NFRA News September 2011

National and Regional
Coastal and
Ocean Observing News


Hello Friends of NFRA,


Welcome to the first edition of "NFRA News", a monthly update on what is happening within the National Federation of Regional Associations for Coastal and Ocean Observing, and events and news from the Regions. If you would like to contribute news or suggest additions to the newsletter contact list, please email Megan Treml.


Thank you for your support and interest in NFRA.

Josie Quintrell

Director, NFRA

On the Hill

Senate CJS Committee marks up the FY12 Appropriations Bill

Last week, the Senate marked up the Commerce, Justice and Science Appropriations Bill for FY 12 that includes IOOS. The report language allocated a total of $37.65m for IOOS ($31.055m regional / $6.595m national).  This is $11.29m above the House mark ($26.360m for IOOS - $21.77m regional / 4.617m national) and roughly the same as the President's Request.  The next step is for the House and Senate to conference on a final number for FY12.


Senate Forms Ocean Caucus

On Tuesday September 13, NFRA was a co-sponsor of a Senate Ocean Reception. This reception, organized by the Consortium of Ocean Leadership (COL), was in recognition of members of the Senate that formed an Ocean Caucus to build support for ocean issues. Other sponsors include National Marine Manufacturers Association, National Ocean Industries Association, The Ocean Conservancy, and Coastal States Organization.   


The Ocean Caucus will start with a total of 18 members. The members are Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Daniel Akaka (D-HI), Mark Begich (D-AK), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Scott Brown (R-MA), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Tom Carper (D-DE), Chris Coons (D-DE), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Daniel Inouye (D-HI), John Kerry (D-MA), Mary Landrieu (D-LA), Patty Murray (D-WA), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Olympia Snowe (R-ME), and Ron Wyden (D-OR). Senators Whitehouse and Murkowski will co-chair the caucus.  


Sentate Oceans Caucus
Whitehouse with Oceans Caucus Senators. Image Credit:



Regional Build Out Plans
The IOOS Regional Associations (RAs) are currently working to complete 10 year build out plans for ensuring initial, barebones capabilities to address priority needs.   These build out plans will not only help fulfill the Integrated Coastal Ocean Observation System (ICOOS Act) requirements for an independent cost estimate and annual regional gaps analysis but will provide important information for the National Ocean Policy #9: Strengthen and integrate Federal and non-Federal ocean observing systems, sensors, data collection platforms, data management, and mapping capabilities into a national system and integrate that system into international observation efforts.  Moreover, the plans will provide the detailed information and rationale to support budget requests and to enumerate the impacts of budget decisions. When the information from the Regions is compiled, the coordinated national plan will present a comprehensive national picture of the regional needs for observing assets.

NFRA, the IOOS office, and the RAs have been working for the past 2 months on common templates to complete the build out plans.  The deadline to submit the plans to IOOS for the independent cost estimate is Sept. 30, 2011.  Holly Price and Leslie Rosenfeld have been hired to prepare a national synthesis of the 11 plans.  


At the IOOS Regional Workshop in Portland, ME in November, the RAs will review the templates, look for trends, determine if more information is needed, decide how to synthesize and write an action plan, and write the executive summary.  Keep an eye out for more information on the outcomes of this process and contact any of the Regions to learn more about their specific plans and to provide input.


Regional Spotlights
This section of the newsletter will highlight various activities going on across the regions every month. 


New Leadership for MARACOOS and CenCOOS
MARACOOS welcomes Dr. Gerhard Kuska as Executive Director.  
Gerhard Kuska
Dr. Gerhard Kuska
Dr. Kuska is a Senior Fellow in Integrated Marine Policy at the University of Delaware, a Member of the Dean's Advisory Council in the University's College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment, and a Commissioner on the Planning Commission for the City of Lewes, Delaware.
From 2006 to 2008, as part of an extended detail from NOAA, Dr. Kuska served as Associate Director of the White House Council on Environmental Quality and Director of Ocean and Coastal Policy in the Executive Office of the President, where he advised the President on a broad array of issues, and oversaw the implementation of the President's Ocean Action Plan and several high-profile initiatives. From 2004 to 2006, he worked for NOAA as a Senior Policy Analyst for strategic planning and intra- and inter-agency coordination. From 2002 to 2004, he served on the staff of the U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy, where he advised the commissioners on governance issues and contributed to the drafting of the Commission's landmark report.


