GCOOS News & Updates for January 2015

Greetings from GCOOS

In addition to the news items below, please visit our Website, http://gcoos.org, our real-time Data Portal, http://data.gcoos.org and Products page, http://gcoos.org/products/ for more information, data and products information.


Gulf of Mexico Coastal Ocean Observing System News 

Happy 10th Anniversary GCOOS-RA!

     2015 promises to be an exciting year in the Gulf of Mexico and happens to be the 10th Anniversary of the Gulf of Mexico Coastal Ocean Observing System Regional Association (GCOOS-RA)! Eleven signatories endorsed the first Memorandum of Agreement establishing the GCOOS-RA on 25 January 2005:
     "This MOA establishes the Gulf of Mexico Coastal Ocean Observing System Regional Association (GCOOS-RA). The GCOOS-RA is committed to (1) providing integrated, remotely sensed and in situ information about the northern Gulf of Mexico coastal region and related ecosystems in real or near real time for use by researchers, managers, military, industry, educators and others seeking to understand this coastal environment, manage ocean and littoral resources, and develop commercial uses of marine resources, data and information; (2) developing new sensor technologies; and (3) stimulating innovation and supporting commerce. It will be a component of a national ocean observing system."    
     The signatories included:
Robert "Buzz" Martin, Jr. for the Texas General Land Office
Norman Guinasso for the Texas A&M University (TAMU) Geochemical and Environmental Research Group/Texas Automated Buoy System
Thomas McGee for the Gulf of Mexico Hydrates Research Consortium
Pat Hogan for Naval Research Laboratory
Worth Nowlin as an Individual
John MacLeod of Evans Hamilton Inc.
Wilford Gardner for TAMU Department of Oceanography
Neil Trenaman for RD Instruments
Mark Luther for Tampa Bay PORTS
Sherryl Gilbert for The Alliance for Coastal Technologies
Michael Spranger for Florida Sea Grant
      Throughout 2015, the GCOOS-RA will celebrate the 10th Anniversary by holding special topic webinars and contests, publishing articles, sharing images and videos, and hosting a special celebration at the GCOOS-RA Board and Members meeting on 11-12 March, 2015 at the Pavillion Hotel, New Orleans, LA.
      If you have stories or photos you would like to share as part of the GCOOS-RA 10th Anniversary celebrations, please send them to stephanie.watson@gcoos.org. For more on our anniversary please see http://gcoos.tamu.edu/?p=8787

Request for Nominations of Directors of the GCOOS-RA Board

     The Membership Committee of the Gulf of Mexico Coastal Ocean Observing System Regional Association (GCOOS-RA) is seeking nominations of persons willing to serve on our Board of Directors. We are seeking individuals interested in and committed to working within an organization dedicated to provide data, information and products on a non-discriminatory basis to the Gulf of Mexico "stakeholder" community that includes, but is not limited to, the private sector, governmental agencies at all levels, academia and researchers, non-governmental organizations, and the general public. We believe that this goal will help improve the quality of life of residents and visitors to the Gulf of Mexico, improve safety and efficiency of marine operations, improve resilience to natural hazards and environmental disasters, preserve and restore healthy marine ecosystems, maintain homeland security and sustain renewable and non-renewable marine resources. The Corporation can only be effective and meet stakeholder needs if the 17-member Board is comprised of energetic persons committed to achieving the Corporation's goals. For the full call for nominations, see http://gcoos.tamu.edu/?p=5878. For more information regarding the activities of the Board, including copies of the minutes of past meetings, please visit http://www.gcoos.org and follow the link to Meeting Reports under the About Us tab.

Integrated Tracking of Aquatic Animals in the Gulf of Mexico (iTAG) - Learn more and help out!

iTAG Update - It has been eight months since the Integrated Tracking of Aquatic Animals in the Gulf of Mexico (iTAG) workshop was held at the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation (FWC), Florida Fish and Wildlife Research Institute in St. Petersburg, FL (see the May 2014 meeting report at http://gcoos.tamu.edu/?page_id=6714). Since that time, significant progress has been made toward developing a web-based tool to support a regional animal telemetry network in the Gulf of Mexico. As, one example, Bob Currier, GCOOS-RA Data Product Developer, has programmed a beta interactive map product to host "orphan tags" (tags that are picked up on a researcher's monitoring network that is not their own) and facilitate data sharing by integrating regional data and data from other telemetry networks, such as the developing U.S. Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS) Animal Telemetry Network. Read more at http://gcoos.tamu.edu/?p=8777.

