Last updated: 22 August 2014

17-18 September 2009
The University of Alabama in Huntsville, Huntsville, AL

The report can be downloaded as a PDF.

17 September 2009

1.0     Opening of Meeting


Dr. Sara Graves, Director of the Information Technology and Systems Center (ITSC), The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH), welcomed everyone to Huntsville and the UAH campus. She provided an overview of the many activities of the ITSC, which seeks to develop strong communications and understanding between Information Technology experts and users/researchers through projects in areas such as data mining (machine discovery/recovery of data) and ontologies (IT vocabularies). The ITSC group is interdisciplinary and collaborations are of great interest. Projects focus on how to get large data sets into a form where the data are useable. GCOOS was encouraged to avail itself of capabilities developed by the ITSC and available on the web, e.g., GLIDER or NOESIS.

Worth Nowlin, Chair of the GCOOS Board of Directors, also welcomed the participants to the meeting. Attendees introduced themselves (Appendix A). The provisional agenda (Appendix B) was adopted with no change. Nowlin then introduced the topic of IOOS funding, where new funding is unlikely for FY10 and very uncertain for FY11. He suggested that, in light of this situation, the GCOOS-RA focus on (1) innovation in data integration and development of products, (2) continuing assessments of stakeholder priority needs, (3) continuing work with CaRA, SECOORA, GOMA, and others, and (4) identifying how to obtain new resources from non-NOAA IOOS sources.

Ann Jochens, GCOOS Regional Coordinator, then called for nominations for the Chair of the Board of Directors and four Executive Committee positions to supplement nominations received by email. Nominations for the Chair were Worth Nowlin. Nominations for the Executive Committee were Buzz Martin, Nancy Rabalais, Mike Spranger, Ray Toll, and Jan van Smirren. This information was sent to absent Board members so they could vote by email.

2.0     Ecosystems in the Gulf of Mexico – Building the LME Project

Dr. Porfirio Alvarez Torres, Project Coordinator of the Gulf of Mexico Large Marine Ecosystem (GoM LME), United Nations Organization for Industrial Development (UNIDO), gave a presentation on the project "Integrated Assessment and Management of the Gulf of Mexico Large Marine Ecosystem." Dr. Rebecca L. Shuford, Fishery Biologist in the Marine Ecosystems Division, NOAA Fisheries Office of Science and Technology, participated in the discussion as the representative U.S. partner. Mexico submitted the project proposal to the Global Environment Facility (GEF) through the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) in March 2002. It was approved in January 2009 at $4.5M for 4 years. Additional funding will be sought to conduct major activities beginning in 2013. In June 2009 the GoM LME Project Inception Workshop was held in Merida, Yucatan, Mexico.

The project has a five-module approach to developing indicators of ecosystem condition to support management actions: productivity (biodiversity hot spots), fish & fisheries (fishery status and trends); pollution and ecosystem health (nutrient over-enrichment, harmful algal blooms); governance (policy and regulatory frameworks); and socioeconomics (socioeconomic impacts of marine ecosystems). Governance is by Mexico and the U.S., with Bonnie Ponwith (NOAA SEFSC) and Antonio Diaz de Leon (SEMARNAT) as co-Chairs of the Regional Steering Committee that oversees the implementation and execution of the project. The objectives are to complete and publish a Transboundary Diagnostic Analysis (TDA) containing regional assessments within each of the five modules (2009-2010). Then using the results of this analysis, a Strategic Action Program (2010-2011) and National Action Program (2011-2012) will be formulated.

Pilot projects are planned for the coastal and inland waters of the Bay of Campeche, Campeche Bank, and Terminos Lagoon. These are to monitor and assess coastal conditions, enhance and restore habitats in the Laguna de Terminos (mangroves, marshes, seagrass beds, sand dunes), and enhance shrimp production through ecosystem based management. Dr. Alvarez discussed each in detail. Results will be used to plan the activities for 2013 and beyond.

Dr. Alvarez suggested a number of possible areas for collaboration of the GoM LME project with the GCOOS-RA. The 1st Binational Expert Workshop of the GoM LME Project will be held the second week of November 2009 in Cd. Carmen Campeche, Mexico. GCOOS-RA will be invited to attend. The Transboundary Diagnostic Analysis will be upgraded in summer 2010. Other areas include exchange of information and expertise.

3.0     Update on IOOS and Building the South Regional Network

Ann Jochens provided updates on the 2009 IOOS Regional Coordination Workshop held in Seattle, WA, on 25-27 August 2009 and on interactions between the GCOOS-RA, CaRA and SECOORA. At the workshop, each RA reported on the status of its RCOOS and discussed plans for the future, assuming that $5M would be available to the RA. The presentations are available at Funding for FY10 is expected to be at a level similar to FY09. Funding for FY11 is uncertain. It may be level with FY10, but the NOAA IOOS Office is working within NOAA to get funding increased to about $5M for each RA.

After the presentations, Regional Coordination Workshop participants focused on planning for a synthesis of RCOOS plans into a National RA Observing Plan, due to NOAA IOOS Office on December 18, 2009. The purpose of this plan is to articulate the value that the regions bring to the national IOOS program and to describe more specifically what the $55M request for regional IOOS will buy and what the deliverables will be. The document is to be at a high level suitable for NOAA, DOC, OMB, and the Congress. Ann Jochens is on the writing team and will focus on coastal hazards.

