Many Benefit from Georgia Post-Disaster Planning Guide
Urban, oceanfront communities and rural, inland communities wrestle with very different disaster recovery and redevelopment issues. Post-Disaster Recovery and Redevelopment Planning: A Guide for Georgia Communities names these differences and charts a recovery path that addresses cost estimates, potential aids and funding sources, and key partners and stakeholders. The guide helps communities move forward with recovery and redevelopment efforts. Information from the guide has been presented to local officials and planners, regional resilience and hazard mitigation groups, and participants in the Georgia Climate Conference and American Meteorological Society Conference. OCM worked closely with the Georgia Coastal Management Program and other partners to fund and facilitate the work.
Annual Meeting of the Arctic Domain Awareness Center
The annual meeting of the Arctic Domain Awareness Center (ADAC) was held in Alexandria, VA, with NOAA sharing information about its contribution to Arctic domain awareness. OR&R’s Environmental Response Management Application (ERMA) plays an important role as the end-user visualization platform for an ADAC project called the Arctic Information Fusion Capability (AIFC). AIFC combines satellite imagery with available modeling, sensors, web-based communications, and appropriate social networking feeds to gain domain awareness in support of operational decision making for responders in the field and in command posts. An ADAC project involving oil and ice modeling was also presented. The project team is maintaining contact with OR&R to facilitate compatibility of developed algorithms with NOAA’s GNOME (General NOAA Operational Modeling Environment) oil spill model.
Digital Atlas Available for Choptank Complex Habitat Focus Area
A new digital atlas—consisting of a web-based mapping portal, a distributable geospatial database, and a baseline status report—is available for the Choptank Complex Habitat Focus Area. Each component of the atlas is designed to support a greater understanding of the Choptank and Little Choptank River watersheds. The Choptank Complex is an important component of the larger Chesapeake Bay watershed, being home to significant natural resources including oyster reefs, salt marshes, and spawning and juvenile fish habitats. Topics covered include land cover, shoreline composition, water quality, benthic community condition, submerged aquatic vegetation, fish, and oysters.
U.S. and Cuba Collaborate on Navigation Safety Improvements
NOAA’s Navigation Services programs welcomed representatives of Cuba’s National Office of Hydrography and Geodesy (ONHG) to Silver Spring this week to pursue collaboration on issues outlined in the NOAA-ONHG Memorandum of Understanding. Representatives from both agencies will reviewed, revised, and are poised to approve a new international chart—the first cooperative charting product between the U.S. and Cuba during the modern era. NOAA expects to release the new chart in mid-December, at a meeting in Brazil of hydrographic officials from the Western Hemisphere. The U.S.-Cuba dialogue has expanded to include an emerging geodetic component, NGS will discuss current datums and plans to transition to new datums by 2022. Representatives from both agencies have also expressed interest in tide and current monitoring, modeling, and forecasting. The exchange of data and information will improve the accuracy and quality of these products.
Information Sharing with the U.S. Department of Energy
The U.S. Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) and its Pacific Northwest National Laboratory joined OR&R in Seattle to share information on approaches to oceanographic modeling and data handling. The team from NETL developed a model for oil drilling in the sea floor as well as other models for sharing and visualizing data. OR&R scientists working on the latest versions of GNOME (General NOAA Oceanographic Modeling Environment) and ERMA® (Environmental Response Management Application) shared strategies and discussed algorithms for their respective models. NOAA’s Trajectory Analysis Planner was also put on display alongside a tool that NETL uses to show the occurrence of temporal and geospatial data.
Maritime Archaeological Expedition off U.S. West Coast
The Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary, in collaboration with the National Park Service and the nonprofit Coastal Maritime Archaeology Resources, completed a maritime archaeological expedition off the West Coast that included the wrecks of the WWII-era minesweeper Spirit of America, the three-masted sailing ship Aggi, and military aircraft like the WWII-era Grumman Avenger TBF-1C torpedo bomber. The multi-year, multi-agency underwater expedition is critical in documenting lost pieces of American history and sharing the stories with the American people.
Coastal Aquaculture Leases on MarineCadastre.gov
NCCOS and OCM produced the first edition of the national coastal ocean aquaculture geospatial data layer. Current aquaculture data from 15 coastal states were compiled and standardized into categories including shellfish lease, finfish lease, and others, such as crustaceans and algae. The approximate location and size of aquaculture lease areas in the U.S. coastal zone are viewable on MarineCadastre.gov, an integrated marine information system that provides data, tools, and technical support for ocean and Great Lakes planning. The new layer provides the first national spatial look at aquaculture around the nation, including the type of aquaculture and its footprint in the coastal zone. It will be invaluable for national coastal managers and in future marine spatial planning projects.
Forty Years of Coastal Land Cover Data for Michigan
Michigan fronts four Great Lakes, making accurate land cover data extremely important for understanding coastal issues and changes. With the release of new Michigan 2016 coastal land cover and change data, 40 years of consistent, accurate land cover is available for the state’s coastal landscape. In addition, coastal data sets have been improved for 1975, 1985, 1996, 2001, 2006, and 2010. NOAA’s Coastal Change Analysis Program (C-CAP) data supply information on regional development trends, habitat losses and gains, changes in sources of pollution and sedimentation, and other factors affecting ecosystem health. The data can be downloaded from NOAA’s Digital Coast.
