Last updated: 21 August 2014

GCOOS Regional Association Annual Meeting of the Parties
and Tenth Meeting of the Board of Directors
4-5 March 2010, New Orleans, LA

The Annual Meeting of the Gulf of Mexico Coastal Ocean Observing System (GCOOS) Regional Association (GCOOS-RA) Parties was held jointly with the Board of Directors on 4 March 2010 at the Iberville Suites in New Orleans, LA. The Board of Directors continued meeting on 5 March 2010. The attendees and their GCOOS-RA roles are listed in Appendix A. The provisional agenda is given in Appendix B.

March 4: Annual Meeting of the Parties and Board of Directors

1.0 Welcome and Introductions

Worth Nowlin, Chair, GCOOS BoD, welcomed everyone to the meeting of the GCOOS-RA Parties. He reviewed the agenda for meeting, which was adopted. Attendees introduced themselves. Nowlin then stated that the functions of the Board of Directors are to set the direction for the future of the GCOOS-RA and then to monitor progress made in that direction. In 2008, as part of their role, the Board identified a suite of priority activities for the RA and directed the GCOOS Office to maintain them. Nowlin emphasized three of these priorities: identify priority observing system activities, identify additional funding sources, and develop pilot projects collaboratively. Progress has been made on each. First, the Board identifies those observing system elements considered of high priority for development of the RA. The Board drafted a new procedure for selection and preparation of GCOOS-RA proposals. After finalization and Board approval, the next step is to identify and announce the priority activities to be proposed. Second, the Board considers and identifies new sources of financial support for the GCOOS observing system activities. A new marketing strategy was drafted for inclusion in the GCOOS-RA Business Model and will be presented at the meeting tomorrow. The next step is to identify additional funding sources. Third, the Board develops initial joint pilot projects in concert with SECOORA, CaRA, GOMA, and other groups. A white paper on this topic was drafted and is the subject of a discussion this afternoon.

2.0 National View of IOOS

Zdenka Willis, Director, NOAA IOOS Program Office, provided an update on IOOS activities that are occurring at the national level. Jack Dunnigan retires from NOAA March 31. David Kennedy is Acting Assistant Administrator of the National Ocean Service, which is the NOAA line office in which the NOAA IOOS Program resides. She reviewed the focus areas for FY10, including:

  • The NOAA IOOS Program staff is coordinating with other NOAA programs to address many NOAA priorities, such as coastal and marine spatial planning.
  • The staff is working to make the IOOS program a truly interagency activity, with staff from USACE, USGS, possibly EPA, and other federal agencies detailed to assist NOAA with development of IOOS.
  • The Integrated Coastal and Ocean Observation System Act of 2009 (ICOOS) formalized NOAA as the lead agency for IOOS. It also charged NOAA with a number of actions and reporting requirements. One action is the promulgation of guidelines to certify non-federal assets in the system; certification will be tied to the liability protections given in the ICOOS.
  • The FY10 funding for IOOS is limited. For GCOOS, the RA support grant has been awarded at the requested funding level, and the third year of the GCOOS Data Portal and Regional Operations Center project will be awarded after descoping is completed.
  • The FY11 Federal Funding Opportunity (FFO) will be nationally competed. The FY11 FFO will not require certification for a proposer to submit under the FFO. Past experience will count in this open competition. The FFO will be set up through the NOPP process and will be multi-themed so other IOOS agencies will participate and contribute funding. Proposals must include the full package for RA and RCOOS support: RA governance, observing system elements, data management, modeling and analysis, and education and outreach components. For each region there will be one combined RA/RCOOS award. The FY11 FFO is scheduled to be published in June, with an award around the end of February 2011 timeframe.
  • Outcome metrics that quantify RA/RCOOS activities to demonstrate the value of the regional systems are being developed by a committee, lead by Dave Easter of the NOAA IOOS staff. These will be used to satisfy the requirement of the Office of Management and Budget, as well as the internal NOAA fiscal process, for such metrics.
  • On 2 March 2010, a number of industry representatives presented information to the House and Senate on the value of IOOS to industry. Among the speakers were Cort Cooper of Chevron who spoke as a beneficiary of the data, which lead to cost savings and enhanced safety for offshore operations and Jay Titlow of Weatherflow who spoke on how the freely shared data of the IOOS allows a business to grow by adding value to the data to make products for customers. Nancy Colleton (Alliance of Earth Observations) and Clayton Jones (Teledyne Webb Research) also spoke on the job creation and workforce development that come with IOOS.
  • The IOOS acronym has been registered, so IOOS® should be used as the branding logo. Willis requested that this logo be included on the RA web sites.
  • An IOOS Road Map has been drafted and comments are welcome. The document gives a functional description of IOOS. This is a step toward a national IOOS implementation plan.
  • An IOOS System Advisory Committee is required to be formed under the ICOOS Act. This will be a FACA that provides advice to the NOAA Administrator and/or the IOOS Interagency Committee. Willis is developing recommendations that will be provided the NOAA Administrator in early fall 2010. She welcomes suggestions on the purposes and activities of the committee, on what kind of people should be on the committee, and names of possible candidates.