As envisioned, a "South Regional Network" would consist of GCOOS-RA, CaRA, SECOORA, GOMA, U.S. federal agencies, and appropriate Mexican entities. First steps would include enhanced engagement of federal agencies in the region (MMS, USACE, USGS, USCG, EPA, NOAA NWS, NOAA CSC) and development of specific projects encompassing common issues that the three RAs can work on together.

Jochens reviewed the ideas discussed with CaRA and SECOORA at the summer 2008 BOD meeting. In addition to the Ecosystem Modeling Workshop being held jointly in October 2009, other joint activities might include having information available in both Spanish and English and working jointly on data management issues. Pilot projects discussed by the three RAs at the IOOS Workshop were a glider network to monitor the development and movement of a warm water pool from the Caribbean through the Gulf of Mexico to the east U.S. coast, beach monitoring, and rip current forecasting. Jochens recommended that the best way to proceed would be for the GCOOS-RA to select a joint project, define it, and pass it through the other two RAs for refinement. CaRA and SECOORA could likewise develop their suggested joint projects.

4.0     Discussion of Funding Strategy

GCOOS Board member Cort Cooper, Chevron, summarized the detailed outline he had prepared of a strawman draft of section 7 of the Business Model. The section covers the marketing and funding plans. The basic idea will be to have a series of pre-proposals, suitable for submitting to many sources, and then target each proposal to the group that would be most likely to fund it. A matrix of funders is under development, including possible sources such as NOAA IOOS; other NOAA divisions, NOPP; MMS; CASE; GOMA, Foundations, local entities, state agencies, and ports and harbor authorities. The value of the GCOOS and its products to these groups will need to be clearly defined. The goal is to be ready with a proposed project when opportunities arise. The writing team will provide comments to Cooper late September or early October.

5.0     Building Connections with GOMA Priority Issue Teams

5.1     An Overview of GOMA Action Plan II

Ann Jochens summarized the Gulf of Mexico Alliance (GOMA) Action Plan II for Healthy and Resilient Coasts (2009-2014), which is available at There are six Priority Issue Teams, each of which is lead by one or more of the Gulf states. These are: Ecosystems Integration and Assessment (Texas), Habitat Conservation and Restoration (Louisiana), Nutrients and Nutrient Reduction (Mississippi), Coastal Community Resilience (co-leads: Mississippi, Louisiana), Environmental Education (Alabama), and Water Quality (Florida). Each PIT has a set of 3-5 focus areas, and each focus area has an action and associated action steps specified. GCOOS-RA people have been actively involved in many of the PITs. For example, Nancy Rabalais is working on the Harmful Algal Bloom Integrated Observing System (HABIOS) aspects of the Water Quality PIT. Mike Spranger is involved with the Coastal Community Resilience PIT. Jennifer Wozencraft is the lead on the Gulf of Mexico Master Mapping Plan of the Ecosystems Integration and Assessment PIT. Sharon Walker and Chris Simoniello are active in the Environmental Education PIT. Ann Jochens participates in the activities of the Water Quality and Nutrients and Nutrient Reduction PITs, and Matt Howard has just started to be involved with the GOMA data management aspects through the Water Quality PIT.

5.2     Summary of Discussions with GOMA State Leads

Board members summarized discussions with the state leads for each of the six PITs about potential cooperative collaborations and how GCOOS-RA might assist GOMA with common priorities. Mike Spranger talked with Bill Walker who is the current Chair of the GOMA Alliance Management Team. Dr. Walker strongly supports enhanced GCOOS-GOMA partnerships and will work with the PIT state leads on this. GCOOS will work with the leads to identify areas where GCOOS can contribute as well as collaboratively submit joint proposals.

Ann Jochens reported on the Water Quality PIT for Board member Mark Luther. Ellen McCarron of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection is the GOMA state lead for this PIT. GCOOS is actively involved with this PIT, with Ann Jochens participating in the monthly calls and being involved in the working groups of the PIT. At the request of McCarron, we agreed to have Matt Howard to serve as the IT expert for Water Quality PIT on the GOMA Data Management Committee that is just now forming. We are directly involved in the HABs focus area work. Nancy Rabalais co-leads the effort to develop the HAB Integrated Observing System with GOMA’s Steve Wolfe. Ann Jochens serves on the HABs Working Group and has offered GCOOS assistance on tasks involving ocean observations and data distribution. For the monitoring focus area, Jochens has offered GCOOS participation in the monitoring report card effort and GCOOS is written in for collaboration on a number of the tasks. GCOOS is not directly involved in the pathogens or mercury focus areas, although we may pursue beach health projects.

Nancy Rabalais reported on the Nutrient PIT and the Habitat Restoration and Conservation PIT. She has not yet reached Jerry Cain, the Nutrient PIT contact recommended by Dr. Walker. However, she did successfully contact James Pahl, the LA state lead for the Habitat Conservation and Restoration PIT. At present, there is little for joint collaboration, although they identified sea level rise and land subsidence issues–sea level elevations–as good areas for GCOOS interaction with this PIT. This PIT is interested in data consistency and possibly some of the GCOOS stakeholder workshops. Rabalais will monitor the emails and will talk with Pahl on a regular basis. The LA Coastal Authority, which monitors the Louisiana Coastwise Reference Monitoring System sites as part of coastal wetland restoration will be adding water quality reference sites in bays, estuaries, and coastal waters. These activities might be a potential for GCOOS-RA collaboration. Rabalais will be added to the HCR PIT mailing list.

