NOS Assistant Administrator Weekly Update

Hi Everyone,

The next NOS All Hands meeting will beThursday, March 6, 1:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m. Eastern. Add this meeting to your Google calendar by clicking on this link. Your calendar will pop up after the NOS website 'exit notice.' Once you see the calendar entry, select "Save."

Dr. Russell Callender and I will provide an update on the FY 2014 budget. In addition, the President's FY 2015 Budget Request is expected to be released two days before the meeting.  If it is released before the All Hands meeting, we will provide information about the FY 2015 request as well. We will also talk about ways that programs across NOS are advancing important priorities. What do you want to hear about at the meeting? Please email with your suggestions.

I would like to take a moment to congratulate all of our Bronze Medal awardees as well as the recipients of the Distinguished Career Award. The Bronze Medal is the highest honor award granted by the Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere and recognizes superior performance. Following are NOS recipients.

For superior leadership and interagency collaboration in creating the comprehensive, digital information publication, Gulf of Mexico Data Atlas:

Becky Allee (NOS), David M. Nelson (NOS), Scott L. Cross (NESDIS), Arthur R. Parsons (NESDIS), Hernan E. Garcia (NESDIS), Elizabeth Schneck-Gardner (NESDIS), Russell H. Beard (NESDIS), Amanda Frick (NMFS), David Hanisko (NMFS), James Primrose (NMFS)

For the development of a biogeographic assessment of seabirds, deep sea corals, and ocean habitats of the New York Bight in support of ocean management.

Charles Menza, Chris Caldow, Mark Monaco

For the design and implementation of a NOAA absolute GPS/GNSS antenna calibration program to improve GPS positioning accuracy for all users.

Gerald Mader, Andria Bilich, Dennis Lokken, Charles Geoghegan, Giovanni Sella, Bruce Tran, Steve Breidenbach, Kendall Fancher

For developing, evaluating, and transitioning the Microwave Water Level sensor to operations in the National Water Level Observation Network.*

Robert Heitsenrether, Manoj Samant, Thomas Landon, Albert Sanford, Stephen Gill

*I would like to recognize the efforts of team members Warren Krug and Mark Bushnell, whose contributions were indispensable to this project.

For completely overhauling NOAA's oil spill Shoreline Cleanup and Assessment Technique program, resulting in national leadership in spill response training and execution.

Frank Csulak (NOS), Nicolle Rutherford (NOS), Gary Shigenaka (NOS), Jordan Stout (NOS), John Tarpley (NOS), Ian Zelo (NOS), CDR Elizabeth Kretovic (OMAO)

For achieving a $22.7 million settlement to restore critical NOAA and tribal resources injured by waste site contamination in the St. Lawrence River environment.

Lisa Rosman (NOS), Nancy Beckvar (NOS), George Graettinger (NOS), Anthony Dvarskas (NOS), Marguerite Matera (OGC), Laurie Lee (OGC), Jason Forman (OGC), Mathias Collins (NMFS), Carl Alderson (NMFS), Julie Sims (NMFS)

For an unprecedented, multidisciplinary assessment that supports science-based decisions on listing 82 coral species under the Endangered Species Act.

Gregory A. Piniak (NOS), Jennifer A. Moore (NMFS), Cheryl Scannell (NMFS), Margaret W. Miller (NMFS), Lance W. Smith (NMFS), Elena J. Onaga (NMFS), Russell E. Brainard (NMFS), C. Mark Eakin (NMFS), J. Paul McElhany (NMFS), Marta F. Nammack (NMFS)

The Distinguished Career Award honors cumulative career achievement of sustained excellence, rather than a single defined accomplishment, in specific categories. Following are NOS recipients.

Randolph Grady: For sustained focus to ensure the infrastructure and support services at the NOAA Beaufort Laboratory allow the pursuit of the agency's scientific mission.

Dolores Toscano: For her talent, hard work, and exemplary teamwork in Federal Service for 42 years, including 36 years with the National Ocean Service in Maryland and Florida.

Ronnie L. Taylor: For outstanding professional achievement in advancing state and federal geodetic activities throughout more than 40 years of service to NOAA.

Mark W. Miller: For sustained excellence in contributions to oil and chemical spill science, preparedness, and response throughout 25 years of service to NOAA.

Please join me in congratulating our awardees!

