Web Highlight

Web Highlight

How will sea level rise affect the flora and fauna that live in our estuaries? National Geodetic Survey experts are laying the groundwork to help answer this challenging question. Watch the latest Making Waves video podcast.

NOS For Employees website

For Employees

It's time for nominations for Employee of the Year, Team Member of the Year, and Peer Rafting Awards. Check your For Employees website Awards page for nomination forms and eligibility requirements. Nominations are due July 1, 2013.

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NOS Communications & Education Division

NOS Assistant Administrator Weekly Newsletter

May 30, 2013



Holly Bamford

Hi everyone,

Before the last NOS All Hands meeting, we invited you to submit questions that you would like to see addressed in the meeting. One employee asked how NOS determines its priorities. Another asked what NOS priorities have to do with her particular job. Over the coming weeks, I'd like to address these questions in this update. This week, I'd like to talk about the landscape in which NOS priorities are set.

When someone asks me why NOS is important, the response I give is that NOS is positioning America for the future. That leads to the next question: What is the future that we are trying to position America for?

Here are some of the challenges we anticipate our country will face in the future.

A future of higher intensity coastal storms. Storms like Sandy may be more of the norm. In 2012, there were 11 extreme weather and climate events – such as tornadoes, hurricanes, and drought and associated wildfires – that caused more than $1 billion in damage. In 2011, there were 14 such events. We need to "position America" to be able to understand the risks of coastal hazards, and take proactive steps to prepare for and become more resilient.

A future of increased demands on our marine transportation system. The demand for safe, effective marine transportation continues to grow. When a third lane of locks opens at the Panama Canal in 2015, even larger ships will be coming to American ports. We "position America" to keep maritime commerce flowing by providing accurate charts, positioning tools, and observations.

A future of rising sea levels. As sea levels change along our coasts, NOS needs to work closely with our partners to develop the models, tools, and training to help coastal communities make smart decisions.

A future of increased offshore development and coastal development. All of this growth places more stress on our coastal and marine natural resources. We need to ensure our nation's special places are conserved. We also need to provide tools and services that inform good coastal decision making.

A future of increased marine transportation and development in the Arctic. We need to chart new territory, improve our observations, and enhance our science to better respond to spills and other hazards like marine debris.

When we look at the kinds of issues that coastal communities and our country are facing as a whole, we see all of the places where NOS provides products, services, and stewardship to help address these issues. The future we see for the country informs our priorities. Next time, I'll talk about what those priorities are.

Thank you,

Holly A. Bamford, Ph.D.
Assistant Administrator
National Ocean Service

Web Highlight

Web Highlight

How will sea level rise affect the flora and fauna that live in our estuaries? National Geodetic Survey experts are laying the groundwork to help answer this challenging question. Watch the latest Making Waves video podcast.

NOS For Employees website

For Employees

It's time for nominations for Employee of the Year, Team Member of the Year, and Peer Rafting Awards. Check your For Employees website Awards page for nomination forms and eligibility requirements. Nominations are due July 1, 2013.

Around NOS

New CELCP Purchase Protects Critical Habitat in Puerto Rico (OCRM) 

NOAA's Coastal and Estuarine Land Conservation Program (CELCP) recently contributed $1 million to the Puerto Rico Department of Natural and Environmental Resources to acquire Dos Mares, an 87-acre parcel of land. The acquisition of Dos Mares completes the San Miguel Phase III CELCP project. This area is located within Puerto Rico's Northeast Ecological Corridor Reserve, home to more than 800 species of flora and fauna and a nesting area for endangered leatherback turtles. Currently, about 65 percent of the reserve's 3,000 acres are in public ownership. The long-term protection of this area complements the efforts of the NOAA Coral Reef Conservation Program to manage and protect coral reefs within the reserve. For more information, contact Carrie Hall.