Worth Nowlin talked with Larry McKinney, state lead for the Ecosystem Integration and Assessment PIT. Common priority areas are with the transmission of data and products. Jim Gibeaut and Seneca Holland will be meeting with Matt Howard, Ann Jochens, and Worth Nowlin to discuss collaborative efforts in this area and how the GCOOS data portal might be used. McKinney is interested in the Ecosystem Modeling Workshop. GCOOS has contacts directly into the GoM Master Mapping Plan work and is looking to Board member Jennifer Wozencraft for suggestions on how best GCOOS can contribute. Nowlin and McKinney determined that, at present, the living marine resources, emergent wetlands status and trends report, and ecosystem services valuation were lower priority areas for collaboration. McKinney would like to be informed of GCOOS workshops and meetings. Nowlin and McKinney will talk every month or so.

Mike Spranger has begun to work with Tina Shumate, the Mississippi lead for the Coastal Community Resiliency PIT. The assessment focus area has potential for collaborations, especially as related to sea level rise and storm surge and inundation. The GCOOS data portal might play a role or GCOOS might help provide content to a GOMA web site. The management toolbox focus area does not have strong potential for collaboration. However, the communication focus area has potential, again in activities associated with sea level elevation observations and communication of risks to the public. Joe Swaykos mentioned that GCOOS could also help with identifying effective storm surge and inundation visualization techniques. Spranger will put Swaykos in touch with Shumate on the visualization point. He will work with the PIT to further develop the potential areas for collaboration for collaboration.

For the Environmental Education PIT, Sharon Walker has direct involvement and also talks with Phillip Hinseley, who is the Alabama state lead for this PIT. The goal of the GOMA and GCOOS education efforts is to expand the public understanding of the impact of the Gulf of Mexico and its resources on their lives. With several state members of the PIT also serving on the GCOOS EOC, there is a strong overlap of the GOMA Environmental Education Network and the GCOOS Education and Outreach Council. Chris Simoniello, Joe Swaykos, Sharon Walker, Mike Spranger, and John Dindo serve in both groups. The Gulf of Mexico teams are providing a model for education and outreach collaborations. The two groups are cooperating to develop six kiosks on the Gulf of Mexico ocean issues for deployment in the Coastal America Learning Centers (CALCs, formerly the Coastal Ecosystem Learning Centers).

The Board decided on liaisons for the PITs and focus areas targeted for collaborations. Appendix C provides a matrix of GCOOS points of contact with the GOMA PITs. These liaisons will summarize interactions that should be pursued. Contacts with the state leads will be made periodically (approximately monthly). Contacts will send the state leads information on GCOOS in which they might be interested and will obtain information of interest from GOMA. Contacts for the various focus areas will work to assure that GCOOS can make appropriate contributions in these areas and meets its commitments to GOMA.

6.0     Building Effective Councils and Committees

Worth Nowlin began the discussion with a statement of the issue and the goal we are seeking. The GCOOS Councils and Committees range from those that are effectively working to those that are not effective but are trying to those that are not effective at all. The goal is to keep the effective groups effective and to find ways to make the less effective groups more effective. The current poor fiscal environment is a major factor in the effectiveness of some of the groups. So the challenge is to find ways to energize those groups even in a low funding environment so we can continue to make the strong linkages necessary to build the GCOOS.

Observing Systems Committee: Stephan Howden, OSC Chair, reported that several planned action tasks were being done through the data portal and local data nodes projects. Without funding, there is not much else the OSC can do. Discussion brought out the point that given the priorities for GCOOS, the OSC could develop a plan. Nowlin reported that in the integrated set, the highest priorities for most stakeholder groups are bathymetry and surface currents/waves (HF radar). Howden pointed out that a resiliency plan is needed to respond to preparations for and recovery from hurricanes. This would include evacuation and re-establishment of the system equipment and a region-wide provision for back-up systems to take over when data communications go down. A first step would be to obtain information from each observing element.

Products and Services Committee: Ann Jochens presented the report from Joe Stinus, PSC Chair. The committee met in August 2009. It determined that Customer Information Sheets should be developed in the areas of Models, Hypoxia, Extreme Weather, and Beach Quality to enhance the use of the Data Portal. These would be one page to start, with possible future development into white papers. The areasselected using the integrated GCOOS priorities (Appendix D) as a guide. Stinus has three suggestions for making progress on products and services (investigate possible collaborations with the West Coast RAs as related to integrated ecosystem assessments; work with the Northern Gulf Institute and the Harte Research Institute to develop a social/economic study on why GCOOS is important; and develop a marketing team to target selected customer groups and develop plans to meet requirements). Jochens will ask Stinus how he plans to have his committee or others accomplish these. GCOOS has a good list of what products are needed by various stakeholder groups. GCOOS now needs to identify products to make from the data streams that should be posted to the GCOOS Data Portal. Matt Howard mentioned that GCOOS has hired two half-time graduate students to prepare products. They are focusing on creating map-views of current conditions. Later, using GCOOS priorities, additional products will be developed and served via the portal. For example, the EOC is providing input on what products the education/outreach community would like to have on the portal.

