June 27, 2003
NOS Uses Artificial Intelligence To Improve Tide Information
NOSs Center for Operational Oceanographic Products and Services has begun using artificial intelligence to improve its existing Continuous Operational Real-time Monitoring System (CORMS). CORMS provides navigators with real-time water levels, currents and meteorological data 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The artificial intelligence computer system interprets information collected and relayed by CORMS stations to determine how to respond to specific quality issues such as communication or instrument failures. Using artificial intelligence is ensuring that the monitoring system provides more complete and accurate information. It will help CORMS personnel gather and distribute the ever-increasing amount of data available from the many tide and current data stations around the nation. For more information, read the press release.
200 Years of Heavy Land Use in Mississippi Affects Soil and Water Quality
Researchers at Louisiana State University and the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium studied sediment records of plankton to trace a 200-year record of nutrient loading in the Gulf of Mexico. The results of their research, which was funded by NOSs Center for Sponsored Coastal Ocean Research, suggest that real links exist between land use and water quality, and the cumulative effects of this relationship impact the region, its watershed, and receiving coastal waters. Results suggest that the most recent influence on nutrient loadingintense farming and fertilizer usehas affected water quality more than all previous landscape changes. In addition, the long-term use of fertilizer in the Mississippi watershed has led to large deposits of nitrogen in the soil. This nitrogen ends up in the groundwater and streams when it rains. Thus, because nutrient deposits are already in the soil from previous fertilizer use, efforts to improve water quality in the Mississippi Basin will probably have only limited success. Understanding these relationships will be key in future water quality management efforts. For more information, contact Kenric Osgood, (301) 713-3338 x163.
June 20, 2003
NOS Works with Coast Guard to Dispose of Dangerous WWII Torpedo
NOS recently worked with the U.S. Coast Guard's San Francisco Bay office to recover and detonate a live World War II-era torpedo found in the shallow harbor at Pillar Point, Calif. Several offices within NOAA, including NOSs Office of Response and Restoration (ORR) and the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, consulted with the Coast Guard about the best place to detonate the torpedo safely without harming people or wildlife. They agreed to detonate the torpedo 2 nautical miles north of the Monterey Bay sanctuary boundary, thus creating a buffer zone for sanctuary resources. The Coast Guard also agreed not to detonate the torpedo if they saw marine mammals in the vicinity. After the nearby harbor was closed and evacuated, the Coast Guard successfully detonated the torpedo. ORRs scientific support coordinator searched the area for signs of damage to wildlife, but found none. For more information, contact Holly Price at (831) 647-4247 or Heather Parker-Hall at (510) 437-5344.
NOAA Restores New York Salt Marsh
Staff from NOSs Office of Response and Restoration, NOAA Fisheries Restoration Center and NOAAs Office of General Counsel recently completed a restoration effort in the Hempstead Harbor estuary salt marsh in New York. Workers removed more than 3,000 cubic yards of concrete rubble, rock, tires, timber debris and gravel from the marsh. They then placed clean fill and topsoil in the area, and seeded it with wetland and coastal upland plant species to allow for revegetation. NOAA staff worked with the local town of North Hempstead throughout the process of conducting an environmental assessment, preparing and implementing a final restoration plan for the site, and collecting damages from the responsible party. The restoration effort is part of a larger plan to restore salt marsh habitat in western Long Island Sound, where significant wetland habitat has been lost to filling, dredging and coastal subsidence. For more information, contact Lisa Rosman at (212) 637-3259 or Jim Turek at (401) 782-3338.
June 13, 2003
NOS Hosts Oceans Week on Capitol Hill
In honor of Oceans Day on June 8, NOSs National Marine Sanctuary Program and the National Marine Sanctuary (NMS) Foundation hosted Capitol Hill Oceans Week. Congressional participants included Senators Fritz Hollings and Sam Farr, and Representatives Jim Saxton, Lois Capps, Billy Tauzin, Neil Abercrombie, Thomas Allen, and Curt Weldon. Also in attendance were Admiral James D. Watkins, USN (Ret.), Chairman of the U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy; Jean-Michel Cousteau, NMS Foundation Trustee and President of the Ocean Future Society; Dr. Shirley Pomponi, Vice President and Director of Research, Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution; and Dr. Sylvia Earle, NMS Foundation Trustee and National Geographic Society Explorer-in-Residence. Senator Hollings (D-SC) and Representative Saxton (R-NJ) each received a National Marine Sanctuary Foundation Leadership Award at a June 10 event. The Foundation presented its first Volunteer of the Year Award to Gordon Bennett, a Beach Watcher at the Gulf of the Farallones Sanctuary, and Alan Brooks, a volunteer at the Olympic Coast Sanctuary. Celebrity Lauren Hutton, an amateur diver, shared master of ceremonies duties with Dan Basta, Director of the National Marine Sanctuary Program. For more information, contact Matt Stout at (301) 713-3125 x173.
NOS Responds to Disease Outbreak in Florida Corals
As part of the Coral Disease and Health Consortium, scientists from NOSs National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science and the Medical University of South Carolina at Charleston teamed up with the National Marine Fisheries Service, the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, Biscayne National Park, and the Dry Tortugas National Park to investigate an outbreak of a mysterious disease in staghorn coral (Acropora). The diseased corals are in localized reefs in Biscayne National Park, the Upper Keys National Marine Sanctuary, and in Dry Tortugas National Park. Scientists took samples from healthy and diseased corals for diagnostic analyses. The Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary quarantined affected reefs in its jurisdiction for 60 days. In the meantime, the consortium will continue to investigate the cause(s) of the disease and determine how it is transmitted. For more information, read the press release or contact Dr. Cheryl Woodley at (843) 762-8862.
NOS Assists in Antarctica Helicopter Crash
NOSs Office of Response and Restoration (OR&R) is providing scientific support to the National Science Foundation (NSF) in response to a helicopter crash last January at Lake Fryxell, Antarctica. OR&R reviewed the initial monitoring information, provided predictions for the transport and fate of spilled oils in arctic environments, and provided expertise at an NSF planning meeting on June 11. For more information, contact Charlie Henry at (504) 589-4414.