Last updated: 22 August 2014

15-16 September 2011
Mote Marine Laboratory, Sarasota, FL

The Thirteenth Meeting of the Board of Directors of the Gulf of Mexico Coastal Ocean Observing System (GCOOS) Regional Association (RA) took place 15-16 September 2011 at the Mote Marine Laboratory in Sarasota, Florida. The attendees and their GCOOS-RA roles are listed in Appendix A. The provisional agenda is given in Appendix B.

15 September 2011

Terry McPherson, Chair of the Board, opened the meeting with a welcome. Attendees then introduced themselves, and the agenda was adopted.

Mike Crosby, senior vice president of Mote Marine Laboratory, welcomed the attendees to Mote Marine Laboratory. Mote is an independent non-profit organization, founded in 1955. It is a leader in marine research with seven centers for marine research. Mote has approximately 200 employees and an operating budget of $18M. With public outreach as a key part of the Mote mission, Mote Marine Laboratory includes the public Mote Aquarium and an Education Division specializing in public programs for all ages. Among the many activities of Mote is an effort to engage in tri-national cooperation–U.S., Mexico, and Cuba. With the Cubans installing major oil facilities in Cuban Gulf waters, it is urgent that the infrastructure and resources needed to monitor ecosystem conditions in the adjacent U.S. Gulf and Florida Strait waters be installed and operational. Dr. Crosby recommended that the GCOOS-RA should be involved.

National Efforts to Build Ocean Observing Systems

National Synthesis of RA Build-Out Plans
Ann Jochens, GCOOS Regional Coordinator, provided background information on the U.S. IOOS efforts to develop 10-year build-out plans for each RA that address priority needs for an initial, base case, ocean observation capability for each region. These will be synthesized into a national plan targeted for completion in February 2012.

Summary of SECOORA Meeting on Its Build-Out Plan
Steve Howden, GCOOS Board member, gave a summary of the September 8 meeting of the Southeast Coastal Ocean Observing Regional Association (SECOORA) Board that he and Jochens had attended to assist with the coordination of the GCOOS-RA and SECOORA build-out plans for the West Florida Shelf. Both RAs have a mooring plan, an AUV plan, and an HFR plan as the main components of the observing system. The HFR plan for the Florida Gulf area was previously developed to be the same for both RAs. Although there is a difference in philosophy for the mooring plans–with GCOOS’ mooring placements based on systematic coverage of the shelf, slope, and deepwater that will be useful for monitoring conditions as well as to provide input to models and the SECOORA mooring placement design (recommended by Bob Weisburg of USF) targeted to help get the local wind forcing right for models–minor modifications to each plan should result in a compatible, synchronized mooring system off FL. The GCOOS AUV plan calls for a conveyor belt/zigzag track going through the entire GCOOS shelf as well as a track in the deep Gulf to monitor the Loop Current. The AUV plan of SECOORA calls for U-shaped sampling boxes. These approaches are not incompatible, and the two RAs will work to harmonize the AUV plans for the west Florida shelf. Jochens mentioned that the two RAs have different approaches to modeling. GCOOS has the goal of providing data needed for improving and operating stakeholder models, but is not focused on development or operation of the models themselves. SECOORA plans for a large modeling component ranging from large- to local-scale. Mike Spranger said this difference is largely due to the historical origin of SECOORA with an initial academic focus and GCOOS with an operational system focus.

Goals for IOOS Build-Out Plan
Suzanne Skelley, Deputy Director of the U.S. IOOS Office in NOAA, discussed the goals of the U.S. IOOS program for the build-out plans of the 11 Regional Associations. She summarized the context for the build-out plans, particularly as related to the requirements of The Integrated Coastal and Ocean Observation System Act of 2009. The U.S. IOOS Office is focusing on steps to (1) create an inventory of existing assets; (2) identify gaps that can be filled at a later date when, presumably, the fiscal situation improves; and (3) lay out the components required to have a national system. The 11-member Interagency Ocean Observation Committee (IOOC), which was created by the ICOOS to oversee efforts to develop the National Integrated Coastal and Ocean Observing System, is led by three federal Co-Chairs: NASA, NSF, and NOAA. To more effectively deal with the current funding crisis, the IOOC members are working to increase agency commitments to the IOOS enterprise and are actively engaged in the completion of the requirements under the 2009 Act.

