NOS Assistant Administrator Weekly Update

Hi everyone,

I’d like to take a moment to celebrate the outstanding accomplishments across our programs in FY 2016. More than 40 examples of our success appear in the newly released Fiscal Year 2016 Year in Review. Following is a preview of a few of the activities you can read about in the report. In FY 2016, NOS:

Thank you,

W. Russell Callender, Ph.D.
Assistant Administrator
Ocean Services and Coastal Zone Management,
National Ocean Service

Microplastics in the ocean: Reddit ‘Ask Us Anything’

At 1 pm EDT today, scientists from the Office of Response and Restoration’s Marine Debris Program will explore the science of microplastics in our ocean in a Reddit “Ask Us Anything.” Learn more here.

Around NOS

Marine Debris Program Funds Removal of Long-Lived F/V Western

On December 21, 2016, the fishing vessel F/V Western was removed from Coos Bay, Oregon, where it sank in January 2015. The Oregon State Marine Board managed the project in collaboration with the Oregon Department of State Land and with the support of a NOAA Marine Debris Program Community-based Marine Debris Removal Grant. Billeter Marine, a local salvage contractor, conducted the removal, brought the wreck to land, and disposed of it. This was the end of the journey for the wood-hulled vessel, built in 1934, that spent its early years trolling for salmon in Alaska and had sunk twice before and been refloated! The boat’s deteriorating condition and the location where it sank for the third time required removal to prevent both environmental harm and risks to other vessels in the area.


New Sensor Aids Safe Navigation in South Carolina

CO-OPS installed a new sensor on the Arthur Ravanel Jr. Bridge in Charleston, SC, which will improve the safety of mariners transiting the area. The sensor’s microwave radar air gap system will accurately measure clearance under the bridge, allowing safe passage in and out of nearby seaports. The sensor is part of the Charleston Physical Oceanographic Real Time System (PORTS®).


Deep-Sea Coral Initiative in the Southeast: First-Year Successes

In 2016, NOAA’s Deep-Sea Coral Research and Technology Program launched a four-year initiative to study deep-sea coral and sponge ecosystems across the Southeast—a region that includes U.S. federal waters in the South Atlantic, Caribbean Sea, and Gulf of Mexico. Led by NCCOS, the initiative is a cross-line office effort that includes personnel from NOS, NOAA Fisheries, and NOAA Research, and aims to collect scientific information to manage and conserve deep-sea corals throughout the region. Fieldwork for the initiative commenced in August 2016 with two successful expeditions that surveyed deep-water banks in the northwestern Gulf of Mexico to collect information pertinent to the proposed expansion of Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary, and deep-sea canyons off North Carolina to support regional characterizations of canyon ecosystems. New species and seafloor communities were documented in both regions.


California Youth Science Program Produces Sound Research

LiMPETS (Long-term Monitoring Program and Experiential Training for Students) is a citizen science program that encourages the next generation of scientists, decision makers, and policy makers among California youth. LiMPETS monitors coastal ecosystems to provide publicly accessible long-term data to inform marine resource managers and the scientific community. At the American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting in San Francisco, participating students presented their research. At the Beyond the Golden Gate Research Symposium, LiMPETS collected data that demonstrated a correlation between El Niño events and recruitment of sand crabs in San Francisco. The sound science collected by the students can be found in products like the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary Condition Report, and helped establish a baseline of key indicator species for the new system of California Marine Protected Areas.


NOAA Ship Rainier has Change of Command

NOAA Ship Rainier, one of the four NOAA ships dedicated to hydrographic surveys, observed a change of command in Newport, Oregon, this week. CDR John Lomnicky, Rainier’s executive officer, replaced CAPT E.J. Van Den Ameele, who is headed to Silver Spring to serve as chief of the Coast Survey Development Lab. Rainier was commissioned in 1968, and shares Alaskan survey projects with her “sister” vessel, NOAA Ship Fairweather. A commanding officer (CO) of a NOAA survey ship is also the ship’s hydrographer, chief scientist, and senior program representative. This means that, in addition to being responsible for safe management of the vessel, the CO is also solely and ultimately responsible for the completion of the science mission: the hydrographic surveys delivered to OCS.

Contact: CAPT

‘Coastal Elevations’ Presentation a High Point at Estuaries Summit

NGS hosted a standing-room-only turnout for the presentation “Coastal elevations explained: How accurate are your marsh elevations and tidal datums, and what does that mean for your project?” at Restore America’s Estuaries 8th National Summit in New Orleans. Of the 60-plus audience participants, approximately 80 percent indicated that they used GPS surveys for their coastal projects. NGS also displayed a poster with a link to the NGS educational video library to help people understand the nation’s new datums, planned for release in 2022.


Boosting Sustainable Tourism in the Coral Triangle

Peer-to-peer networking proved powerful in advancing sustainable tourism in the Coral Triangle region, said presenters at the recent Restore America’s Estuaries 8th National Summit in New Orleans. Meeting over several years, the region’s Marine Protected Area (MPA) managers forged strong program and ecological partnerships and addressed many common issues involving water quality, waste management, visitor impacts, and busy marine areas. Best practice sustainable tourism projects in the Philippines, Indonesia, and the Coral Triangle are benefitting from this network, and the lessons learned are being shared throughout the global MPA network. CRCP and the National Marine Protected Area Center co-led both the original networking initiative and the recent presentation.


NOS Assistant Administrator

NOS Assistant Administrator
Dr. Russell Callender

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