GCOOS News & Updates for October 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.

Greetings! As we move into the fall -- and the end of the year -- we're closing out our 10th Anniversary at GCOOS. We have had much to celebrate during this milestone anniversary year, but especially the commitment of all the GCOOS members, stakeholders, partners and supporters to developing a robust observing system in the Gulf. Certainly, we've faced many challenges over the past 10 years, but I hope you'll enjoy celebrating our many accomplishments by reviewing our 10th Anniversary Report.

News from GCOOS HQ

Dr. Mark Luther, USF; Dr. Barbara Kirkpatrick, GCOOS, Paul Matthews on behalf of U.S. Rep. David Jolly, Jeff Hoberg, on behalf of U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis, Josie Quintrell, IOOS at the GCOOS board meeting in September.
GCOOS Board of Directors Meeting
     The GCOOS Board of Directors met in St. Petersburg, FL, in September and had the opportunity to hear updates about work conducted by GCOOS staff and PIs to expand and enhance ocean-observing capabilities in the Gulf.
     View the full meeting minutes & PDFS of the powerpoints presented by the speakers. 
Some highlights of note:
  • The grant proposals for regional association funding are currently being reviewed by IOOS, according to Director Josie Quintrell, who attended the meeting. RAs should be notified about funding levels in January 2016, though that timeline depends on Congress passing a budget soon. (Read more about the plan.)
  • GCOOS' Data Management team has provided a new series of web pages and services for Gulf glider operations (GANDALF). Gliders supported include those from GERG/TAMU, USF, Mote and others. See it in action
  • The GOMA-funded Hypoxia-Nutrient (H-N) portal is being populated and undergoing testing.
  • The GCOOS Citizen-Science Portal is being adjusted based on beta testing by the Outreach and Education Council and should soon be live. GCOOS hopes to expand its connections with citizen-science groups in the future and provide an important home for the data they collect throughout the Gulf.
Invited speakers & their topics during the meeting:
  • Bill Hogarth, FIO, RESTORE funding update
  • Steve Giordano, NOAA Southeast Regional Fisheries, Council Monitoring & Assessment Program Development
  • Chris Elfring, National Academy of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NAS), The Gulf Research Program.
  • Vembu Subramanian, SECOORA Board of Directors, provided an update
  • Justin Saarinen, New College research scientist and geography instructor, using data products in his classes
  • Dr. Susan Lowerre-Barbieri, FWC research scientist, iTAG update
  • Dr. Frank Muller-Karger, Marine Biodiversity Observation Network
  • Kristy Tavano, Coordinator of the Gulf of Mexico University Research Collaborative, ecosystem monitoring and the GCOOS Build Out Plan
  • Chad Lembke, USF, Gulf Glider Task Team
  • Mark Luther, USF, update on all USF projects
  • Jordan Beckler, Mote Marine Laboratory, HAB Observations Optical Plankton Discriminator
  • AJ Matignette, Sanibel Captiva Conservation Association, new data products aimed at the public
GCOOS Releases New Report on its First Decade
     During the board meeting, GCOOS Executive Director Dr. Barbara Kirkpatrick also unveiled a new report detailing 10 years of successes to improve access to ocean observing data that helps to protect and preserve the Gulf and its residents.
The report, published in recognition of the organization's 10th anniversary, outlines improvements made in:
  • Developing early warning systems for harmful algal blooms;
  • Integrating data that supports improved weather and hurricane forecasts;
  • Supports safer navigation in the Gulf's ports;
  • Educating residents on the important role the Gulf plays in their daily lives.
     Please feel free to use and share this report to help showcase the work of all GCOOS members and the importance of having a robust ocean observing system in the Gulf of Mexico. View the report or download a PDF.
GCOOS Attends White House Citizen Science Forum
     GCOOS-RA Executive Director Dr. Barbara Kirkpatrick and Dr. Chris Simoniello, Outreach & Education Coordinator, were invited to attend the citizen science forum, "Open Science and Innovation: Of the People, By the People, For the People," sponsored by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and the Domestic Policy Council.
     The forum brought together citizen science professionals, researchers and stakeholders from local, state, federal and tribal governments; academia; non-profits and the private sector to discuss crowdsourcing and citizen science and enhancing agencies' missions, as well as scientific and societal outcomes. The meeting included many opportunities for networking with technology industry leaders and foundations.
HABIOS Comments/Questions Due Tomorrow
     Last month, we announced the completion of the Harmful Algal Bloom Integrated Observing System (HABIOS) Plan. The plan is the summation of three Harmful Algal Bloom workshops sponsored by GCOOS with the Gulf of Mexico Alliance that was attended by numerous stakeholders and systems managers. Don't forget: Any comments or questions about the plan are due tomorrow. Email Dr. Barbara Kirkpatrick at barb.kirkpatrick@gcoos.org.
Partner News
HRI, OCEARCH Team up for Gulf Shark-Tagging Expedition 
     The Harte Research Institute (HRI) for Gulf of Mexico Studies at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi is teaming up with leading shark-tracking nonprofit OCEARCH to build the most extensive shark-tagging program in the Gulf of Mexico region. Other contributing organizations include Mote Marine Laboratory, University of South Alabama & Dauphin Island Sea Lab, University of North Florida and the National Institute of Polar Research in Japan. More
Grants Support USF Red Tide Research
     Scientists from the University of South Florida's College of Marine Science and colleagues have received more than $750,000 in two grants to further the development and implementation of new technologies to forecast occurrences of Florida red tide and to identify Karenia brevis, the organism that causes it. More 
The Water Institute Selected as a FEMA Cooperating Technical Partner 
     The Water Institute of the Gulf was recently selected as a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Cooperating Technical Partner (CTP) and awarded funding to prepare a business plan describing how the organization can support FEMA's Risk Mapping, Assessment, and Planning (Risk MAP) initiative, and the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).  More 

