NOS Assistant Administrator Weekly Update


Hi Everyone:

Earth Day founder Gaylord Nelson—who served as both a U.S. Senator and as Governor of Wisconsin—organized a nationwide "teach-in" about environmental issues on April 22, 1970. The first Earth Day recognized the importance of accepting stewardship responsibility for our nation's natural resources. It also helped establish a political climate conducive to forming both NOAA and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency later that year.

While it can't be called a "teach-in," NOAA Kids Day 2018, slated for next Thursday, April 26, is a great opportunity to bring your children to work with you so they can learn about NOAA's mission and what it's like to work here.

Finally, I would like to congratulate the NOS winners of the 2018 Department of Commerce Bronze Medal and NOAA Distinguished Career Awards. Several NOS employees were recognized with Bronze Medals, while two individuals received Distinguished Career Awards. We like to say that "Every day at NOAA is Earth Day"—and their outstanding contributions to ocean science and technology clearly demonstrate the truth of this maxim. Their names and accomplishments are listed below.

The Bronze Medal is the highest honor granted by the Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere and recognizes superior performance. The following are Bronze Medal awards that include NOS recipients (in bold).


Amy Holman

For fostering boundary-breaking partnerships among tribes, agencies, and researchers to promote coastal resilience in Alaska.


Cheryl Woodley

For exceptional leadership in rescuing and restoring threatened coral species in National Marine Sanctuaries and Parks, despite challenging lab conditions.


Christopher Barker; William Lehr; Amoreena MacFadyen; Caitlin O'Connor; Jeff Lankford; Debra Simecek-Beatty; David Wesley; George Graettinger; Robb Wright

For completely redesigning, updating, and integrating NOAA's oil spill response models and tools to efficiently support spill responders and planners.


Chris Mobley; Julie Bursek; Chris Caldow; Laura Francis; Shauna Bingham; Peter Etnoyer; Laura Kracker; Tim Battista; Elizabeth Mackie (OMAO); Nikolai Pawlenko (OMAO); Catalina Martinez (OAR)

For excellence in partnership-based seafloor mapping and education through deep sea exploration around Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary.


CAPT Richard Brennan (OMAO); Julia Powell; Jeff Ferguson; Grant Froelich; Megan Bartlett; Annemieke Raymond; Micah Wengren; Jenifer Rhoades; Peter Stone; Mark Jackson (NWS); William Forwood (NWS)

For strategically making harmonized, high quality, operational, environmental data available to support precision navigation in the Port of Long Beach.


CDR Ryan Kidder (OMAO); CDR Christian Sloan (OMAO); LCDR David Gothan (OMAO); LCDR Matthew Nardi (OMAO); LTJG Daniel Helmricks (OMAO); Michael Aslaksen, Jr.; Jason Woolard; Jon Sellars; Stephen White; Andrew Halbach

For personal and professional excellence in collecting and providing damage assessment imagery following Hurricane Matthew.


The Distinguished Career Award honors cumulative career achievement of sustained excellence, rather than a single defined accomplishment, in specific categories. In addition, this award recognizes significant accomplishments across all NOAA program areas and functions that have resulted in long-term benefits to our mission and strategic goals. Following are NOS recipients.


Maureen Kenny (Professional Achievement)

For sustained excellence as a selfless leader, transforming processes and resource management to empower NOAA colleagues in science and management.


Mary Baker (Scientific Achievement)

For excellence in leading and supporting more than 50 natural resource damage assessments in the course of 35 years, resulting in restoration of NOAA trust resources.


Thank you,

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

Ocean Etiquette

If you're heading to the coast for this Earth Day weekend, keep ocean etiquette in mind.

Around NOS

CO-OPS Field Team Repairs Visibility Sensor After Ship Strike

The CO-OPs Gulf Coast Field Team repaired the Pinto Island visibility station in Mobile Bay, part of the Mobile, Alabama Physical Oceanographic Real Time System (PORTS®). The team speedily installed a new bulkhead mount with minimal data interruption. The new mount is built to better withstand future ship strikes. PORTS like the one in Mobile help make maritime transportation safer and more efficient by integrating real-time environmental data (water levels, tides, currents, waves, salinity, bridge air gap) and meteorological parameters (winds, atmospheric pressure, air and water temperatures) with forecasts and other geospatial information, tailoring the output to the needs of local communities.