Education and Outreach Council: Joe Swaykos, Chair of the Education and Outreach Council, reviewed the activities of the EOC since the last Board meeting. Two educator workshops on using GPS were held with approximately 50 participants. The EOC met in August 2009, including a half-day in joint meeting with the GOMA EEN. GCOOS EOC is participating in the Earth System Science Education Alliance (ESSEA) to develop an earth systems science module on hypoxia and the dead zone. The goal is to develop web ready content for the E/O portion of the GCOOS web site. Dr. Alvarez said the GOM LME project will hire an E/O person in SEMARNAT and their team would be interested in working together with GCOOS E/O people, possibly beginning with participation in the GOM LME workshop in November that will include consideration of what products will be needed.

Membership Committee: Ann Jochens reported on behalf of Landry Bernard, Chair of the Membership Committee. The committee requested guidance on membership goals. The number of Parties to the GCOOS-RA Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) is 84, and the goal is to end 2009 with 100 Parties. The committee recommended development of a one page fact sheet to show why entities should join the GCOOS-RA. This would help with recruitment. It also recommended identification of the right venues to promote the GCOOS-RA. The Department of the Interior and the Navy are federal agencies that have potential for being more active in GCOOS. Because Terry McPherson, who represented the government sector on the Committee, has moved to a new position away from the Stennis Space Center, a new member will be needed. Several names were suggested. Nowlin will follow up by confirming with Bernard and Jerry Boatman that they wish to continue serving and by contacting the potential new governmental representative.

Data Management and Communications Committee: Vembu Subramanian, Chair of the DMAC Committee, reported on the activities of the committee. The membership of the committee has been increased from 12 to 17, with 6 from the government sector, 7 from academic, and 4 from private. The committee is working to identify an additional person from the private sector to recommend to the Board. Members of the SECOORA and CaRA data groups participated in the meeting, increasing the collaborations and handling of issues collectively. Liaisons from the DMAC Committee to the other GCOOS Committees and Council were selected. The Committee provided a number of recommendations for activities to accomplish. First is to improve Committee linkages with the PSC, perhaps through a joint DMAC and PSC committees meeting. Second is to continue and enhance engagement with GOMA through Julie Bosch. A third is that the DMAC Committee would like to have teleconferences every 3 months or so (Vembu will work with Susan to set these up). A fourth is that the DMAC Committee is willing to author drafts of the technical sections of the GCOOS Data Management Plan using the IOOS guidance document. In summary, the DMAC Committee members are eager to work to build the DMAC components of the GCOOS.

Public Health Task Team: Andy Reich, Chair of the Public Health Task Team, gave a report on the work of the PHTT. He is working on how to better integrate public health issues into GCOOS. Florida has mechanisms to identify issues for oceans and human health that might provide a way forward. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has funded Florida to improve the state’s surveillance systems; this might result in identification of activities that could apply to other states. One goal is to get other states to document the health aspects of HAB events. In 2009, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and the Florida Department of Health published the Resource guide for public health response to harmful algal blooms in Florida by Abbott, Landsberg, Reich, Steidinger, Ketchen, and Blackmore (Fish and Wildlife Research Institute Technical Report TR-14). This might be useful to the other Gulf states. Another issue raised by Reich is that there is need to find mechanisms that provide warnings by radio to the public of hazardous conditions, such as HAB events.

Reich will be attending the National Environmental Public Health Conference, being held in Atlanta, GA, on 26-28 October 2009. He would like to have material on why organizations should join the GCOOS Regional Association to hand out at the conference. Chris Simoniello and Ann Jochens will work with him to prepare a flyer directed to the public health sector. The flyer will have generic GCOOS information on one side and specialty information on the other side.

Stakeholder Council: Robert Stickney, Chair Stakeholder Council, provided information on the efforts to motivate the council. When it was set up it had high-level people as members. Now the tasks that need to be accomplished by the council members are ones that these high level members do not have time to do. The Board decided to focus the efforts of the council on providing advice on what stakeholders need. The council membership will be repopulated with new members from a range of stakeholder communities. Nowlin will send thanks to most of the present council members. Jochens and Nowlin will review the energetic and enthusiastic participants in the focused stakeholder workshops to identify potential new members for the Stakeholders Council. The Board suggested several potential new members. The reconstituted council will be charged with recommending the priority measurements and products for the GCOOS.

Board Liaisons for each council, committee, and task team were selected. These are given in Appendix E.