Willis was asked why the IOOS budget is not higher at a time when the NOAA budget has been increased. She explained that the increase in NOAA funding was for satellite issues, coastal and marine spatial planning (CMSP), and climate services. During the budget process, the NOAA IOOS Office has to convince NOAA management, the Department of Commerce (DOC) management, and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) that an increase in funds for the regions is necessary. DOC blocked increased funding, and OMB does not support 100% funding of IOOS by NOAA or the federal government. The substantial contributions of other agencies needs to be better elucidated. In particular, the significant leveraging from state entities must be better demonstrated.

Another question focused on how the RAs can help NOAA IOOS Office to get increased funding. It was pointed out that businesses develop cost estimates, outcome measures, and branding as first steps. Willis stated that there are output metrics, but not outcome metrics. The committee lead by Dave Easter of NOAA IOOS Office is developing the outcome metrics. Programmatic evaluations have been done, and the cost estimates are being tied to the requirements.

The subject of the DMAC project was raised with a question about how the DMAC reports done under Ocean.US were being used. The NOAA IOOS Office concluded that the complex system was not working, but that a group is still needed to guide the process. Sam Walker has been hired to review the DMAC Plan and the results from a survey of the DMAC Steering Team and others and to identify what is working and use that information to move the DMAC process forward. It was pointed out that a major reason the DMAC Plan was not working was that there was no funding to support it. Willis noted there is no new funding for DMAC; her office will fund two meetings a year for non-federal participants. Administrative costs on standards will be supported.

3.0 Mexico/U.S. Gulf of Mexico Large Marine Ecosystem Collaborations

Dr. Porfirio Alvarez Torres, Project Coordinator, United National Industrial Development Organization, Gulf of Mexico Large Marine Ecosystem Project, discussed the activities and partnerships of the Gulf of Mexico Large Marine Ecosystem Project. He began by announcing that the Secretaría de Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales (SEMARNAT) has become a Party to the GCOOS Memorandum of Agreement (MoA), with Dr. Antonio Dí­az de León Corral, Director General, signing the MoA. SEMARNAT is the first Associate Party of the GCOOS-RA.

Dr. Alvarez then summaried the recent activities of the Mexico-U.S. Gulf of Mexico Large Marine Ecosystem Project. In November 2009, a Binational Workshop was held in Mexico City. Ann Jochens and Chris Simoniello participated on behalf of GCOOS, and GCOOS Board member, Nancy Rabalais, participated for LUMCON. Progress has been made on the Transboundary Diagnostic Analysis (TDA) and the Strategic Action Programme (SAP). Through the TDA process, transboundary issues have been analyzed and priorities have been defined. Key ecosystem assessment and management gaps identified include several that are common with issues faced by GCOOS. These include: (1) assessment of ecosystem-wide nutrient over-enrichment and contaminant sources, flows and levels; (2) assessment of environmental impacts of transboundary pollution on the GoM ecosystem; and (3) collection and integration of information on nutrient over-enrichment and Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs). The SAP, which will move towards an integrated management of the Gulf of Mexico LME, has been formulated and endorsed by Mexico and the U.S. The SAP has three elements: living marine resources, reduction or control of pollution, and coastal and marine planning. The LME project personnel and GCOOS personnel are coordinating on these common issues. The Education and Outreach part of the LME project is a case in point. The LME and GCOOS E/O staffers will work together to develop bilingual materials on the various issues and GCOOS E/O personnel will assist the LME project personnel with the preparation of the LME E/O Strategic Plan for public participation, training, and workforce development and for enhancing the capacity and mechanisms for stakeholder participation.

In response to questions, Alvarez noted that Mexico, like the U.S., has separate agencies involved with the nutrient overloading issue, in particular the Ministry of Agriculture, and that efforts are underway to engage with these other agencies. He also said that the project personnel will work with industry partners as well, e.g., there are plans to work with PEMEX on retrieval of and access to information that is funded with federal dollars.

4.0 National Data Buoy Center and IOOS

Helmut Portmann, Director, National Data Buoy Center (NDBC), addressed the interactions of the NDBC with respect to IOOS. The goal of the NDBC Data Assembly Center (DAC) is to provide to diverse users a real-time, end-to-end capability beginning with the collection of marine atmospheric and oceanographic data and ending with its transmission, quality control and distribution. The NDBC DAC is often called the IOOS DAC. More than half the observations come from IOOS partners, resulting in a growth of observations from less than 1 million in 2003 to ~10 million in 2009. At present the DAC serves 6 of the 7 core IOOS variables (not ocean color). For the future, NDBC plans to work with IOOS to develop a more formal process for the RAs to submit requirements for ocean observations on NDBC weather platforms. It plans to review the 2005 GCOOS priorities with the GCOOS Board of Directors and to update it as appropriate. In response to questions, Portmann indicated willingness to talk to researchers about plans for making direct flux measurements throughout hurricanes for use in hurricane modeling; NDBC is planning to implement improvements over the next five years to make meteorological and oceanographic sensors and platforms more robust. A question was raised about whether biological sensors could be put onto NDBC buoys; Portmann is willing to discuss the possibility. Willis stated there currently is no IOOS funding for this, but making platforms at sea more comprehensive is an important goal.

