NFRA News February 2012

National and Regional
Coastal and
Ocean Observing News


NFRA/IOOS Annual Spring Meeting 
The NFRA/IOOS Annual Spring meeting will be held February 28-March 1, 2012 in Washington, DC.  The meeting will include Regional Association (RA) reviews, a report from the IOOS Office on major accomplishments and issues, build out plan updates, and discussion of the goals for the coming year.  Members of NFRA will also be briefing the IOOC about the build out plans and discussing certification.  Many RA representatives will take advantage of being in DC and will spend time visiting their congressional delegations.


Certification Comments Submitted
The NFRA community recently submitted comments on the draft IOOS Certification Criteria, dated November 2011.  The comments were developed with participation of all 11 Regional Associations (RAs) and reflect an in-depth discussion at the NFRA Annual Meeting in November, the efforts of a small working group, and comments discussed by conference calls and submitted in writing by RA staff and board members. At the request of the IOOS Office, a Working Group has been formed to assist with developing a plan for how the certification process will be implemented once the criteria have been adopted.  Dave Easter from the IOOS Office will lead the group and members include Ann Jochens (GCOOS), Chris Ostrander (PacIOOS), Josie Quintrell (NFRA), Jen Read (GLOS) and Julie Thomas (SCCOOS).


NFRA Board Members Visit Washington, DC
On January 17, Julie Thomas (Board Chair), Ru Morrison (Board Co-Chair) and Josie Quintrell (Executive Director) held a number of meetings in Washington, DC on behalf of the regions and IOOS.  The NFRA delegation had a series of productive meetings with representatives at OMB, Department of Commerce and House CJS Appropriations staff.  There was time for in-depth conversations about the importance of IOOS and the regions because Congress was not in session.


NFRA Representatives attend JOCI Planning Meeting
Gerhard Kuska, Executive Director of MARACOOS, and Josie Quintrell attended the Joint Ocean Commission Initiative's (JOCI) Strategy Session on January 26-27, 2012.  The Session discussed a range of ocean policy issues.  Of most interest to the IOOS community was the strong support of IOOS on the final day by panel member Scott Rayder, former Chief of Staff for NOAA.   
IOOS at Ocean Sciences
IOOS will be featured at the upcoming Ocean Sciences Meeting in Salt Lake City, UT. 


Session:  Ocean Observing Systems:  Regional and Global, Monday, Feb. 20 at 10:30

IOOC Town Meeting:  IOOS Summit 2012, Wednesday Feb. 22 from 12:30 - 14:00
This town hall is an opportunity for Ocean Sciences '12 attendees to participate in the Integrated Ocean Observing System Summit being held in the fall. The IOOC will seek audience input during facilitated discussions and look to attendees for suggestions on enhancing marine research, operations, and funding.


Bill Boicourt to Present at COL Public Policy Forum
Dr. Bill Boicourt of the University of Maryland, MARACOOS and NFRA will discuss the importance of monitoring in restoration efforts at the upcoming Ocean Leadership Public Policy Forum on March 7, 2012.  Bill will be presenting on a panel moderated by GCOOS Board Member Nancy Rablais.   View more information on COLs Public Policy Forum.


Data Management Steering Team Meeting
Ru Morrison (NERACOOS) and Julie Thomas (SCCOOS) attended the second meeting of the Interagency Ocean Observing Committee's (IOOC) Data Management and Communication Steering Team (DMAC ST) in Washington DC on Jan 18-19, 2012.  This committee serves as a forum for collaboration among IOOS agencies and partners on DMAC issues.  Presentations included 1) Overview and challenges of their Data Management System by NASA/JPL's Michelle Gierach; 2) Open Geospatial Consortium OGC Web Services by Luis Bermudez; and 3) The Ocean Observatory Initiative's (OOI) Cyberinfrastructure project by Matt Arrott.  Discussion topics included NSF's transformative data integration project "Earth Cube";  development of QA/QC standards through the continuation of the  QARTOD (Quality Assurance of Real Time Data) by the IOOS office; and inter-agency DMAC challenges and issues.  Ru Morrison proposed using "real life" scenarios as a way of addressing DMAC issues at the next meeting.  For more information, see
Regional Spotlights
This section of the newsletter highlights various activities across the regions. 