Stakeholder Workshops and Pilot Projects: The Ecosystem Modeling Workshop, sponsored by GCOOS-RA, GOMA, SECOORA, and CaRA, is being held on 14-16 October 2009 in St. Petersburg, FL. Because the Hydrographic Services Review Panel has recommended five priority actions to NOAA as necessary to maintain and improve a competitive U.S. Marine Transportation System, it was determined that no marine transportation workshop (spearheaded by Mark Luther) for the commercial sector should be held at this time. Rather, the priorities of the panel have been incorporated into the integrated GCOOS priorities. A report has been prepared on The Resilient Coast: Policy Frameworks for Adapting the Wetlands to Climate Change and Growth in Coastal Areas of the U.S. Gulf of Mexico and The Resilient Coast: Policy frameworks for adapting The Built Environment to climate change and growth in coastal areas of the U.S. Gulf of Mexico, both by John Jacobs (Texas Sea Grant) and Stephanie Showalter (National Sea Grant Law Center). Jacobs is a specialist in urban development who also is the lead of the Steering Committee for the Urban Development Workshop. Nowlin will contact Jacobs to determine if the workshop should still be held. The GCOOS/GOMA HABs Integrated Observing System Workshop number 3 will be held in 2010 to develop the final implementation plan for the HABIOS. Potential workshops under consideration are follow-ups to previous stakeholder workshops (e.g., storm surge and inundation) and a workshop for GOMA representatives to develop an integrated (among the six PITs) set of data and products they need.

Eight pilot projects were identified at the January 2006 BOD meeting (Appendix F). Scoping teams were set up for seven of these: beach project to make GIS product for the public from the public data only); regional operations center (begun with the data portal); measurements across the Gulf from routine cargo vessels or tankers using Seakeepers systems (instruments are ready and routes have been identified, now waiting for a vessel to go into dry dock for installation); 3-D circulation modeling (industry provided funding to pursue this task in the deep water with no federal funding to allow expansion into the coastal waters); mapping of marine seeps and hazards (where to get the data has been identified, but no funding source for processing has been identified); maps of marine mammals (deferred); and repository for data sets from deepwater. At the August 2008 BOD meeting GCOOS-RA, SECOORA, and CaRA discussed possible pilot projects to be conducted jointly. Subsequently a list of these projects was prepared (Appendix F). These need to be scoped out with trial timeline and costs, then sent to CaRA and SECOORA for review and comment.

18 September 2009

7.0     Business Session

7.1     Gulf of Mexico Coastal American Learning Centers Collaborations

Sharon Walker gave an overview of the CALC kiosk design. There will be six kiosks prepared, one for each of the CALCs in the Gulf of Mexico. Because the EPA is providing support for the kiosks under GOMA activities, themes in the kiosk design will be associated with the GOMA priorities. The GCOOS-RA also is providing support for the five kiosks in the Gulf coast states. The sixth is in Veracru,z Mexico.

7.2     Discussion of Items from 1st Day of Meeting

GoM LME: The Board discussed potential collaborations with the GoM LME. They support GCOOS attendance at the workshop in November (10-12), including giving an overview of GCOOS if requested. John Dindo, Sharon Walker, and Ann Jochens will attend. Information exchange was also supported. Additional collaborations will depend on specific actions agreed to by both the GoM LME management and the GCOOS-RA Board.

Stakeholder Council: The Board reviewed the membership of the council and determined which members represent stakeholder groups at a level at which they would be active in identifying data and products of interest to their sector. These are Stickney, Reich, Donaldson, Calderon, and Cooper. In addition to considering attendees of focused stakeholder workshops, individuals from other stakeholder sectors (e.g., urban developers, Sea Grant, retired Navy or Coast Guard, hydrographic office, marine transportation) will be considered.

7.3     Business Model

Ann Jochens reviewed the status of the Business Model (aka Business Plan). Two parts have not been drafted: a sub-section on the Data Management Plan and the section on marketing and funding. Cort Cooper and his writing team will complete the latter. Jochens will summarize what will be in the Data Management Plan, which will be incorporated by reference. She then will send the Board the drafted Business Model for their review and comment. Board review of the marketing and funding section will occur when it is completed. The DMAC Committee will assist Jochens, Howard, and Nowlin with the drafting of the Data Management Plan itself.

There was a brief discussion of the name of the Business Model, which is a Business Plan structured after the Business Model put out by NOAA IOOS Office. This led to a discussion of the NOAA IOOS certification process. The new legislation calls for NOAA to certify the regional entities, but the NOAA IOOS Office has not yet taken up the task to define what that process is. Until that is identified, the Business Model is sufficient to constitute the Business Plan. Jochens suggested that the Business Model should be called the Business Plan to avoid possible confusion.

7.4     RA Budget

Ann Jochens provided the Board with a summary of the status of the RA budgets. Funding is from four awards: Data Portal I and II, Local Data Nodes, and RA Support. The Data Portal I project is nearing completion and will end at the end of December. Since this one year project, extended to two years, provided the funding for a second year of data portal development, the funding for the first year of the Data Portal II project is still available for use. So GCOOS is in good shape to complete the Data Portal development, make enhancements, and begin to plan for, although not build, a pilot regional operations center. The Local Data Nodes project is in its third and final year, although there is a possibility that we will request a one-year extension. Funds have been divided between 12 groups. The linkages formed between the nodes are an important outcome of this project, as is the data interoperability that has been achieved. The RA support award is in the second of three years. Task completion progressed well in the first year of the award, although spending levels had been less than originally planned for the first 8 months of the project.