UTag for ITAG - Development of a beta product by the GCOOS-RA to promote the integration of telemetry data in the Gulf of Mexico is one positive outcome of the May 2014 iTAG workshop. Another is the development of a joint Gulf of Mexico effort with Dr. Fred Whoriskey, Executive Director of Canada's Ocean Tracking Network (OTN). OTN has a program whereby they are able to loan acoustic receivers to interested parties. The catch is that those using them must provide their own transmission tags. The iTAG Steering Committee, including Chair, Dr. Sue Barbieri at FWC, and GCOOS-RA Executive Director, Dr. Barb Kirkpatrick, has been working to find funds to purchase tags to support projects in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary (NMS), Flower Garden Banks NMS, and off the coast of southern Texas. Enter eight-year old Cory Diaz, Bay Point Elementary School third-grade student and creator of the UTag for iTAG project. When she learned that the Gulf would receive $500,000 in acoustic receivers if they could find money for tags, she set to work raising money to buy tags for her school community service project.  When asked what inspired her to create the UTag for iTAG campaign, she simply stated, "I wanted to do something good for the ocean. I love the ocean and all the animals in it and I don't want them getting hurt anymore. I started this project to put the "U" and "me" in iTAG!" Cory's target goal is $20,000 and her full press campaign is just getting underway. "Tags are expensive," she stated. You can support this effort by donating at


GCOOS-RA Members Appointed to National Academy of Sciences (NAS) Advisory Council for the Gulf Research Program

     Four members of the Gulf of Mexico Coastal Ocean Observing System Regional Association (GCOOS-RA) have been appointed to the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) Gulf Research Program.

     The Gulf Research Program was created after the 2010 explosion of the Deepwater Horizon caused the largest marine offshore oil spill in U.S. history. The Program will receive $500 million in penalties paid by the companies involved in the spill, to be held in an independent endowment and used over 30 years. The goal is to establish programs and support research that enhances oil system safety, human health and environmental resources in the Gulf of Mexico and other continental shelf regions that support oil and gas production.

     In 2013, a volunteer advisory group and NAS Gulf Research Program staff held public meetings to develop a strategic research plan for the Gulf - outlining the organization's mission and goals (http://www.nas.edu/gulf/about/index.html)  Now, this new Advisory Board's goal is to implement the Program's strategic plan. Read more at http://gcoos.tamu.edu/?p=8722


National Hurricane Museum and Science Center Receives Gifts Totaling $1 Million from State Farm� and Entergy�      

Photo by Tim Osborn, NOAA.

Two $500,000 gifts bring dream of national museum two giant steps closer to reality (material reprinted from NHMSC). On 2 December 2014, two major companies, State Farm� and Entergy�, generously gifted $1 Million total to the development of the National Hurricane Museum and Science Center in Baton Rouge, LA. The National Hurricane Museum and Science Center, as the name suggests, is a hybrid organization: part museum because it will chronicle the history and social meanings of hurricanes through collections and archives; with a larger emphasis on the science center and educational aspects, because it will use interactive and immersive experiences to explore the science and impacts of hurricanes as powerful forces of nature. Read more about the event at http://gcoos.tamu.edu/?p=8743

Gulf Restoration News 

Science Review Concluding on Proposals to the RESTORE Council

     Science reviewers are just completing proposal reviews for the RESTORE Council. To see the submitted proposals, visit http://www.restorethegulf.gov/release/2014/12/01/read-council-selected-restoration-component-proposals


NOAA RESTORE Federal Funding Opportunity - LOI Due 30 January 2015

     The NOAA RESTORE Act Science Program released its first federal funding opportunity (FFO-2015) on 17 December 2014 (click here for full announcement).  The program is seeking proposals that will produce timely and high-quality scientific results that may be used to develop management strategies to support the sustainability of the Gulf of Mexico ecosystem, including its fisheries. The projects supported by this opportunity will synthesize current scientific understanding and management needs and inform the future direction of the NOAA RESTORE Act Science Program as well as other science and restoration initiatives in the Gulf of Mexico region. Additional information about FFO-2015 including an overview and frequently asked questions can be found on the program's website.



     Selection(s) of the Texas RESTORE Center(s) of Excellence will be announced soon. For more details and to submit projects to multiple Texas restoration funding sources, visit https://www.restorethetexascoast.org/.



     Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority and The Water Institute of the Gulf extend deadline for Coastal Innovation Partnership Program to 20 January 2015, 12 pm. Read more at http://thewaterinstitute.org/innovation.

Wondering what five proposals Louisiana submitted to the RESTORE Council? Read about them at http://wwno.org/post/coastal-rundown-louisiana-restore-project-proposals.



     The State of Mississippi has submitted three proposals to the RESTORE Council. Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality has also posted a solicitation for statements of engineering qualifications for the Hancock County Marsh Living Shorelines Project. Mississippi awarded $28M from NFWF for 3 restoration projects. Find out more at http://www.restore.ms.



     The Alabama Gulf Coast Recovery Council (AGCRC) released its Draft Project Selection Process Framework for First Round MIP Development for public comment. The 30-day public comment period will end on 18 January 2015. To view the Draft Project Selection Process Framework for First Round MIP Development please see http://www.restorealabama.org/documents/MIP%20Proposed%20Process%20Flow%20Chart.pdf. Comments may be submitted online to agcrc@dcnr.alabama.gov or mailed to the Alabama Gulf Coast Recovery Council, 118 N. Royal Street, Suite 603, Mobile, AL 36602.

