GCOOS News and Updates for October 2014

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 Regional News 

The GCOOS-RA Welcomes David Driver as New Board of Directors President

The GCOOS-RA welcomes David Driver, MetOcean Engineer at BP America, Inc. and Board Member of the GCOOS-RA, as the new Board President. David will step into the role formerly filled by Jan van Smirren, Fugro GEOS, who will now serve as First Vice President of the Board. The GCOOS-RA sincerely thanks Jan for his leadership and many contributions to the GCOOS-RA and looks forward to continued collaboration.

David has been a member of the GCOOS Board since 2011. He brings a wealth of practical expertise to the Chair position, including 25 years in the offshore oil industry in the field of meteorological and oceanographic (metocean) engineering, with emphasis on the development and application of metocean design criteria. He has had responsibility for planning and coordinating metocean technology development for deepwater applications, particularly operations associated with deepwater currents. His work in the Gulf of Mexico includes measuring and analyzing the Loop Current and Loop Current Eddies and the nature and characterization of strong bottom currents off the Sigsbee Escarpment. Recently, David's responsibilities have expanded to providing technical authority over worldwide metocean matters within the upstream business of BP. For more please see: http://gcoos.tamu.edu/?p=8197.


GCOOS-RA, SECOORA, and IOOS Collaborate on Article Calling for High Frequency Radar Network in the U.S. Gulf and Southeast

Representatives from the GCOOS-RA, SECOORA, and IOOS have collaborated on an article calling for a High-Frequency Radar (HFR) Network for the U.S. Gulf and Southeast.

The Gulf and Southeastern U.S. coasts are linked physically and ecologically by the contiguous Loop Current, Florida Current, and Gulf Stream, as well as economically (shipping, energy, fisheries, tourism). These coasts are vulnerable to a variety of risks, including oil/contaminant spills, harmful algal blooms (HABs), hurricanes, and navigation accidents. Near real-time information on coastal ocean surface currents, waves and winds are an important element of a coastal ocean observing system necessary for protecting public health and safety, supporting emergency response, promoting a strong coastal economy and sustainable use of coastal resources. This environmental intelligence can, for example:

  • Help ensure safe recreational and commercial navigation,
  • Enhance search and rescue efforts by reducing the search area up to 66%,
  • Help track spilled contaminants and Harmful Algal Blooms to protect public health, and critical habitats,
  • Improve ocean and weather forecast models, including those for storm surge,
  • Enhance public beach safety through the forecasting of rip currents,
  • Improve monitoring of restoration projects (sediment transport, water quality), and
  • Enhance community preparedness for coastal land loss issues

Limited HFR stations exist in the Gulf and are operated by a variety of academic institutions and one private company. However, significant public needs remain and gaps in coverage exist, particularly relative to other U.S. coastlines. GCOOS and SECOORA have developed a coordinated plan to fill these gaps and include costs in their plan. Read the full story at  http://gcoos.tamu.edu/?p=8229. 


GCOOS-RA Invited to Present at National Academy of Sciences' Gulf Research Program Workshop on Environmental Monitoring Opportunities

The National Academy of Sciences' (NAS) Gulf Research Program hosted a workshop on 3-4 September 2014 in New Orleans, LA, to identify and analyze opportunities for Gulf environmental monitoring. Through panel discussion and breakout sessions, about 35 key workshop participants identified environmental monitoring needs within the following two areas of opportunity:

1. Developing ecosystem services models to inform existing and planned habitat restoration; and

2. Improving our understanding of the physical and biological attributes of the deep Gulf of Mexico to enhance environmental protection from the impacts of oil exploration in deepwater.

Participants also discussed technological and methodological innovations that could help address these monitoring needs, identified monitoring opportunities uniquely suited to the Gulf Research Program's 30-year duration, and identified opportunities for partnerships and leveraging of resources.

