Last updated: 27 August 2014

Fifteenth Meeting of the GCOOS Regional Association and Board of Directors
26-28 September 2012
Harte Research Institute
Corpus Christi, TX

The 15th Meeting of the Gulf of Mexico Coastal Ocean Observing System Regional Association (GCOOS-RA) and Board of Directors was held on 26-28 September 2012 in Corpus Christi, TX. The attendees and their GCOOS-RA roles are listed in Appendix A. The agenda is given in Appendix B.

26 September 2012: Meeting of the GCOOS-RA

Dr. Larry McKinney, Executive Director of the Harte Research Institute welcomed the GCOOS-RA Board of Directors to Corpus Christi, TX, and the Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi. Terry McPherson, Chair of the BoD, also welcomed everyone. Introductions were made and the agenda was adopted by a quorum of the Board of Directors. A brief overview of the days’ activities was made.

Key Issues Impacting the GCOOS-RA

U.S. IOOS Activities
Zdenka Willis, Director, U.S. IOOS Program Office, presented an update on IOOS Program Office 2012 work activities. She gave an overview of the roles and responsibilities of the twenty IOOS office staff, and identified the liaisons to other federal offices, emphasizing that identifying projects that can be jointly funded (e.g., NOPP modeling test bed) is a priority. Data Management and Communications (DMAC) activities continue to be the main office focus. An area where the Regional Associations (RAs) are strong is building relationships with technology companies. The U.S. leads the industry in glider (e.g., Seabird) and High Frequency Radar (e.g., CODAR) technology and we should continue developing partnerships with these companies. Willis summarized why the IOOS budget has been difficult to pass, presenting information on the President’s budget, and House and Senate marks, and the complication posed by sequestration of funds for NOAA’s satellite budget. She stated the need to demonstrate that if we cut 10% of the IOOS budget, we are really losing about 30% of the capability because of all the leveraging.

Dave Easter, the IOOS Office regional point of contact for the GCOOS-RA, summarized the progress made on the IOOS Certification Process. Certification for non-federal assets is mandated in the Integrated Coastal Ocean Observing Act of 2009. The guidelines are currently in the initial NOAA and Department of Commerce clearance process. A public comment period through the Federal Register will follow, with an optimistic goal of being ready to implement by January 2013. Certification will extend civil liability coverage to the RAs. Because the Civil Liability act states that if certified, RA data are considered part of NOAA and RICE (i.e., RA) employees are considered federal employees, NOAA and DOC lawyers are still trying to determine who and what is covered. There is no mandated requirement that any RA applies for certification, but language in future IOOS proposals will state that successful applicants will seek certification. Currently, there is no timeline for this process.

Jack Harlan, IOOS National High Frequency Radar (HFR) Project Manager, provided an update on the status of the 129 HFRs, operated by 29 institutions, which comprise the IOOS HFR network. Efforts are focused on bringing the data together in a common format and resolving radio frequency licensing issues. Most operators use experimental licenses, but to become fully operational, a more permanent solution is needed. IOOS received international approval for its HFR proposal during the World Radio Communication Conference of 2012 in Geneva, but two technical issues are still to be resolved (call signal identifiers and band sharing and synchronization issues). HF radar frequencies used in the US can continue as before. However, the US does not have approval to use radars in the eight to nine MHz range. This affects WERA systems, which can continue to operate using experimental licenses, but with the risk of being disrupted. Harlan is seeking to set up designated beta testers of new HFR vendor software to extend network monitoring tools and is working through IOOS to get HFR data into 1) the National Weather Service’s Advanced Weather Interactive Processing System and the National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP), and 2) the CO-OPS PORTS network.

Worth Nowlin, GCOOS BoD member, moderated a discussion on how to improve US IOOS Office and GCOOS-RA interactions. When asked about interagency support and activity, Willis explained that legislation puts an equal amount of responsibility for IOOS success on other agencies and interactions are stronger than ever before, particularly with the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers and U.S. Coast Guard, the latter having strong interest in HFR data. Interactions with the EPA are more challenging because there is no central management. Because money flows in different channels among these entities, better coordination has not led to increased funds from OMB. However, OMB has brokered meetings, which is an improvement. The Office of Naval Research is a potential source of IOOS funds, especially if a coastal modeling project of national scope can be developed.