Introducing Students to the Wonders of Science
More than 200 children from Texas elementary schools had fun capturing butterflies and dragonflies while learning about animal migration during the 9th Annual Monarch Madness butterfly festival. This is the time of year when monarch butterflies fly to their wintering grounds in Mexico, and Monarch Madness gives science educators a great opportunity to explain to 4th-through-6th graders how and why many animals migrate. Hosted by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Mission-Aransas National Estuarine Research Reserve, the event was held at the Fennessey Ranch in Bayside, TX.
Continuing the Digital Conversion for Navigation Products
OCS informed NOAA’s certified chart distributors that it is officially discontinuing large-format printed chart catalogs, and will focus instead on the popular Chart Locator and page-size “catalogs” that people can download and print at home. In accordance with a 2014 Federal Register notice, OCS has not updated the large-format charts for several years, but wanted to give vendors and customers time to adjust to digital navigation products.
Assessing Derelict Crab Pots in Chesapeake Bay
As part of a research project supported by the NOAA Marine Debris Program, a team of researchers recently completed a comprehensive assessment of the ecological and economic impacts of derelict blue crab pots in Chesapeake Bay. The study found that targeted derelict crab pot removal programs greatly increase the number of crabs caught in actively fished pots, resulting in significant economic benefits for the fishery. It also concluded that removal of crab pots is most effective when focused on areas with intensive crab fishing activity, and suggests management actions that may help reduce the number of derelict pots and their negative impacts. CSS-Dynamac, Inc., Versar, Inc., the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, and Global Science & Technology, Inc., conducted the study.
New England Responds to Unprecedented Harmful Algal Bloom
For the first time in New England coastal waters, shellfish have exceeded the regulatory limit for domoic acid—a potent neurotoxin produced by the diatom Pseudo-nitzschia. Domoic acid accumulates in shellfish that feed on the diatom, and can lead to amnesic shellfish poisoning in people who consume tainted shellfish. NCCOS awarded funds to Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences to rapidly map the spatial extent, species composition, and toxicity of the harmful algal bloom in Gulf of Maine coastal and nearshore waters, and to determine the oceanographic conditions contributing to the bloom’s toxicity and distribution. Maine coastal managers are using the data to inform shellfish harvest closures and mitigate impacts. Blooms have also been observed in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Weekly coordination calls between state agencies, researchers, and NOAA are also helping Massachusetts and Rhode Island respond to the ongoing regional issue.
Exploring the Use of Drones for Oiled Shoreline Assessments
OR&R, the California Office of Spill Prevention and Response, and the U.S. Coast Guard teamed up with Chevron Corporation to explore the utility of drones as a reconnaissance tool for shoreline oiling. During an oil spill, the nature and extent of shoreline oiling are usually determined by ground-based surveys using the Shoreline Cleanup Assessment Technique (SCAT). In situations when shorelines cannot be safely accessed (e.g., heavy surf conditions, rocky outcrops, cliff or bluff bases) or when they include sensitive habitats like marshes, SCAT may be limited to conducting helicopter-based and/or ground-based binocular surveys, or no surveys at all. Emerging technologies like drones may become important elements in future SCAT survey efforts.
Team OCEAN: Sanctuary Ambassadors on the Waterfront
Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary’s Team OCEAN volunteers and staff work to promote safe and enjoyable public use of the marine environment while protecting natural resources. During the 2016 season, volunteers contributed 263 hours of service and interacted with approximately 800 recreational boaters. During peak tourist season and heavy-traffic holidays and weekends, Team OCEAN manned sanctuary vessels at popular reef sites throughout the Keys. Team OCEAN encourages proper use of sanctuary resources and provides tips on how to practice basic boating safety and reef etiquette. Informational packets are offered to vessels, which include free charts and helpful tips for navigating the Sanctuary. Team OCEAN members also serve as sanctuary “ambassadors” on the waterfront, promoting responsible tourism opportunities to visitor-related businesses.
Sharing Knowledge of SET Technology at Wetland Resiliency Workshop
NGS served as a subject matter expert on wetland resiliency at a regional workshop in Cape Charles, VA. The workshop brought together scientists who use Surface Elevation Table (SET) technology to monitor wetland elevation changes in sites throughout the Chesapeake Bay. More than 20 participants from Maryland, Virginia, and Delaware attended the workshop, which was co-hosted by the Virginia Coastal Reserve, the Chesapeake Bay Sentinel Site Cooperative, and Maryland Sea Grant. The aim was to compare datasets and trends within a similar framework of wetland resiliency to local sea level rise to better inform managers and decision makers on wetland sustainability or wetland loss in the region.
NOAA Briefs U.S. Navy on Sea Level Rise Information
CO-OPS and OCM met with the Oceanographer of the Navy to discuss NOAA sea level rise and coastal inundation data, tools, and predictions, and how they could be incorporated into the planning of naval installations. Topics included the Digital Coast platform, Sea Level Rise Viewer tool, and ongoing efforts to develop regional sea level rise scenarios in support of the interagency Sea Level Rise Task Force.