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Weekly News: April 2006
April 2006

April 28, 2006
April 21, 2006
April 14, 2006
April 7, 2006

April 28, 2006


NOS Project Used to Develop Policies in South Carolina
A South Carolina legislative committee recently unanimously approved protective marsh island regulations, based in part on data from the South Carolina Marsh Islands project of NOAA's Coastal Services Center (CSC). Regulations governing access to these islands has been discussed for several years. The South Carolina Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management partnered with CSC and the State's Department of Natural Resources to map and document the 3,400 small marsh islands in South Carolina's public trust tidelands.  Results of this partnership helped to support the decision to protect the marsh islands. For more information about the project, visit or contact


Improving Florida Harmful Algal Bloom Forecasts

Last week, two new underwater gliders were deployed in Florida to detect blooms of the toxic algae, Karenia brevis, commonly known as "Florida Red Tide."  The gliders were deployed as part of a collaboration between the National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science (NCCOS) Center for Coastal Monitoring and Assessment and the Mote Marine Laboratory.  The two NOAA gliders join a third glider (that is funded by the State of Florida) to begin collecting oceanographic data and monitoring for harmful algae using an instrument called the "BreveBuster."  The current glider project is part of a larger program to improve NOAA’s contributions to the Integrated Ocean Observing System, by demonstrating effective new monitoring capabilities.  The gliders have no propellers, are capable of remaining deployed unattended for up to three weeks, and are expected to provide key data on bloom locations.  Glider data will improve the accuracy of NOAA's operational Harmful Algal Bloom Forecast System for Florida.  Blooms of Karenia brevis, which Florida routinely experiences, can cause human respiratory distress, toxic shellfish, animal mortality, water discoloration, massive fish kills, and losses to the tourism revenues of the state.  For more information, contact,, or


Mapping Shipwrecks in the Florida Keys

From April 23 to May 1, 2006, archaeologists from the NOAA National Marine Sanctuary Program are creating a new method for documenting shipwrecks during a mission to the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary Shipwreck Trail.  The team will create high-resolution photo-mosaics of the following shipwrecks: the City of Washington; Benwood; Adelaide Baker Cluster A and B; North America; and San Pedro, which was a ship from the 1733 Spanish treasure fleet. Archaeologists will "fly" over the shipwreck while high-resolution cameras on a propulsion sled capture images of the shipwreck below. These images will later be pieced together with computer software, much like a giant jigsaw puzzle, creating a highly detailed photo-mosaic of the site. The photo-mosaics will provide archaeological data that will serve as a baseline to gauge the affects of hurricanes and other natural and human impacts on these historic treasures over time. Images taken during the project will also allow researchers and the public to view these shipwrecks in their entirety on the seafloor for the first time. The Shipwreck Trail provides information on nine different shipwreck sites, covering many ship types and historical periods. Presently, the trail relies on sketch maps to portray these fascinating sites.  The new photo-mosaic images will allow the public and divers to view these wrecks in unprecedented detail.  For more information, visit the following site:



April 21, 2006


New Aquaculture System Saves Money and the Environment

Researchers from the National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science recently unveiled a new aquaculture system which saves money and reduces environmental impacts. The new design, installed at the Center for Coastal Fisheries and Habitat Research, uses a computer-assisted control to match seawater pumping rate with demand.  This capability significantly reduces electricity consumption and seawater spill over. This technology will be beneficial to aquaculture operations seeking to reduce costs and environmental impacts associated with extracting large amounts of water from nearby estuaries. For more information, contact


Office of Coast Survey Aids Coast Guard in New Jersey Grounding

On April 15, the U.S. Coast Guard and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers contacted the Office of Coast Survey for assistance in surveying the Kill Van Kull Channel at Bergen Point, New Jersey, after the grounding of the M/V NEW DEHLI EXPRESS.  NOAA Navigation Response Team 5 conducted side scan sonar and multibeam surveys in the area.  No evidence of shoaling or obstructions were found. Surveying to verify clear waters or locate obstructions after a natural or man-made disaster is critical to reopening ports or waterways, to ensure safe passage.  For more information, contact


Special Hurricane Edition of Coastal Services

The May/June 2006 edition of Coastal Services examines the impacts of hurricanes over the past two years on coastal resource managers in the Gulf Coast. Articles in this edition look at managers’ experiences during Hurricane Katrina, impacts of the 2004 and 2005 hurricane seasons on coastal management jobs, and lessons learned over the past two years. This special hurricane edition of the magazine will be distributed April 26. Coastal Services is a national trade journal for coastal resource managers published by NOAA’s Coastal Services Center. For more information or to receive a copy, contact