New Microwave Radar Water Level Systems Tested in the Great Lakes (CO-OPS)

Last week, the Center for Operational Oceanographic Products and Services (CO-OPS) installed two test microwave radar water level (MWWL) systems at the National Water Level Observation Network station at Buffalo, N.Y. This installation is part of an effort to evaluate the viability of using MWWL sensor technology in future Great Lakes seasonal gauging applications. Over the past three years, testing has mainly focused on MWWL sensor use in tidally influenced regions of the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans and Gulf of Mexico. The two test systems at Buffalo will provide the first data collected by sensors in the open waters of the Great Lakes. Results of the tests will provide critical decision-making support for planning and operation of MWWL sensors, specifically in unique Great Lakes seasonal gauging applications. For more information, contact Robert Heitsenrether.

Mobile App Provides Free Nautical Charts for Recreational Boaters (OCS)

The Office of Coast Survey's (OCS) new mobile application, MyNOAACharts, is now available for user testing. The app, designed for the Android operating system, allows users to download NOAA nautical charts and editions of the U.S. Coast Pilot for use on land and water. With the touch of a finger, the app allows users to locate their positions on the applicable NOAA nautical chart and find major navigational information and federal regulations. The test period for MyNOAACharts ends on Sept. 2. OCS will then evaluate usage and user feedback to determine the app's future development path. For more information, contact Thomas Loeper.

Training Supports Climate Adaptation in Connecticut (CSC)

NOAA Coastal Services Center staff recently delivered three days of climate adaptation training for local emergency managers, planners, and decision makers in Connecticut. Participants were exposed to the latest climate science for the region, information on conducting climate vulnerability assessments and selecting and prioritizing adaptation measures, ways to use social science in communicating about climate adaptation, and methods and opportunities for implementation. This training allowed participants to learn climate adaptation information, identify new collaborative opportunities, and establish next steps that can be turned into local and regional action to address their top climate adaptation issues. The University of Connecticut Center for Land Use Education and Research and Connecticut Sea Grant hosted the event. For more information, contact Gwen Shaughnessy.

Underwater Robot Deployed to Help Save Endangered Fish (IOOS®)

An unmanned, underwater robot is now roaming waters off the Mid-Atlantic is search of Atlantic sturgeons. It is hoped that this information will help keep fishermen from accidentally catching these endangered fish. Through the generosity of a private donor, but leveraging the U.S. Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS) infrastructure, scientists in the Mid-Atlantic IOOS region recently deployed the glider on a three-month mission. The glider, named OTIS, travels to areas where oceanographic satellite data suggests sturgeons are located to see if, in fact, the fish are there. Scientists are assimilating existing IOOS regional data and providing protocols to inform researchers in real time where tagged fish are located. OTIS can also measure salinity, dissolved oxygen levels, chlorophyll, and currents; and can detect tracking tags previously attached to individual fish. For more information, contact Jennie Lyons.

Collaboration with International Partners to Improve GPS Positioning (NGS)

This week, the National Geodetic Survey (NGS) and international partners began a study at NGS' training center in Corbin, Va., to test methods of antenna calibration, a process for which NGS is an internationally recognized expert. The effort will ultimately improve the accuracy of NGS' Online Positioning User Service and the spatial reference frame for high-precision positioning activities. Partners for the collaboration include the Royal Observatory of Belgium, Geoscience Australia, and the International Global Navigation Satellite System Service. For more information, contact Andria Bilich.

Florida Keys Eco-Discovery Center Receives TripAdvisor Award (ONMS)

The Florida Keys Eco-Discovery Center – the visitor center of the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary (FKNMS) – received a 2013 Certificate of Excellence from the travel review website TripAdvisor. The award, which places the center in the top-performing 10 percent of all venues worldwide on www.tripadvisor.com, acknowledges the consistently high ratings that the center earns from visitors to the Florida Keys. The center hosted 72,500 visitors during its inaugural year of 2006. In addition to FKNMS, other center co-sponsors are Mote Marine Laboratory, the South Florida Water Management District, Everglades and Dry Tortugas National Parks, National Wildlife Refuges of the Florida Keys, and the nonprofit Eastern National. For more information, contact Craig Wanous.

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