Discussion points raised included:

  • Work toward the end-view of what is required to have a national IOOS program, not focus on the specific needs of any one organization or agency
  • Mismatch between long-term planning and annual budget cycle is a challenge
  • Products and services coming from the IOOS need to be made highly visible every day in many different media
  • Frustration: spend extensive time planning the U.S. IOOS for the regions, then must compete against internal agency projects that cost hundreds of millions of dollars.
  • States can see value in data and can appreciate GCOOS’ ability to develop customized products; this is a key selling point for the regional associations
  • More endorsement is needed from the NOS leadership on the importance of RAs and the support they provide the governors’ alliances
  • Possible consideration: change our model of operation towards that of the Europeans–charge for products; problematical if RA is supported by government funding; but possibilities occur if go to non-profit status with funding from non-governmental sources

Integrated Ocean Observing and Congress
Jochens introduced Josie Quintrell, Executive Director of the National Federation of Regional Associations for Coastal and Ocean Observation (NFRA), by noting she had asked Quintrell to help GCOOS formulate a stronger communication strategy for legislators. Quintrell placed the issue of funding for IOOS into the context of the current fiscal crisis. She explained the Congressional budget cycle and the executive budget cycle and showed how they fit together and where opportunities exist to educate both branches of government. The FY13 budgets have already gone to the Office of Management and Budget, and planning for FY14 is in process. Quintrell discussed the many avenues available to provide information to the executive and legislative decision-makers. The main point is that all such avenues must be pursued to have a chance to be successful. This is particularly true in the current fractious environment, where the bipartisan support of previous years for U.S. IOOS has disappeared. IOOS is not a partisan issue; our community must do a better job in getting out the message.

Suggestions for Providing Information to Congress
Jan van Smirren, GCOOS Board member, reviewed his experiences in outreaching to Congressional members and staffers. He recommends that a group be set up to look at the mechanics of the process and to provide the serious planning that is required. Helpful are briefings, such as sometimes provided by NFRA, on suggested Congressional members and staffers to visit and why. It is important to have multiple contacts each year. While contacts with key committee members are important, contacts with our own individual representatives are important too. Tools that would be helpful include identifying the local concerns and interests of the member, knowing which staffer is the right one for the issue, preparing succinct messages in advance to make best use of limited time, making a record of every meeting one has had with staffers and representatives to help with follow-up information and activities.

Barb Kirkpatrick talked about the value of a Facebook link that would post pertinent information about the Gulf and GCOOS. This technique could provide information to staffers. Targeted messages can be posted that will go up the watersheds to get non-RA states on board. Sharon Walker emphasized that the leaders need to be invited to events, regardless of whether they will actually show up, so they will have an increased awareness of the GCOOS and its benefits.

Jochens called for the development of a working group of members who are interested and knowledgeable to get GCOOS more consistently represented. Worth Nowlin recommended the establishment of a Task Team on Congressional Outreach with the charge to prepare the approach for a GCOOS Outreach effort to inform Congress. Task Team Volunteers: Jan van Smirren (initial team lead), John Dindo, Terry McPherson, Josie Quintrell, Chris Simoniello, Mike Spranger, Joe Swaykos, and Sharon Walker.

International Efforts to Build Ocean Observing Systems

Collaborations with Mexico
Porfirio Alvarez-Torres, Project Coordinator of the Mexico-U.S. Gulf of Mexico Large Marine Ecosystem Project, provided an update on the work of the GoM LME Project, including the transboundary diagnostic analysis, which will be published in time for the 2011 Gulf Summit. He recommended expansion of collaborative efforts between Mexico and U.S. and expressed interest in partnering on transboundary projects.

Potential for Collaborations with Cuba
Mike Spranger described several academic exchanges between U.S. and Cuban institutions. Because U.S. sanctions against the Cuban government prohibit use of public funding for these exchanges, private funding has been used to facilitate academic exchanges in oceanography between U.S. and Cuban universities. Spranger recommended that we invite someone from the University of Havana to a future meeting of the GCOOS Board of Directors if arrangements can be identified for the travel. He emphasized that since drilling will begin soon in Cuban water adjacent to the Florida coast, it is extremely important for GCOOS and U.S. IOOS to monitor the environmental impacts in that part of the Gulf.