5.0 Business of the Parties

5.1 Results of Election of Board of Directors

Landry Bernard, Chair of the Membership Committee reported the results of the February 2010 election for the five Board of Directors seats that were open. Re-elected were Buzz Martin for the government sector, Sharon Walker for the Education and Outreach sector, and Jan van Smirren for one of two private sector seats. Stephan Howden was elected to the academic seat, vacated by Mark Luther. The second private sector seat was a tie between Jeff Cox (Evans Hamiliton, Inc.) and Alfredo Prelat (Terralliance). A runoff election will be held in March.

5.2 Issues of the Parties

Ann Jochens reported no issues were sent in by the Parties prior to the meeting. She then opened the floor to the GCOOS Parties. There was discussion of the informational visits to legislative staffers in February made by GCOOS Board members Jan van Smirren (TX), Terry McPherson (LA/MS), John Dindo (AL), Mike Spranger (FL), and Ray Toll (GCOOS rep to NFRA). The GCOOS members were unanimous in stating it was an excellent experience. They found many of the staffers generally were ill-informed about IOOS, but became interested when they were made aware IOOS would benefit the states’ industry and public. The GCOOS members agreed that the message of the benefits needs to be better stated and disseminated. Willis said it would be useful to have a list of who was visited and when for follow-up visits. Nowlin agreed to put this information together.

6.0 Governors’ Alliances

6.1 South Atlantic Alliance

Rick DeVoe, Executive Director, South Carolina Sea Grant Consortium, provided an overview of the South Atlantic Alliance (SAA), which is the alliance of the governors of Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina, and includes participation of the federal agencies and other. The SAA was formed in October 2009 with a partnership agreement, and information is available on the web site ( The mission of the SAA is to "regionally implement science based actions and policy solutions that more efficiently and effectively balance coastal and marine ecosystems’ capacity to support human and natural systems in South Atlantic region." DeVoe reviewed the goals, structure, and leadership. He summarized the four initial priority issues of the SAA: working waterfronts, clean coastal and ocean waters, healthy ecosystems, and disaster resilient communities. Future plans include the first meeting of the governors’ representatives with the federal lead participants and the development of an action planand its associated implementation plan. DeVoe identified a number of topics within each of the four priority issue areas on which collaborations between the Gulf of Mexico groups (GCOOS-RA and GOMA) and the Southeast U.S. groups (SECOORA and SAA) might be beneficial.

6.2 Gulf of Mexico Alliance

Corky Perret, retired, Mississippi Department of Marine Resources, discussed the progress of the Gulf of Mexico Alliance on behalf of Dr. William Walker, Director of the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources. He began with an overview of the formation of GOMA in 2004, the success of the Action Plan I, the development of the Action Plan II, and the many successes of the Alliance partnership. Action Plan II covers a 5-year period from July 2009 through June 2014. It has six priority issues: Water Quality for Healthy Beaches and Seafood (lead – FL), Habitat Conservation and Restoration (lead – LA), Ecosystems Integration and Assessment (lead – TX), Reducing Nutrient Impacts to Coastal Ecosystems (lead – MS), Coastal Community Resilience (lead – MS/LA), and Environmental Education (lead – AL). One focus for the next period of the GOMA work is to increase involvement of the private sector. Information on the Alliance is on the GOMA web site (

7.0 Updates on the GCOOS-RA

7.1 Collaborationsof the GCOOS-RA

Worth Nowlin, Chair, GCOOS Board of Directors, gave an overview of GCOOS-RA efforts to collaborate with other groups with similar interests in the Gulf of Mexico. He first identified the most likely partners with which GCOOS would collaborate: SECOORA, GOMA, federal agencies with a presence in the Gulf of Mexico, Gulf State agencies, private sector entities, CaRA, and Mexican agencies and institutions including SEMARNAT, the Mexican Navy, Mexican State health agencies, and aquariums. He then reviewed the collaborative efforts to date (Table 1). Nowlin then outlined the new or enhanced future collaborations that the GCOOS-RA is seeking. These are:

  1. Private Sector Participation: Since the beginning of the concept of the GCOOS in 2000, the private sector has been encouraged to participate in the development of the observing system for the Gulf of Mexico. This has been successful in that the private sector is actively involved with the Regional Association itself, the planning for the observing system, and enhancements to data sharing. However, direct industry participation in observing system projects has not yet materialized even though joint proposals have been prepared and submitted. Such collaborations are sought.
  2. Government Agencies: The GCOOS-RA seeks opportunities for collaborations with state, regional, and local government agencies having mandates related to the Gulf of Mexico and its estuaries.
  3. Joint Pilot Projects: A high priority for the GCOOS-RA is to plan and implement joint pilot projects with GOMA, SECOORA, CaRA, and other organizations to be identified.
  4. U.S. Federal Government Agencies: The GCOOS-RA seeks to enhance collaborations with federal agencies having branches located on the Gulf coast and plans to include access to and, as appropriate, distribution of their data and products via the GCOOS Data and Products Portal.
  5. Engagement with Fisheries Organizations: The GCOOS-RA will continue to seek effective ways that the GCOOS-RA might assist the Gulf States Marine Fisheries Commission, Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council, NOAA Southeast Fisheries Science Center, and possible fishery trade associations.
  6. Harmful Algal Bloom Integrated Observing System: When the Implementation Plan for the Gulf of Mexico Integrated Observing System is complete, the GCOOS-RA will seek collaborations with a wide range of players in proposing to implement that system.
  7. Collaborations with Mexican Entities: SEMARNAT has become the first non-US signatory to the GCOOS-RA Memorandum of Agreement. The GCOOS-RA is hopeful that collaborative efforts with SEMARNAT will develop and that collaborations with other Mexican agencies and institutions can be established.