April 14, 2006


Harmful Algal Bloom Forecasting System in Texas

Texas experiences events known as harmful algal blooms (HABs, or "red tides"), caused by toxic, single-celled organisms called dinoflagellates (Karenia brevis).  These events can cause fish kills, shellfish bed closures, and respiratory irritation in humans, and advanced warning of HABs would allow coastal managers to take actions to help offset some of these impacts.  To address this, the National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science (NCCOS) is developing a HAB forecasting capability for Texas, similar to that provided for Florida through NOAA's HAB Forecast System.  This forecasting system will use data from satellites, in situ sampling and transport models to forecast impacts of Karenia brevis blooms on Texas beaches.  NCCOS scientists recently presented the proposed system to local state and university scientists in College Station, Texas, in an effort to explain project goals and to identify the needs of local managers. It is estimated that this system will become operational in Fall, 2006.  For more information, contact or


Biogeographic Assessment of Offshore Southern California Released

The National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science and the National Marine Sanctuary Program concluded a three-year collaboration to compile and assess information on the distribution of marine flora, fauna, and physical oceanography surrounding the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary in southern California.  The results of this effort are available in a report titled: A Biogeographic Assessment of the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary.  This report is one of the most comprehensive efforts undertaken to understand large-scale marine biogeography.  The collected information will support ecosystem approaches to management as well as supporting regional marine science and education efforts.  Copies of the report and data used in the report can be requested or downloaded from the project Web site, at:  For more information, contact


GIS Helping in Emergency Decision Making

At the 2006 National Hurricane Conference, NOAA's Coastal Services Center (CSC) highlighted the benefits and applications of geographic information system (GIS) in emergency decision making. CSC and other conference attendees highlighted tools that emergency mangers can use to prepare for, respond to, and recovery from hurricanes, flooding, and other hurricane hazards. In addition to educating attendees on hurricane tools, the conference featured other valuable tools, software, Web applications, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA) hurricane lab. For more information on how NOAA is supporting hazard mitigation, contact or



April 7, 2006


NOAA Supports Partnerships to Improve Gulf of Mexico Ecosystem

Governors from the five Gulf of Mexico states recently unveiled the Action Plan for Healthy and Resilient Coasts, which will help guide science conducted in the Gulf of Mexico and serve as a national example of regional stewardship and environmental management. NOAA worked with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to co-lead the Gulf of Mexico Regional Partnership Federal Workgroup and coordinate federal support for the Gulf of Mexico Alliance of Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas.  The Action Plan commits the Gulf States to partner with each other, federal agencies, and other organizations to address water quality, wetland conservation and restoration, environmental education, habitat characterization, and nutrient reduction. The plan is the culmination of almost two years of work in which NOAA played a key role. It was presented at the State of the Gulf of Mexico Summit 2006 in Corpus Christi, Texas on March 28, 2006. The plan is available online at:  For more information, contact,, or


Great Lakes Operational Coastal Forecast System Completed

The Center for Operational Oceanographic Products and Services (CO-OPS) recently implemented three new operational coastal forecast systems for the Great Lakes. These new systems cover the lakes of Superior, Huron, and Ontario and provide lake carriers, mariners, port managers, emergency response teams, and recreational boaters with present and future conditions of water levels, water currents, and water temperatures.  Together with CO-OPS operational systems for Lakes Erie and Michigan, which were implemented in October 2005, the new systems complete the Great Lakes Operational Forecast System (GLOFS).  CO-OPS maintains GLOFS in an operational environment 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Nowcast (for present conditions) and forecast guidance (out to 30 hours) products are generated by a three-dimensional hydrodynamic model that uses information, including real-time data and forecast guidance winds, water levels, and other meteorological parameters, to predict water levels, currents, and temperatures at thousands of locations throughout the five Great Lakes. For additional information, contact (CO-OPS/ operations), (Office of Coast Survey/development) and (GLERL/research).   Operational products for each lake can be accessed online at:


New Flood Hazard Assessment Tool Developed for Hawaii
A Web-based flood hazard assessment tool was recently delivered to officials of the County of Kauai, Hawaii, which has recently experienced devastating floods.  This tool allows officials to rapidly determine multi-hazard flood risk for any location on the island. By entering ownership information or an address, any county staff member is able to determine if a property is within a tsunami evacuation zone, is susceptible to coastal erosion, or intersects a Federal Emergency Management Agency defined flood zone. Broadening access to improved flood hazard information supports local decision making and reduces the time and cost of determining flood hazard risks. The tool was delivered by NOAA's Pacific Services Center and Coastal Services Center. For more information, contact or


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