


OR&R Participates in Worst-Case Oil Discharge Exercise in Seattle

Last week, OR&R participated in a worst-case oil discharge exercise for the Shell Harbor Island Oil Terminal in downtown Seattle. The exercise simulated a response to a spill of over 60,000 barrels of marine diesel oil from the Shell facility into the West Duwamish Waterway and Elliot Bay. The OR&R Scientific Support Team provided standard spill support, including forecasts of the oil movement and fate and development of plans to survey oiled shorelines. OR&R also provided ERMA support for the Shell Harbor Island exercise, using ERMA as the government common operational picture (COP) and mirroring the Shell COP. The goal was to have both COPs displaying the same information and being used by different sections of the drill team to test interoperability between the two COPs. This helps improve situational awareness, efficiency, and continuity during the drill. In addition to NOAA, exercise participants included responders from Shell Oil, U.S. Coast Guard Sector Puget Sound, Washington Department of Ecology and Washington Department of Fish and Game.


Hosting Visiting Scientist from New Zealand to Discuss Future Geodetic Datums

NGS hosted the chief geodesist of New Zealand's National Geodetic Office and manager of the National Topographic Office at Land Information New Zealand (LINZ) on August 13 for discussions related to future geodetic positioning needs. LINZ has already implemented positioning techniques that better reflect the actual time-varying positions caused by crustal movement due to, for example, earthquakes. Techniques employed by New Zealand are similar to those NGS will be implementing in 2022 when it introduces the new U.S. geodetic datums. Lessons learned from LINZ will help NGS roll out new geodetic datums more smoothly.


Best Management Practices Developed for Marine Cage Aquaculture in U.S. Caribbean

Aquaculture supplies more than half of the world's seafood, and that share is expected to grow in the coming decades. Research shows that aquaculture is sustainable if properly managed. To assist coastal managers and industry with aquaculture development planning, NOAA and partners have developed best management practices for marine cage culture in the U.S. Caribbean. These best practices—published by the Gulf and Caribbean Fisheries Institute—address a range of cage culture topics, including: ecological effects, water quality, escapes, fish health, feeds, permitting, siting, environmental monitoring, recordkeeping, and reporting.


Story Map Highlights Use of Automatic Identification System Data for Ocean Planning

There is a wealth of ocean data available, but confusion exists regarding how to best use these data when making decisions about ocean projects. A new interactive map demonstrates the power of ocean data with a focus on Jacksonville, Florida. Officials there wanted to propose a new anchorage area to improve safety. Using Automatic Identification System (AIS) data along with bathymetry, danger areas, and anchoring patterns, the group was able to shift the proposed anchorage to a safer, less-trafficked area. For this project the team worked with the U.S. Coast Guard and NOAA's Office of Coast Survey to repurpose and make available AIS data, which are some of the most important data for use in ocean planning.


Harmful Algal Bloom Team Hosts Stakeholder Meetings to Protect Public Health

Following the launch of the HAB National Weather Service (NWS) Beach Hazards Statements in 2012 by the Tampa Bay Weather Forecast Office (WFO), the Harmful Algal Bloom Operational Forecast System (HAB-OFS) team aims to expand the product's coverage to the Miami and Key West WFOs in October, 2014. Last week, CO-OPS hosted two stakeholder meetings, in collaboration with the NWS. The meetings, taking place in Naples and Marathon, Florida, provided an overview of the current suite of HAB-OFS products and addressed questions and concerns regarding the planned Beach Hazards Statement expansion expressed by attendees from local, county, state, and federal agencies, academia, and tourism organizations.


Closing Keynote Delivered at the National Harbor Safety Conference in Philadelphia

Staff from OCS delivered the closing keynote at the National Harbor Safety Conference in Philadelphia this week. At the heart of his message was NOAA's vision for navigational safety. Also described, was NOAA's new focus on digital charting products and the agency's ongoing efforts to improve navigational intelligence for the maritime industry. More than 300 participants were at the biannual conference, which explores best practices, innovations, and technology that address critical harbor and maritime safety and security issues.


NOS Assistant Administrator

NOS Assistant Administrator
Dr. Holly Bamford

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Wind and wave action are driving forces for this week's colleague. Whether beneath the surface or on top of it, the ocean provides one wild ride for Carl Gouldman.

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The Southeast Coast Saltwater Paddling Trail: A partnership connecting over 800 miles of coastline.

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