NANOOS Workshop

"Pacific Northwest Waters: Gateway to our Future" Workshop a Success

The workshop "Pacific Northwest Waters: Gateway to our Future" hosted at Microsoft Research on  February 2, 2012 at Redmond, WA, on behalf of NANOOS, IOOS and the IOOC office, was a major success. Over 150 participants attended to hear a keynote address by NWS Deputy Assistant Administrator Laura Furgione, presentations on NANOOS capabilities, focused talks delivered by speakers spanning long-time NANOOS members to those new to NANOOS, and panels of user case-studies on a variety of topics including Fisheries, Aquaculture, Alternative Energy, Coastal Engineering, and Hazard Response/Marine Operations. The workshop was especially productive as about 50 participants attended the second day to discuss follow-up activities. Participants hailed from a wide diversity of affiliations, including federal, tribal, state and local governments, non-governmental organizations, industries, research institutions, and educational facilities.


GCOOS News:  Flower Gardens Bank National Sanctuary, BP and Liquid Robotics to partner

Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary is collaborating with Russell Putt, contractor to BP, to deploy wave gliders to conduct acoustic and current surveys in the Gulf of Mexico. Three Liquid Robotics wave gliders were deployed from two locations along the Gulf Coast. Two of the gliders are outfitted with acoustic packages that will be used to detect marine mammals in the Eastern and Western Gulf of Mexico.  The third outfitted with an Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler will conduct surveys at East Flower Garden Bank to collect data as a contribution to a study being conducted by the Naval Research Lab. The objective of the study is to model micro-movement of water around topographic features. The glider time is being donated by BP.


CeNCOOS Governing Council Meeting A Success
On January 9-10, 2012, the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI) hosted a 2-day meeting of the Central and Northern California Ocean Observing System's (CeNCOOS) Governing Council with more than 50 people in attendance.  In addition to the Governing Council, CeNCOOS researchers, members, and staff were present, along with U.S. IOOS personnel.  During the meeting, CeNCOOS PIs gave presentations on their ongoing observing and modeling projects.  Participants also heard updates from representatives of some member organizations concerning their activities with CeNCOOS.  Outgoing CeNCOOS Program Coordinator, Heather Kerkering highlighted successful CeNCOOS-stakeholder interactions, before she left for the sunnier climes of Hawaii and PacIOOS.  CeNCOOS Council President, Pat Coulston, introduced new CeNCOOS Director, Leslie Rosenfeld, who gave an overview of the current CeNCOOS program, and presented some of her ideas for future CeNCOOS directions.  The U.S. IOOS Director ,Zdenka Willis, gave an update on federal activities and answered questions about the national program.  Discussion sessions focused on stakeholder engagement, governance issues, data management and communication, and strategic planning including how to prioritize observing and modeling activities.  Fostering more collaboration with the other West Coast ocean observing systems was also a presentation and discussion topic.


Staff Changes in the Regions
Congrats to Heather Kerkering, former CeNCOOS Coordinator, who has been selected as Deputy Director for the Pacific Islands Ocean Observing System (PacIOOS) in Oahu, Hawaii.
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


February 20-24, 2012

Salt Lake City, UT 


 NFRA/IOOS Annual Spring Meeting

February 28-March 1, 2012

Washington, DC


Consortium of Ocean Leadership Public Policy Forum

March 7, 2012

Washington, DC


GCOOS Meeting

March 14-15

Gulfport, MS


GLOS Annual Meeting

March 21-22, 2012

Cleveland, Ohio

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