The Gulf of Mexico Coastal Ocean Observing System Regional Association (GCOOS-RA) welcomed four new voting members representing marine-related industries during the organization's Annual Meeting in New Orleans. GCOOS staff and grantees also provided activity highlights from the last year.
GCOOS is the Gulf of Mexico regional component of the U.S. Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS) and the heart of data collection for the ocean and coastal waters of the Gulf. The organization collects thousands of data points from sensors and ensures they are reliable, timely and accurate before disseminating the information to users (gcoos.org/products) and is the only comprehensive data collection and dissemination center for coastal and ocean data in the Gulf.
"We've had an extremely busy and successful year," said William Lingsch, Chairman of the GCOOS Board of Directors. "The data GCOOS and its partners provide supports the tools and technology that help protect public health, ensure emergency preparedness, safe and efficient navigation and jobs tied to the blue economy. For instance, this year, our members provided critical data during record rainfall that led to major Louisiana flooding and investigated the unusual die-off in bottom-dwelling organisms in the Flower Garden Banks off the Texas coast. GCOOS also plays a critical role in gathering and disseminating data about ocean weather conditions and monitoring things like the annual hypoxic zone at the mouth of the Mississippi River. The positive outcomes and impacts from the information that GCOOS provides and how the data improves lives on the Gulf coast are numerous."
Dr. Barbara Kirkpatrick, GCOOS Executive Director, outlined highlights of organization's activities in 2016-2017, which included:
- Developing a new Strategic Plan
- Calling attention to the need for expanded ocean observing tools in the Gulf through targeted public outreach
- Sponsoring the first national workshop for underwater robots (gliders) for users
- Working with the National Academies of Science to identify ongoing monitoring needs in the Gulf and understanding the Loop Current
- Developing educational products that can be used by formal and informal science teachers in each of the five Gulf states (available here later this month)
- Managing data for Gulf restoration-funded projects
Members who attended the meeting also heard updates from Carl Gouldman, new IOOS office Program Director, Josie Quintrell, Director of the IOOS Association Program, Dr. William Burnett, Navy Meteorology and Oceanography Command and the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine's Gulf Research Program. Other updates were provided by representatives of the University of South Florida, the University of Southern Mississippi, the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation and Mote Marine Laboratory.
GCOOS leverages a small budget -- just $2 million -- into big results by coordinating information gathered by federal, state and private partners running nearly 2,000 sensors in coastal waters to the deep ocean. The organization ensures that all data is timely, reliable, accurate and available to everyone -- from weather forecasters to Coast Guard first responders -- to ensure a healthy, productive ocean and resilient coastal communities for the Gulf's 14 million residents and the $234 billion annual economic benefit it provides to the U.S. economy.
GCOOS has 146 voting and non-voting members that come from industry, academia, state and federal government agencies as well as non-governmental organizations. During the March 23 meeting, the organization welcomed these four new industry members:
- CB&I Coastal and Maritime Services. CB&I is a leading provider of technology and infrastructure for the energy industry, performing marine surveys and ocean measurements to support new capital projects or ongoing operations at sea and providing simulation and design services for a range of coastal and navigation needs. www.cbi.com
- Fototerra Aerial Survey, LLC. Fototerra is a Brazilian geo-information technology company founded in 1993 with leading competence and expertise in airborne-captured geographic data acquisition, offshore geodesic and solution provider in all areas of topographic and thematic data processing, including software development and GIS solutions. fototerra.com.br/ingles/index.php
- Horizon Marine-CLS. Horizon Marine is an oceanographic services company whose core business is focused on operational and environmental monitoring and forecasting ocean currents in support of the offshore energy industry. It provides data-driven metocean forecasting for the offshore energy industry to improve situational awareness, reduce downtime, protect the environment and enhance safety. www.horizonmarine.com
- JASCO Applied Sciences USA, Inc. JASCO Applied Sciences provides consulting and research services for assessing and mitigating underwater noise. Since its origin in 1981, JASCO has been developing and implementing acoustic technologies ranging from advanced acoustic recorder design to complex acoustic modeling algorithms to comprehensive field monitoring and data analysis. JASCO provides services for all stages of environmental reviews and assessments of underwater noise, working with the oil and gas, marine construction, energy, fisheries and defense sectors. www.jasco.com
Dr. William Burnett, Navy Meteorology and Oceanography Command provides an update on glider operational testing facilities in the Gulf of Mexico.
|GCOOS Board of Directors (from the left): Nancy Rabalais, Louisiana State University; David Driver, BP America, Inc.; Jean May-Brett, Louisiana Department of Education (retired); Mike Spranger, University of Florida; Barbara Kirkpatrick, GCOOS Executive Director; Terry McPherson, LMI; Sara Graves, University of Alabama Huntsville; Board Chairman William Lingsch, Vencore Services and Solutions, Inc.; Stephan Howden, University of Southern Mississippi; Joe Swaykos, NOAA National Data Buoy Center; Steven Buschang, Texas General Land Office; Gary Jeffress, Texas A&M University -- Corpus Christi. (Not pictured: Jan van Smirren BMT Group; Ruth Perry, Shell Exploration & Production Company; Alyssa Dausman, Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council; Pat Hogan, Naval Research Laboratory)