Lunch (provided)

Tour of MML Aquarium

Barb Kirkpatrick arranged for the group to have a short tour of the Mote Aquarium. All were impressed with the displays, information provided, animal rescue activities, shark activities, and the opportunity to see manatees up close.

Building the GCOOS

Southwest FL Regional Network–Nearshore Ocean Observing Network Pilot
Introduction: Ann Jochens introduced the Southwest FL Regional Network–Nearshore Ocean Observing Network Pilot Project by providing the historical context within which it was developed. The Gulf of Mexico Alliance (GOMA) Water Quality Priority Issue Team (PIT) is interested in Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs), mercury, and pathogens and in monitoring systems for water quality. Steve Wolfe, Program Coordinator for the Water Quality PIT, suggested to Jochens that GCOOS might engage the Sanibel-Captive Conservation Foundation (SCCF) and bring their data into the integrated system. In thinking about this, two goals were identified: (1) to engage GCOOS with communities of near-shore data providers through workshops and personal communications, and (2) to enhance the GCOOS by integrating these new data sets into the GCOOS Data Portal. Within the southwest FL region, two entities were contacted to see if there was interest in collaborations with GCOOS. Alex Rybak of the SCCF was contacted and agreed to provide data on a trial basis and to organize and hold a workshop on getting involved with GCOOS for local data providers within the SCCF area of interest. Jim Ivey of the FL Fish and Wildlife Research Institute was contacted about representing GCOOS at the 2011 ASLO Aquatic Sciences meeting, which he did. This has lead to further discussions of a possible expansion of the SW FL network to include additional areas and data providers. So was born the SW FL regional network pilot project.

Caloosahatchee River, Estuary, and Adjacent Coastal Waters: Alex Rybak, Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation, gave an overview of the SCCF history, explained its mission, and described the SCCF RECON network, its measurements, its uses, and its benefits. SCCF has three goals: conservation, science, and outreach. It seeks to grow its scientific unit and to increase community involvement. The initial sensors were purchased from ~$1M raised by the small local community of <10,000 people. Annual costs for maintenance and operations of 7 RECON stations runs ~$200K.

Sarasota Bay to Tampa Bay: Jim Ivey, FL Fish and Wildlife Research Institution, described the evolution of the FWRI’s autonomous water quality monitoring program and the development of the Harmful Algal Bloom Marine Observation Network (HABMON). He showed how the network of pier-based stations is planned to be expanded. The ultimate goal for this FWRI program is to determine the environmental parameters that will affect HAB development or persistence.

GCOOS Build-Out Plan
Ann Jochens reviewed the status of the comprehensive GCOOS Build-Out Plan. The unifying U.S. IOOS themes and main stakeholder communities that the GCOOS would serve were identified as: (1) Safe and efficient marine operations (recreational and commercial); (2) Mitigation of effects of coastal hazards (emergency responders, coastal communities, tourists, and urban planners); (3) Public health and safety (health and environmental agencies, coastal communities, tourism); and (4) Ecosystems, fisheries, and water quality (resource and environmental managers, coastal communities). These are all impacted by theme area (5) Climate change (coastal communities, urban planners, coastal engineers and agencies). Education and outreach is a part of all these themes. Jochens then reviewed the GCOOS elements and provided information on the assets needed for a fully operational GCOOS over the next 10 years. The GCOOS-RA and SECOORA are cooperating to make the plans for the Gulf side of Florida be compatible. The first priority for the GCOOS is to maintain the existing assets. The second is to build out and enhance the existing system. To achieve these enhancements to the GCOOS, the GCOOS-RA must build more effective GCOOS councils, committees, and task forces; improve engagement with other non-NOAA IOOS federal agencies; and find private funding sources. The GCOOS-RA is exploring possible incorporation as a non-profit organization to encourage donations, establish autonomy from existing entities, and improve efficiency.

Tour of Mote Field Experiment Laboratory (Gary Kirkpatrick)

Adjourn for the Day

16 September 2011
Enhancing the GCOOS

Funding to Build and Enhance GCOOS
Ann Jochens summarized the funding from NOAA IOOS for FY2011 and beyond. GCOOS-RA received $1.4M of the $4M requested for FY2011. This is a further cut of $70K from the descoping document. Jochens located funds that can be used for salary support for TAMU employees on the GCOOS project to cover this last cut, so funding will not be taken from the observing partners. Because of the nation’s fiscal crisis, future funding from the NOAA IOOS Office beyond FY2011 is likely to be equally or more bleak.