Table 1: GCOOS-RA Collaborative Efforts

Description GCOOS-RA Partners Comment
Cooperation between education and outreach groups SECOORA, GOMA Joint meetings, joint planning, joint work
Cooperation in standarization of data/metadata and interoperability of data exchange SECOORA, NOAA NDBC, GOMA Common vocabulary, standard formats, joint participation in data management committees
Planning the Gulf of Mexico Harmful Algal Bloom Integrated Observing System SECOORA, GOMA, Elements of NOAA, EPA Gulf of Mexico Program, CDC, Mexican agencies, Gulf State agencies, research institutions Joint Workshops, joint development of comprehensive strategic plan and implementation plan
Planning for improved water quality for healthy beaches and seafood GOMA GCOOS participation in work of the GOMA Priority Issue Team
Planning for reduction of nutrient inputs to coastal ecosystems GOMA GCOOS participation in work of the GOMA Priority Issue Team
Discussion of possible participation of GCOOS in the Gulf of Mexico Master Mapping Plan USACE, GOMA GCOOS Board member is lead of this task
Planning for improved data exchange, including uses in Coastal and Marine Spatial Planning GOMA, Mexico-US Gulf of Mexico Large Marine Ecosystem project, NOAA Gulf of Mexico Regional Collaboration Team Discussion of use of GCOOS Data Portal capabilities
Planning for improvements to circulation and ecosystem modeling GOMA, SECOORA, CaRA, NOAA, Navy Joint workshop, identification of seven pilot projects with volunteers

7.2 State of the GCOOS

Ann Jochens, GCOOS Regional Coordinator, gave a summary of the state of the observing elements of the GCOOS-RA. Direct IOOS support for GCOOS observing resources is limited to a small level of funding for only ten of the major non-federal data providers so they can participate in a small GCOOS project "Standardization of Local Data Nodes" to achieve interoperability. All GCOOS observations are contributed by voluntary data providers. No support is available to add new observing assets. Maintenance of the present GCOOS is entirely dependent on funding from non-IOOS sources, such as state governments and private industry. The result is that maintenance is extremely difficult because there is no dedicated unding to replace damaged or aging equipment quickly or to support elements when funding sources are cut as during the current fiscal crisis in the U.S. No new fiscal resources are expected in the near term with which to enhance the GCOOS. To expand the system requires increasing collaborations with new data providers to bring them into the voluntary GCOOS-RA network. Data quality is an important issue that is part of the development of the Data Portal capabilities for monitoring the state of the observing assets; it is planned to continue some funding for local data nodes to develop interoperability. Legacy data sets also will need to be integrated into the Data Portal, but that is a future activity. A number of new products are being developed. These include the preparation of one-page fact sheets on various topics, such as ocean models, hurricanes, beach quality, and hypoxia, and the establishment of a website that provides materials for the Education and Outreach community.

Jochens provided a summary of the funding of the three IOOS awards of the GCOOS-RA: (1) just under $400,000/year has been provided to support the governance, stakeholder engagement, and staffing activities of the GCOOS-RA; (2) just under $225,000/year has been available for the local data nodes project, which is in its final year; and (3) approximately $350,000/year has been awarded for development and maintenance of the GCOOS Data Portal, with a substantial increase in funding likely for the final year. The increase will be used in part to engage voluntary data providers in activities to build interoperability. The future of the GCOOS depends on building strong collaborations with multiple stakeholders and leveraged funding.

The discussion began with possible collaborations. The Northern Gulf Institute is now a signatory to the GCOOS-RA MoA, and there are opportunities to partner such as volunteer work, workshop support, and joint projects. The Mexican government is working with the French government to create a marine observatory in the Gulf; input from GCOOS likely will be requested. There was discussion of the GCOOS web site and Data Portal; contacts are Matt Howard for issues associated with the Data Portal and Products, such as difficulty in accessing data, and Susan Martin for the GCOOS web site.

The meeting of the Parties was adjourned.

8.0 Board of Directors Meeting

Worth Nowlin opened the Board of Directors Meeting and invited interested Parties to stay. The agenda was adopted.

9.0 Future of Collaborations between GCOOS-RA, SECOORA, and CaRA

Worth Nowlin opened the discussion of the white paper on collaborative pilot projects between GCOOS-RA, SECOORA, and CaRA. Projects targeted for possible collaboration should be (1) limited in scope; (2) have a scope of work with a project description including stakeholder benefits, suggested time frame for completion, suggested project team, and estimated costs; (3) identify the specific people who will prepare the scope of work for the pilot project; and (4) have firm commitments of support by the participating RAs for project development. Each project should be designed so that it will lead to an observing system activity that could be transitioned to an operational system. Collaborative project ideas include:

