NFRA News March 2012

National and Regional
Coastal and
Ocean Observing News



Regional IOOS Spring Meeting 

The Regional IOOS Spring meeting was held February 28-February 29, 2012 in Washington, DC. Every year, the IOOS Regional Associations (RAs) and the Alliance for Coastal Technologies (ACT) meet with the IOOS Program Office to conduct annual reviews and to discuss issues for the coming year.  This was a highly productive meeting, with all RAs represented.  Good discussions were had with Zdenka Willis and the IOOS Program Office. David Kennedy, NOS Assistant Administrator, and Holly Bamford, Deputy Assistant Administrator, discussed how regional IOOS can become integrated into NOAA's National Ocean Service.  NFRA thanks the IOOS Program Office for hosting this meeting.


On the Hill
President's FY13 Budget Cuts Regional Association (RA) Grants by $2.5m
In the President's Budget for FY13, the overall regional line for IOOS increased from $23m in FY12 to $29.52m. However, the competitive regional grant program, which sustains the regional network, was cut by $2.5 million.  A cut of this magnitude would mean assets would need to be removed and critical information products would not be supported.  The increase is from the addition of a $10 million technology innovation program that is part of a larger NOAA's R&D initiative.

Regional Associations Visit Congressional Members

NFRA Board members and regional representations conducted a series of meetings on the Hill on March 1st, visiting many members of Congress to discuss the importance of coastal and ocean observing to constituents and to highlight the impacts of funding cuts.


House Letter Supports IOOS

Rep Capps (D-CA) and Rep Pingree (D-ME) recently co-sponsored a Dear Colleague Letter in the House for IOOS. Over 30 House members signed, up from 22 last year.  This is a success and NFRA appreciates the support of RA members who reached out to their delegations!


Education and Outreach Committee Needs Your Help!
The IOOS Program Office and the NFRA Education and Outreach Committee are working on a video to show how IOOS can make a difference in people's lives.  This will be a short video, along the lines of a Public Service Announcement that will peak viewer's curiosity and encourage more engagement with IOOS -- going to a website; learning more about a RA or regional coastal issues; and ultimately using the information.  The subcommittee is looking for suggestions for compelling stories of how coastal observations have made an impact on peoples lives.   If you have questions or ideas, please contact Jennie Lyons at the IOOS Program Office at or 301-427-2446.


Consortium for Ocean Public Policy Forum
This year's public policy forum focused Science of Ocean, Coastal and Great Lakes Restoration. Representative Castor (FL-11) discussed the importance of GCOOS and ocean observing in restoring the Gulf of Mexico after the oil spill. Nancy Rabalais chaired a session on the role of science in restoration planning, in which Bill Boicourt gave a presentation on the need for sustained monitoring and observations for science, documenting change (such as the change in the cold pool in the mid-Atlantic over the last 20 years) and for restoration.


Regional Spotlights
This section of the newsletter highlights various activities across the regions. 



Two HF Radar Systems Installed in the Carolinas

Scientists from the University of South Carolina, in collaboration with the Skidaway Institute of Oceanography, with assistance from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, are in the process of establishing two new High Frequency Radar (HF Radar) stations for monitoring the ocean surface currents and waves in Long Bay. One station is located on the Hobcaw Barony in Georgetown, SC while the other station is located at Caswell Beach, NC on properties managed by the Bell W. Baruch Foundation and the North Carolina Baptist Assembly at Fort Caswell, respectively. Each station remotely measures the surface ocean currents up to 120 miles offshore and when combined they create maps of temporal and spatial distribution of waves and currents over the entire area.


The data collected from this installation are critical in helping scientists to understand the development of phytoplankton blooms along the outer shelf that are seen in satellite imagery. During the summer, development of phytoplankton is related to eddies generated by the Gulf Stream and could cause low oxygen conditions. However, the mechanisms for bloom development during the winter is not well known yet. Phytoplankton blooms in the winter may prove to be beneficial, as it could provide a favorable feeding environment for larval fishes.



Scientists install HF Radar.  Photo Credit:  Jennifer Dorton, UNCW


University of North Florida Buoy Monitors Water Quality in Guana Lake, FL 

SECOORA funded partner and Board Member Pat Welsh and his team from the University of North Florida were recently highlighted in the local paper for their work monitoring water quality, with custom designed buoys, in Guana Lake, FL.



CaRA Holds Annual General Assembly This Week

CaRA will be holding its General Assembly on March 21, 2012 in La Parguera, Lajas on the southwest coast of Puerto Rico. At the event, the CariCOOS team will be presenting an update on its achievements and workscope including a nearshore forecast system for Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands in support of port and harbor operations, and beach hazard program products.  Moreover, the finalized edition of the CariCOOS coastal weather educational module, developed in collaboration with Editorial NORMA, will be presented.
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
GLOS Annual Meeting

March 21-22, 2012

Cleveland, Ohio


CaRA General Assembly
March 21, 2012

Puerto Rico


SECOORA Annual Meetings

May 7-9, 2012

Miami, FL