September 19, 2013
Our thoughts and prayers go out to those affected by the tragic events at the Navy Yard this week. Our hearts go out to the victims and their families.
With National Estuaries Week just around the corner, I've asked Acting Director of the Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management, Margaret Davidson, to take up the pen this week.
When I moved to South Carolina many years ago, I drove in on coastal Highway 17, a route that hugs the marsh the whole way. The views, the scents, the wildlife—I immediately felt at home, and a sense of peace.
Estuaries still have that impact on me. I know estuaries are the nurseries of the sea. I know they provide countless economic and recreational opportunities. And as a coastal resident, I am very appreciative of the way wetlands help absorb harmful runoff and flooding, whether from sea level rise or extreme weather. But still—I just love the estuaries.
National Estuaries Week is September 23-29. Our National Estuarine Research Reserves (there are 28 of them throughout the coastal zone) are leading this celebration along with federal, state, and local partners, hosting special events from Kachemak Bay in Alaska to Waquoit Bay in Massachusetts. I encourage you to get involved in some way or visit a reserve near you and enjoy the outdoors. For local Silver Spring or DC folks, there's Jug Bay, located at the Chesapeake reserve in Maryland.
Research reserves are unique places that represent an important part of NOAA's boots-on-the-ground coastal management efforts. A total of 1.3 million acres of coastal wetland areas are managed and conserved through this partnership program with the states and territories, but that's not all. Reserve staff members work closely with local coastal communities to help make them healthier and more resilient, bringing needed coastal science to the decision-making table and providing innovative, estuary-based educational opportunities to children and adults. Our work in estuaries speaks to all three NOS priorities: improving coastal preparedness, response, recovery and resiliency; enhancing the Coastal Intelligence Network; and promoting place-based conservation.
To learn more about estuaries, the reserves, and the many events going on during Estuaries Week, visit www.estuaries.noaa.gov.
Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management
For our latest ocean fact on the NOS website: our planet may look round from the vantage point of space, but is it really?
Last week, recreational SCUBA divers, historians, and scientists gathered at the North Carolina Aquarium in Pine Knoll Shores to learn how to identify fish, algae, and invertebrates common to the coastal waters of the South Atlantic states. Workshop participants applied their new identification skills to a dive on a shipwreck in the region and added data collected during the dive to the NOAA-funded Reef Environmental Education Foundation (REEF) database. The workshop was part of NOAA's "Bringing Shipwrecks to Life" program, which is designed to connect local communities to marine science and support local economies in North Carolina by promoting new ways to study and enjoy historical maritime resources. The Office of National Marine Sanctuaries and the Monitor National Marine Sanctuary hosted the event with National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science researchers promoting REEF training materials during the workshop. For more information, contact Christine Addison.
New 2010 land cover data for North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia is now available. Along with this new data, the previously released 1996, 2001, and 2006 land cover have been improved with changes to wetland and developed features. Coastal Change Analysis Program (C-CAP) products are nationally standardized and are updated every five years. These products supply critical information on regional development trends, habitat losses and gains, changes in sources of pollution or sedimentation, and other factors affecting coastal ecosystem health. This data is significant in that four dates (1996, 2001, 2006, and 2010), covering nearly 15 years, of consistent, accurate land cover now exist, allowing for analysis of the rapidly changing coastal landscape. C-CAP data can be downloaded from the Digital Coast. For more information, contact John McCombs.
In a step towards greater efficiency in NOAA's hydrographic surveying, experts onboard the NOAA Ship Ferdinand R. Hassler wrapped up the first extended testing of the Office of Coast Survey's new bathymetric mapping autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV). From Sept. 3 to 13, the vehicle completed 10 missions lasting up to 16 hours during day and night, while the ship continued with its assigned hydrographic surveys in the approaches to Portsmouth, N.H. This AUV is equipped with high-resolution seabed mapping equipment similar to the ship's, including a high accuracy positioning system and multibeam echosounder capable of producing seamless maps of the sea floor. For more information, contact LT Olivia Hauser.
A new decade for the U.S. Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS) is launched. The Interagency Ocean Observation Committee (IOOC) and the U.S. IOOS recently released the U.S. IOOS Summit Report. The document distills recommendations received from the ocean observing community leading up to and during the Summit, and sets a path to 2022. A team assembled under the IOOC, a federal oversight body of IOOS, is now assessing the U.S. IOOS Summit Report recommendations and determining an implementation strategy for the next 10 years. For more information, contact Jennie Lyons.
This week, the National Geodetic Survey (NGS) began data collection in New Jersey inlets affected by Sandy with a state-of-the-art topographic bathymetric LIDAR sensor. Data collected by the sensor will be used to improve nearshore coastal mapping and charting. The sensor is capable of gathering sea floor data in shallow waters where traditional hydrographic vessels cannot safety operate. It is especially useful for surveying in and around inlets, which are prone to shoaling, marine debris, and shoreline changes following severe storms. The sensor was procured through the Disaster Relief Appropriations Act of 2013, which supports navigation services for coastal states affected by Sandy. For more information, contact Nicole Cabana.
OR&R and NOAA's National Oceanographic Data Center (NODC) released a comprehensive, quality-controlled dataset that gives access to millions of chemical analyses and other data on the massive Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill. This Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill dataset, including more than two million chemical analyses of sediment, tissue, water, and oil, as well as toxicity testing results and related documentation, is available to the public online. For more information, contact Ben Shorr.
From Memorial Day through Labor Day 2013, the NOAA Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary Team OCEAN program directly engaged with and provided educational information to more than 600 boaters enjoying sanctuary waters. Interactions with the boating public were overwhelmingly positive, with most local boaters expressing gratitude for a program that provides an educational alternative to enforcement, and visiting boaters were appreciative of the helpful tips and free informational materials. Team OCEAN provides on-the-water education and information aimed at protecting sanctuary resources while enriching the experiences of visitors to the Florida Keys. Volunteers inform the public about the sanctuary and its special zones, encourage proper use of sanctuary resources, and provide tips on how to practice boating safety and reef etiquette. For more information, contact Todd Hitchins.