7.5     Membership to MoA

The Board considered how to increase the membership to the MoA. The Membership Committee will be reformed with a replacement for Terry McPherson. With guidance on whom to target and a flyer on GCOOS and how it will benefit the Parties, the committee can then assist with recruitment. The Board members will pursue recruitment within each of their own sectors. Jochens will send the Board instructions on how to get the MoA, the signature page, and the list of the Parties, as well as the recruiting flyer.

7.6     Endorsements

There have been requests for GCOOS endorsement or support of proposals to non-IOOS funding agencies. These have been considered on a case-by-case basis by Nowlin and Jochens. Rabalais suggested that a policy is needed on how to handle these requests, in particular so that there would be fairness to all proposers under various funding opportunities. It was concluded that Jochens would draft a process for the Board to review, modify, and approve. Research proposals to NSF generally should not be candidates for a letter of GCOOS support. The criteria for endorsement will include:

  1. Proposer must be a Party to the GCOOS-RA MoA
  2. Proposer must be willing to freely distribute the data
  3. Project must benefit the establishment of a long-term observing system in the region
  4. Project must be endorsed by the Executive Committee
  5. Proposer must provide adequate lead time for Executive Committee review process

7.7     BOD Elections

The result of the election of the Chair of the Board of Directors was the unanimous election of Worth Nowlin (two-year term). Nancy Rabalais withdrew her nomination for the Executive Committee. The result of the election of the Executive Committee of the Board was the unanimous election of Buzz Martin, Mike Spranger, Ray Toll, and Jan van Smirren. The Executive Committee serves for a one-year term.

Nancy Rabalais and Ray Toll were unanimously reaffirmed as the GCOOS representatives to National Federation Regional Associations. Mike Spranger volunteered to be an ad hoc representative if needed.

Ray Toll requested Board input on who he should meet with in Congress and the Administration. There followed a discussion on how we can learn what agency programs support GCOOS goals before or when they are proposed in Congress so timely information can be provided to interested people. Part of the NFRA function was to provide an entre into the federal government so the RAs would know what is being proposed to congress. But a lack of transparency in the budget planning of federal agencies makes the timely identification of these areas to support difficult.

7.8     Dates/Location of Next Board Meetings

Just before lunch on day 1, the Board decided the dates and location for the next Board Meeting will be 4-5 March 2010 in New Orleans, LA. The meeting on March 4 will be held jointly with the Annual Meeting of the Parties. The time and dates for Board conference calls will be 3 pm central time (4 pm eastern, 1 pm pacific) on 3 November 2009 and 12 Jan 2010.

7.9     New Business

The Interagency Ocean Policy Task Force has released the Interim National Ocean Policy Report for public comment. Section 5 includes material relevant to IOOS and RAs. Jochens will forward the report to the Board for their review and comment.

Chris Simoniello said the education pages under development need a marketing focus in the form of a graphic. This will be “Roving Ray”, a stylized ocean ray. She needs an illustrator to prepare the final graphic on Roving Ray. John Dindo volunteered his graphic artist.

The Board Meeting was adjourned at approximately 10 am. The Executive Committee Meeting was convened. The members determined there was no business to discuss, so the Executive Committee Meeting was promptly adjourned.



Appendix A: Meeting Attendees: GCOOS-RA Board of Directors Meeting
September 2009

Name Affiliation Role in GCOOS 9/17/09 9/18/09
Board of Directors
Porfirio Alvarez Torres UNIDO Invited Speaker X  
Helen Conover UAH DMAC Committee X  
Cort Cooper Chevron Board member X  
John Dindo DISL Board member X X
Sara Graves UAH Hostess a.m.  
Matt Howard TAMU GCOOS Data Coordinator X X
Stephan Howden USM Chair, OS Committee X X
Ann Jochens TAMU GCOOS Regional Coordinator X X
Susan Martin TAMU GCOOS Webmistress X X
Terry McPherson STG, Inc. Board member X X
Worth Nowlin TAMU Chair, Board of Directors X X
Erin O’Reilly MMS Representing Lars Herbst, Board member X X
Alfredo Prelat Terralliance Board member X X
Nancy Rabalais LUMCON Board member X X
Andrew Reich FL Department of Health Chair, Public Health Task Team X X
Rebecca Shuford NOAA Invited speaker X  
Chris Simoniello USM GCOOS E/O Coordinator X X
Mike Spranger FL Sea Grant Board member X X
Bob Stickney TX Sea Grant Chair, Stakeholder Council X  
Vembu Subramanian USF Chair, DMAC Committee X  
Joe Swaykos USM Chair, E/O Council X  
Ray Toll SAIC Board member X X
Jan van Smirren Fugro GEOS Board member X X
Sharon Walker USM Board member X X
Jennifer Wozencraft USACE Board member X X
By Telephone
Joe Stinus NOAA Chair, P&S Committee a.m.  
Gabriello Canonico NOAA NOAA IOOS Office a.m.  
Jamie Verlaque NOAA NOAA IOOS Office a.m.  