Press Releases on GCOOS FY11 funding from NOAA IOOS
Terry McPherson raised the issue of using press releases to educate the public, e.g., for this small modest grant GCOOS has significant accomplishments for our region. It was agreed that some standard information should be prepared and distributed for use by the partners on the award. Each partner then should add information on what they are contributing from observing point of view. Chris Simoniello will provide to Jochens a first draft of the standard information for a press release. Jochens and Simoniello will work with our partners and the Board members to review and fine tune the information.

Review of GCOOS business plan and its implementation
Terry McPherson will circulate the funding and marketing plan drafted by Jan van Smirren and Cort Cooper with all the Board members and share with new members the Kite-Powell economic analysis. Worth Nowlin noted that Kite-Powell was a fine first step, but experts are needed to refine it. McPherson recommended that the Board find a way to have an updated and improved economic analysis of the costs and benefits of the integrated ocean observing system for the Gulf of Mexico. The analyst(s) will need to understand each of the sectors that gain value from the system. This task will require funding to hire the appropriate people to do the analysis. Ideas to obtain such funding were: prepare and submit an unsolicited letter of intent to fund a project to determine the current return on the investment of ocean observations in the Gulf of Mexico (NOAA, other agency); GCOOS participation on bodies such as the IOOC; or working with specific IOOS partner agencies to get the project funded. Alexis Lugo-Fernandez agreed to talk to his management about possible BOEMRE interest and funding for a related, socioeconomic profile project; but funding would not be available until at the earliest FY2014.

Improving engagement with non-NOAA IOOS federal agencies
US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE): Jennifer Wozencraft summarized the interests of and opportunities with the USACE. The core missions in the coastal zone are mitigating flood impacts, shore nourishment and disaster preparedness and response, navigation and dredging, and ecosystem restoration. The primary interest is in the nearshore, including reliable data on the wave field (directional wave data), currents, water level variability, bathymetric data, and sediments. The USACE projects are funded as individual line items with data collection not going outside the project scope. The USACE is involved with the Coastal Data Information Program (CDIP), which is an extensive network for monitoring waves and beaches along the coastlines of the United States; indeed the single CDIP wave buoy in the Gulf of Mexico is funded through the USACE. Additional buoys are being considered for the Gulf. The USACE is putting model domains on line along with some wave observations.

USACE is increasing its participation in U.S. IOOS. Bill Birkemeier is a member of the Interagency Ocean Observation Committee. Linda Lillycrop is a liaison with the U.S. IOOS Office and participates on the IOOC Regional Information Coordination Entities Certification Working Group. Clint Padgett is on the IOOC Data Working Group. The USACE districts in the Gulf of Mexico participate as members of the GCOOS-RA Committees, and Wozencraft is a member of the GCOOS-RA Board.

To expand engagement between the GCOOS-RA and the USACE, the best approach is to identify activities with common interests and pair with local district needs. Wozencraft suggested setting up a meeting with the Galveston, Mobile, and Jacksonville (JAX) districts and program managers to explore opportunities. Some opportunities may be in the areas of berm monitoring, sediment work, or mapping data not currently served on GCOOS portal. Stephan Howden asked if USACE buoy data in the Gulf are available; Wozencraft will check with Bill Birkemeier.

Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE): Alexis Lugo-Fernandez, sitting in for Board member Pat Roscigno, reported that on October 1st, BOEMRE will be reorganized into two separate bureaus: Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) and Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE). BOEM will be the agency into which the Environmental Studies group will fall. There will be an Office of Environmental Studies in BOEM with personnel available to liaison with other groups, such as GCOOS-RA.

Through the years the MMS/BOEMRE/BOEM have collected substantial quantities of data over the coastal shelf in the Gulf, as well as significant data in the deep water Gulf. In addition to a possible economic study, Lugo-Fernandez identified several potential ideas for joint activities. One is that there may be enough data to determine an optimal array design for the shelf; he will look at this further. Another comes from the concept that the Gulf of Mexico is acting like an east-west thermocline oscillator. Lugo-Fernandez is interested in deploying instrumentation to use in planning and the GCOOS moored buoy line in the deep water Gulf might offer possibilities for interaction. He has 23 PIES, but no funding for ship, analysis, or communications link. He will explore these ideas internally at BOEM and report back.

