August 15, 2013
Dr. Holly Bamford talks with Representative Suzanne Bonamici (Ore.) about the value of NOS programs and services.
Over the last several months, NOS Headquarters has been focusing on congressional outreach to build relationships, increase support, and engage new champions for NOS. Over the past two weeks, I have met with several members from coastal districts, including Senator Bill Nelson (Fla.); Representatives Jared Huffman (Calif.), Joe Garcia (Fla.), Suzanne Bonamici (Ore.), and Lois Capps (Calif.); and staff from congressional offices in Alaska, Virginia, and Connecticut.
During these meetings, I highlighted the value of NOS programs and services in support of coastal response and resiliency; observations, mapping and information that enhances decision making; and conservation in support of stronger economies, communities, and ecosystems. Since most members were familiar with some aspects of what we do, I focused on expanding their understanding to include all NOS programs, as well as how NOS as a whole supports the needs and priorities of their coastal constituents. Our messages were well received and, importantly, we created many new inroads to continue building lasting relationships moving forward. Our efforts to keep NOS at the front and center with key congressional members will continue when Congress returns in the fall.
I want to extend my thanks to all of you who responded to the many requests for information in support of these visits. I relied heavily on this information and want to underline that these efforts would not be successful without your support. Also, I would like to give a special thanks to NOAA's Office of Legislative and Intergovernmental Affairs for helping us coordinate these visits.
Holly A. Bamford, Ph.D.
National Ocean Service
Check out the 82 existing marine protected areas that were recently added to the National System of Marine Protected Areas. This addition brings the total number of marine protected areas in the national system to 437.
Following a 60-day public comment period, 82 marine protected areas have been accepted into the National System of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs). Eighty of the sites are MPAs established through California's Marine Life Protection Act and are managed by the state's Department of Fish and Wildlife; the National Park Service manages two of the sites (Padre Island National Seashore in Texas and Redwood National Park in Calif.). The national system was established in 2008 to provide a means to connect and strengthen the nation's diverse marine protected area programs managed by federal, state, territorial, tribal, and local governments. This addition brings the total number of marine protected areas in the national system to 437. For more information, contact Lauren Wenzel.
The NOAA Coastal Services Center is using visualization and animation technology as a communication tool to help communities understand complicated coastal issues. The first in a series of three visualizations, a tidal flooding animation, helps communities understand this hazard and associated impacts. The animation shows how current impacts could become worse with conditions such as heavy rains, sea level rise, and future development, as well as how communities can begin addressing those impacts and prepare now for future conditions. Helping communities visualize and understand the impacts of tidal flooding, as well as actions that can be taken to address the issue, enables these communities to start the conversation about protecting against current and future tidal flooding. For more information, contact Jodie Sprayberry.
On Aug. 13, NOAA and partners began a two-week research expedition to investigate the role of mesophotic (mid-depth) coral ecosystems of Pulley Ridge in replenishing key fish and other coral ecosystem species found in Florida Keys and Dry Tortugas reefs. Results from this field effort will be used by the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary's Advisory Council to determine management actions, including possible boundary expansion, necessary for sustaining the coral reef communities upstream and downstream of the ridge. This five-year study, led by University of Miami and the National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science, was developed in partnership with the Office of National Marine Sanctuaries, Office of Ocean Exploration and Research, National Marine Fisheries Services' Southeast Regional Office, and the Gulf of Mexico Regional Collaboration Team. Project details are available online. For more information, contact Kimberly Puglise.
The Office of Coast Survey's research vessel Bay Hydro II is providing on-water support for a three-day project with the Naval Research Laboratory at Chesapeake Beach this week. In an ongoing study of the transmission of light across water, Bay Hydro II has been fitted with numerous test targets, which will be imaged by passive photographic equipment at varying distances from shore. The Bay Hydro II's role as a research vessel makes it especially suitable for partnering with other federal agencies when they need on-water resources. For more information, contact LT Michael Davidson.
National Geodetic Survey (NGS) teams continue to acquire geodetic foundational data for the VDatum (Vertical Datum Transformation) Program, recovering tidal bench marks suitable for GPS observations to determine ellipsoidal- and orthometric-to-tidal datum height relationships. Teams have recently observed regions impacted by Hurricane Sandy in N.Y, N.J., Penn., and Del.; and are currently observing areas in in Conn. and Md. VDatum, a software tool developed jointly by NGS, the Office of Coast Survey, and the Center for Operational Oceanographic Products and Services, is designed to vertically transform geospatial data among a variety of height models, allowing users to convert to a common reference system and enabling the fusion of diverse geospatial data for mapping and other applications. For more information, contact Stephen White.
On Aug. 8, Office of Response and Restoration (OR&R) staff briefed Acting NOAA Administrator Dr. Kathryn Sullivan on the development of Arctic ERMA® (Environmental Response Management Application) 'Stand Alone' functionality. OR&R, through its partnership with the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, developed the Stand Alone ERMA—a version of the Arctic ERMA online mapping tool that can be used in a command post, vessel environment, or areas with low or no internet connection during an environmental response. Similar to Arctic ERMA, Stand Alone ERMA displays prioritized foundational NOAA data layers and key data feeds from external sources in a centralized, easy-to-use format for environmental responders and decision makers. Stand Alone ERMA will be tested on board the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Healy during Arctic Shield 2013 exercises in September. For more information, contact Amy Merten.
On Aug. 7, the Center for Operational Oceanographic Products and Services (CO-OPS) released new CREX (Character form for the Representation and EXchange of data) messages. This release fulfilled user requests for access to one-minute water level data over the Global Telecommunication System, especially for regions outside of the footprint of Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellites. Data from over 300 CO-OPS water level, meteorological, and partner-sponsored stations are now globally distributed in CREX formats. CREX is human-readable, table-driven code following World Meteorological Organization format definitions, and is used for efficient global exchange of data where binary formats are not available. CO-OPS also identified that existing hourly CREX messages were obsolete, and upgraded them as a new product to meet CO-OPS standards. This effort required an overhaul of the code that creates the CREX messages. For more information, contact Kathleen Bailey.