Update on NFRA Legislation
Josie Quintrell, Executive Director of NFRA, summarized NFRA activities and pending legislation. The RAs need to reach out to Congress. Having stakeholders participate is critical, especially those constituents who can lobby on behalf of IOOS. In support of ICOOS Act Reauthorization in 2013, the RAs are encouraged to write ‘dear colleague’ letters to House and Senate appropriations leaders. Quintrell encouraged the GCOOS-RA to be active in this effort because of the powerful members in Congress from the Gulf region. The letters should identify what is unique about IOOS–national capability for real-time surface current observations from HFR, sub-surface observations with gliders and fixed assets, and engaging users in the design of the system. Once IOOS is more stable, it was suggested that NFRA maintain a permanent presence in Washington DC. It was also suggested that NFRA Board members consider changing the NFRA name to Regional IOOS or similar to reduce confusion. Chris Simoniello, GCOOS Education and Outreach Coordinator, suggested following the Center for Ocean Sciences Education Excellence (COSEE) example and use a naming convention like IOOS-Gulf of Mexico; IOOS-Alaska, etc.

Update on the Gulf of Mexico Alliance
Laura Bowie, Gulf of Mexico Alliance (GOMA), gave updates on GOMA. The Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative (GRI), administered by GOMA, focuses on overseeing the use of British Petroleum funds. The GRI is poised to award $500 M over the next 10 years to research consortia. A success was getting stipulation in the funding requirement that each a Gulf Coast institution lead each consortium. Recently, GOMA created Business Advisory Council consisting of two representatives from each of the following groups: tourism, oil and gas, transportation, seafood processing, manufacturing, utilities/energy, fishing, and agriculture. This Council will serve as a forum for consultation and source of advice to the Alliance Management Team. Willis asked how GOMA characterizes the role of GCOOS. As leaders and members of the Priority Issue Teams, GCOOS is actively engaged in the development and implementation of the GOMA Action Plan. Nowlin clarified that GOMA is a stakeholder to GCOOS. The Alliance is involved with writing plans for the states; it is not a monitoring program. Bowie agreed with this characterization.

Update on the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative
Kevin Shaw, GRI, explained how the GRI is the administrative unit created to handle the $500M from BP slated for research. GRI is structured such that GOMA provides program management and budget reports; Ocean Leadership provides some program support, manages the peer review proposal process and website, administers the research grants, and handles communications and outreach; the Harte Research Institute manages the data base; and the Northern Gulf Institute maintains the website. Eight projects covering five research themes are currently funded. Alexis Lugo observed that none of the research areas include socioeconomic impacts. Data management is a key component of GRI, and GCOOS DMAC is tightly coupled with the GRI Information and Data Cooperative (GRIIDC) via GCOOS DMAC Coordinator Dr. Matt Howard, and Systems Architect Felimon Gayanilo. Shaw announced that the next Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill Ecosystem Science Conference would be January 21-23, 2013, in New Orleans.

Update on the Gulf of Mexico Ecosystem Restoration Task Force
Alyssa Dausman, Task Force Science Advisor, summarized how the Task Force will be downsized and transition into the Ecosystem Restoration Council mandated by the RESTORE Act. Members will represent EPA, USDA, CG, DOI, and one state agency from each of the five Gulf Coast states. Within one year of RESTORE Act enactment, the Council will need to publish a comprehensive plan, although there is currently no money to implement. The plan, created by workshop participants engaged in the process, does not require state or federal approval. Paul Sandifer and Jessica Snowden bring IOOS representation to the process. Barb Kirkpatrick informed the group that when she shared the GCOOS Build-out Plan maps during the Task Force meeting in Sarasota, this RA was viewed as a leader in the Gulf of Mexico monitoring effort.