Board Business Session

Elections & Other Business Matters
Ann Jochens announced the election results for the Board Executive Committee and Representatives to NFRA. She handed out conflicts of interest forms and requested they be completed and turned in to her before meetings end.

Executive Committee: Worth Nowlin, Alfredo Prelat, Joe Swaykos, and Jennifer Wozencraft were elected as the Executive Committee of the Board. Terry McPherson, as Board Chair, leads the Executive Committee.

Representatives to NFRA: John Dindo and Ann Jochens were elected to be the GCOOS representatives on the NFRA Board of Directors.

Board Member Liaisons to GOMA Priority Issue Teams (Lead State indicated)
Environmental Education (AL): Sharon Walker, John Dindo, Joe Swaykos
Nutrients and Nutrient Impacts (MS): Stephan Howden
Water Quality (FL): Nancy Rabalais
Coastal Community Resilience (MS & LA): Mike Spranger
Ecosystem Integration and Assessment (TX):Worth Nowlin, Jennifer Wozencraft
Habitat Conservation and Restoration (LA): Nancy Rabalais
Alliance Management Team:Terry McPherson
Data Management Advisory Committee: (Matt Howard, Chris Simoniello are members)

Board Member Liaisons for GCOOS Councils, Committees, Task Teams
Stakeholder Council: Terry McPherson, Ray Toll
Education and Outreach Council: Mike Spranger, Sharon Walker
Observing Systems Committee: Dave Driver, Stephan Howden
Products and Services Committee: Joe Swaykos, Jennifer Wozencraft
DMAC Committee: Alfredo Prelat, Jan van Smirren
Membership Committee: Worth Nowlin
Public Health Task Team: Nancy Rabalais
Congressional Outreach Task Team :Jan van Smirren
Mexico Relations: John Dindo, Alfredo Prelat, Nancy Rabalais

Selection of Date and Location of Next Board Meeting
Winter/Spring 2012:
When: Wednesday and Thursday, 14-15 March 2012
Where: Institute for Marine Mammal Studies, Gulfport, MS
Focus of meeting: GCOOS Councils, Committees, Task Teams
Liaison Actions: (1) review the charge to the group and determine what, if any, revisions to the charge are needed; (2) review the membership and determine what, if any, changes in the membership are needed
Board to evaluate information and reconstitute and revitalize the groups

Summer/Fall 2012:
When: tentatively 19-20 or 26-27 September 2012
Where: Harte Research Institute (tentative), Corpus Christi, TX

Selection of Date and Time of Next Telecoms
To be determined by poll.

GCOOS-RA & Non-profit Corporation
Worth Nowlin reported there are three steps for the GCOOS-RA to become a non-profit organization in Texas. First is to file the Certification of Formation with the Texas Secretary of State (Nowlin can sign, all BOD members are identified, pay $50 fee). This document is prepared and ready to be filed. The second step is to prepare the By-Laws; a draft has been prepared. Third is to file a 1023 form with the IRS to obtain tax exempt status (a process that can take up to six months). To do business in the other four GCOOS states, statements of intention to do business must be filed. Worth gave a summary of the draft by-laws, which were built around the provisions of the MOA.

After discussion, Mike Spranger moved that the GCOOS-RA should seek the non-profit status. Joe Swaykos seconded. The vote to move forward was unanimous for those present (12 members in favor, 3 members absent).

Nowlin will work out a few details with the lawyer and then will send the Board a revised version of the by-laws for their comments. He will arrange for any necessary revisions to accommodate concerns. The target is to have the paperwork ready to sign at next regular BOD meeting. The papers would then be filed in TX and then in the other Gulf States.

GCOOS Office Review
Ann Jochens reviewed the GCOOS-RA budgets. These are summarized below. For each project, a progress report is provided to NOAA semi-annually. Completed projects also have a final report.