Contact: Richard.Bougerie@noaa.gov


NOAA Broadcasts Live Exploration of Deep-sea Habitats in Gulf of Mexico

Last week, scientists began a 23-day mission aboard NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer to collect baseline information on poorly understood deep-sea habitats in the Gulf of Mexico. The team is collecting data on areas identified by ocean management and scientific communities as priority exploration areas. Most of the gulf's deep waters are unexplored, but past explorations revealed a variety of habitats, including deep-sea coral gardens, submarine canyons, gas and oil seeps, mud volcanoes, and submerged cultural heritage sites. The telepresence-enabled expedition uses remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) to survey deepwater areas and broadcast high-definition video in real-time over the internet. NCCOS staff are co-leading the expedition's science activities and are providing live commentary of all ROV dives, scheduled to occur daily from April 12 to May 2. Follow the expedition by watching the live video feeds or visiting the expedition's website.

Contact: Daniel.Wagner@noaa.gov


Guam Leaders and Locals Unite in Coral Conservation

During this third International Year of the Reef, Guam officials recently also declared it the Guam Year of the Reef, pledging additional support for marine conservation in recognition of the countless ways reefs are critical to the island and its citizens. Tourism accounts for 60 percent of this tropical U.S. territory's business revenue, and at least $56 million pours into Guam's economy annually from scuba diving—all of which would be lost without corals. The year-long celebration, which will feature beach cleanups, festivals, and multiple training and educational events, aims to bring the importance of coral reefs to the forefront of leaders' and locals' minds. NOAA's CRCP was a founding member of the Year of the Reef Initiative.

Contact: Marybelle.Quinata@noaa.gov


Kid-Friendly Tool Demonstrates Role Estuaries Play in Water Filtration

Helping students and teachers understand the valuable role estuaries play in our daily lives is an important component of the National Estuarine Research Reserve System's mission. OCM created a new animation, "Estuaries: Nature's Water Filters," to engage and educate kids by demonstrating, in a fun way, how estuaries clean water as it flows from land to sea. The animation also features an interactive pollution game, which helps students understand what can cause decreased water quality and how their actions impact the health of estuaries. The reserve education coordinators will use this animation as a supplement to lessons in the Estuaries 101 curriculum, in presentations, and in exhibits.

Contact: Shannan.Lewinski@noaa.gov


Online Tool Lets Boaters Create Customized Nautical Charts

A prototype version of a powerful new online tool, NOAA Custom Chart, is now available for boaters and other nautical chart users. NOAA Custom Chart helps the maritime community find and use nautical charts that are most relevant to them. It lets boaters define the scale and paper size of custom-made nautical charts centered on a position they choose. NOAA Custom Chart creates a geospatially referenced PDF from the NOAA electronic navigational chart database, and users can download, view, and print the output. When fully developed, NOAA Custom Chart will be an easy way for boaters to create a paper or digital back-up for the electronic chart system or other GPS-enabled chart displays that they use on their boats.

Contact: Colby.Harmon@noaa.gov


OR&R Shares Insights on Science Communication

Recently, OR&R staff joined a panel of communication experts at the 2018 Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference to discuss effective science communication. Panelists gave a brief summary of activities, challenges, and successes associated with science communication, and answered  audience questions about ways to improve it. OR&R staff focused on the challenges that science communication practitioners face during environmental emergencies, such the  Deepwater Horizon oil spill, and highlighted the evolution of OR&R infographics and trajectory models.

Contact: Doug.Helton@noaa.gov


Commerce Department Bronze Medal Awarded to NGS Staff

Members of NGS's Remote Sensing Division received the Commerce Department's Bronze Medal for collecting and disseminating damage assessment imagery in the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew. The team collected over 11,000 image frames covering 5,600 square kilometers, and quickly made these images available to federal and state partner organizations as well as the public. These processed images were used to assess storm damage and plan recovery efforts. The award-winning team also included members of the Office of Marine and Aviation Operations.

Contact: Jon.Sellars@noaa.gov


Campaign Encourages Skilled Divers to Engage in Marine Debris Removal

The Florida Keys are still suffering from the catastrophic damage caused by Hurricane Irma. The storm left a significant amount of marine debris in its wake, presenting challenges to navigation, damaging the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary's (FKNMS) ecosystem, and severely impacting regional tourism and fisheries-based businesses. To spur the marine debris removal effort, FKNMS, the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation, NOAA Marine Debris Program, and others created "Goal: Clean Seas Florida Keys" to engage and incentivize certified Blue Star dive operators to locate and remove underwater marine debris and aid in restoration efforts in the FKNMS.

Contact: Marlies.Tumolo@noaa.gov


NOS Assistant Administrator
Assistant Administrator Portrait

Dr. Russell Callender
NOS Assistant Administrator

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