     The AGCRC released its Center of Excellence Research Grants Programs Draft Solicitation for Proposals and Competitive Process for Selection for public comment. The 45-day public comment period will end on 2 February 2015. To view the proposed documents please visit
http://www.restorealabama.org/Documents/COE%20SFP%20Competitive%20Process%20final.pdf. Comments may be submitted online to agcrc@dcnr.alabama.gov or mailed to the Alabama Gulf Coast Recovery Council, 118 N. Royal Street, Suite 603, Mobile, AL 36602.



     Some upcoming Florida events and opportunities related to the RESTORE Act:
Florida Gulf Consortium/Florida DEP RESTORE meeting - 21 January 2015, 1 pm Eastern, FL DEP, Tallahassee, FL, http://www.fl-counties.com/advocacy/gulf-consortium 
Bay County seeks RESTORE Assistant -http://www.newsherald.com/news/government/bay-county-seeks-restore-assistant-1.420418

To submit and see restoration-related proposals, visit http://www.dep.state.fl.us/deepwaterhorizon/projects_restore_act.htm


NAS Gulf Research Program Exploratory Grants - LOI due 29 January 2015

For more information, see http://www.nas.edu/gulf/grants/index.html


NFWF Gulf Environmental Benefit Program

     For information on Round Two restoration projects, see http://www.nfwf.org/whoweare/mediacenter/pr/Pages/gulf-main-pr-14-1117.aspx#.VLFmZmTF8Sc

Gulf of Mexico Regional News 

Gulf of Mexico Alliance Announces Changes to Priority Issue Teams

     The GOMA Alliance Management Team has recently decided to adjust the priorities supported by the GOMA partnership. Important to note: none of the existing focus areas are eliminated, but may be redistributed within the new team structure. For more information, see http://www.gulfofmexicoalliance.org/our-priorities/changes-for-goma-priority-issue-teams/.


Bureau of Ocean Energy Management Studies Find 100 New Species in the Gulf of Mexico

     Read more about the report, "Investigations of Chemosynthetic Communities on the Lower Continental Slope of the Gulf of Mexico" at  http://www.boem.gov/press12162014/.

IOOS/National/Legislative News 

Marine Technology Society and House Ocean Caucus and Technology Transfer Caucus to hold Capitol Hill Briefing on "Technology Transfer for the Blue Economy: Opportunities for Growing the Economy and Employment" - 20 January, 2015.

Read the invitation at https://www.mtsociety.org/Images/Marketing/15MTS_HillBriefing-01202015.jpg.


Integrated Ocean Observing Committee 2014 Update from Consortium for Ocean Leadership (Dec. 2014) http://oceanleadership.org/program-updates-year-review-2014/4/#top


Ocean Observatories Initiative 2014 Update from Consortium for Ocean Leadership (Dec. 2014) http://oceanleadership.org/program-updates-year-review-2014/5/#top


Call for Nominations: International Ocean Discovery Program Chair - Nomination Deadline 31 January 2015



U.S. Approaching Tipping Points for Sea Level-Rise Related Flooding
Read about it at http://news.agu.org/press-release/u-s-approaching-tipping-points-for-sea-level-rise-related-flooding-earlier-than-expected/.

Employment Opportunities 

NAS Gulf Research Program Early Career Fellowships


Funding Opportunities 

See items in Gulf Restoration News.

Current Events and Meetings 



"Florida Gulf Consortium RESTORE Meeting", 21 January 2015, Tallahassee, FL 


"Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority Board Meeting", 9:30 AM 21 January 2015, Louisiana State Capitol, House Committee Room 6, 900 North Third St., Baton Rouge, LA.



"National Ocean Sciences Bowl Regionals", 7-28 February 2015

"Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill & Ecosystem Science Conference", 16-19 February 2015, Westin Galleria Hotel, Houston, TX. 

March 2015

"GCOOS-RA Board of Directors and Members Meeting", 11-12 March 2015. New Orleans, LA.

May 2015

"2015 Southeast Coastal Ocean Observing Regional Association Annual Meeting", 19-20 May 2015, Jacksonville, FL

Updates will be available 

June 2015

 "GOMA All-Hands Meeting", 16-18 June 2015, Biloxi, MS 

GCOOS is the Gulf of Mexico regional component of the U.S. Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS).  Our mission is to provide timely, reliable, and accurate information on the open and coastal ocean waters of the Gulf of Mexico to ensure a healthy, clean, productive ocean and resilient coastal zone. Your input, guidance, support, and membership are important to the development of the data, products and services that you need. Contact the  GCOOS Business Office  (info@gcoos.org), to become a GCOOS member and for more information. We welcome your feedback and ideas for relevant news items.  Please email your feedback and ideas to Laura Caldwell (lsura.caldwell@gcoos.org). 
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