Continued Development of the Gulf of Mexico Coastal Ocean Observing System
NOAA Cooperative Agreement NA11NOS0120024
NOS Integrated Ocean Observations Systems (IOOS)
Award Period: 06/01/2011 – 05/31/2016 (Year 1 funding only; $1,400,000; 16 partners)

Maintenance and Enhancement of the GCOOS Data Portal: Building toward a Regional Operations Center
NOAA Cooperative Agreement NA08NOS473041
NOS Integrated Ocean Observations Systems (IOOS)
Award Period: 01/01/2009 – 12/31/2012 (4 years funded; $1,700,000; > 6 partners)

Maintenance and Enhancement of the Gulf of Mexico Coastal Ocean Observing System Regional Association
NOAA Cooperative Agreement NA08NOS4730289
NOS Coastal Services Center (CSC); transferred to NOS Integrated Ocean Observations Systems (IOOS)
Award Period:05/01/2008 – 04/30/2012 (4 years funded; $1,199,943; 3 partners)

Standardization of Local Data Network Nodes in the GCOOS-RA
NOAA Cooperative Agreement NA07NOS4730199
NOS Coastal Services Center (CSC)
Award Period: 01/01/2008 – 12/31/2011 (4 years funded; $744,038; 11 partners)

COMPLETED: Integration of and Regional Enhancements to the GCOOS: Development of a GCOOS Data Portal
NOAA Cooperative Agreement NA07NOS4730217
NOS Coastal Services Center (CSC)
Award Period: 01/01/2008 – 04/30/2010 (2.33 years funded; $500,000; 2 partners)

Accomplishments in FY 2011: The Local Data Nodes project, which is ending in 2011, has been a success. A short write-up on how we engaged with data providers in the region and successfully integrated diverse data sets will be prepared as a GCOOS success story. A portion of the funding for the second Data Portal project is being used to entrain new data providers, such as the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation and tentatively the Florida Fish and Wildlife Research Institute. This project also supports the staff that maintains and enhances the GCOOS Data Portal and associated products. The funds under the RA project award are used for meeting and travel support, as well as partial salary support for Jochens, Howard, and Martin. It also is used to sponsor stakeholder engagement activities. This year’s the primary stakeholder activity is co-sponsorship of the Gulf of Mexico Summit in December 2011.

Plans for FY 2012: In addition to standard meetings, reporting, stakeholder engagement, and interactions with GOMA, Mexico, NFRA, SECOORA, IOOS agencies and others, activities planned for FY 2012 are to complete the 10-year GCOOS Build Out Plan and release it for comment and use; enhance the SW FL Water Quality Data Integration Pilot Project and expand the project if successful; plan and hold the second Ecosystem Model Workshop; finish planning for and hold the third and final GCOOS-GOMA HABIOS Workshop; work with the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative (GRI) in support of data management for the BP-funded restoration research projects; work with the modeling community to provide support resources through the Data Portal; work with GOMA to obtain funding to build a hypoxia-nutrient component, including visualization tools needed by state managers, to the GCOOS data portal; and complete the revision of the GCOOS website. Additionally, there will be a number of activities to undertake if/when the GCOOS-RA becomes a non-profit corporation, including paperwork with NOAA on the awards.

Discussion of Communication Tools for the Board
Mike Spranger, who is a member of the SECOORA Board, reported that the SECOORA staff provides to the Board a monthly update on staff activities. This consists mainly of a report with bullets on what was done. Spranger is finding this to be a useful communication tool and requested that the GCOOS staff initiate a similar activity.

Terry McPherson requested that the semi-annual progress reports to NOAA be posted to the GCOOS web with notice to the Board so they can access and review them. He also requested that the GCOOS staff develop a budget detail for iteration with the Board.

Discussion and Assignments for Next Steps
Fund Raising: Jan van Smirren will take the lead. He will send the Board the last version of the Funding and Marketing plan for feedback and consensus by the end of October. van Smirren raised the consideration of the need for a strategy to deal with draconian cuts and a plan for funds to sustain a modest level of activity.

