GCOOS News and Updates for September 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 


Dinner Held to Celebrate Dr. Ann Jochens' Contributions to GCOOS and IOOS

On 10 September, GCOOS Board Members, Staff, and representatives from the IOOS Program Office and the IOOS Association, met to celebrate with Dr. Ann Jochens her contributions to the GCOOS and the U.S. Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS). The dinner was held at Chez Nous restaurant in Humble, TX, hosted by Dr. Worth Nowlin. Ann attended the wonderful dinner with her husband, Hans. Carl Gouldman, Deputy Director of the IOOS Program Office, gave Ann a heartfelt speech thanking her for her many contributions to the U.S. IOOS effort, her friendship and her leadership, "I'm honored to be here presenting these small tokens to Ann on behalf of the IOOS program office...As many have already said, Ann has been a great leader for GCOOS. She is always supportive and she recognizes that we cannot build IOOS without partnerships.  She has always said IOOS can work, but it can only be a reality if we work together. Ann, I'd like to thank you for leading us in building the type of partnerships needed to make IOOS work. Fortunately for us, while you are retiring, you will still be on the IOOS Advisory Committee; you can advise NOAA and tell us what we should be doing to advance IOOS." Carl presented her with a signed plaque and an IOOS vest. Josie Quintrell, IOOS Association Executive Director, stated "You have been a great friend over the years, an ardent and wise supporter and implementer of IOOS, an eagle eye for editing, and a great passion for making IOOS relevant and sustainable despite less-than-optimal funding." Jan Van Smirren, GCOOS-RA Board President, also gave Ann a warm speech of appreciation and presented her with a first edition book, fittingly about Norwegian-born Artic explorer Fridtjof Nansen. Dr. Worth Nowlin, GCOOS-RA Board Treasurer and long-time advocate for ocean observing globally, nationally, and in the Gulf of Mexico, thanked Ann for their many great years working together and for her passionate leadership. He complemented the GCOOS-RA gift by presenting her with a signed, first edition book on Irish-born Antarctic explorer Ernest Shackleton. Worth said, "those 16 years of working with Ann at Texas A&M were some of the most satisfying of my career because of people with whom I worked, foremost of all was Ann, who made sure that each phase of each project was completed on time, within budget, and to the complete satisfaction of the sponsors. So, Ann, I give you this token of my appreciation of our long-term partnership." Ann gratefully accepted the gifts and kind words, saying, "I really enjoy working with the ocean. It's such a marvelous thing, it's so big and so interesting and we have so much to learn about it. The jobs that I've had, that I've been fortunate to have at A&M...have allowed me to interact with the ocean, the science, and most, importantly, with the people...I thank you all."The GCOOS-RA wishes Ann and Hans fair winds and following seas, and many new adventures on the horizon.

GCOOS-RA Holds Board of Directors Meeting in Houston, TX, 10-11 September 2014

The GCOOS-RA held its semi-annual Board of Directors meeting in Houston, TX 10-11 September 2014. The meeting included invited presentations from the National Academy of Sciences Gulf Research Program (Chris Elfring), National Fish and Wildlife Foundation's Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund (Jon Porthouse), Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council (Russ Beard), NOAA RESTORE Act Science Program (Russ Beard), Mississippi Center of Excellence (Monty Graham), and the Texas Center of Excellence (Worth Nowlin for Larry McKinney). Representatives from the U.S. IOOS Program Office, U.S. IOOS Association, and U.S. Senator Ted Cruz's office attended. Presentations were also invited from GCOOS-RA subcontractors LUMCON (Nancy Rabalais), WAVCIS (Chunyan Li), and Larry Lloyd (Conrad Blucher Institute). The meeting agenda is available at http://gcoos.org/?page_id=6934 . A meeting report will be issued soon and presentations will be posted on the GCOOS website.


RESTORE Council Announces Proposal Submission Window for Council Members, Releases Interim Final Rule to Support State Planning Efforts

On 21 August 2014, The RESTORE Council announced its proposal submission window for Council members. The project submission window for members opened 21 August 2014 and will close no earlier than 17 November 2014. (Note: Each State may have an earlier deadline to allow for project selection by State members of the RESTORE Council. For example, Louisiana's deadline is 30 September 2014. Check each State's website for their deadlines.) The projects and programs selected by the Council will be included on a draft Funded Priorities List (FPL) and published for public comment. Approximately $150-180 million from the settlement with Transocean Deepwater Inc. and related entities will be available to fund projects and programs under the Council-Selected Restoration Component. The Council will select and fund projects and programs that restore and protect the natural resources, ecosystems, water quality, fisheries, marine and wildlife habitats, beaches, and coastal wetlands of the Gulf Coast region. The Council finalized the process for evaluating and selecting restoration projects in July 2014. For more information, see their website.

