NFRA News July/August 2012

National and Regional
Coastal and
Ocean Observing News


NFRA and IOOS News

ICOOS Act Up for Reauthorization in 2013
NFRA representatives from several Regional Associations (RAs) are working with the IOOS Program Office, NOAA Office of Legislative Affairs and the Consortium for Ocean Leadership to plan for reauthorizing the ICOOS Act next year.  Much will depend on the outcome of the Fall elections, but the group has been meeting with Congressional staff over the summer to seek advice and input.  One major change concerns the authorization levels contained in the current Act that allows for "such sums as necessary."  New rules in the House prohibit such language and require that authorization levels be tied to recent appropriations.
IOOS Workshops

Two workshops of interest to the IOOS community, a National Glider Strategy Development Workshop and a QARTOD Data Standards Workshop were held in early August


The Glider workshop was held August 1-3 at Scripps Institute of Oceanography, UCSD, La Jolla, CA.  This workshop was organized both to frame priority requirements for broader coordination and collaboration of glider operations and to draft an outline for a national strategy.  At the close of the workshop, authors will have been assigned sections of the outline with a goal of assembling a full draft prior to the Fall AGU Meeting. 


The QARTOD workshop at NDBC July 31 and August 1 focused on coastal, electro-chemical sensors in real time.  The 6 sensors for which standards will be developed are:  SeaBird SBE 43,YSI Reliable Oxygen Sensor (ROX), Wetlabs Water Quality Monitor,  Greenspan Galvanic DO 300/350 series and Aanderaa Oxygen Optodes.  The group plans to have a draft manual out for review in September with final standards published sometime later this fall.

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


East Coast RA's uniquely positioned to support Threatened and Endangered Diadromous Fisheries Research and Management

(Submitted by Peter Moore, MARACOOS Stakeholder Liaison)


The US east coast has the distinction of being home to a variety of Diadomous species. which are marine and fresh water fish that travel in and out of both fresh and salt water habitats at some stage in their life history. These species include American eels, several sturgeon species, Atlantic salmon, trout and "River herring", a catch all term for a species group made up of Alewives, Blue Back, and River herring.


Atlantic salmon smolts
Atlantic Salmon Smolts
(Image Credit: Peter Steenstra / USFWS)
Conservation and management of these species in an increasingly crowded world poses great challenges for users, conservationists, and government management agencies. Several of these species are now listed as endangered in some of all of their range (Atlantic salmon, some sturgeon species) while others are undergoing the process of being considered for listing as Threatened or Endangered (American eel, River herring species).
Historically these species collectively numbered in the tens of millions, with a spawning and migration range extending from Florida to Labrador. All are "natal spawners", returning to the river or estuary of their birth to spawn, and all are repeat spawners, unlike the Pacific salmon.


MARACOOS Stakeholder Liaison Peter Moore recently attended a Climate Change Workshop in Gloucester, MA, hosted by NMFS Northeast Regional Office Protected Resources Division.  The first two days focused on climate change effects on the marine environment in general. The second two days focused specifically on the pending Endangered Species Act (ESA) listing determination by the Agency in response to a petition to list River Herring species as Endangered. Ru Morrison (NERACOOS) attended the second two days and presented on behalf of the east coast IOOS network.
The advent of the IOOS ocean sensing network capability -- including predictive habitat modeling and acoustic arrays to detect migration pathways -- are leading to more fine-scale data on the habits and dynamic habitats utilized by these species that managers can employ to help restore these species, and perhaps more importantly, that ocean users can utilize to avoid interactions with these species. Examples of the latter involving MARACOOS are the ongoing work being done on Atlantic sturgeon avoidance in the east coast monkfish gillnet fishery, which is a partnership between commercial fishermen and Delaware State University researchers.
Restoration efforts to date have consisted primarily of clean up of terrestrial habitat (think Clean Water Act of 1972), as well as removal of dams that blocked upstream migrations to spawning and juvenile habitat. Efforts to curb at-sea interceptions of migrating fish have been ongoing for years, including the fishing industry-led effort to avoid River herring bycatch in ocean fisheries off the Mid-Atlantic region. The IOOS network capabilities are uniquely positioned to support all these restoration efforts with more sophisticated tools.

