New Seafloor Data for San Francisco Bay
OCM, the California Ocean Protection Council, and Fugro EarthData completed acoustic surveys for more than 500 square kilometers of San Francisco Bay. The surveys, which reveal the seafloor in fine detail, were collected in deep waters where pre-existing data was up to 30 years old. The data will be used to produce habitat maps needed to evaluate subtidal conditions, and will aid in tsunami modeling, sediment transport studies, essential fish habitat assessments, restoration siting, and conservation planning. The data and detailed reports are available in GIS-ready format on the Digital Coast.
Collecting a Ton of Shoreline Marine Debris
Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary and partners participated in two island cleanup events on California’s Santa Cruz Island. A wide variety of items were collected, including a real estate sign, tennis balls, milk crates, and trash bins and lids. Cleanup teams collected an estimated ton of debris, with much of the weight attributed to heavy lobster traps. Partners included the NOAA Marine Debris Program, local fishermen, California State University Channel Islands, Channel Islands National Park, Island Packers, Channel Islands Adventure Company, Santa Barbara Channelkeeper, U.S.Coast Guard, Santa Barbara Zoo, Environmental Defense Center, and Channel Islands Naturalist Corps.
CAMEO Chemicals App Offers Hazardous Response Information
From hazards and incident response recommendations to public safety guidelines and chemical property information, OR&R's new CAMEO® Chemicals app lets emergency responders and planners learn more about thousands of hazardous chemicals. The app doesn’t require an internet connection, uses responsive design to adjust to tablets and phones, and includes a tool to predict whether an explosion, toxic fumes, or other safety hazard could occur were a group of chemicals mixed during an incident.
Assessment Prepares Communities for Coastal Threats
Scientists just completed a vulnerability assessment of the Choptank River Watershed Habitat Focus Area. Impacts from sea level rise and changes in precipitation can threaten valuable ecosystem services for the community. The threats were applied spatially across the region, prioritizing areas for specific adaptation strategies. The areas with the highest overall vulnerability and risk were generally located closest to the coast along the southwestern parts of the focus area, while the lowest overall vulnerability and risk areas were scattered throughout the central region. The assessment also established a framework based on stakeholder engagement to inform decision making for coastal flooding adaptation action that could be applied to other communities across the country. The project team included partners from NCCOS, OCM, NOAA Fisheries, NOAA Habitat Blueprint, the Maryland CoastSmart Program, and Maryland Sea Grant.
Measuring Ocean Acidification at West Coast Sanctuaries
The five West Coast National Marine Sanctuaries, together with Flathead Valley Community College, NCCOS, and NOAA Fisheries, received a 2017 NOAA Ocean Acidification Program grant. The award will help the sanctuaries increase accessibility and understanding of tools and protocols for ocean acidification monitoring through citizen science and education programs. The grant will support development of an ocean acidification curriculum and pilot testing of a new field-based pH-measuring instrument called pHyter through citizen science programs, teacher workshops, and student field investigations. Funds will also support the expansion of pHyter instrument capabilities to connect with the international GLOBE Program GIS database, increasing the worldwide accessibility of pH data.
New Certification Program in Nautical Cartography
The International Board on Standards and Competence for Hydrographic Surveyors and Nautical Cartographers approved OCS’s new certification program in nautical cartography at its 40th meeting in New Zealand. The new program will grant certificates to up to 13 cartographers per year through a combination of lectures, hands-on chart production experience, work details to various OCS branches, and field trips to working hydrographic survey vessels. The first class will begin in Silver Spring in fall 2017. The 51-week program will be comprised of six courses.
Workshop Helps San Francisco Consider Natural Infrastructure
OCM recently hosted a workshop on natural infrastructure for the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission. The Adapting to Rising Tides program is a national model for adaptation planning and is currently seeking strategies to better plan for hazards due to increased storms and sea level rise. The workshop focused on living shorelines, using the success of the Maryland Coastal Zone Management Program as an example. The commission will use lessons learned to frame discussions on how to incorporate these concepts into its plans and practices.
Discrete Tidal Zoning Map for Public Use
CO-OPS, which supports OCS and NGS with water level information for hydrography and shoreline mapping, released the CO-OPS Discrete Tidal Zoning Map for public use. The new GIS-based application helps to adjust bathymetry for hydrographic surveys and to determine timing for aerial photography and LIDAR acquisition for boundary and shoreline delineation. Partners can download the zones and associated data.