Appendix B: GCOOS Board of Directors Meeting, 17-18 September 2009, Huntsville, AL

Provisional Agenda
11 September 2009

17 September 2009
8:30 Opening of Meeting
Welcome from University of Alabama-Huntsville
– Dr. Sara Graves, Director, UAH Information Technology and Systems Center
Welcome, Introductions, and Adoption of Agenda
– Worth Nowlin, Chair GCOOS BoD
Call for nominations for Chair plus four Executive Committee members
– Ann Jochens, GCOOS Regional Coordinator
9:00 Ecosystems in the Gulf of Mexico – Building the LME Project
Integrated Assessment and Management of the Gulf of Mexico Large Marine Ecosystem
-Dr. Porfirio Alvarez Torres, Project Coordinator, Gulf of Mexico Large Marine Ecosystem, United Nations Organization for Industrial Development (UNIDO)
– Dr. Rebecca L. Shuford, Fishery Biologist, Marine Ecosystems Division, NOAA Fisheries Office of Science and Technology
10:15 BREAK
10:30 Update on IOOS and Building the South Regional Network
– Ann Jochens
10:45 Discussion of Funding Strategy
– Cort Cooper, GCOOS Board member, Chevron
11:15 Building Connections with GOMA Priority Issue Teams I
Overview of GOMA Action Plan II – Ann Jochens
11:30 Building Connections with GOMA Priority Issue Teams II
Summary of discussions with:
Bill Walker – Mike Spranger
Water Quality PIT – Ann Jochens for Mark Luther
Nutrient PIT – Nancy Rabalais
Ecosystem Integration and Assessment PIT – Worth Nowlin
Coastal Community Resiliency PIT – Mike Spranger
Environmental Education PIT – Sharon Walker
Habitat Restoration and Conservation PIT – Nancy Rabalais
12:00 Lunch provided
13:00 Building Connections with GOMA Priority Issue Teams II – continued
Summary of discussions with GOMA State Leads (continued)
Identify interactions for improvements
Identify GCOOS-RA contributions
14:45 BREAK
15:00 Building Effective Councils and Committees
Statement of Issue and Goal (Nowlin)
Discussion: What constitutes effectiveness in the present fiscal environment? (Board members and Chairs)
Suggest changes in composition, activities, and requirements
          Stakeholder Council (Stickney)
          Education and Outreach Council (Swaykos)
          Data Management and Communications Committee (Subramanian)
          Observing Systems Committee (Howden)
          Products & Services Committee (Stinus)
          Membership Committee (Bernard)
          Public Health Task Team (Reich)
Identify actions to improve councils and committees with assignments and dates
Select New Board Liaisons for each council, committee, task team
1630 Tour of Space Museum
1830 Dinner at Landry’s Seafood House
18 September 2009
8:00 Business Session
Discussion of items from 1st day of meeting
Status/Approval of Business Model, Version 1
Review of RA Budget (Jochens)
Development of new Parties to the GCOOS-RA MoA
Process for endorsement of non-RA proposals (Jochens)
Changes to committee/council memberships and chairs
Election of Chair of BOD
Election of Executive Committee
Election or Reaffirmation of GCOOS representatives to NFRA
Dates/Location of Next Board Meetings–telephone and in person
New business
11:00 Adjourn BoardMeeting and begin Executive Committee Meeting



Appendix C: GCOOS Points of Contact with GOMA Priority Issue Teams
17 September 2009

Priority Issue Coastal Community Resilience Ecosystems Integration & Assessment Environmental Education Habitat Conservation & Restoration Nutrient Water Quality
GOMA PIT Lead Tina Shumate Larry McKinney Phillip Hinesley James Pahl Kim Caviness & Natalie Guedon-Segrest
(Jerry Cain*)
Ellen McCarron
GOMA PIT Coordinator Rhonda Price Seneca Holland Lee Yokel   Ann Porter Steve Wolfe
NOAA {IT Facilitator Heidi Recksiek Becky Allee Ann Weaver Heather Youn Laurie Rounds Chris David
EPA PIT Facilitator John Bowie Diane Altsman LaKeshia Robertson Drew Puffer Lael Butler Jeanne Allen
GCOOS Board Contacts Mike Spranger Worth Nowlin Sharon Walker Nancy Rabalais Stephan Howden Nancy Rabalais
Mark Luther
GCOOS Contacts: PIT Focus Areas Risk and Resilience Assessment GMMMP Community Education and Outreach Expanded Partnerships Nutrient Characterization HAB
  Mike Spranger Jennifer Wozencraft Sharon Walker, John Dindo, Chris Simoniello None Ann Jochens Nancy Rabalais
Ann Jochens
  Risk and Resilience Management Toolbox Data Access and Acquisition Public Awareness Policy Changes Nutrient Criteria Development Mercury
  Mike Spranger Matt Howard Sharon Walker, John Dindo, Chris Simoniello None None None
  Risk and Resilience Communication Living Marine Resources K-12 Environmental Literacy Technology Development Hypoxia Pathogens
  Mike Spranger None? Sharon Walker, John Dindo, Chris Simoniello None Nancy Rabalais
Ann Jochens
    Emergent Wetlands** Economic Value Communication GRSMMP Nutrient Reduction Strategies Monitoring
    None Sharon Walker, John Dindo, Chris Simoniello None Nancy Rabalais
Ann Jochens
Ann Jochens
Matt Howard
    Ecological Services Valuation   Reversing the Downward Trend***    
    None   None    

GRSMMP = Gulf Regional Sediment Management Master Plan; GMMMP = Gulf of Mexico Master Mapping Plan
**Emergent Wetlands Status & Trends Report
*** Reversing the Downward Trend in Habitat and Ecosystem Services



Appendix D: Integrated GCOOS Stakeholder Priorities

Combining all of the priorities, given in Appendix B of the GCOOS Conceptual Design document, yields a set of combined GCOOS Stakeholder priorities given in the table below.