Bat and Buoys: Monitoring Bat Activity in the Northeast

(From the NERACOOS Summer 2012 Newsletter) 



(Image Credit: J.Wallinga (UME))


There is a growing interest in the development of offshore wind energy off of the Atlantic coast. Along with this interest also comes the need to better understand the potential impacts of ocean based wind turbines on our offshore wildlife and fisheries resources. Several of the NERACOOS buoys in the Gulf of Maine owned and operated by the University of Maine are currently helping biologists detect bat activity over the ocean in the Northeast. Stantec, a private consulting company, is presently working with the US Department of Energy (DOE) to deploy bat sensors on coastal and offshore sites within the Gulf of Maine, Great Lakes, and mid-Atlantic coastal regions. The effort currently includes four NERACOOS buoys in the Gulf of Maine. This 3-year effort was initiated in April 2012 and is aimed at better understanding general bat and migration activity over ocean waters. Data gathered during the multi-year survey effort will ultimately help determine and overcome potential risks associated with offshore wind turbines. Prior to the DOE study, Stantec had conducted a similar effort at 16 sites within the Gulf of Maine, including a test deployment on NERACOOS Buoy A, off of Gloucester MA in 2011. The bat sensor detected bat activity approximately 25% of nights over the buoy during the four and a half month time period. More information about this project is available by contacting Steve Pelletier at



New Web-based Tool Unlocks Mysteries of Great Lakes Fish Behavior
(From the GLOS Summer 2012 Newsletter)
Earlier this spring, the Great Lakes Fishery Commission and the Great Lakes Observing System launched a web-based Great Lakes Acoustic Telemetry (GLATOS) tool - - that promotes collaboration among fisheries researchers and managers who are seeking a better understanding of the migration, ecology and spawning behaviors of Great Lakes fish species.


In 2010, the Great Lakes Fishery Commission acquired acoustic telemetry equipment and developed a framework for supporting studies that use this technology to increase understanding of key species in the Great Lakes and connecting channels. GLATOS currently includes five major projects with 337 receivers. The system will track more than 1700 tagged fish between 2010 and 2013. Planning for additional studies is underway, including the incorporation of lake sturgeon migration in the Lake Huron-to-Lake Erie Corridor.


Fish species tagged for tracking by GLATOS include lake trout, walleye, sea lamprey, and lake sturgeon. The information from the tracking will influence a range of fish population restoration actions including improved sea lamprey control, fish stocking decisions, and an enhanced understanding of fish spawning behavior.

"The GLATOS tool will be extremely valuable for researchers planning to use acoustic telemetry technology to answer fisheries management and ecology questions in the Great Lakes region," said Chris Vandergoot, an Ohio Department of Natural Resources Fisheries Biologist. "The ability to see where current and prospective acoustic arrays exist will allow researchers to augment existing arrays and establish new arrays in areas where they don't exist. In addition to facilitating collaborative fisheries research projects, the GLATOS tool allows the public to learn more about fish movement studies currently underway in the Great Lakes region." 

LimnoTech, an environmental engineering consulting firm, and Applied Science Associates (ASA), a global technology and science solutions company, designed and constructed the web-based tool and database.

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

NERACOOS Board Meeting

August 22, 2012

Rye, NH


IOOS Federal Advisory Committee


August 29-30, 2012

Consortium of Ocean Leadership

Washington, DC


IOOS DMAC Steering Committee

September 5-6, 2012

Consortium of Ocean Leadership

Washington, DC


IOOS DMAC Coordinators Meeting 

September 11-13, 2012

Silver Spring, MD


GCOOS Annual Meeting

Sept 26-27

Corpus Christi, TX 


PacIOOS Council Meeting

October 16-17, 2012

Honolulu, HI


MARACOOS Annual Meeting

November 1-2, 2012

Baltimore, MD



October 14-19, 2012
Hampton Roads, VA


NFRA Board Meeting

November 12, 2012

Herndon, VA


IOOS Summit

November 13-16, 2012

Herndon, VA