Pacific Geodetic Advisor Supports Republic of the Marshall Islands
NGS’s Pacific Geodetic Advisor is working with the Division of Lands and Survey, Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI), to upgrade the geodetic control of Majuro Atoll following NGS Height Modernization guidelines. The project will help RMI develop new models to delineate locations vulnerable to seawater inundation during extreme high tide events and adaption strategies for projected sea level rise scenarios. Additionally, the advisor will work with the U.S. Geological Survey, the Universities of Hawaii and Guam, and the Marshall Islands Conservation Society on coastal topographic and bathymetric mapping using unmanned aircraft systems to support inundation modeling in RMI. Other activities include training on project planning and GPS observations and processing, so that RMI surveyors can achieve accurate positions (latitude, longitude, and height) while complying with recognized standards for georeferenced data.
Establishing an Olympic Coast Sentinel Site for Ocean Acidification
Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary recently brought together resource managers, educators, and leading experts on ocean acidification (OA), including representatives of three Coastal Treaty tribes. Efforts to establish an OA sentinel site on the Olympic Coast has catalyzed the interest and involvement of government, tribal, university, and nongovernmental partners to collectively address the increasing threat of OA in Washington's outer coastal waters and monitor impacts to marine ecosystems within and adjacent to the sanctuary. Expert panels discussed the concept of sentinel sites, existing science assets, and activities that could help address OA. Discussions also focused on habitat and species vulnerability; key functions, components, and applications of a sentinel site; and an OA education and awareness campaign for specific audiences. Ocean acidification has serious implications throughout the NOAA sanctuary system and is expected to adversely impact economic resources and activities across the nation.
Report on U.S. Caribbean Ocean Economies
A new report on NOAA’s Digital Coast, Describing the Ocean Economies of the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico, notes that more than 19 percent of the U.S. Virgin Islands workforce are in ocean-related jobs, as are 7 percent of Puerto Rico’s workforce. The report reveals the true dependence of U.S. Caribbean economies on the ocean and the management of ocean resources. The report findings suggest ways to estimate small islands’ ocean economies. Economic reports on ocean-dependent employment often do not include informal economic activity, such as subsistence fishermen who routinely sell part of their catch by the roadside. This is particularly problematic in the Caribbean, as so many jobs fall into these informal categories. To provide a more accurate picture of the ocean’s importance to the economy, the report includes local data to capture these sectors.
Improving Navigation Safety in Cape Cod Bay
CO-OPS, in partnership with IOOS, recently established a new Physical Oceanographic Real Time System (PORTS®) in Cape Cod, Massachusetts. A high-tech wave-monitoring buoy deployed in Cape Cod Bay will provide ocean information to improve the safety and efficiency of marine transportation as mariners approach or exit Cape Cod Canal. The buoy will become part of the Northeastern Regional Association of Coastal Ocean Observing Systems buoy network.
OCS Updates Congress on Navigational Charting Plans
OCS Director RDML Shepard Smith appeared before a joint hearing of the House Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation and the Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment to discuss how NOAA is changing the ways that navigational charts will be delivered. Testifying alongside his counterparts at the U.S. Coast Guard and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Smith told committee members that the charting community is on the cusp of a new era when it comes to delivering the accurate navigation products and services required to meet the needs of increasingly complex marine transportation. He reviewed NOAA’s National Charting Plan and explained that OCS has nearly completed the transition to a new charting system that uses one central database to produce all NOAA chart products.
Bay Long Oil Spill in Louisiana
A marsh excavator operated by Great Lakes Dredge and Dock Company tracked over pipeline while performing restoration activities in Bay Long, a sub-estuary of Barataria Bay, and discharged approximately 5,300 gallons of crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico. The incident occurred at an active restoration site for the Deepwater Horizon oil spill; the cause is still under investigation. OR&R deployed an onsite team to provide scientific support, including trajectories and fate of oil, resources at risk, information on tides and currents, and technical guidance. OR&R also provided guidance on Shoreline Cleanup and Assessment Technique (SCAT)—a systematic method for surveying an affected shoreline after an oil spill—as well as data management and updates through the Environmental Response Management Application (ERMA®).
Ecotourism Training for Philippines Marine Protected Areas
Sustainable tourism within marine protected areas (MPAs) can boost economic development while safeguarding important natural resources. A NOAA-led training in the Philippines for MPA managers focused on the limits of acceptable change, working with the tourism industry, impacts of infrastructure development, creating education programs, meeting conservation targets, and managing threats. An additional “train the trainers” workshop helped prepare mentors for guidance and leadership positions when NOAA’s role concludes in 3-5 years. In addition to CRCP, partners include the Office of National Marine Sanctuaries’ capacity-building team for international MPAs and the U.S. Agency for International Development.
