October 31, 2013
Dr. Holly Bamford talks with Lester Holt from NBC Nightly News about the "crisis along America's coasts" and the need to re-envision how we rebuild. The location is Ortley Beach, NJ.
One year ago, the storm known as Sandy made landfall along the East Coast. It is impossible to reflect on the storm's lasting impact without acknowledging the tremendous loss that people in the affected area endured. Entire livelihoods—some passed down from generation to generation—were lost. Small businesses and family homes were wiped out with one storm.
We know that, unfortunately, devastating storms like Sandy will continue to occur and can happen anywhere along the nation's coasts. In our continued efforts to communicate our message about the need for more resilient and sustainable coastal communities, I was recently interviewed by NBC Nightly News to discuss how far we've come since Sandy and how far we still have to go. Sandy represents a turning point in the conversations happening among scientists, city planners, politicians, and communities on developing more resilient and sustainable coasts going into the future. The value of coastal resiliency is taking center stage in the national conversation about preparing for future storms. NOS plays a critical role in this discussion.
It is time we as a nation re-envision our coasts! Instead of higher seawalls and breakwaters, those barriers should be mixed with natural lands, dunes, salt marshes, and seagrass that provide a protective layer that can absorb wave and wind energy. This will require resources and public support, but this is a time of opportunity to use resources more wisely, to create vibrant communities that are resilient in the face of change. NOS plays a key role in this approach by providing the best available observations, resources, products, and services to communities to plan in times of calm, before the storm.
Last week, Dr. Russell Callender talked about the NOS Sandy Work Group's significant coordination and communication efforts on projects funded by the Sandy Supplemental. We're very pleased with the good work being done across NOS program offices to address Sandy impacts. We are truly working together as one strong NOS team and I am proud to share what we've been doing with the other Line Offices in NOAA who are also working to address these issues. Efforts such as storm surge models, hydrographic surveys, and all-hazards response are gaining attention.
I encourage you to view the full list of NOS activities related to Sandy efforts on the NOS website.
As we look back on Sandy, we also look forward to a future of a more resilient coast. Together, we are creating the resources needed to help communities deal with the ever-changing shoreline—and ultimately ensuring a safer coast in which to live for generations to come.
Holly A. Bamford, Ph.D.
National Ocean Service
On the NOS website, use our image slider to compare aerial images captured after Sandy passed over the Eastern Seaboard with new images of restored areas in coastal New Jersey one year later.
National Geodetic Survey (NGS) employees volunteered their services in mid-October to assist the Surveyor Historical Society (SHS) with building a Bilby tower in Osgood, Ind., the hometown of Jasper Bilby who invented the tower in 1927. Bilby's invention of a temporary steel tower that was capable of rapidly being built, torn down, and rebuilt at another survey station revolutionized geodetic surveying. When SHS learned of the discovery of an abandoned Bilby Tower in Louisiana several years ago, they received permission to tear down the tower and rebuild it in Osgood as a permanent monument to its inventor. NGS volunteers, including two NGS retirees, were honored guests in addition to a direct descendant of Jasper Bilby. For more information, contact Dennis Hoar.
In preparation for the upcoming tidal datum updates in areas of Alaska and Louisiana that experience rapid land movement, a notice was published in the Federal Register announcing NOAA's use of a modified procedure for tidal datums in areas of anomalous relative sea level trends. "Notice of Change to the Nation's Tidal Datums with the Adoption of a Modified Procedure for Computation of Tidal Datums in Area of Anomalous Sea-Level Change" was published in the Federal Register on October 25. A technical report is being finalized and will be published on the Center for Operational Oceanographic Products and Services website. The report details the modified procedure and the areas where it is used. For more information, contact Kelly Kriner.
A renewable energy transmission company is using National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science (NCCOS) products to help assess routing alternatives for a proposed undersea energy transmission cable into Maalaea Bay, Maui. The requested products predict the distribution of light-dependent "mesophotic" corals that live off of the coast of Maui and could potentially be threatened by an undersea energy transmission cable system. The cable system under consideration would allow renewable wind power generated in Maui County—which includes the islands of Maui, Lanai, Molokai, and Kahoolawee—to be transmitted to Oahu for consumption, contributing to Hawaii's 2030 goal to have 40 percent of its electricity sales come from renewable energy. The Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary originally partnered with NCCOS to develop the coral distribution prediction products. For more information, contact Bryan Costa.
A comprehensive tsunami hazard risk assessment was completed for the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands of Rota, Saipan, and Tinian. This assessment identifies earthquake sources that would result in tsunamis that would have the greatest impact on the local population and economy. The NOAA Center for Tsunami Research developed the study and the NOAA Pacific Services Center provided the maps that depict each of the potential tsunami inundation scenarios. A meeting was recently held in Saipan with the local emergency management community to discuss the effort and modeling results. During the meeting, Saipan was recognized for being a TsunamiReady™ and StormReady® community. For more information, contact Adam Stein.
Eight collaborative research projects aimed at making coastal communities and environments more resilient to impacts from climate change and sea level rise were awarded approximately $2.5 million by the National Estuarine Research Reserve System (NERRS) Science Collaborative. Over the next year, reserve-led project teams from several states will work closely with stakeholders from the public and private sectors to generate science that addresses a range of coastal issues, including the impact of climate variation on fisheries and coastal ecosystems. The NERRS Science Collaborative is a partnership between NOAA and the University of New Hampshire. For more information, contact Dwight Trueblood.
The Texas State Aquarium awarded Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary (FGBNMS) and the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation with a Wildlife Care, Conservation, and Research Fund grant for $20,000 for lionfish research in the Gulf of Mexico. The grant helps support conservation and research projects involving species and habitats interpreted at the aquarium, including lionfish. Lionfish continues to deplete native fish and invertebrate populations at alarming rates from coral reef habitats in the Atlantic, Caribbean, and Gulf of Mexico. FGBNMS currently removes lionfish when possible; however, a more focused effort is needed to control the population and provide information that may lead to more effective control mechanisms. This grant will fund research that will help demonstrate that focused removal efforts in specific habitats can be a useful tool in managing certain invasive fish species. For more information, contact Michelle Johnston.
The revised draft Alaska Dispersant Preauthorization plan is now public. The draft describes a preauthorization area focused on the offshore approaches (more than 24 miles offshore) to Prince William Sound, Cook Inlet, and the Aleutians. The proposed preauthorization area extends into the southern Bering Sea. The plan also includes a case-by-case dispersant use authorization process. The preauthorization only applies to crude oil. A series of outreach meetings and government-to-government consultations are planned this fall in central and western Alaska to inform stakeholders and seek comments on the proposed plan. For more information, contact Doug Helton.
Last week, the Office of Coast Survey announced that the latest addition to NOAA's nautical chart portfolio is the new PDF nautical chart, which provides up-to-date navigation information. Within a week of announcing that NOAA is initially providing free public access to about 1,000 high-resolution printable charts for a three-month trial period, the web page received more than one million hits. For more information, contact CAPT Shep Smith.