January 18, 2008
Using Integrated Ocean Observations to Track Oil Spills
NOAA Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS)
Program staff headed to San Francisco, California, to discuss the use of ocean observation data to improve the timing and accuracy of oil spill response efforts. IOOS is
partnering with the Central and Northern California Ocean Observing System (CeNCOOS) and the Office
of Response and Restoration (OR&R) in this effort. IOOS, CeNCOOS, and OR&R examined observing data used during San Francisco Bay’s recent COSCO BUSON oil spill to
strategize how observations should be embedded in future response plans. For more information,
Updated Land Cover Information Available for Northeast Region
Through its Coastal Change Analysis Program (C-CAP), the NOAA Coastal
Services Center (CSC) released a 2006 update to its existing 1996 and 2001 land cover data for the states of New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts. State
and local planners and land regulation agencies use C-CAP information to assess current landscape conditions, evaluate past management policies, and guide future decisions. To learn more
about C-CAP, visit http://www.csc.noaa.gov/landcover/. For more
information, contact Nate.Herold@noaa.gov.
Redefining the U.S. Vertical Datum
NOAA's National Geodetic Survey (NGS) is beginning test flights of its recently
acquired airborne gravimeter in support of the Gravity for the Redefinition of the American Vertical Datum (GRAV-D) program. GRAV-D is an effort to use gravity data to redefine the
vertical datum of the United States by 2017. NGS plans to fly about 100 hours to determine optimum flight levels, spacing, and various other procedures required to collect good airborne
gravity data. In support of these tests, NGS will also perform ground-based reconnaissance in a grid that will include 375 points observed using the Global Positioning System and relative
gravity meters. This information will be used to "truth" the data that are collected by the airborne gravimeter. For more information,
visit http://www.ngs.noaa.gov/GRAV-D or
January 11, 2008
Sign a Pledge to Help Coral Reefs
In recognition of the 2008 International Year of the Reef (IYOR), members of the public can now sign a pledge promising to take actions in their daily lives to positively impact the environment and
corals. This week, the U.S. Coral Reef Task Force Education and Outreach Working Group, chaired by NOAA's Coral Reef Conservation Program, partnered with Care2.com to launch a year-long
online campaign to build awareness of IYOR and encourage people to help protect threatened reefs. The online pledge encourages signers to change to compact florescent light bulbs, not
buy coral jewelry, and use biodegradable cleaners. The pledge can be viewed and signed
at http://go.care2.com/12590398. For more information,
contact Liza.Johnson@noaa.gov or Karrie.Carnes@noaa.gov.
Temporary Closure of Mollusk Harvest in Northeast Atlantic Extended
Research sponsored by the National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science has
led NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service to approve a one-year extension of the temporary emergency rule closing approximately 17,000 square kilometers of federal waters in the northeast
Atlantic to the harvesting of several mollusk species including certain mussels, scallops, and clams. The closure is due to possible contamination with Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning (PSP)
toxins produced by the alga Alexandrium fundyense, also known as New England red tide. The Food and Drug Administration requested the extension under the authority of the Magnuson-
Stevens Act. Harvesting closures are a management measure to prevent PSP, which humans can contract from consuming contaminated shellfish, resulting in severe illness and death if not
immediately treated. For more information, contact Quay.Dortch@noaa.gov or Brian.Hooker@noaa.gov.
Port of Panama City Tide and Current Surveys
The Office of Coast Survey and
the Center for Operational Oceanographic Products and Services have begun implementing a tide and current profile project for Florida’s St. Andrews Bay, the Panama City Pass, and offshore areas to support navigation and the operations of deep draft ships
to and from the Port of Panama City. Through the deployment of 12 current meter stations for at least 35 days, the project will provide a comprehensive view of the movement of water with tidal
cycles and currents through the bay and offshore areas. This information will be used to help update NOAA's nautical charts and plan future efforts to improve navigation safety in the
area. Data collected will also benefit environmental and fishery studies in the area. For more information,
contact Tim.Osborn@noaa.gov or Carl.Kammerer@noaa.gov.
January 4, 2008
Scientists Support Habitat Destruction Case
National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science (NCCOS) specialists in seagrass and restoration helped federal authorities reach a tentative agreement concerning a vessel
grounding case in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary (FKNMS). During the case, NCCOS provided expert opinions on resource value, recovery, and restoration of
seagrass. The case has been tentatively resolved in a Consent Decree, where a defendant agrees to cease alleged illegal activities in return for an end to the charges.
The Consent Decree continues to uphold the stewardship and governance role of the National Marine Sanctuary Program. A notice in the Federal Register includes a brief description
of the settlement, the procedure for submitting public comments, and the date the comment period closes. To view these documents,
visit http://www.usdoj.gov/enrd/Consent_Decrees/Losada/Losada.html. The FKNMS protects America's
only living barrier coral reef and thousands of acres of seagrass. NCCOS scientists help protect delicate sanctuary resources for future generations. For more information,
contact Mark.Fonseca@noaa.gov or Jud.Kenworthy@noaa.gov.
National Geodetic Survey Works with Partners on Floodplain Mapping
NOAA’s National Geodetic Survey (NGS) has begun working with the Louisiana Spatial Reference Center and the Federal Emergency
Management Agency (FEMA) to establish guidelines and procedures for verifying the elevations of benchmarks in areas of subsidence (land sinking). NGS and its partners are
using the NOAA-managed Continuously Operating Reference Station network and Real Time Global Positioning System Networks to provide this critical elevation data verification, which
FEMA uses for their floodplain mapping certificates. Presently, passive marks in subsidence areas cannot be used for this purpose. Areas of subsidence, such as southern Louisiana,
are vulnerable to flooding from storms. Flood zones, and flood insurance, are developed based on elevation data and that elevation data is based on NOAA benchmarks. Providing that
data is the primary mission of NGS and of critical importance to areas where flooding can occur. For more information,
Enhancements to Help Coastal and Marine Resource Management
The Regional Observation Registry, a multi-partner project of the Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS), was established to track the features and locations of regional ocean
observing assets. A fiscal year 2007 IOOS grant, managed by the NOAA Coastal Services Center, was awarded to help enhance current registry features.
With that aim in mind, the technical advisory committee met last month to propose a series of registry enhancements. More information is available
at http://obsregistry.org. Enhancing the registry’s capacity to track the features and locations of ocean observing assets will help
improve coastal and marine resource management efforts. For more information, contact James.Boyd@noaa.gov.