December 14, 2007
NOS Software to Assist with 2010 Census
The National Geodetic Survey (NGS) recently completed testing of modified NGS-developed Online Positioning User Service Mapping software to be used in the 2010 Census. NGS is working with the Census Bureau to add Global Positioning System (GPS) coordinates to approximately 140 million U.S. addresses for the census. This will be the first time GPS positions will be collected in Census Bureau enumeration activities. Each census taker will carry a handheld computer with a built-in GPS receiver which will record point positions of housing units during Census follow-up canvassing. Software developed and released by NGS will post-process data collected from these units at a rate of up to one million data points per day over a three- to four-month period beginning in 2009. For more information, contact Gerald.L.Mader@noaa.gov.
Panama Canal Emergency Response Drill
Last week, NOAA scientists joined the United States National Response Team and the Panama Canal Authority to simulate a major oil spill and emergency response exercise in the Panama Canal Zone. The exercise simulated a tank barge grounding and spill of over 50,000 gallons of oil near the Culebra Cut, the narrowest portion of the canal. The command post exercise (CPX) began with a period of refresher training and time to initialize an Incident Command System and continued for two and a half days, ending with the completion of an Incident Action Plan. Four NOAA scientists from the Office of Response and Restoration, along with four U.S. Coast Guard and four Environmental Protection Agency personnel helped organize, control, coach, and evaluate the CPX. The Exercise Design Staff will prepare a summary document for the players to use to prepare for future training and exercise needs. For more information, contact Ed.Levine@noaa.gov.
Developing Standards for Organic Aquaculture Products
A scientist with the Center of Excellence in Oceans and Human Health at Hollings Marine Laboratory (HML) offered testimony to the National Organics Standards Board in late November as they decided whether farmed fish should qualify for the federal government’s official organic label. HML is a NOAA Oceans and Human Health Initiative Center of Excellence as well as a National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science Laboratory. Research at HML showed that there were no significant differences in the production, including the harvest weight, of shrimp fed organic-certifiable, plant-based aquaculture diets versus those fed conventional diets. The healthy fatty acids desired of seafood, although slightly less in the vegetarian diet, were higher than expected based on diet differences. For more information, contact Susan.Lovelace@noaa.gov.
December 7, 2007
Port of Mobile Becomes the 14th PORTS® Location
The Port of Mobile, Alabama, has become the 14th location in the United States to install a Physical Oceanographic Real-Time System (PORTS®). PORTS® provides accurate real-time oceanographic and meteorological data to mariners, which can significantly reduce the risk of vessel groundings as well as increase the amount of cargo moved through a port. PORTS® measures, integrates, and disseminates observations of water levels, currents, salinity, wind, and bridge clearance. The Mobile system became officially operational on December 3, 2007. While designed to be of service to the marine transportation community, the data are freely accessible on the Internet at: http://www.tidesandcurrents.noaa.gov/ports. For more information, contact Darren.Wright@noaa.gov.
Coastal Zone Management Act Program Evaluations Released
NOAA’s Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management has released a first-of-its-kind report discussing some of the most prominent coastal management issues tackled by state Coastal Zone Management (CZM) programs and National Estuarine Research Reserves (NERRS) in recent years. The report was developed by analyzing the findings of fiscal year 2006 Coastal Zone Management Act evaluations of CZM programs and NERRS and includes brief case studies of innovative approaches to key issues. For more information, visit http://coastalmanagement.noaa.gov/success/evaluation.html or contact Kim.Penn@noaa.gov.
Charting the Location of a German Torpedo in the Gulf of Mexico
The Office of Coast Survey (OCS) was recently contacted by British Petroleum Inc. (BP) who, while laying fiber optic cable in 6,300 feet of water in the Gulf of Mexico, found that their cable was within three feet of a World War II-era German torpedo likely used in an attempt to sink an American ship in the Gulf during the war. The torpedo, with over 600 pounds of high explosives, was charted and a local notice to mariners was issued by OCS to warn of the hazard. OCS worked with the U.S. Coast Guard, BP, and the local deep-water navigation, oil and gas exploration and production industry to deliver the finding and warnings. For more information, contact Tim.Osborn@noaa.gov.