  • Beach monitoring: aggregation and distribution of beach quality data and pilot project on beach health;
  • Legacy data and model output archival: pilot project on how to serve and archive model output and to deal with legacy data;
  • Data Portal & Regional Operations Center: pilot Regional Operations Center; joint pursuit of regional data nodes/data portal/operations center developments;
  • Education and Outreach: web pages tailored to specific user groups, similar E/O web designs with comparable information, common outreach materials on selected subjects;
  • Rip Currents & Rip Current Forecasting: creating rip current awareness, pilot on how best to prepare rip current predictions;
  • Comparison of HF Radar types;
  • Glider network;
  • Ecosystem Modeling workshop pilots: Ecological data archive, demonstration of decision-making tool for siting offshore aquaculture sites, NPZ ecosystem modeling component added to the GOMA Nutrient PIT pilot studies, pilot project for NCEP model assimilation of IOOS RA coastal winds, pilot project on the calibration and verification of complex physical-biological simulation models of coastal and estuarine ecosystems, pilot project to couple Gulf estuaries to the larger-scale regional models, and pilot demonstration using fish catch data and 3-D ocean circulation.

Debra Hernandez, Executive Director of SECOORA, identified the SECOORA priorities, which center around the priority themes in the recently finished NFRA strategic priorities plan: ecosystem health and water quality, marine operations including offshore energy, coastal hazards, and climate. Potential pilots with high priority for SECOORA are:

  • beaches and water quality – as this also is important for MACOORA and NERACOOS, this has the potential to be a large, multiple, inter-RA effort;
  • rip currents – SECOORA has some existing modeling efforts and expects to pursue additional funding opportunities;
  • linking fish data and ocean circulation models – this is SECOORA’s top modeling priority; and
  • collaborations in the areas of DMAC and Education/Outreach.

Hernandez reminded participants that it will take time to write the action steps, determine who will take charge, and move a few of the priority collaborative projects forward.

Discussion was wide-ranging. Most discussed were ideas on pilots to use GIS systems for marine spatial planning; to identify hotspots for rip currents (use of marine X-band radars installed on beach high rises, use of lifeguards to monitor and provide information) or to identify specifically the value of IOOS to rip current forecasting; to develop a web-based, Gulf-wide beach water quality monitoring system; to use fish data with ocean circulation models; and to establish a systematic way to identify (discover), archive, and serve legacy data.

10.0 Reports of the Chairs of the Councils, Committees, and Task Team

10.1 Membership Committee

Landry Bernard, Chair of the Membership Committee, summarized the activities of the committee over the last 6 months. In addition to the Board of Directors election, the committee worked on building the membership of the GCOOS-RA. Of 32 contacts, so far 3 have developed into new signatories to the MoA. To continue with these efforts, the committee requests source lists of possible candidates from industry workshops, including the November 2009 IWGOO-sponsored Houston Workshop. The GCOOS Office will obtain and provide the lists. Bernard also requested a process for nominations and elections of the Board members be formalized. The GCOOS Office staff will draft a process and obtain comments and then request Board approval.

10.2 Education and Outreach Council

Joe Swaykos, University of Southern Mississippi, Chair of the Education and Outreach Council (EOC), provided the report of the EOC. Major accomplishments included the development and initial implementation of the Education and Outreach web pages, presentation of a poster on Sea Level Rise in the Gulf of Mexico, and the many activities of the GCOOS E/O Coordinator, Chris Simoniello. Simoniello is serving as Chair of the NFRA E/O Committee and as E/O liaison to the IOOS DIF, GOMA, and the GoM Large Marine Ecosystem Project.

10.3 Data Management and Communications Committee

Vembu Subramanian, University of South Florida, Chair of the Data Management and Communications Committee (DMACC) reported on the Committee activities. Discussion of collaborations between the GCOOS-RA and other entities on data management issues continues. Melanie Morris, GOMA Nutrient Priority Team data management expert is attending the Board meeting and will be invited to the next DMACC meeting. Subrananian summarized the activities of the GCOOS DMACC members in engaging with the numerous regional, national, and international DMAC-type projects being pursued. One example is the interaction of Subramanian, Bosch, Howard, and Simoniello with the Gulf of Mexico Alliance Data Management Advisory Committee. The DMACC is working on issues related to upgrading the GCOOS Data Portal and web site, maintaining the local data node participation after that project ends, obtaining new data types and sources, using data to prepare products, and preparing the GCOOS Data Management Plan and Guidance Document. The issue of how to incorporate legacy data still needs to be tackled. The DMACC plans to hold its next meeting jointly with the Products and Services Committee.

10.4 Observing Systems Committee

Stephan Howden, University of Southern Mississippi, Chair of the Observing Systems Committee (OSC) discussed the progress of the Committee. The OSC has decided that each elected chair will serve for two years, with the chair-elect serving for one year prior to taking on the role of the chair. The chairmanship is to be rotated between academic, private, and governmental sectors. The current chair is from academia. Howden presented priorities of the OSC, which include proposal process, addition of USGS river data to the Data Portal, improvements in QA/QC and metadata, and greater involvement of the OSC in activities associated with HABs, hypoxia, and Gulf mapping projects, as well as the development of the National Background. The OSC recommends the establishment of a GCOOS instrument pool and a storm evacuation plan for instruments.

10.5 Public Health Task Team

Andrew Reich, Florida Department of Health, Chair of the Public Health Task Team reported that the public health community is so overcommitted that engaging it in GCOOS is proving to be very difficult. He requested assistance in the development of information on the benefits to the public health community of a fully developed GCOOS. Additionally, not all public health issues are within the Public Health community. For example, seafood safety often is in agriculture agencies and HABs is in wildlife and fisheries. Reich, Barbara Kirkpatrick, and Chris Simoniello agreed to develop a flyer on the benefits of GCOOS for the Public Health community.