The GCOOS-RA was invited to present at the workshop. Landry Bernard and Stephanie Watson developed a presentation called, "The GCOOS Build-out Plan for a Gulf Observing System: Environmental Monitoring Needs and Opportunities for Innovation and Long-term Monitoring." The presentation can be viewed here. A link to the NAS Gulf Research Program, can be found here. http://gcoos.tamu.edu/?p=8213


GCOOS-RA at National Academy of Sciences' Gulf Research Program Coastal Resilience workshop

At this discussion- focused meeting, invited participants defined possible areas where Program investments could improve the health and resilience of Gulf communities. Participants explored needs, challenges, and opportunities across a wide range of topics, including:

  • Speeding recovery and strengthening the resilience of Gulf communities and ecosystems;
  • Improving our understanding of the connections between human health and the environment; and      
  • Developing capacity for innovative, collaborative, and cross-cutting programs that engage and benefit Gulf communities

Barbara Kirkpatrick, GCOOS-RA Executive Director, and Chris Simonello, GCOOS-RA Outreach and Education Manager, participated in the breakout sessions discussing monitoring system investments that could significantly improve the current capacity to detect, assess, and manage environmental risks associated with disasters. Workshop outcomes will result in a summary document that will inform the development of NAS Program priorities and activities. For more information about the National Academy Gulf Research Program see: http://www.nationalacademies.org/gulf/index.html


GCOOS-RA at National Hurricane Museum and Science Center Regional Education Workshop

The GCOOS-RA was invited to participate in the education workshop for the National Hurricane Museum and Science Center (NHMSC), developing in Lake Charles, LA. The NHMSC is dedicated to educating Americans how to prepare for and learn from devastating storms.

The meeting was held 22 September 2014 at the offices of the Baton Rouge Area Foundation. Approximately 30 invited participants, including Stephanie Watson (GCOOS-RA), learned more about the NHMSC, met strong supporters locally and nationally, and participated in several exercises on assessing needs, facilitating success, considering ideas to pursue or not, and creating exhibits. Several participants gave presentations, including Gray Stream (NHMSC), Edmund Giering (Baton Rouge Area Foundation), Christel Slaughter (SSA Consultants), Robert "Sully" Sullivan (NHMSC and Chora Creative Consultants GCOOS Board member), and Garret Graves (former Executive Director of the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority of Louisiana and U.S. Congressional Candidate for Louisiana).

GCOOS-RA Outreach and Education Lead, Chris Simoniello, regularly participates in the Education Network for the NHMSC. For more information on the NHMSC, visit http://www.nhmsc.com/or "like" them on Facebook to receive regular updates.


New Texas Automated Buoy System Buoy off Port Aransas

A new 2.25-meter buoy marks the latest Texas General Land Office (TGLO) effort to protect the Texas coast and the western Gulf of Mexico from oil spills that threaten sensitive habitats. Located 65 miles off Port Aransas in a previously unmonitored area of the Gulf of Mexico, the buoy completes the moored network of offshore sensing devices called the Texas Automated Buoy System (TABS). TGLO is a GCOOS-RA Member and TABS is a GCOOS data provider (GCOOS Data Portal, http://data.gcoos.org).


NAS Gulf Research Program Recording of Strategic Plan Virtual Meeting Available

On 30 September 2014, members of the Gulf Research Program's Advisory Group held a virtual meeting to summarize the Program's new strategic plan and offered participants an opportunity to ask questions. Access the recording from http://nas.edu/gulf/events/index.html.


Specialists to Serve as Communicators of Oil Spill Science in the Gulf (Press Release from Gulf of Mexico Sea Grant Programs)

The four Sea Grant college programs in the Gulf of Mexico and the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative (GoMRI) are collaborating on an effort to share post-Deepwater Horizon oil spill research findings. GoMRI is a 10- year, $500-million program that has already invested more than $170 million in answering science questions related to oil spills. The four Sea Grant college programs are university-based programs that have shared coastal science with numerous communities throughout the region for the past 40 years.

Sea Grant has hired four full-time oil spill science outreach specialists to share GoMRI-supported research results with people whose livelihoods depend on a healthy Gulf of Mexico. These Sea Grant specialists will be working with fishermen, tourism specialists, ports and harbors employees, public health officials, natural resource managers, emergency responders and others.

The four oil spill outreach specialists have diverse expertise in scientific areas, such as physical oceanography, ecotoxicology and marine science. They will be translating the oil spill science and sharing the results through science seminars, publications and meetings. In addition, they will be gathering input on remaining oil spill science needs to share with GoMRI and the independent GoMRI Research Board.

The four Sea Grant college programs are Texas Sea Grant College Program, Louisiana Sea Grant College Program, Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium and Florida Sea Grant College Program. For more information about this project and Sea Grant, visit gulfseagrant.org. More information about GoMRI can be found at gomri.org. One-page description of the program, can be found here.


