For nearly a decade, the National Ocean Service has partnered with the historic town of Bluffton, South Carolina, to protect its water quality in some innovative ways. Back in 1998, the tiny town made a big change to save its beloved May River from the polluting effects of burgeoning development around highway 278, the road to popular Hilton Head and other South Carolina Sea Islands.
To safely transit marine highways that get busier with each passing year, mariners need the most accurate and up-to-date information they can find. Increasingly, they are finding that information on the nowCOAST Web site. nowCOAST, a map-based online gateway to ocean and weather observations and forecasts, is freely available to mariners, coastal planners, and the public 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Check any globe of Planet Earth and you can see that "Planet Ocean" would be just as appropriate a name for the spinning elliptical rock on which we dwell. On July 15, NOAA's Office of National Marine Sanctuaries will launch the 2009 Ocean for Life program at the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary in Key Largo, where students representing Western and Greater Middle Eastern nations will discover that fact for themselves.
At the end of June, two NOAA employees made their annual trek to Prince William Sound, Alaska, for the 20th year in a row. Alan Mearns, a Seattle-based scientist at NOAA’s Office of Response and Restoration, and John Whitney, NOAA’s Scientific Support Coordinator for Alaska, conducted the 20th annual survey of the western portion of the sound, where the Exxon Valdez tanker made infamous environmental history on March 24, 1989.