December 12, 2013
As I have noted before, I am truly grateful to be working in an organization like NOS. Every day, I witness the commitment, integrity, and enthusiasm for the work you do. However, it is your generosity during this busy time of year that I'd like to highlight today.
NOS employees continue to demonstrate their heartfelt generosity by volunteering to support the Combined Federal Campaign (CFC). CFC is the world's largest and most successful annual workplace charity campaign. It raises millions of dollars to support non-profit organizations throughout the world. NOAA alone has already pledged over $360,000 in 2013.
For those who have not had a chance to make a donation, please consider doing so and know that every dollar counts. Even the smallest amount can help someone who is in need or is facing hardship. If you have a question about the process, see your office's Keyworker. They can provide you with the information you need to contribute through a payroll deduction or provide you with a pledge card.
Holly A. Bamford, Ph.D.
National Ocean Service
NOAA's National Marine Protected Areas (MPA) Center recently released a new report on the state of MPAs in the U.S. that provides a snapshot of the coverage, level of protection, protected resources, and ecological representativeness of MPAs around the nation.
Researchers in Hawaii are now receiving GPS-derived elevation data for anchialine pools (landlocked bodies of water tidally influenced through subterranean connections) along Hawaii's west coast. These data aid managers and researchers in determining how climate change—especially sea level rise—impacts the pools and if elevation is tied to population range. This information is essential to adaptively manage and accurately assess the impact of climate change. The effort was initiated by the Hawaiian Islands Sentinel Site Cooperative under the guidance of the National Geodetic Survey regional geodetic advisor and through funding from the Coastal Storms Program. NOAA partners include the National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service; NOAA Corps; and the NOAA Coastal Services Center. Local partners include The Nature Conservancy, the National Energy Laboratory of Hawaii Authority, and the National Park Service. For more information, contact Douglas Harper.
In October, the Office of Coast Survey (OCS) announced that the federal government would stop printing lithographic paper nautical charts in April, 2014. Coast Survey is pursuing an aggressive public education campaign to ease the transition to "print-on-demand" paper charts for commercial mariners, and especially for recreational boaters who may not have access to more extensive industry information. This week's installment was a blog post that provides some historical background while reassuring boaters that they will continue to have access to paper charts. This post follows earlier announcements about the new availability of free PDF nautical charts, initially on a trial basis. For more information, contact Dawn Forsythe.
In late November, a Puerto Rico man pleaded guilty to a felony violation of the Lacey Act for selling meat and carapaces from threatened and endangered sea turtles in 2009–2010. He will be sentenced in February and faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The FBI and NOAA's Office of Law Enforcement snared the poacher during a joint undercover investigation and sent samples of meat and photos of carapaces to the National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science's Marine Forensics Program for species identification. Morphological analysis confirmed that the carapaces were hawksbill turtle, and DNA revealed that the meat was from at least two hawksbills and one green turtle. Green sea turtles are prized for their meat and fat, and hawksbills for the "tortoiseshell" they produce. For more information, contact Kathy Moore.
Data from current and recently completed glider missions in California are now available online. The Central and Northern California region of the U.S. Integrated Ocean Observing System operates spray gliders collaboratively with the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute and the Scripps Institute of Oceanography, with funding from NOAA and the State of California. Real-time data from current and prior glider missions are available. Typically, the gliders sample physical ocean conditions, including water temperature, salinity, and chlorophyll fluorescence, from the surface to 500 meters in depth. Online real-time and retrospective data access fosters a better understanding of the changes happening in our oceans and coasts so that decision makers can take action to improve safety, enhance the economy, and protect our environment. For more information, contact Jennie Lyons.
Thanks to a partnership between the Center for Operational Oceanographic Products and Services (CO-OPS) and the Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS), the American Samoa Nearshore Sensor is in the water and serving near real-time data. CO-OPS assisted the Pacific Islands Ocean Observing System (PacIOOS) in the mounting, design, and installation of the water quality sensor while conducting routine maintenance on a nearby water level station. The sensor collects local water quality data every four minutes. Data from the American Samoa sensor is available online via PacIOOS Voyager and the PacIOOS Water Quality Platforms. These data are essential for a variety of users including agencies, planners, mariners, and the general public. For more information, contact Rolin Meyer (CO-OPS) or Rob Ragsdale (IOOS).
On Dec. 3, NOAA's Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary education staff led a teacher workshop for the Explore Ecology Student Ocean Stewards program, which is funded through the California Bay Watershed Education and Training program. Twenty-five teachers from Santa Barbara-area elementary schools participated in the workshop, which included a sanctuary overview, an introduction to the NOAA Adopt-a-Drifter Program, and hands-on activities related to ocean acidification. During the workshop, teachers viewed NOAA drifter buoys and signed NOAA stickers with their school names to affix to the drifters. A partner school in Sayulita, Mexico, has also adopted the drifters. Once the buoys are deployed in January, participating students will track the drifters online, and teachers will develop lesson plans using the tracking information. For more information, contact Laura Francis.
The National Geodetic Survey (NGS) contributed sessions, papers, and analyses at the 46th Annual American Geophysical Union (AGU) meeting in San Francisco from December 9-13. Topics included gravity collection activities and applications, aerial and terrestrial surveys to improve the geoid, and improvements to the Global Navigation Satellite System. NGS also provided sessions on its Gravity for the Redefinition of the American Vertical Datum project. The AGU annual meeting brings together more than 21,000 geoscientists from all corners of the globe. For more information, contact Dru Smith.
Under the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act, chemical facilities with certain quantities of extremely hazardous substances must annually submit facility information to local authorities to aid in emergency planning and response. To facilitate this process, updated versions of Tier2 Submit and CAMEOfm (Computer-Aided Management of Emergency Operations) were recently released that incorporate 2013 updates to the 'Tier II' form typically used to meet the reporting requirement. Tier2 Submit—NOAA/Environmental Protection Agency software used by more than 20 states and territories—provides a way for facilities to electronically complete and submit the required documents. Tier2 Submit files can then be imported into the CAMEOfm database application. CAMEOfm users can also enter other emergency response and planning information into the database, such as details on past incidents or locations (e.g., hospitals and schools) that might require additional resources during a chemical incident. For more information, contact Mark Miller.