10.6 Stakeholder Council

Ann Jochens gave the Stakeholder Council update. The Board of Directors is working to revitalize the Stakeholder Council by changing the composition of the Council and focusing its activities on two key tasks (see Appendix C). Four members will continue on the Council. They represent four sectors: oil and gas operations, mariculture, public health (e.g., HABs and water quality), and fisheries regulators. New members will be added from the public interest NGO, hydrography, urban development, recreational boating, workboat industry, marine transportation-port authority, emergency responders, media, ecosystem modeler, NERR, and GOMA sectors. The reconstituted Council are being requested to focus on the following two tasks, as given in the governing Memorandum of Agreement: (1) "provide input to improve data and products" and (2) "suggest improvements in disseminating data and products to users and decision makers." This action is being taken to allow the GCOOS-RA to become increasingly responsive to the needs of the various sectors it serves.

10.7 Products & Services Committee

Ann Jochens also gave the report on the Products and Services Committee (PSC) for its Chair, Joe Stinus of NOAA. As with the DMACC, the PSC members are working with a number of other groups on monitoring programs and associated products and services; these include the Hypoxia Task Force, Gulf of Mexico Alliance, and the NOAA Gulf Regional Collaboration Team. A major accomplishment of the PSC is the preparation and delivery of the four informational one-pages on Beach Quality, Hurricanes and Observation Systems, Ocean Models, and Hypoxia in the Northern Gulf of Mexico. These have been posted to the GCOOS website.

11.0 Report on GCOOS Data and Products Portal

Matthew Howard, DMAC Coordinator of the GCOOS Office, provided an update on the progress of the GCOOS data management and the Data and Products Portal. He first reviewed the status of the data that are being made available on the Data Portal. The machine-to-machine connectivity is available for over 200 stations in the northern Gulf. Planned are improvements in the interfaces for humans to use. Howard then reviewed the Products that are available, including phytoplankton images, bathymetry, hourly surface conditions, model output, and satellite images. Some legacy data sets are available, but not in user-friendly formats. Planned work includes adding more data and model output streams, improving the IT of portal, developing roll-over or pop-up time series plots, dials, and gages, and tailoring products for specific stakeholder sectors or thematic areas.

12.0 Open Discussion

There being no additional discussion, Day 1 was adjourned.

March 5: Board of Directors Business Session

13.0 GCOOS-RA Business Model

The Board discussion of Version 1 of the Business Model (aka Business Plan) was begun with a summary by Worth Nowlin of the portions of the plan that are incomplete. Primarily these are the Products and Services Plan and the DMAC Plan, which are being drafted over the summer. It was agreed that Section 4 of the Business Model, "Development and Implementation Plans for the GCOOS," will be a focal topic at the next Board meeting.

Jan van Smirren, Fugro GEOS, then gave an overview of the Action Plan for Marketing the GCOOS and then lead the ensuing discussion. The Marketing Plan defines who the users of the GCOOS are to be; most of the users of GCOOS data and products have been identified. Two major challenges remain for the marketing: (1) determining the monetary value of the benefits that users could derive from specific GCOOS products and (2) how GCOOS-RA can obtain the resources to provide data and products. The partners and funders of the GCOOS also require identification, followed by engagement. Van Smirren provided a table with the characteristics of the most likely funders. Based on the information for users, partners, and funders, the primary funding strategy was developed. The Marketing Plan under development has four-tiers: (1) an economic benefit analysis, (2) an "awareness campaign" to spread the word about GCOOS to the general public and collective user community, 3) a targeted outreach aimed at specific user groups deemed to be most likely to partner or fund the effort, and (4) a legislative strategy. Each of these tiers was further defined. There was extensive discussion on the marketing plan. Needed are improvements in getting out the success stories of GCOOS, including the substantial leveraging that is occurring; a new ecomnomic benefits analysis; and new methods for bringing awareness of GCOOS to the public. Cort Cooper and Worth Nowlin were assigned to tune-up Section 7, "Funding and Investment Process for GCOOS," and provide it to the Board for further review.

14.0 Business

14.1 Membership of Committees and Councils

The Board discussed the membership of the Committees and Councils and considered the recommendations of the their respective chairs. The Education and Outreach Council, DMACC, and PSC each have requested new members, which were approved. The Board will pursue additional members for the Stakeholder Council in the area of the media and ports, with focus on Alabama, and possibly tourism.

14.2 Reports on Efforts to Recruit New Parties to the GCOOS-RA MoA

The Board discussed the various efforts to recruit new Parties to the MoA. The Membership Committee successes were reported above. Additionally, several Board members have pursued opportunities. The Board discussed the importance of a new socioeconomic study showing the value of the GCOOS that can be used when engaging potential new members, as well as funding sources.