NOAA Sentinel Site Summit Identifies Opportunities
The NOAA Sentinel Site Summit brought together the five Sentinel Site Cooperative coordinators and federal partners from NOAA, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Park Service, Smithsonian Institution, Federal Emergency Management Agency, and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Participants explored opportunities to coordinate investments in addressing the impacts of sea level rise and changing coastal inundation patterns. The five coordinators catalyze regional activities to drive progress on locally identified issues of management concern, such as coastal flooding, habitat loss, saltwater intrusion, and adaptation planning. The summit broadened the Sentinel Site program’s partnership base and identified potential new collaborations to improve efficiency and reduce redundancy in federal programs helping coastal communities adapt to rising tides.
Hypoxia Monitoring at Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuary
For the fourth year in a row, oceanographic instruments were deployed in Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuary to capture dissolved oxygen data occurring during the spring upwelling through the fall season. Low-oxygen (hypoxic) water occurs naturally in the deep ocean, but in recent years, intrusions of hypoxic water have been found in shallower waters along the West Coast. Results from 2014-2016 show variability within and between years, with hypoxic events occasionally present for short periods. The sanctuary is home to a vibrant invertebrate and rockfish community, which may be vulnerable to hypoxic conditions. Since these conditions have had significant impacts in other areas, continuing analysis is needed to assess conditions in the sanctuary and to better understand how hypoxic events impact the ecosystem.
Coordinating Reference Points along Louisiana’s Gulf Coast
CO-OPS worked with Louisiana State University in support of a Height Modernization project to tie reference points from Continuously Operating Reference Stations to GPS and gravity measurements at CO-OPS water level stations along the Louisiana Gulf Coast. Accurate water level information and common reference points are imperative for measuring elevations relative to the water. The information is used to help determine marine boundaries, build seawalls and levees, study subsidence, calculate depths for nautical charts, and situate construction projects near the shoreline.
A Major Offshore Exercise for the Gulf of Mexico
A NOAA Scientific Support Team assembled in Houma, LA, to provide technical support for testing plans, processes, and procedures developed to respond to a large (but fictional) oil spill 250 miles offshore. The exercise, a joint venture between Marine Safety Unit Morgan City and U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) District 8, was one of the National Preparedness for Response Exercise Program (PREP) drills required of each USCG Captain of the Port Zone every four years. An additional feature of the exercise was the international element of responding to oil in Mexico’s Exclusive Economic Zone. The team provided input on biological resources, dispersant (both surface and subsea) use, data evaluation, data management, and the development of oil and water sampling plans to support response decision-making and natural resource damage assessment.
Coast Survey Helps Florida Archaeologists Map Submerged Prehistoric Site
A NOAA Navigation Response Team (NRT) responded to a request for assistance in surveying a submerged prehistoric archaeological site located offshore of Sarasota County, FL. After a series of consultations, OCS and an archaeological team from the Florida Division of Historical Resources and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management worked on the water for two days, obtaining high-resolution data and imagery across the site. With the data in hand, Florida can pursue future efforts to preserve the site and protect its artifacts.
National Geographic Highlights National Estuarine Research Reserves
A National Geographic Young Explorer is on a mission to visit as many National Estuarine Research Reserves (NERRs) as possible over the next year, documenting the sites through a series of blogs and photographs. OCM will then use the photographs and blog entries on websites and in publications, furthering understanding and awareness of the reserves. The first blog, Two Days at the Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve, was published on the National Geographic website. The NERR System is a network of 29 coastal sites designated to protect and study estuarine systems. Established through the Coastal Zone Management Act, the reserves are a partnership program between NOAA and the coastal states.
Operational Flight Survey for GRAV-D in Optionally Piloted Mode
NGS began the first operational survey in optionally piloted mode for the Gravity for the Redefinition of the American Vertical Datum (GRAV-D) project. The survey, part of a Small Business Innovation Research effort, will operate for approximately one month out of Winston-Salem, North Carolina, where the Aurora Centaur optionally piloted aircraft will collect data over western North Carolina and eastern Tennessee. The survey has the potential to increase efficiency, reduce costs, and improve data quality.
A Complete Genome for the Atlantic Bottlenose Dolphin
NOAA partners at the National Institute of Standards and Technology and the National Center for Biotechnology Information completed a new, exhaustive genome—a complete set of the species’ genetic material—for the Atlantic bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus). NCCOS provided genetic data from blood and skin studies for the annotation and assembly processes. The improved technology used to compile the genome reduced the percentage of partially represented protein coding genes from 24 percent to 4 percent. The final product is a detailed, searchable index of all the proteins found in the bottlenose dolphin genome.