U.S. Initiates Prototype System to Gauge National Marine Biodiversity (BOEM Press Release)

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) plans to join NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in supporting an initiative that will lay the foundation for the first national network to monitor marine biodiversity at scales ranging from microbes to whales.

The projects, funded at approximately $17 million over the next five years, subject to the availability of funds, will demonstrate how a nationally operational marine biodiversity observation network could be developed. Such a network would serve as a marine resource management tool to conserve existing biodiversity and enhance U.S. biosecurity against threats such as invasive species and infectious agents.

Three demonstration marine biological observation networks will be established in four locations: the Florida Keys, Monterey Bay and the Santa Barbara Channel in California, and in the Chukchi Sea in Alaska.

Marine biodiversity is a key indicator of ocean health and critical to sustaining natural resources such as fisheries. The three projects that encompass this initiative, selected from 19 proposals, will be established in different marine environments in U.S. waters to integrate existing observations, ranging from satellite observations to DNA sampling, and fill data gaps with new observations. For more information, see http://gcoos.tamu.edu/?p=8241.


NOAA and Fellow Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) Trustees Announce 44 Restoration Projects in the Gulf of Mexico

NOAA and NRDA partners have announced 44 restoration projects in the Gulf of Mexico to help mitigate damage from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, as part of Phase III Early Restoration. The projects total $627 million and include restoration of barrier islands, shorelines, dunes, submerged aquatic vegetation, and oyster beds. The following is a summary by state:

Louisiana: Louisiana Outer Coast Restoration Project (of four barrier islands); The Louisiana Marine Fisheries Enhancement, Research, and Science Center

Texas: Artificial Reef Creation; Galveston Island State Park Beach Redevelopment; Sea Rim State Park Improvements

Mississippi: Hancock County Marsh Living Shoreline Project; Pascagoula Beachfront Promenade Project; Popp's Ferry Causeway Park Project; Restoration Initiatives at the INFINITY Science Center Project

Alabama: Gulf State Park Enhancement Project; Oyster Reef Restoration in Mobile County; Swift Tract Living Shoreline Project

Florida: Bay County Projects, Escambia County Projects, Franklin County Projects, Gulf County Projects, Gulf Islands National Seashore Beach Enhancement Project, Gulf Islands National Seashore Ferry Project, Living Shoreline Projects, Okaloosa County Projects, Regional Projects, Santa Rosa County Projects, Wakulla County Projects, Walton County Projects

Information about the program and for individual project fact sheets organized by state can be viewed here.


Environmental Law Institute Offers Recording of Webcast on RESTORE Act and Treasury Regulations

On 28 August 2014, the Environmental Law Institute, Tulane University, and other partners gave a webinar on the RESTORE Act and associated Treasury regulations. The informative, two-hour presentation is now available online at http://vimeo.com/105389815.


IOOS/National/Legislative News 

High Frequency Radar (HFR) in Advanced Weather Interactive Processing System (AWIPS) II (From Z-Gram, 6 October 2014)

HFR is being integrated into the AWIPS II system used by five NOAA Weather Forecast Offices by 10 November 2014, including Boston, Miami, Fairbanks, Eureka and Portland. HFR data will be ingested and displayed as part of the weather system. For more information, contact  Jack Harlan at 240.478.9942.  


United States Integrated Ocean Observing System Advisory Committee; Member Solicitation

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is soliciting applications for membership on the United States Integrated Ocean Observing System Advisory Committee (the Committee), a Federal advisory committee. NOAA will accept applications for membership on the Committee through 24 November 2014.  For more information, please visit the Federal Register.  

HFR Archiving Plan (From Z-Gram, 6 October 2014)

The HFR archiving plan, including the Submission Information Forms, is now posted on the IOOS HF radar page. It includes both total gridded velocity vectors and radial velocity data types and is on the right side panel at http://www.ioos.noaa.gov/hfradar/ under "Technical HF Radar Documents".


Ocean Acidification Education Implementation Plan (from Z-Gram, 6 October 2014)
NOAA released the NOAA Ocean Acidification Education Implementation Plan. The plan outlines steps to be taken in order to effectively work together to educate and communicate to students, stakeholders, and the public about OA science. The plan can be viewed at ftp://ftp.oar.noaa.gov/oa/Final_OAEIP_9-14.pdf.


