February 28, 2013
Despite ongoing budget uncertainty, our mission remains at the forefront. Every day, the men and women of NOS demonstrate tireless dedication in carrying out our important work.
This is the same fiscal year in which people from across NOS launched an extraordinary response to Hurricane Sandy—work that is continuing today. Already this fiscal year, we have marked the 40th anniversaries of the Coastal Zone Management Act and the National Marine Sanctuaries Act. We opened the Disaster Response Center in Mobile, Alabama, and brought two new Physical Oceanographic Real-Time System (PORTS®) locations online in Humboldt Bay, California, and New London, Connecticut. Just a few examples of the work we do that is essential to our national economy and our country's coastal communities.
I am proud of the unwavering commitment of the men and women of NOS. We've been through a lot already this year and I know we will weather this as well.
Holly A. Bamford, Ph.D.
National Ocean Service
Have you ever noticed the cryptic waterline markings on commercial ships? Know what they mean? Get the answer by reading our latest Ocean Fact.
The Center for Operational Oceanographic Products and Services is now delivering annual reports to inform Physical Oceanographic Real-Time System (PORTS®) partners of the status of their systems. The new product provides local partners with a snapshot of key information about their respective PORTS®, such as financial status, performance metrics, a work summary, and a preview of planned work for the coming year. The Port of Lake Charles, La., received the first of these new reports last week. Tailored to the specific requirements within different seaports, PORTS® is a decision support tool that improves the safety and efficiency of maritime commerce and coastal resource management through the integration of real-time environmental observations, forecasts, and other geospatial information. For more information, contact Darren Wright.
Earlier this month, the Office of Response and Restoration co-hosted a workshop in Canada with the Inuvialuit Settlement Region Joint Secretariat and the Coastal Response Research Center (CRRC) on incorporating Canadian data into the Arctic Environmental Response Management Application (ERMA®). Officials are using Arctic ERMA to prepare for oil spill response, assessment, and restoration in the region. The purpose of the workshop was to identify key data and information needs, data output sources and functionality, and enhancements that would help in Arctic oil spill scenarios. The joint workshop falls under the umbrella of the Arctic Council's Emergency, Prevention, Preparedness, and Response Working Group and a Memorandum of Understanding between Environment Canada and NOAA. For more information, contact Amy Merten.
Just released are new 2010 land cover data and retrospective 1985 land cover and change data for Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, and Indiana. Also included with this release are improved data maps from 1996, 2001, and 2006. The NOAA Coastal Services Center's Coastal Change Analysis Program (C-CAP) provides these data, which are nationally standardized and updated every five years, to deliver critical information about coastal ecosystem health. Communities use these data maps to understand current conditions and compare data from various years to detect regional development trends, habitat losses and gains, and changes in pollution and sedimentation. With this data release, over 25 years of consistent, accurate land cover data now exist for this region. For more information, contact John McCombs.
The Weeks Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve, with NOAA support, recently coordinated with The Nature Conservancy (TNC) to establish nearly 2,000 feet of oyster reef breakwaters within a stretch of the reserve's shoreline in the Mobile Bay area referred to as the Swift Tract. Completed at the end of 2012, the project used oyster shells to provide a substrate for young oyster larvae to settle and protect and stabilize eroding shorelines. The oyster reef breakwater also acts as a nursery and foraging habitat for juvenile finfish and shellfish, decreases turbidity in water column, and helps dampen wave energy that was eroding the adjacent shore. The reserve is also encouraging the expansion of long-term monitoring efforts and research activities through the installation of vertical control benchmarks at the site. For more information, contact Matt Chasse.
This month, a National Geodetic Survey team collaborated with NASA, the University of Texas-Austin, and the National Radio Astronomy Observatory to conduct a site survey near Fort Davis, Texas. The NOAA field campaign, completed during the last week of February, ties together results from three space-based precise positioning instruments used to determine the International Terrestrial Reference Frame (ITRF)—the global coordinate system. This will be only the second such site in the U.S. and will better tie the U.S. reference frame into the global system for more precise positional accuracy. The ITRF is important in monitoring plate tectonics, measuring regional subsidence or uplift, providing consistency between navigation systems, and determining the rate of sea level rise, among other critical applications. For more information, contact Kendall Fancher.
On Feb. 19, Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary released their 2013 Condition Report , a summary of resources in the sanctuary, pressures on those resources, current conditions and trends, and management responses to the pressures that threaten the integrity of sanctuary resources. Designated in 2000, Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary protects a nationally significant collection of historic shipwrecks and related maritime cultural resources in northern Lake Huron. Through research, resource protection, and education, the sanctuary works to ensure that these important historic, archaeological, and recreational sites are preserved for current and future generations. For more information, contact Kathy Broughton.