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Weekly News: January 2008
January 2008

January 25, 2008
January 18, 2008
January 11, 2008
January 4, 2008


January 25, 2008

New Wind Station Will Improve Shoreline Erosion Forecasting
Researchers from the National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science recently installed a new wind station that measures wind speed, direction, and gusts to assess wave impacts on coastal and estuarine environments.  The hurricane-resistant anemometer, installed January 15 at the Center for Coastal Fisheries and Habitat Research in Beaufort, North Carolina, transmits wind data to the Center by radio every five seconds.  Researchers will use the data to develop wave models as part of a project to evaluate the adverse impacts of waves at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, which occupies 80 percent of the New River Estuary system’s shoreline.  The data will be available to the public and may eventually go live on the Center’s Web site.  For more information, contact

NOAA Assists U.S. Coast Guard in Gulf Intracoastal Water Way
On January 23, the U.S. Coast Guard requested that the Office of Coast Survey’s Navigation Response Team 1 (NRT1) conduct sidescan and bathymetric surveys for potential demolition obstructions in a portion of the Gulf Intracoastal Water Way.  The request follows several recent incidents of tugboats and barges striking submerged objects in the water during the ongoing construction/demolition of Interstate-45 where it crosses over Galveston Bay to Galveston Island.  When the survey is complete, NRT1 will return to its normal operational routine of verifying and updating nautical charts and electronic navigational charts in the eastern Gulf of Mexico.  For more information, contact

Work Continues to Update Elevations in Puerto Rico
The National Geodetic Survey (NGS) is working with Puerto Rico to expand its newly established vertical datum.  The effort is part of the process of bringing new and updated elevation data to the island.  This week, an NGS employee traveled to Puerto Rico to work with contractors on the second phase of the leveling project, which entails determining precise elevations for some 30 kilometers.  For more information, contact


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, contact

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  For more information, contact

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 or contact


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 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  For more information, contact or

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 or

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 or


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  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 or

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, contact

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 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


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