Engagement of federal and state agencies: Steps to be pursued include
(1) Co-sponsorship of an Ecosystem Workshop (BOEMRE is a possibility);
(2) Board and staff use their contacts to tap into federal agencies from the ground up;
(3) Engage with USACE at the local district level and national level: share the build-out plan with Bill Birkemeier, the USACE representative on the IOOC; Wozencraft will increase her interactions with Lillycroft who is the USACE liaison with the U.S. IOOS Office; GCOOS should meet with district personnel (Mobile, Jacksonville, New Orleans, Vicksburg, and Galveston Districts) to discuss data sharing and joint projects.
(4) Invite specific state and federal personnel to the next GCOOS meeting to identify joint projects (suggestions were USACE Mobile District, NOAA PORTS®, NOAA Weather Forecast Offices, EPA Gulf of Mexico Program and Regions 4 and 6, FEMA Regions IV and VI, USGS, Mississippi Department of Marine Resources, Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality, Northern Gulf Institute).

Recruit New Parties to the GCOOS-RA MoA: The approach to recruiting new parties to the GCOOS-RA Memorandum of Agreement includes (1) re-invigorating the Membership Committee, as well as the other GCOOS Committees and Councils, to increase the number of active participants, inspiring others to join; (2) balancing the membership among the five Gulf states; (3) improving engagement with state and federal agency personnel to increase their interest in the observing system and the contributions their agency makes; (4) increasing Board activity in recruitment in the respective sectors that each represents; (5) inviting leaders who are interested in ocean observing to join. Information materials are needed.

Assignments in Preparation for the Next Board Meeting:
* Each team of Board liaisons to confer about the current state of activity of their committee, determine if the Terms of Reference are appropriate, review whether the membership is right, and prepare recommendations for any needed revisions. The target is to assess in detail the functions and membership of the GCOOS councils and committees and find ways to improve their contributions.
* Staff to prepare a budget detail and summary of activities accomplished and planned for discussion at the Board meeting.
* A team of Board members, lead by Jan van Smirren, will consider funding issues and brief the full Board on the challenges and approaches to solving issues.
* A team of Board members, initially lead by Jan van Smirren, will consider what the GCOOS-RA approach should be to informing Congress and staffers about the need for and benefits of the GCOOS. No lobbying or advocacy is to be considered.
* Unresolved is the topic of expanding engagements with federal and state agencies.

Board Meeting Adjourned

Begin Executive Committee Meeting
Topic: Results of This Meeting, Goals of Next Meeting, The Future
Executive Committee Meeting Adjourned


Appendix A: GCOOS-RA Board of Directors Meeting Attendees, 15-16 September 2011

Name Affiliation GCOOS Role 9/15 9/16
Porfirio Alvarez-Torres Mexico-U.S. Gulf of Mexico Large Marine Ecosystem Project, United Nations Industrial Development Organization Speaker  
Aliana Corcoran FL Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC); Fish & Wildlife Research Institute (FWRI), HAB section Observer  
Mike Crosby Mote Marine Laboratory Meeting Host  
John Dindo Dauphin Island Sea Lab (DISL) Board member  
David Driver BP America Board member
Stephan Howden University of Southern Mississippi Board member
Lei Hu Dauphin Island Sea Lab (DISL) Chair, DMAC Committee
Scott Ishler FL Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission Observer
Jim Ivey FWC, Fish & Wildlife Research Institute Speaker  
Ann Jochens Texas A&M University (TAMU) Regional Coordinator
Barb Kirkpatrick Mote Marine Laboratory Meeting Host & Aquarium Tour
Gary Kirkpatrick Mote Marine Laboratory Speaker & Lab Tour  
Alexis Lugo-Fernandez BOEMRE, New Orleans, LA Rep for Board member Roscigno
Terry McPherson STG, Inc. Chair, GCOOS Board
Worth Nowlin Retired TAMU Board member
Josie Quintrell National Federation of Regional Associations for Coastal and Ocean Observing (NFRA) Speaker  
Nancy Rabalais Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium Board member
Andrew Reich Florida Dept. of Health, Aquatic Toxins Disease Prevention Program Chair, Public Health Task Team
Alex Rybak Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation (SCCF) Marine Lab Speaker  
Chris Simoniello Institute for Marine Mammal Studies E/O Coordinator
Suzanne Skelley US IOOS Program Office, NOAA Speaker  
Michael Spranger University of Florida, Florida Sea Grant Board member
Joe Swaykos Center of Higher Learning, Stennis Space Center, MS Board member
Jan van Smirren Fugro GEOS, Inc., Houston, TX Board member
Sharon Walker Institute for Marine Mammal Studies Board member
Jennifer Wozencraft US Army Corps of Engineers Research & Development Center, Mobile District Board member