Marine Sensor and other Advanced Technologies Awards (from Z-Gram 6 October 2014)

The U.S. IOOS Program, in partnership with NOAA's Ocean Acidification Program, continued a multi-year Marine Sensor Innovation project to advance science and technology and better enable decision-making. As part of this effort, IOOS awarded five grants in September 2014 totaling $2.1 million to foster the transition of marine sensor and other advanced observing technologies to operations mode. Details on the Marine Sensor Innovation Project and each of the five grant projects is located at http://www.ioos.noaa.gov/marine_sensors/grant_awards.html.


White House Announces New Agenda on Enhancing the Resilience of America's Natural Resources

The White House has published a new agenda to enhance the resilience of America's Natural Resources. The Agenda includes four main strategies: 1) foster climate-resilient lands and waters, 2) manage and enhance U.S. carbon sinks, 3) enhance community preparedness and resilience by utilizing and sustaining natural resources, and 4) modernize Federal programs, investments, and delivery of services to build resilience and enhance sequestration of biological carbon. For more details view the White House's website.


NOAA's Sea Grant Awards $15.9 M for Projects to Build Resilient Coastal Communities

In conjunction with the White House agenda on resilience, NOAA's National Sea Grant Program awards $15.9 m to 300 projects nationwide for resilient coastal communities. For more details, see this NOAA site and this SeaGrant site .


US Army Corps of Engineers Releases Initial Vulnerability Assessment Results

Also in conjunction with the White House agenda on resilience, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has released the Initial Vulnerability Assessment results as part of the Comprehensive Evaluation of Projects with Respect to Sea Level Change. See http://www.corpsclimate.us/docs/CESL_Fact_Sheet_8-OCT-2014.pdf.

Funding Opportunities 

Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative, RFP-V



NOAA Center for Sponsored Ocean Research - Multiple proposal opportunities.
Deadlines 14-21 October 2014.  


NOAA Gulf B-Wet deadline 24 October 2014


USFWS North American Wetlands Conservation Act - 7 November 2014.


NOAA Community-based Marine Debris Removal Grant FY2015 - 17 November 2014.

NOAA Ecological Effects of Sea Level Rise Program FY2015- 18 November 2014.


NFWF - Environmental Solutions for Communities Grant Program- 10 December 2014. Specific regional preferences.


2015 NOAA Student Scholarships Open

NOAA's Office of Education is accepting applications for the 2015 class of undergraduate scholars.  Applications must be submitted by 30 January 2015.  Over 100 students are selected each year to participate in the Ernest F. Hollings and Educational Partnership Program (EPP) scholarship programs.  These generous scholarships include support for two years of study in the junior and senior year and summer internship opportunities at NOAA facilities, including IOOS Regional Associations, across the country.   For information on these programs and how to apply: Ernest F. Hollings Undergraduate Scholarship Program: http://www.oesd.noaa.gov/scholarships/hollings.html; Educational Partnership Program Undergraduate scholarship: http://www.epp.noaa.gov/ssp_undergrad_page.html


HUD Disaster Resilience Competition (some cities/parishes in LA eligible) - 16 March 2015


Current Events and Meetings 


"Mississippi River Gulf of Mexico Watershed Nutrient Task Force Public Meeting and Webcast", 21 October 2014


The Mississippi River Gulf of Mexico Watershed Nutrient Task Force is holding a Public Meeting on Tuesday, 21 October 2014, in Godfrey, Illinois. The meeting will provide updates on the progress of task force members and other activities to reduce excess nutrient loads to the Mississippi River. Registration is required for either in-person attendance or for the webcast. Register at http://water.epa.gov/type/watersheds/named/msbasin/meetings.cfm.



"Restore America's Estuaries 7th National Summit on Coastal and Estuarine Restoration and 24th Biennial Meeting of the Coastal Society", 1-6 November 2014, Gaylord National Convention Center, Washington, DC.



"BlueTech & Blue Economy Summit" 12-13 November, San Diego, CA   


"Second International Kemps Ridley Sea Turtle Symposium 2014", 18-19 November 2014, Brownsville Events Center, Brownsville, TX



"Bays and Bayous Symposium 2014", 2-3 December 2014, Arthur R. Outlaw Mobile Convention Center, Mobile, AL



"AGU Fall Meeting", 15-19 December 2014, San Francisco, CA.




"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", 11-13 March 2015. Stennis Space Center, MS.

May 2015

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

 Updates will be available here

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  ([email protected]), 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 (l[email protected]). 
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