NFRA News December 2011

National and Regional
Coastal and
Ocean Observing News


FY12 Budget for IOOS Passed 
Just before Thanksgiving, the President signed into law three appropriations bills, including one for NOAA.  The final budget for IOOS was similar to the President's request for FY12 that included $31m for regional IOOS and $6.5m for National IOOS. The regional line includes $17.5m for competitive regional grants, $5m for surface current mapping, and the transfer of a marine sensor technology grant program from NOAA's National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science to IOOS for $8.5m.  The National Ocean Service, where the IOOS Program is housed, must address a $11m cut so there may be some changes to the final numbers. 




FY 11 Pres





FY 12


FY 12


FY 12


Regional Total








National network of regional systems








Real Time Surface Current Mapping








Technology Innovation*








Modeling Test Bed and Sensor Verification**








National IOOS:


$6.5 m






House Amendment








Total IOOS


$21 m








Participants at the 2011 NFRA Annual Meeting and
Regional IOOS Workshop
Workshop Builds National Synthesis of Regional Build Out Plans
The annual IOOS/Regional Workshop was held November 16-17, immediately after the NFRA Annual Meeting. This year's workshop differed from previous years as it focused on developing a national synthesis of the 11 regional build out plans. Over the summer, each of the RAs developed 10-year plans detailing observing system elements required to meet identified user needs. The goal of the workshop was to identify common elements, highlight regional differences and to develop a synthesis that describes the national network of regional systems.


Special thanks goes to the Holly Price and Leslie Rosenfeld, the consultants hired to analyze each plan and to compile a draft synthesis. Their detailed work set the stage for the discussion on commonalities. They identified over 100 common products needed to address the concerns of marine operations, tracking climate variability, ecosystem, fisheries, and water quality, and hazards.  A draft report of the National Synthesis is expected in mid-January, and the final in April.


NFRA Annual Meeting
On November 15, NFRA representatives from all 11 IOOS Regional Associations gathered in Portland, Maine for NFRA's 6th Annual Meeting.  The Board elected a new slate of officers and bid thanks and farewell to some dedicated Board members.  After 6 years as the dynamic Board Chair of NFRA, Molly McCammon has stepped down.  Fortunately, she will continue to be integrally involved in NFRA matters as a member of the Executive Committee.  Leadership of NFRA now transfers to the capable hands of Julie Thomas, Director of the Southern California Coastal Ocean Observing System (SCCOOS).  NFRA thanks Molly for her many contributions to IOOS and the RAs and welcomes Julie to her new post. 

NFRA Officers
Chair - Julie Thomas,  SCCOOS
Vice-Chair - Ru Morrison, NERACOOS
Secretary - Debra Hernandez, SECOORA
Treasurer - Chris Ostrander, PacIOOS

Executive Committee Members (in addition to officers):
Bill Boicourt, MARACOOS; Frank Kudrna, GLOS;  Molly McCammon, AOOS; and Jan Newton, NANOOS.

Finance Committee
Chris Ostrander, PacIOOS; Ann Jochens, GCOOS-RA; Heather Kerkering, CeNCOOS; and Roy Watlington, CARA.


NFRA also bid farewell to several long time Board members - Christine Manninen, Nancy Rabalais, Harvey Seim and Ray Toll - all of whom have been with NFRA since the beginning and whose energy, insight and work has helped to shape and form the organization.  They will be missed.
US IOOS Coastal Ocean Modeling Testbed:
Apples To Apples

The overarching goal of the US IOOS Coastal Modeling Testbed is to accelerate the transfer of research and development to improve operational coastal ocean modeling.

A specific capability that the US IOOS Coastal Modeling Testbed will achieve is to collect quantitative data on the behavior (e.g., skill, robustness, execution speed) and implementation requirements (e.g., resolution, parameterization, computer capacity) that characterize the suitability and performance of selected models from both operational and fundamental science perspectives.  For example, the modeling team investigating inundation, surge and waves has begun to look at "apples-to-apples" comparisons amongst models and observations in the Gulf of Mexico for Hurricane Ike (Figure 1). 
Testbed Figure 1
As a result of this effort, the modeling community will have access to an unprecedented archive of observational data, model inputs and model results for both Hurricanes Ike and Rita that can be used for testing and evaluating current and future models in this hazard prone area.
The US IOOS Coastal Modeling Testbed is providing an infrastructure and framework that will enable "apples-to-apples" evaluations of models addressing key environmental and life safety issues, and in all of the US coastal and Great Lakes regions. 

For more information, contact Liz Smith ( or Becky Baltes ( and visit
Regional Spotlights
This section of the newsletter highlights various activities across the regions. 


Right Whale Detection Information Available on

Endangered Right Whale detection information is now available on the NERACOOS website. This information is available thanks to the efforts of Cornell University's Bioacoustics Research Program, GMRI's Ocean Data Products group, and WHOI's Mooring Operations group. NERACOOS users can see when Right Whales are detected by the Cornell University Right Whale listening network by visiting real-time data portal and zooming to the "Acoustic Whale Array." This array is located in Massachusetts Bay and is primarily designed to help vessels avoid striking endangered Right Whales.  To learn more about the network visit the Right Whale Listening Network website.

PacIOOOS Seeks Deputy Director
The PacIOOS Deputy Director will be responsible for the coordination and management of data, outreach, and observing system implementation of the Pacific Islands Ocean Observing System (PacIOOS) in order to achieve the vision for PacIOOS detailed in the PacIOOS Strategic Plan.  This individual  will learn all details of PacIOOS, the Director's role and responsibilities, engage with stakeholders and will, over the course of 2012, begin to assume the roles and responsibilities of the Director.  That individual assume the role of Director in 2013 and continue the coordination and management of the system going forward after the current Director departs.  View the announcement.


West Coast IOOS Regions Sign Memorandum of Understanding 
In order to further the mission of the U.S. Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS) and serve the requirements for ocean observations, data, and information at the scale of the California Current Large Marine Ecosystem (CCLME), the three regional components of IOOS on the West Coast recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to expand and strengthen West Coast regional ocean observing collaboration.

Through the MOU, the Southern California Coastal Ocean Observing System (SCCOOS), the Central and Northern California Ocean Observing System (CeNCOOS), and the Northwest Association of Networked Ocean Observing Systems (NANOOS) affirmed their commitment jointly to plan CCLME observations and to share information that will mutually benefit each sub-region and the West Coast as a whole.  Read the whole story.


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 Presentation to the Committee on Marine Transportation System

December 7, 2011

Washington, DC

December 15-16, 2011
Washington, DC


 Deadline for comments on IOOS Certification 
January 6, 2012


American Meteorological Society 92nd Annual Meeting

January 22-26, 2012

New Orleans, LA 


 2012 Ocean Sciences Meeting

February 20-24, 2012

Salt Lake City, UT 


 NFRA Meeting/IOOS Regional Meeting

February 28-March 1, 2012

Washington, DC

Reminder:  We are always looking for Webinar topics.  Please send ideas to Josie Quintrell.