AUV Jubilee
     A recent collaboration among GoMRI consortia coordinated a collection of real-time data to reveal the secrets of the coastal ocean in the Gulf of Mexico. The AUV Jubilee, held July 2015, was a successful event that coordinated the deployment of autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs or gliders) and other in situ operations in the Gulf of Mexico. The primary goal was to establish collaboration among scientists from ten institutions across the Gulf to acquire simultaneous ocean observations and create a multifaceted and integrated data set. More 

Gulf Restoration News 

Comments Sought on Comprehensive Restoration Plan & Settlement
     Trustees have proposed a comprehensive, integrated, ecosystem restoration plan for the Gulf of Mexico based on an assessment of impacts to the Gulf's natural resources -- and the services they provide. The draft plan allocates up to $8.8 billion for natural resource injuries under a proposed settlement with BP. Trustees have proposed to accept this settlement, resolving BP's liability for natural resource injuries stemming from the spill.
     The draft plan allocates funds to meet five restoration goals through 13 restoration types that address a broad range of impacts at both regional and local scales. The five plan goals:
  • Restore and conserve habitat
  • Restore water quality
  • Replenish and protect living coastal and marine resources
  • Provide and enhance recreational opportunities
  • Provide for monitoring, adaptive management, and administrative oversight to support restoration implementation.
     The plan does not identify specific projects for each of the 13 restoration types, but lays out a framework for developing future project-specific restoration plans.
     The Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Draft Programmatic Damage Assessment and Restoration Plan and Draft Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement is available for public review and comment through Dec. 4, 2015.
Trustees will also host eight public meetings where they will accept comments on the draft plan and the proposed settlement with BP.
     It's important for GCOOS members to note that despite the various funding sources resulting from the Deepwater Horizon disaster and subsequent proposed settlements, no new observations have been added to the Gulf of Mexico. That means if another spill happened today, we would not have any improved resources to track its location and movement. That's why GCOOS is working hard to help Gulf of Mexico decision makers understand and support the need for ocean observations by dedicating some of the funds to observation platforms and support for ongoing operations. Please consider this when making your comments about the proposed settlement. Review the plan and comment
Early Restoration Projects Approved
     Trustees have selected and approved the latest round of Deepwater Horizon early restoration projects. The 10 projects total an estimated $134 million.
     The Phase IV Early Restoration Plan and Environmental Assessments  is consistent with the strategic plan for early restoration activities. Some 2,600 comments were considered in the development of the final plan.
     Projects will benefit sea turtles, birds and fish, increase recreational opportunities and improve nearshore and reef habitats. Out of the $134 million, about $126 million (94% of the total) will be devoted to ecological projects. About $8 million (6% of the total) will be devoted to projects that address lost recreational use. More 

Oil Spill Science Seminar: Healthy Gulf Seafood
     T he Sea Grant college programs in the Gulf of Mexico will host an oil spill science seminar, "Healthy Gulf Seafood," from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 18, in the Hardy Hall Ballroom at The University of Southern Mississippi Gulf Park Campus, 730 E. Beach Blvd., in Long Beach, Miss. Learn how agencies tested seafood during and after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, how fish and other animals break down oil and other contaminants and how scientists monitor seafood to keep consumers safe. This seminar is free and open to all. Attend in person or participate in a webinar. Registration & webinar connections.
Restoration Resources
DWH Projects
Deepwater Horizon Project Tracker: http://www.dwhprojecttracker.org/
Florida: Department of Environmental Protection http://www.dep.state.fl.us/deepwaterhorizon/ or Gulf Consortium website at http://www.fl-counties.com/advocacy/gulf-consortium. See the Florida DEP presentation on the next National Fish and Wildlife Foundation's Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund cycle at http://www.dep.state.fl.us/deepwaterhorizon/files2/nfwf/nfwf_public_webinar_march2015.pdf.
Alabama: Information & project submissions: http://www.alabamacoastalrestoration.org/.
Louisiana: Has approved the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA) Fiscal Year 2016 Annual Plan, providing $884 million in expenditures for coastal protection and restoration projects in fiscal year 2016. Online at http://us9.campaign-archive1.com/?u=3d6138b29e4223c069af96595&id=f35916e780&e=dba642d0ee.
Texas: Info & project submission https://www.restorethetexascoast.org/.

Employment Opportunities 

Current Events and Meetings 

MTS/IEEE Oceans '15, 19-22 October 2015, Washington, D.C.
Tri-International Initiative for Marine Research and Conservation in the Gulf of Mexico and Western Caribbean Conference, 12-14 November 2015, Havana, Cuba.

10th Biannual International Marine and Coastal  Science Conference, 16-20 November 2015, Havana, Cuba.

2015 National Working Waterfronts and Waterways Symposium, 16-19 November 2015, Tampa, FL

American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, 14-18 December 2015, San Francisco, CA

96th Annual Meeting of the American Meteorological Society, 10-14 January 2016, New Orleans, LA

Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill and Ecosystem Science Conference, 1-4 February 2016, Tampa, FL

2016 Ocean Science Meeting,  21-26 February 2016, New Orleans, LA

For other events around the Gulf, please see: http://www.gulfofmexicoalliance.org/announcements/events/.