Last month, I announced a new National Ocean Service feature called the Beacon Safety Newsletter. This monthly update provides information on safety, health, and environmental issues and provides updates on best practices and procedures.
This month’s issue provides important information for all staff members who regularly work outdoors. You can also learn about how to avoid material failures, which can cause serious injury. Please take a moment to read this month’s Beacon.
Also, please be sure to add the upcoming NOS All Hands meeting to your Google calendar by clicking on this link. See the email that Russell Callender sent this on Wednesday for the topics we plan to cover.
Holly A. Bamford, Ph.D.
Assistant Administrator for Ocean Services and Coastal
Zone Management, National Ocean Service
On April 14, ONMS announced a proposal to expand the boundaries of Gulf of the Farallones and Cordell Bank national marine sanctuaries in California by a combined 2,775 square miles. The proposed expansion would protect the distinctive marine ecosystems off Marin, Sonoma, and Mendocino counties to the north and west of the sanctuaries’ current boundaries. These waters, including North America’s most intense “upwelling” site off Point Arena, play a major role in nourishing the sanctuaries’ incredibly productive feeding grounds, which attract endangered blue whales and humpback whales, sharks, salmon, and seabirds like albatrosses and shearwaters that travel tens of thousands of miles. NOAA is accepting public and stakeholder comments on the proposal and related regulations through June 30.
NCCOS-sponsored research has led to the development of a new tool to assess hypoxia (low dissolved oxygen) formation in the northern Gulf of Mexico and its response to key physical and biological drivers. The tool indicates that hypoxia originates in bottom waters on the mid-continental shelf and goes through a seasonal cycle, with intermittent episodes during May and June, persistence during July and August, and dissipation during September. This variability suggests that the size of the hypoxic zone may not be adequately captured by a single, shelf-wide sampling cruise (the current approach). NCCOS is working with IOOS, the Gulf of Mexico Coastal Ocean Observing System, and other Gulf partners to achieve the needed resolution in hypoxia data by adding autonomous underwater vehicle missions to the existing monitoring program.
To keep NOAA products and services relevant to the needs of the coastal management community, a national survey was commissioned by CSC. Conducted in partnership with Eastern Research Group, Inc., the survey indicated 71 percent of respondents saw climate change as a priority topic, while 93 percent were interested in training to integrate physical, biological, and social science data for decision-making. Other NOAA offices and partner groups also use the results to guide strategic planning processes. Currently in its sixth iteration, the NOAA trends survey is conducted every three years.
Four years after the entry of a $2.85 million natural resource damages settlement with Chevron, a groundbreaking ceremony on Earth Day kicked off the restoration of a 200+ acre site on the shores of Richmond, California. Breuner Marsh is the second of two sites selected in the Damage Assessment and Restoration Plan prepared by NOAA and co-trustees, compensating for injuries from historical contamination at the Chevron Richmond refinery in the San Francisco Bay area. Restoration at the other site, Cullinan Ranch, began two years ago. The Castro Cove Trustees' settlement contributed $1 million toward the $8 million Breuner Marsh project, and is being managed by the East Bay Regional Park District.
NOAA vessels and hydrographic services contractors are hitting the seas for the nation's 180th hydrographic surveying season, collecting data for over two thousand square nautical miles in high-traffic U.S. coastal waters. NOAA survey ships and contractors now join Coast Survey navigation teams who work year round. On tap for this year’s field season are surveys in Alaska, Washington, California, the Gulf of Mexico, Florida, approaches to the Chesapeake Bay, Long Island Sound, Rhode Island Sound, and New Hampshire.
A NGS representative recently visited the Korea Hydrographic and Oceanographic Administration (KHOA) in Busan to discuss refinements in vertical positioning in the near-coastal environment. The NGS scientist also worked with researchers at the Korean National Geographic Information Institute, as well as professors from the University of Seoul, in modeling the Earth’s gravity field as it pertains to height determination in near coastal regions prone to flooding. This trip was the culmination of the Joint Project Agreement (JPA) with KHOA to assist them in developing models and techniques for improved positioning. NGS assisted them in refining their spatial reference system and provided improved offshore oceanographic models. In turn, the extremely dense set of Korean data has provided the U.S. with an invaluable test bed for exploring improved modeling for NGS’ Gravity for the Redefinition of the American Vertical Datum project.
NOS Assistant Administrator
Dr. Holly Bamford
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