Dr. Leslie Rosenfeld
Dr. Leslie Rosenfeld
CeNCOOS welcomes Dr. Leslie Rosenfeld 

as Program Director.  Dr. Rosenfeld was most recently a Research Associate Professor at the Naval Postgraduate School and an oceanographic consultant. With this appointment, she returns to MBARI where she was an Assistant Scientist from 1989-1995. She has a Ph.D. in Physical Oceanography, and is a recognized expert on the California Current System, specializing in circulation over the continental shelf.  Dr. Rosenfeld has been involved in the planning for ocean observing systems at the national level going back to the late 1980's. Since arriving in California in 1989, she has been a leader in the planning and implementation of coastal ocean observing in California, and was instrumental in the formation of CeNCOOS. 



NFRA looks forward to the expertise and experience Drs. Kuska and Rosenfeld will bring to the organization.
PacIOOS Saves Money
Terry McBarnet, President of Lanai Oil Company, recently thanked PacIOOS for their support.  Lanai Oil Company is the only source for fuel on the island of Lanai and with the wave buoy outside the only commercial harbor on Lanai, PacIOOS has saved the company - and the people of Lanai - an estimated $20,000 per year for the last 4 years.  McBarnet says, "This buoy has over the years become an integral part of the decision tree that we go through when we authorize a fuel barge for the island of Lanai.  Our process requires that we decide to send a barge 24 hours before the barge actually arrives on Lanai.  The harbor there is the most exposed harbor in the state to ocean conditions.  The buoy gives us real-time information on the wave heights and also on the wave direction.  This information is extremely important in predicting the surge conditions within the harbor.  By taking the swell forecast 24 hours before the barge will arrive and comparing that information to what we see on the wave buoy, it helps us predict the surge conditions during that critical period when the barge will be pumping fuel into our storage tanks."


Regions Support Stakeholders during Hurricane Irene
From August 25-28, 2011, Hurricane Irene was traveling along the East Coast of the United States.  Kudos to all of the IOOS partners who provided data, information, and products to support the forecasting of Hurricane Irene on the East Coast.  CARA, SECOORA, MARACOOS, and NERACOOS have assets positioned that were integrated into forecast models and all provided information for scientists and the public.  Below are just a few examples of how the Regions supported stakeholders throughout the storm.
  • Local television stations in Connecticut reported conditions from the NERACOOS buoy in Central Long Island Sound during the hurricane.  NERACOOS also rapidly deployed a tool to integrate the feeds from the National Hurricane Center (NHC) of Irene's current storm track, forecast, past track, cone of probability and coastal advisories into the NERACOOS real-time buoy map.
  • MARACOOS collected and distributed a dedicated hurricane blog - - with updates on the storm, especially with regard to high frequency radar data, glider routes and the phytoplankton bloom monitoring.  The National Science Foundation and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute were among those who followed the blog.
  • Within the SECOORA region, a pilot forecast system for coastal North Carolina funded through IOOSŪ was used to display Irene forecasts and outputs were widely used before and during the Hurricane, including a model output figure in the New York Times (Aug. 28 front page article "Hurricane Drives Toward New York With Deadly Fury" image on page 16).
  • CARA had four buoys - in San Juan, Ponce, Rincon, and the U.S. Virgin Islands - providing real-time observations that NOAA used as Hurricane Irene moved through the Caribbean.
About NFRA
NFRA is a non-profit organization formed by the Regional Associations for Coastal and Ocean Observing in support of the Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS). 


The NFRA mission is to:

  • Develop Regional Associations for coastal and ocean observing to deliver scientific data and information on the nation's oceans;
  • Promote the integration and coordination the regional systems into a integrated national system to enhance observational and predictive abilities in ocean science;
  • Develop regional programs through capacity building, exchange of technical information, and sharing of facilities and infrastructure; and
  • Educate the public about ocean observing and its importance to the nation.

Please contact Josie Quintrell, NFRA Director, for more information.

Upcoming Events
NFRA Monthly RA Call

Thursday, Oct 20 at 2 pm 


NFRA Board Trip to DC

 Oct 20-21

Washington DC


Regional IOOS Fall Meeting
November 15-17
Portland, ME
Reminder:  We are always looking for Webinar topics.  Please send ideas to Josie Quintrell.