Appendix B: Provisional Agenda (Revised)

Thursday, 15 September 2011

0800 Opening of Meeting
Welcome from Mote Marine Laboratory (TBD)
Welcome, Introductions, and Adoption of Agenda (Terry McPherson)
0830 National Synthesis of RA Build-Out Plan(Ann Jochens)
0900 Summary of SECOORA Meeting on Its Build-Out Plans(Stephan Howden)
0920 Goals for IOOS Build-Out Plan(Suzanne Skelley, NOAA IOOS Office)
0950 Discussion
1000 BREAK
1015 Integrated Ocean Observing and Congress (Josie Quintrell, NFRA)
1045 Suggestions for Providing Information to Congress (Jan van Smirren)
1100 Discussion
1130 International Efforts to Build Ocean Observing Systems
1130 Collaborations with Mexico
Joint actions to solve common conerns (Porfirio Alvarez Torres, GOM LME Project)
Gulf of Mexico Large Marine Ecosystem Transboundary Diagnostic Analysis
Discussion of Potential Collaborations re BP Oil Spill: Mexico, GCOOS, and GRI
1230 Potential for Collaborations with Cuba (Mike Spranger)
1245 Lunch (provided)
1315 Tour of MML Aquarium (Barb Kirkpatrick)
1415 Building the GCOOS
1415 Southwest FL Regional Network-Nearshore Ocean Observing Network Pilot
Introduction (Ann Jochens)
Caloosahatchee River, Estuary, and Adjacent Coastal Waters (Alex Rybak, Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation)
Tampa Bay area (Jim Ivey, FL FWRI)
GOMA Water Quality Monitoring Actions (Ann Jochens)
1515 GCOOS Build-Out Plan (Ann Jochens)
Review of the Comprehensive GCOOS Build-Out Plan
Discussion and Actions
1615 BREAK
1630 Enhancing the GCOOS
1630 GCOOS Data and Products Portal (Shin Kobara) Deferred
1645 Building Effective GCOOS Councils, Committees, and Task Forces Deferred
Status of the GCOOS Groups (Ann Jochens)
Board Discussion with the Chairs – Needs for Enhancing Effectiveness
1700 Funding to Build and Enhance GCOOS
Funding from NOAA IOOS: FY11 and beyond (Ann Jochens)
Review business plan & ways to implement (Jan van Smirren)
Improving engagement with non-NOAA IOOS federal agencies
      USACE (Jennifer Wozencraft)
      BOEMRE (Alexis Lugo-Fernandez for Pat Roscigno)
Discussion of private and non-NOAA IOOS funding (Terry McPherson)
1730 Tour of Mote Field Experiment (Gary Kirkpatrick)
1830 Adjourn for the Day

Friday, 16 September 2011

0800 Board Business Session
0800 Elections & Other Business Matters
Election of Executive Committee of the Board (by ballot)
Election of GCOOS representatives to NFRA (by ballot)
Completion of Conflict of Interest Forms
Selection of Points of Contact to GOMA Priority Issue Teams
Selection of Points of Contact for NFRA Informing Congress Effort
Selection of Board Member Liaisons for GCOOS Counciles, Committees, Task Teams
Selection of Date and Location of Next Board Meeting
Selection of Date and Time of Next Telecoms
0900 GCOOS-RA & Non-profit Corporation(Worth Nowlin)
0945 GCOOS Office Review(Ann Jochens)
GCOOS-RA budget
Partnerships with SECOORA, FLCOOS, FIO, GOMA
Accomplishments of FY 2011
Planned activities for FY 2012
1045 Discussion of Communication Tools for the Board(Mike Spranger)
1115 Discussion and Assignments for Next Steps
a. Fund Raising
b. Improving Collaborations to Unify GOM COOS efforts
c. Engagement of federal agencies
d. Recruit New Parties to the GCOOS-RA MoA
e. Informing Congress
f. Other
1215 Discussion of New or Outstanding Business
1230 Adjourn Board Meeting
1300 Begin Executive Committee Meeting
Topic: Results of This Meeting, Goals of Next Meeting, The Future
1400 Adjourn Executive Committee Meeting