NOAA's National Ocean Service
Fiscal Year 2011 Annual Report

Did you know that more than half of us live in coastal areas and that these areas generate 57 percent of our nation's Gross Domestic Product? That 13 million Americans have jobs that rely on commercial ports? Or that U.S. coral reefs provide approximately $1.1 billion annually to our economy? Without question, the health of our coasts is connected to the health of our economy.

At NOAA's National Ocean Service, we translate science, tools, and services into action to address threats facing our ocean and coasts. In fiscal year 2011, we continued working towards healthy coasts and healthy economies.


A Few Highlights from Fiscal Year 2011

$117 million. That’s the total tally for nine natural resource damage settlements reached by NOAA and co-trustees in 2011. The total brought in by NOAA’s Damage Assessment, Remediation, and Restoration Program since it was formed 20 years ago? $600 million to restore injured resources.

1,483 aerial images. That’s how many photos NOS collected of Joplin, Missouri, after the deadliest single tornado in U.S. history for more than half a century devastated the area. These images provided emergency officials with the information they needed to develop recovery strategies, facilitate search-and-rescue efforts, and assess damages.

Safer seafood. That’s the product of a NOAA technology to detect toxins from harmful algae in shellfish. In fiscal year 2011, the International Atomic Energy Agency signed an agreement to use the technology worldwide to assure that toxins detrimental to fisheries, human health, and international trade are below regulatory limits in shellfish.

72 tide stations. That’s the number of NOS water-level stations in the Pacific that provided up-to-the-minute data critical for tsunami detection and warnings for at-risk states and territories after a powerful earthquake in Japan triggered a devastating tsunami.

188 years. That’s how long the famous 1800s Nantucket whaling ship, Two Brothers, lay undiscovered on the seafloor nearly 600 miles northwest of Honolulu, Hawaii. In fiscal year 2011, maritime archaeologists working with NOS found the nationally significant wreck in the remote Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument.

200 linear nautical miles. That’s the total area NOS surveyed in 48 hours in Hampton Roads, Virginia, after Hurricane Irene roared up the East Coast. Data collected during these hydrographic surveys allowed the port, which handles an average of $5 million in cargo every hour, to lift vessel restrictions and resume shipping.

Hundreds of wind energy jobs. That’s what could result from an innovative new ocean management plan for Rhode Island which balances offshore energy development with transportation, fishing, recreation, and environmental protection. During fiscal year 2011, NOS approved incorporation of the plan into the state’s coastal zone management program.

448 coastal counties. That’s the number of counties – from 30 states – for which you'll find coastal and economic data and statistics through NOS’s Economics National Ocean Watch (E-NOW). You can access E-NOW via NOAA’s Digital Coast.

70 percent. That’s how much faster the new Data Collections Service tool, developed by NOS and the U.S. Integrated Ocean Observing System, can process data files from NOS tide stations. The tool also allows retrieval of the latest water-level observations as a collection from multiple stations versus a single station and data retrieval using the tool is twice as fast.


This information provides only a snapshot of what we’ve been up to in the last fiscal year. Get the full picture by browsing our office accomplishments.

NOS at a Glance

With program and staff offices covering a broad range of topics, the diversity of expertise within the National Ocean Service is one of our greatest strengths.  Bringing together scientists, natural resource managers, and other specialists, NOS is well equipped to support coastal communities, promote a robust economy, and protect coastal and marine ecosystems.

National Ocean Service offices include:


NOS Leadership

David Kennedy
Assistant Administrator

Dr. Holly Bamford
Deputy Assistant Administrator

David Holst
Chief of Staff

Chris Cartwright
Chief Financial Officer