TX website: http://restorethetexascoast.org/

LA website: http://coastal.la.gov/oil-spill-content/oil-spill-overview/restore-act/

AL website: http://www.alabamacoastalrestoration.org/

MS website: http://www.restore.ms

FL website: http://www.dep.state.fl.us/deepwaterhorizon/files2/benefit/Project_Submittal_Form.pdf


Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority Announces RESTORE Project Submission Deadline of 30 September 2014

Louisiana citizens have until 30 September 2014 to submit formal proposals to the Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA) for coastal projects and programs to be considered for funding under a component of the RESTORE Act. Priority will be given to projects and programs included in the 2012 Coastal Master Plan. After the 30 September 2014 deadline, Louisiana officials will have until 17 November 2014 to review proposals and submit a formal list to the Council. In 2015, after carefully reviewing and weighing all proposals, the Council will release a draft Funded Priorities List of the projects and programs it proposes to fund in this initial phase, and will solicit public review and comment before issuing a finalized list of funding allocations. To submit a proposal, visit http://coastal.la.gov/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/RESTORE-LA-Submission-Form.pdf.


RESTORE Seeking Volunteers to Review Restoration Proposals

Russ Beard, former Acting Director of the NOAA RESTORE Science Program, would like to invite you to consider participating in a unique opportunity to be directly involved in the independent science review of Gulf Coast ecosystem restoration projects and programs being considered for funding pursuant to the Resources and Ecosystems Sustainability, Tourist Opportunities, and Revived Economies of the Gulf Coast States Act (RESTORE Act). The RESTORE Act created the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council (Council), which is charged with using a portion of those funds to implement high priority ecosystem restoration projects and programs across the Gulf. The Council is to ensure the projects and programs it funds are of the highest scientific quality. To that end, the Council is seeking highly qualified volunteers to conduct independent, external science reviews of proposed restoration projects and programs. Volunteers must have substantial academic and/or professional experience related to ecosystem restoration. If you are interested in serving as a volunteer peer reviewer, please complete a very short application. Complete the application attached at http://gcoos.org/documents/RESTORE-Reviewer-2014.pdf and send it and your CV to restorecouncil@restorethegulf.gov by 10 October 2014. Please put "Science Review Application" in the subject line of your return email. If you have any questions on any of this, please contact me at 228-688-3026; or Kristen Laursen at 727-551-5754.


National Academy of Sciences Gulf Research Program Releases Strategic Plan

The National Academy of Sciences Gulf Research Program has released its strategic plan - The Gulf Research Program A Strategic Vision at http://www.nas.edu/gulf/vision/index.htm. The plan establishes the Program's foundation and introduces its mission, goals, and objectives. It describes some initial activities and sets out the Program's vision for contributing lasting benefit to the Gulf region and the nation. The Program is an extraordinary opportunity to foster science on a regional scale and over the long term. To learn more about the plan and ask questions, register for the 3:30 pm Eastern 30 September 2014 informational webinar hosted by members of the Program's Advisory Group click here


GCOOS Data Provider Highlight: The Texas Coastal Ocean Observations Network (TCOON)

TCOON is a network of scientific data collection platforms used to collect critical data on water levels, wind speed and direction, barometric pressure, and air and water temperature along the Texas coast. The network, which began in 1989, currently consists of 30 data collection stations from South Padre Island, Texas to the Texas Louisiana border on the Sabine River (Figures 1 and 2). All TCOON data are collected using multiple data collection methods and use Internet protocol devices and satellite transmitters. Data are transmitted every six minutes.

TCOON is a partnership of federal, state, and local governmental entities, non-governmental organizations, and the Conrad Blucher Institute for Surveying and Science (CBI) at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi. The government partners include the Texas General Land Office (TGLO), the Texas Water Development Board, the U.S. Department of the Interior, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. All the above agencies contribute to the construction, maintenance, and operation of TCOON. The NGO partner is the Gulf of Mexico Coastal Ocean Observing System Regional-Association (GCOOS-RA), which assists in publishing TCOON data through the GCOOS data portal.

Read more at http://gcoos.tamu.edu/?p=7933.


GCOOS-RA Participates in National Academy of Sciences Gulf Research Program's Environmental Monitoring Opportunities Workshop

On 3-4 September 2014, GCOOS-RA Associate Executive Director, Landry Bernard, participated in the Environmental Monitoring Opportunities Analysis Workshop convened for the National Academy of Sciences Gulf Research Program (http://nas.edu/gulf/).

The workshop objectives were to:

  • Inform the Gulf Research Program Advisory Board and staff of concrete opportunities for the Program to develop and support in the realm of environmental monitoring.
  • Identify the environmental monitoring needs for 1) developing ecosystem services models that in turn can inform habitat restoration, and 2) improving the understanding of the physical and biological attributes of the deep Gulf of Mexico to enhance environmental protection from the impacts of oil spills in deep and ultra-deep water.
  • With respect to these themes, identify any areas for innovation and long-term monitoring, identify and discuss what other entities are already addressing or attempting to address those needs, and identify opportunities and mechanisms for potential partnerships.