14.3 Discussion and Finalization of the New Proposal Procedure

The FY11 Federal Funding Opportunity (FFO) for IOOS is expected to be issued in the first half of July, with proposals due at the end of October. Each RA is to submit one proposal containing the RA support, data management, modeling and nalysis, outreach, and observing system elements. In preparation, the Board put together a new procedure for obtaining letters of intent from parties interested in proposing for GCOOS priority activities through this FFO. The Board made final comments on the procedure. A page limit of 3-5 pages in 10 point font minimum will be added for letters of intent. A list of priority activities will be prepared by Nowlin and Jochens, vetted with the Board, and provided with the new procedure. A covering statement will indicate that the GCOOS-RA would help identify additional, non-IOOS funding sources for proposals not selected for the IOOS proposal.

14.4 Date and Location of Next Board Meeting; Date and Time of Next Telecoms

The Board agreed to hold the next meeting in Biloxi, MS, on either 17-18 August or 14-15 September. The GCOOS Office will make arrangements. The bi-monthly teleconferences will be at 3 pm Central time on 18 May and 13 July.

15.0 Discussion of New or Outstanding Business

There being no other business, the Board meeting was adjourned.

16.0 Executive Committee Meeting

The Executive Committee discussed the topic of GCOOS and NFRA.



Appendix A

Attendees at the GCOOS-RA Parties and Board of Directors Meetings
4-5 March 2010

(BOD = Board of Directors; MC = Membership Committee; PSC = Products and Services Committee; OSC = Observing System Committee;
DMACC = Data Management and Communications Committee; PHTT = Public Health Task Team; IP = Individual Party)

Name Institution Role 3/4 3/5
Board of Directors
John Dindo Dauphin Island Sea Lab (Party) BOD, Party X X
Barb Kirkpatrick Mote Marine Laboratory (Party) BOD X X
Alexis Lugo-Fernandez Minerals Management Service (Party) Rep for Lars Herbst BOD X  
Buzz Martin Texas General Land Office (Party) BOD, Party X X
Terry McPherson STG, Inc. (Party) BOD, Party X X
Worth Nowlin Texas A&M University (Party) BOD, Individual Party X X
Nancy Rabalais LUMCON (Party) BOD, Party X X
Pat Roscigno Minerals Management Service (Party) Rep for Lars Herbst, BOD X X
Mike Spranger Florida Sea Grant (Party) BOD, Party X X
Ray Toll SAIC (Party) BOD, Party X X
Jan van Smirren Fugro GEOS (Party) BOD, Party X X
Sharon Walker J.L. Scott Marine Ed. Center (Party) BOD, Party X X
Other Participants
Porfirio Alvarez Torres GoM LME, UNIDO Speaker X  
Landry Bernard NOAA NDBC MC Chair X  
Richard Crout NOAA NDBC OSC X  
Rick DeVoe South Carolina Sea Grant Speaker X  
Darrell Duncan SAIC; NOAA NDBC DMACC X  
Hans Graber University of Miami (Party) Party X  
Debra Hernandez SECOORA Speaker X  
Stephan Howden University of So. Mississippi (Party) OSC Chair, Individual Party X X
Gary Kirkpatrick Mote Marine Lab (Party) Interested Observer X  
Dawn Lavoie USGS OSC X  
Dong-Ha Min UT Marine Science Institute (Party) Party X  
Melanie Morris MS Department of Environmental Quality Interested Observer X  
Rich Pentimonti Raytheon Technical Services (Party) Party X  
Helmut Portmann NOAA NDBC Speaker X  
Dwayne Porter U. So. Carolina; NERRS CDMO DMACC X  
Andrew Reich Florida Department of Health PHTT Chair X  
Mitchell Roffer ROFFS (Party) Party, PSC X  
Paula Rychtar NOAA NWS NOS Interested Observer X  
Vembu Subramanian University of South Florida (Party) DMAC Chair X X
Joe Swaykos USM Center of Higher Learning (Party) EOC Chair, Party X X
Zdenka Willis NOAA IOOS Program Office Speaker X X
Fred Zelie NOAA NCDDC Individual Party X  
GCOOS Office Staff
Ann Jochens Texas A&M University Regional Coordinator, IP X X
Matt Howard Texas A&M University Data Coordinator, IP X X
Susan Martin Texas A&M University Research Associate X X
Chris Simoniello University of Southern Mississippi E/O Coordinator, IP X X



Appendix B

GCOOS Regional Association Annual Meeting of the Parties
and Tenth Meeting of the Board of Directors
4-5 March 2010, New Orleans, LA