Priority Product or Data   Stakeholder Sectors
Obtain accurate bathymetry and topography with consistent vertical control between data sets in the coastal zone, including locations of shorelines.   Emergency managers, surge modelers, recreational boaters (bathymetry and shorelines), urban planners and developers, insurance industry (topography and shorelines), oil and gas, marine transportation (shorelines and navigationally significant waters, especially federally mandated channels, approaches, and anchorages)
Improve coverage of real-time currents in the coastal zone and navigable estuaries using HF radars as primary technique.   Marine transportation, recreational boaters, oil and gas sector, Coast Guard SAR
Improve real-time, offshore meteorology measurements (V, P, T, H).   Oil and gas sector, Coast Guard SAR, surge modelers, HABs monitoring, recreational boaters
Improve forecasts and nowcast models of sea lever, winds, and waves; this requires added real-time measurements.   Recreational boaters, oil and gas sector, Coast Guard SAR, storm surge modelers, emergency managers
Improve hurricane severity forecasts.   Emergency managers, oil and gas sector, recreational boaters
Improve forecasts and nowcasts of surface currents offshore.   HABs tracking, oil and gas sector, Coast Guard SAR
Improve severe weather monitoring, forecasting, and dissemination.   Oil and gas sector, recreational boaters, HABs tracking and fate
Enhance measurements of water quality parameters.   Oil and gas sector, recreational boaters, HABs detection and fate
Implement a modern, real-time current and water level observing system in all major ports.   Marine transportation, recreational boaters
Establish coastal storm surge/inundation maps for mitigation planning (not real time).   Oil and gas sector, insurance, real estate, planners, emergency managers
Improve information on and forecasts of visibility.   Coast Guard SAR, recreational boaters
Produce upper ocean profiles of temperature, salinity, and currents.   Oil and gas sector, recreational boaters (near artificial reefs and major diving locations
Produce reliable forecast maps of three-dimensional currents offshore.   Oil and gas sector
Improve real-time forecasts of coastal inundation.   Emergency managers, general public
Increase number of stations monitoring HABs.   Public and animal health officials, HABS monitoring network
Improve data and product dissemination techniques taking into account the sophistication of the user.   Requirement of all sectors



Appendix E: GCOOS-RA Group Liaisons
17 September 2009

X = none to be named; blank = none named

Board of Directors Robert Stickney Joe Swaykos Stephan Howden Joe Stinus Vembu Subramanian Landry Bernard Andy Reich
Stakeholder Council Cort Cooper
Ray Toll
      Virgil Zetterlind X  
Education & Outreach Council Mike Spranger
Sharon Walker
SC Chair     Lei Hu X  
Observing Systems Committee Mark Luther
Buzz Martin
Terry McPherson
  Chris Verlinde   Bill Burnett X  
Products & Services Committee Worth Nowlin
Ray Toll
  Joe Swaykos
Angela Sallis
Mike Spranger
Nan Walker Jay Ratcliff X  
DMAC Committee Alfredo Prelat
Jan van Smirren
  Chris Simoniello Gary Jeffress   X  
Membership Committee Worth Nowlin X X X X X X
Public Health Task Team Nancy Rabalais X X X X X X
NFRA Nancy Rabalais
Ray Toll
Mexico Relations Alfredo Prelat
Nancy Rabalais
Worth Nowlin



Appendix F: Possible Pilot Projects Under Consideration

I.     Potential GCOOS-RA Pilot Projects (based on discussions at the January 2006 Board of Directors meeting)

(1) Instrument tankers that occupy regular tracks between Texas and Florida ports with flow- through surface parameters (T/S, Chl, nutrients, DO), ADCPs, and meteorological sensors with real-time telemetry.

(2) Most county/state health departments make regular water quality measurements for human pathogens. These take 24 to 48 hours to culture and obtain results. These observations are placed into databases that could be made internet-accessible. Linking these together into a GOM-wide beach health indicator map would be very useful to beach managers. Ultimately, such observations could be linked with physical transport observations and models to give predictive capability.

(3) Pilot projects focused on products recommended by the GCOOS and the Private Sector: Oil and Gas and Related Industry Workshop are:

  1. Surface Current Forecast Maps (H) & Forecast Maps of 3-D Deepwater Currents
  2. Measurements & Products Archive (H)
  3. Marine Mammal & Turtle maps (M) Planning Deferred
  4. Probability Maps of bottom Hazards (H-) and Maps of Hydrocarbon seeps (L)
  5. Improving forecasting of hurricane severity (H)

(4) Initiate a pilot GCOOS Operations Center.

II.     Potential GCOOS-RA, CaRA, SECOORA Joint Pilot Projects (based on ideas from the three RAs at August 2008 Board of Directors meeting)

  • Regional data nodes/portal/operational center development.
  • Creating rip current awareness (precedes effort to predict).
  • Consider requirements/methods for handling of legacy data sets and model output.
  • Pilot on beach health.
  • Comparison of HF Radar types.