Bernard gave a lunchtime presentation on the GCOOS Build-out Plan, ecosystem monitoring opportunities, ecosystem modeling needs, and opportunities for innovation. See the presentation on the GCOOS website. Three panels and two breakout sessions were also convened during the workshop.


MSU, NOAA, and Liquid Robotics, Inc. Deploy Wave Gliders for Hurricane Predictions

Researchers at Mississippi State University, NOAA, and Liquid Robotics, Inc. are deploying three Liquid Robotics Wave Gliders in the Gulf of Mexico to provide data aimed at improving hurricane forecasting. The wave- and solar-powered gliders were deployed August 25 in three strategic locations for a 90-day mission, and will be directed into hurricanes as they enter the Gulf. While in their pre-deployment positions, they will also measure air temperature, pressure, winds, water temperature, ocean salinity, ocean oxygen, waves, and ocean currents. The goals are to test the gliders robustness in different weather environments including hurricanes; compare instrument accuracy against nearby buoys; and utilize these unique measurements to improve hurricane prediction. Co-PIs are Dr. Robert Moorhead (Mississippi State University) and Dr. Alan Leonardi (NOAA). GCOOS plans to include the glider data on our site soon. Read more at



GCOOS-RA at Marine Technology Society's 2014 "Oceans in Action"

Stephanie Watson and Landry Bernard participated in the Marine Technology Society's 2014 "Oceans in Action" conference at Stennis Space Center, MS, for the GCOOS-RA. The conference highlighted recent ocean activities, primarily in the Gulf region. GCOOS was asked to give a presentation, "GCOOS Build-out Plan for a Gulf Observing System: Opportunities for Marine Technology Development and Applications". The Navy, NOAA, NASA, BOEM, Gulf of Mexico Alliance, Mississippi Center for Gulf Studies, and Ocean Networks Canada also gave presentations, focused on recent technological innovations. See the GCOOS presentation. More information on the conference is available here.

National Association of Community Development Extension Professionals 2014 National Excellence in Community Development Work Award

The National Association of Community Development Extension Professionals (NACDEP) presented the "2014 National Team Excellence in Community Development Work Award" to faculty members with the University of Florida's Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences at their annual banquet on June 24 in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The banquet was attended by more than 220 NACDEP members from the United States. Dr. Mike Spranger, Professor and Community Development Extension Specialist; Dr. Randy Cantrell, Assistant Professor and Housing and Community Development Extension specialist in the Department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences, and Ms. Katherine Allen, Suwannee County Extension Director were recognized for their work in "post-disaster recovery and community capacity building and development" in Live Oak, Florida. In June 2012, Tropical Storm Debby dumped more than 30 inches of rain in less than 24 hours on the community. Following the storm, 80% of the community was under water and more than 30 sink holes formed throughout the region. The downtown business district was flooded and a large sink hole approximately 180 feet deep and 200 feet wide formed between the courthouse and various businesses. This affected everything from transportation to communications, displaced many nearby households, and destroyed several historic buildings. The city infrastructure and community residents was put to a major test as a result of this storm. More than $5 million in damages were incurred as a result of this storm. In the following 18 months the team worked with elected officials, business owners, community leaders and affected residents to provide technical assistance and educational resources to help the community recover from this natural disaster. They coordinated community meetings, arranged field tours, provided technical training for city staff, assisted in obtaining community grants, and brought in national experts in these community redevelopment efforts. Elected officials stated this Extension team provided the community with new direction and purpose. They stated they had significant funds and technical assistance from federal and state agencies, but this team helped bring the community together and put them on the road to recovery. New development projects have been funded and the community is now more engaged in local decisions and civic engagement. The team was also recognized by the Southern NACDEP chapter and received a similar regional team award for their efforts. NACDEP is the national organization of extension professionals who are dedicated to improving the visibility, coordination, professional status and resource base of community and economic development throughout the United States. www.nacdep.net


Northern Gulf Institute's 2014 Annual Report Available
The Northern Gulf Institute's (NGI) 2014 Annual Report is now available at http://www.northerngulfinstitute.org/. The NGI's 2014 Annual Progress Report includes research accomplishments and findings for 33 ongoing projects. The total funding equates to $12-million, including $4-million in new fiscal backing. The research ventures and 16 technical publications feature topics like expansion of ocean observations, for example the use of unmanned vehicles and enhanced satellite data analysis. This cutting-edge technology allows scientists to better understand ocean acidification, manage fisheries and estuaries, predict freshwater and oil spill plumes, and forecast tropical storm activities. This research will provide critical information in support of restoration activities and fisheries management in the Northern Gulf of Mexico.