Provisional Agenda
1 March 2010

4 March 2010

0800 Welcome and Introductions (Worth Nowlin, Chair, GCOOS BoD)
0815 National View of IOOS (Zdenka Willis, Director, NOAA IOOS Program Office)
0845 Question & Answer session
0855 Mexico/U.S. Gulf of Mexico Large Marine Ecosystem Collaborations (Porfirio Alvarez-Torres, Project Coordinator, United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO))
0925 Question & Answer session
0935 NDBC and IOOS (Helmut Portmann, Director, National Data Buoy Center)
1015 BREAK
1030 Results of Election of Board of Directors (Landry Bernard, Chair, Membership Committee)
1035 Issues of the Parties
1050 Formulation and Aspirations of the South Atlantic Alliance and Possible Collaborations with the Gulf of Mexico Alliance (Rick DeVoe, South Carolina Sea Grant)
1120 Progress of the Gulf of Mexico Alliance and Collaborations (Corky Perret, Mississippi Department of Marine Resources)
1150 LUNCH (provided)
1300 Collaborations of the GCOOS-RA (Worth Nowlin)
1330 State of the GCOOS (Ann Jochens, Regional Coordinator)
1400 Adjourn Meeting of the Parties
1405 Opening of Board of Directors Meeting and Adoption of the Agenda (Worth Nowlin)
1415 Discussion of White Paper on the Future of Collaborations with SECOORA and CaRA (Debra Hernandez, Executive Director, SECOORA, and Worth Nowlin for GCOOS-RA)
1500 BREAK
1515 Reports of the Chairs of the Councils, Committees, and Task Team
Membership Committee (Landry Bernard, Stennis Space Center) – 5 minutes
Education and Outreach Council (Joe Swaykos, University of Southern Mississippi) – 20 minutes
Data Management and Communications Committee (Vembu Subramanian, University of South Florida) – 20 minutes
Observing Systems Committee (Stephan Howden, University of Southeren Mississippi) – 20 minutes
Public Health Task Team (Andrew Reich, Florida Department of Health) – 5-10 minutes
Stakeholder Council (Jochens for Robert Stickney, TAMU) – 5 minutes
Products & Services Committee (Jochens for Joe Stinus, NOAA) – 5 minutes
1640 Report on GCOOS Data and Products Portal (Matthew Howard, DMAC Coordinator, GCOOS Office)
1700 Open Discussion
1730 Adjourn Day 1

5 March 2010

0800  GCOOS-RA Business Model
Discussion and Approval of Version 1 (Worth Nowlin)
Action Plan for Marketing the GCOOS (Jan van Smirren, Fugro GEOS)
0930 Membership of Committees and Councils (Ann Jochens)
1000 BREAK
1015 Reports on Efforts to Recruit New Parties to the GCOOS-RA MoA (BoD members and Staff)
1045 Discussion and Finalization of the New Proposal Procedure (Worth Nowlin & BoD members)
1200 Date and Location of Next Board Meeting; Date and Time of Next Telecoms
1205 LUNCH (provided)
1215 Discussion of New or Outstanding Business
1330 Adjourn Board Meeting
1335 Begin Executive Committee Meeting
Topic: GCOOS and the National Federation of Regional Associations for Ocean Observing
1430 Adjourn Executive Committee Meeting



Appendix C

Charge to the GCOOS Stakeholder Council, 12 January 2010

The terms of reference for the GCOOS Stakeholder Council, as given in the governing Memorandum of Agreement, include the following two tasks: (1) "provide input to improve data and products" and (2) "suggest improvements in disseminating data and products to users and decision makers." The GCOOS-RA Board of Directors (BoD) requests that the Stakeholder Council focus its attention on these two tasks.

For the past seven years GCOOS workshops have been held to identify, with priority, data and products needed by specific sectors of stakeholders (e.g., oil and gas producers, emergency responders to storm surge/inundation, and recreational boaters/fishers). Based on the results of these workshops and on the broad studies of needs for information by specific user groups (e.g., for search and rescue by the USCG), the GCOOS-RA has prepared an integrated set of GCOOS stakeholder priorities, identifying specific stakeholder sectors.

GCOOS now has an operational portal for serving data and products and wishes to populate that portal with the most useful information as feasible. The BoD charges the Stakeholder Council to examine the set of integrated stakeholder requirements, to revise and enhance that set based on knowledge of their stakeholder sectors, and to recommend to the BoD which data and products should be provided to users and decision makers and how they should best be disseminated.

The GCOOS Products and Services Committee also has the responsibility for identifying the products and services necessary to meet the requirements of the GCOOS user community. However, that committee does not have a membership that covers major stakeholder sectors as will the Stakeholder Council. Moreover, the Products and Services Committee also is charged with defining user feedback processes and developing the products and distribution mechanisms. That committee also is charged with recommending to the Board research or pilot projects that are needed to sustain and enhance the products and services provided.

To improve the ability of the Stakeholder Council to meet this charge, the BoD is revising the Council’s membership to include representation from most significant stakeholder sectors. Where possible, new members being selected have attended an earlier workshop focused on his/her stakeholder sector. The BoD directs the Membership Committee to conduct an election of chair and vice-chair for the Stakeholder Council.


Gulf of Mexico Coastal Ocean Observing System (GCOOS)
Regional Association (GCOOS-RA)
Stakeholder Council
Terms of Reference

From Section VI.2.6 of the GCOOS Memorandum of Agreement

Once potential users and stakeholders for GCOOS have been identified, a Stakeholder Council will be established to ensure that GCOOS is developed with user benefits in mind. Stakeholder Council members will be appointed by the GCOOS Board of Directors and will reflect the broad spectrum of users and stakeholders interested in the products of ocean observing systems. The Stakeholder Council will provide advice on policies, identify potential new audiences for data and products, provide input to improve data and products, assist or advise on ways to support the activities and enhance the national resources of the National Federation of Regional Associations, and suggest improvements in disseminating data and products to users and decision makers. They will advise on other matters as may be requested by the GCOOS-RA Board and Committees. The chairperson and other officers, as may be determined to be necessary by the Council members or the Board of Directors, will be elected by the Stakeholder Council members through an election organized by the Membership Committee. At least one member of the Board of Directors shall serve on the Stakeholder Council.