Holly A. Bamford, Ph.D.
Assistant Administrator for Ocean Services and Coastal
Zone Management, National Ocean Service

Around NOS

Sunscreen Chemical Threatens Coral Reefs

Researchers from NCCOS and their partners have discovered that a sunscreen chemical commonly used in many soaps, cosmetics, and body fragrances is highly toxic to corals. The team's data show that even very low concentrations of benzophenone-2 (BP-2) can quickly kill juvenile corals. BP-2 is an additive used in personal-care products since the 1960s to protect against the damaging effects of ultraviolet light. The team also found that BP-2 can cause colorful corals to bleach and can potentially cause mutations in corals by damaging their DNA. BP-2 is not removed from most municipal wastewater treatment facilities. This discharge is often released in coastal waters for many islands in the Caribbean and the Indo-Pacific, threatening near-shore coral reefs. The study was published in the December 2013 issue of Ecotoxicology.

Contact: Cheryl Woodley

West Coast Resource Serves Data Providers and Users

The West Coast Ocean Data Portal is a new service that makes it possible to retrieve a wide range of ocean and coastal data from a single location. Data resources are focused on Washington, Oregon, and California and come from federal agencies, tribal nations, and academic partners. Cases include coastal resource management, policy development, and marine planning. The portal was developed by the West Coast Governors Alliance on Ocean Health and funded by the NOAA Regional Ocean Partnership. This portal will help coastal managers, researchers, and the general public access and discover data relevant to coastal and ocean resources along the West Coast.

Contact: Tim Doherty

Oregon Tsunami Planning Guide Supports Vulnerable Communities

OCRM recently released a planning guide called Preparing for a Cascadia Subduction Zone Tsunami: A Land Use Guide for Oregon Coastal Communities. The guide was developed in partnership with a number of state and local agencies and will assist vulnerable communities as they incorporate tsunami resilience measures into their local land use programs. It includes sample land use plan text and policies, information relating to pre-disaster community land use planning, tsunami hazard zone map overlays, financing and incentive concepts, and other information to support land use resilience measures.

Contact: Kris Wall

Geospatial Visualization and Collaboration Tools

During the recent 2014 Alaska Marine Science Symposium, OR&R scientist Dr. Amy Merten facilitated with NASA's Arctic Collaborative Environment (ACE) a workshop entitled Geospatial Visualization and Collaboration Tools. The workshop featured demos of the Arctic Environmental Response Management Application (ERMA®) and ACE. Directors from the University of Alaska-Fairbanks, Geographic Information Network of Alaska, and the Alaska Ocean Observing System also presented new developments. Overarching topics included applicability for each system as well as the utility of integration of data among them. 

Contact: Amy Merten

Farallones Beach Watch Celebrates 20 Years of Citizen Science

Twenty years ago, NOAA's Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary developed the National Ocean Service's flagship formal volunteer program, Beach Watch. Since 1994, this coastal monitoring effort has engaged more than 300 volunteers who have donated more than 1.3 million hours of their time and surveyed the equivalent of 100,000 kilometers of coastline. The data they have collected help identify and designate wildlife protection areas; increase protection for threatened and endangered species; detect mortality events of birds and mammals; assess impacts from marine debris; and assess damages from oil pollution. The sanctuary recently honored hundreds of volunteers, including 13 outstanding individuals who have supported this program since its inception two decades ago.

Contact: Jan Roletto

Navigation Response Team Takes Final Depth Soundings For New Miami Nautical Chart

Coast Survey will soon issue a "new and improved" Miami Harbor Chart #11468 to alleviate vessel congestion at the Port of Miami. The port is the world's busiest cruise port, contributing $18 billion to the local economy. A navigation response team recently conducted final hydrographic surveys to ensure the new chart has the latest and most accurate depth measurements around several critical areas within the port. The Biscayne Bay Pilots and others requested the new chart, which is reconstructing old charts to provide large-scale coverage of the entire precautionary area where vessels congregate to await pilots and commit to an approach course to the channel. Updating the chart information and expanding chart coverage will alleviate a navigation safety risk and add to ecological protection from inadvertent anchorages by depicting locations of endangered coral reefs.

Contact:  CAPT Jon Swallow

Oblique Aerial Imagery Collected for U.S. Geological Survey

NGS has provided aerial imagery to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) for use in sediment transport surveys and coastal change analysis in the Gulf of Mexico. NGS collected imagery of Dauphin Island, Ala., and Santa Rosa Island, Fla., using an oblique imagery camera system. Oblique imagery provides an angled view of an area of interest, which is advantageous over traditional nadir (downward looking) imagery, as it allows for interpretation of both horizontal and vertical/elevation information.

Contact: Nicole Cabana

NOS Assistant Administrator
NOS Assistant Administrator Holly Bamford

NOS Assistant Administrator
Dr. Holly Bamford

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NOS Communications & Education Division