IOOS/National/Legislative News 

U.S. Department of Treasury Publishes Interim Final Rules for the Gulf Restoration Trust Fund

On Friday, 15 August, the Department of the Treasury published interim final rules for the Gulf Coast Restoration Trust Fund in the Federal Register. This Trust Fund was established by the Resources and Ecosystem Sustainability, Tourist Opportunities, and Revived Economies of the Gulf Coast States Act of 2012 (RESTORE Act) and will be the source of funding for the activities authorized by the RESTORE Act. These rules will become effective on 14 October 2014 (60 days from the publication date).


Gulf Partners Participate in Gliderpalooza 2014

Three Gulf of Mexico universities and federal agencies are participating in this 2014 Gliderpalooza: Texas A&M University, University of Southern Mississippi, and the Naval Oceanographic Office. . The Gliderpalooza, led by Rutgers University, is a coordinated glider effort of 16 partners from the U.S. and Canada to sample the ocean with the goals to:

1)   provide a unique  data set the modelers can use for years to come,

2)   provide a standardized dataset over ecological scales and information on fish/mammal migrations,

3)   provide a 3-D snapshot of the Mid-Atlantic Bight (MAB) cold pool,

4)   provide an extensive distributed instrumented network through the peak period of fall storms including hurricanes, demonstrating a community "surge" capacity,

5)   provide a demonstration of the potential U.S. national glider network,

6)   provide seamless flow of real-time glider data into the Global Telecommunications System (GTS) via DMAC and into the regional ocean models,

7)   demonstrate an initial capacity for real-time evaluation of a distributed ensemble of ocean model forecasts using spatially distributed datasets, and

8)   engage undergraduates in ocean observing effort.


With more partners this year, the number and span of glider spatial coverage has increased for Gliderpalooza 2014. The event will include nearly 40 glider deployments between now and November. Deployments will range from Newfoundland to the Gulf of Mexico covering both coastal and oligotrophic oceanic regions. The number of new partners, glider deployments, spatial coverage, and regional models that will use the glider data is still growing. For more information, see http://maracoos.org/blogs/main/?p=814 and http://www.gliderpalooza.com/ .


NOAA Releases PORTS Economic study

CO-OPS released the report, "An Assessment of the Value of the Physical Oceanographic Real-time System (PORTS�) to the U.S. Economy".  This report estimates the economic benefits derived from a national implementation of NOAA's Physical Oceanography Real-Time system (PORTS�) for the 175 most significant coastal ports. For the full report and brochure go to http://tidesandcurrents.noaa.gov/pub.html


USGS Launches New Application "iCoast-Did the Coast Change?"

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) launched a new crowdsourcing, citizen science application called "iCoast - Did the Coast Change?" that asks users to identify changes to the coast by comparing and tagging aerial photographs taken before and after storms. These contributions help USGS scientists improve the accuracy of coastal erosion prediction models and vulnerability assessments that support pre-storm planning and post-storm rescue, recovery, and mitigation efforts. It is also a great educational tool for teaching students and even coastal residents about coastal hazards. They are looking for online volunteers to classify photos taken before and after Hurricane Sandy, and particularly targeting people with different kinds of coastal expertise and interests. More background information on iCoast is available here .

Funding Opportunities 

2015 Northern Gulf of Mexico Ecosystems and Hypoxia Assessment Program (NGOMEX): Glider Application to Gulf of Mexico Hypoxic Zone Monitoring: Pilot Study and Transition to Operations


Employment Opportunities 

Coastal Training Program Contractor/Education Specialist, Moss Point, MS



Hydrographic Services Advisory Panel Member



National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Silver Springs, MD, Assistant Administrator for Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration


DMR-Marine Fisheries Scientist IV/PIN5075, Biloxi, MS



System-Wide Monitoring Program Technician, Moss Point, MS


Current Events and Meetings 


"Community Resilience and Health Opportunity Analysis Workshop", 22-23 September 2014, New Orleans, LA.

Themes: community resilience, health, and well-being; and improving detection, assessment and communication about environmental health threats. Additional details will be posted here

as the date approaches.  



"Mississippi Community Conversations" 20 September 2014, Bay St. Louis Community Center, Bay St. Louis, MS (5:30-7:30 PM)



"Mississippi Community Conversations" 21 September 2014, Fontainbleau Community Center, Ocean Springs, MD (5:30-7:30 PM)



"Mississippi Community Conversations: 23 September 2014, Handsboro Community Center, Gulfport, MS (4:00-6:00 PM)

"2014 Rising Seas Summit", 24-16 September 2014, Crowne Plaza Times Square, New York NY.



"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.



"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  (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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