NOAA Evaluates Capabilities of Unmanned Surface Vessel
NCCOS partnered with OCS, the NOAA Office of Marine and Aviation Operations, NOAA Ship Nancy Foster, and unmanned vehicle manufacturer ASV Global to conduct an operational evaluation of an unmanned surface vessel (USV) during a bathymetric and marine habitat survey offshore of the Carolinas. The unmanned small boat C-Worker can be remotely operated and monitored from a control station aboard the host ship, and can be programmed to drive survey lines while operators monitor vehicle and data collection systems. The USV was launched to conduct a multibeam sonar system calibration test (called a patch test) and multiple hydrographic surveys in coordination with the Nancy Foster. The USV and ship surveyed about 3 kilometers apart while personnel aboard Nancy Foster monitored the USV's command and control systems and a real-time display of its survey systems.
Geocaching Mega-Event in Virginia
A Geocaching Mega-Event was held in Hampton Roads, VA, where NGS educated people on how to help recover survey control marks and provide important documentation for NGS’s positional database. Geocaching is a recreational activity that involves searching for hidden objects using GPS coordinates posted on a website. NGS presented information on field safety recommendations, data submission procedures, and current technology. The event provided an opportunity to increase public awareness of the value of recovering control marks and sharing positional data with NGS, and may provide NGS with up-to-date positional information for upcoming projects in the region.
‘Green Infrastructure Makeovers’ for Two Waterfront Cities in Ohio
The cities of Cleveland and Sandusky, Ohio, have launched waterfront green infrastructure makeovers that will reduce stormwater runoff, boosting Lake Erie’s water quality and community resilience. Project partners will analyze local data to prioritize project locations and hold community design charrettes, where people will discuss green infrastructure benefits, such as public parks. NOAA, the Trust for Public Land, and local organizations are participating. OCM is providing land cover data, technical assistance, the “Introducing Green Infrastructure for Coastal Resilience” training, and funding through the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.
Assessing Coral Reef Damage in American Samoa
The ocean temperature surrounding American Samoa has increased since early 2015. As a result, strategic monitoring of the National Marine Sanctuary of American Samoa’s management areas is critical to evaluate changes over time and address threats to resources. Sanctuary staff, the Governor’s American Samoa Coral Reef Advisory Group, and the American Samoa Department of Marine and Wildlife Resources jointly monitored several sanctuary areas around the island of Tutuila. Surveys in the Fagatele Bay management area revealed the demise of areas of staghorn corals. Surveys in the Fagalua/Fogamaa management area showed evidence of coral-eating crown-of-thorns starfish, which have devastated local reefs in recent years. Concurrently, the team continued an ongoing assessment of damage to the reef in the Aunuu Island Multiple Use Zone, which occurred when a fishing vessel grounded on the reef in April 2016.
Zillow Uses NOAA Data to Predict Impacts to Housing Market
Zillow is a widely used online source for real estate information. The company’s economic team recently used data from NOAA’s Digital Coast Sea Level Rise Viewer to calculate some sobering predictions for homeowners. According to the calculations, 6 feet of sea level rise by the year 2100 would impact almost 1.9 million homes (roughly 2 percent of all U.S. homes) worth a combined $882 billion. The Sea Level Rise Viewer's photo simulations and web maps show how future flooding or sea level rise may impact communities, and also provides data about flood frequency, socioeconomic vulnerability, and wetland loss and migration.
Alternate Route Ensures Smooth Maritime Commerce
The Inner Harbor Navigation Channel in New Orleans facilitates the transportation of millions of tons of cargo each year. Since the channel was recently closed for repairs, a temporary Chandeleur Sound Alternate Route was established to ensure the flow of commerce between the western and eastern reaches of the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway. OCS assisted with the alternate route development, collaborating with the U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and the maritime industry. Following collaborations with the tow barge industry and others, OCS updated nautical charts with newly installed Aids to Navigation, and contracted David Evans and Associates (DEA) to survey the southern 33 miles of the proposed 66-mile route. DEA found three dangers to navigation, which were subsequently announced in a Local Notice to Mariners and applied to the relevant nautical charts.
NOAA-Funded Interns Map Saipan Lagoon
The Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands hosts an annual summer internship program with funds from CRCP. This summer, two interns assisted with a mapping project in Saipan Lagoon, where they performed basic benthic survey tasks. The resulting data is being used to ground truth the lagoon’s satellite imagery.
CO-OPS Keeps Important Data Flowing
CO-OPS completed a major station upgrade of the National Water Level Observation Network (NWLON) station at Toke Point, Washington, home to the Shoalwater Bay Tribe. The upgrades included a new fiberglass tide house, all new Doppler current profilers and other electronic components, a new microwave water level sensor, dual wind birds, and a water temperature sensor. CO-OPS maintains a national water level network of more than 200 stations that provide continuous validated tidal observations. The stations receive regular maintenance and upgrades to ensure that they provide updated, accurate data 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
NGS Collects Great Lakes Imagery
NGS is continuing an extensive aerial oblique and nadir collection of georeferenced Great Lakes imagery, which began at the beginning of August but was interrupted to collect emergency response imagery of the Louisiana flood. The Great Lakes imagery will be used as a baseline to assess hazards to navigation, impacts of future coastal events, and coastal zone management. The imagery will also be used to support mission partners, including other NOAA offices, the U.S. Geological Survey, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Federal Emergency Management Agency, and other state, local, and academic interests.