Update on the Bureau of Ocean Energy and Management
Alexis Lugo-Fernandez noted that GCOOS BoD member Pat Roscigno is looking forward to the results of the GCOOS/Liquid Robotics Wave Glider pilot project. There was discussion about whether GCOOS and BOEM should co-host an ecosystem modeling workshop; BOEM interest is focused on physical-biological modeling and research in waters deeper than 100 meters while GCOOS interest is focused on ecosystem modeling and monitoring in shallower water and estuaries. Nowlin stated that once the GCOOS-RA finalizes its Modeling Task Team membership, this team will help set up a separate GCOOS ecosystem modeling workshop. BOEM would hold later a separate workshop. Each workshop could have participation at the other. There was great interest when Lugo-Fernandez proposed that BOEM would provide funds to conduct an economic benefits study of GCOOS. That study has been in joint planning for some six months. It is expected to be conducted in 2013. Quintrell requested that BOEM share methodology and articulate the process, as other RAs may conduct similar studies.

Update on West Florida Shelf Collaborations
Debra Hernandez, Executive Director of SECOORA, summarized activities SECOORA is funding on the West Florida Shelf. Current funds support work in the areas of maintaining buoys and HF radar installations, supporting development of a surge model and regional circulation model (SABGOM), and enhancing website capabilities to serve HF radar and model data. Hernandez demonstrated the Beach Water Quality tool created to aid environmental health agencies in Myrtle Beach, SC, improve swim advisories. The plan is to extend the advisories to Charleston, SC, and the Chesapeake Bay region. As co-lead on the User Requirements chapter for the IOOS Summit proceedings, Hernandez shared her ideas about where IOOS should be in the next ten years. She also described the process of transitioning SECOORA to non-profit status and offered assistance to GCOOS as they undergo that process. Finally, she reported on the governors’ South Atlantic Alliance.

Matt Howard gave an overview of the GCOOS-supported activities on the West Florida Shelf. Dave Easter commented on the coordination between SECOORA and GCOOS regarding activities of the USF COMPS program. Howard also summarized three new GCOOS-funded projects: one with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Research Institute Harmful Algal Bloom Monitoring system, another with the Sanibel Captiva Conservation Foundation Water Quality Monitoring network, and a joint glider project with USF COMPS and Mote Marine Laboratory.

Lunch Speaker
Pat Welsh, University of North Florida, provided an overview of the Advanced Basic Observation Buoy (ABOB), an inexpensive platform for water quality instruments for use by citizens and scientists. He used data from prolonged deployments to show that nearly continuous rather than episodic data collection is critical. Continuous data streams almost always come back with signals that we don’t understand and that might be missed with episodic measurements. Ed Buskey, Mission-Aransas NERR, expressed interest in ABOB.

RESTORE Act and Opportunities to Build the Foundational GCOOS
Howard provided a summary of the RESTORE Act. A trust fund will receive 80% of penalty money split accordingly: 35% will be shared equally among the U.S. Gulf Coast states for ecological and economic restoration. 30% will go to the Gulf Coast Restoration Council which will prepare a comprehensive plan with a prioritized list of projects/programs for years one, two and three, and a general plan for 10 succeeding years; 30% will go to the Oil Spill Restoration Impact Fund, allocated according to a formula involving the proportion of coast damaged and economic losses, among other factors; 2.5% will be divided equally among the five states to support Centers of Excellence; and 2.5% will go to Gulf coast ecosystem restoration, observation, monitoring, and technology (likely all related to fisheries). The RESTORE Act does not state when the Treasury has to release funds. The decision will be made in consultation with DOC and DOI. Of course, it is also unclear when BP will be required to release funds or in what amounts. There was discussion as to how best to position the GCOOS-RA to share in RESTORE funds.

Synergies and Integration from Rivers to the Ocean

Progress Toward a National Water Quality Monitoring Network
Zdenka Willis provided an overview of NOAA’s National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science (NCCOS) Water Quality Data project that has a data management focus on reconciling water quality variable vocabularies. The goal is to bring together global data sets, starting with the integration of water temperature, salinity and water level data. One outcome will be visibility of IOOS data on the Eye on Earth platform, a global data portal.

Summary of SW Florida Integrated Water Quality Network
Nowlin provided an update on the Southwest Florida Integrated Water Quality Network pilot project. In June 2012, 27 potential water quality data providers met at the Sanibel Captiva Conservation Foundation in Sarasota, FL, to learn about IOOS and GCOOS. GCOOS representatives learned what the participants are measuring and invited them to share data via the GCOOS Data Portal. Hernandez is interested in opportunities for collaboration; SECOORA has worked with the South Atlantic Alliance to fund state technical leads to make high priority data sets interoperable among four states. She would like to know the data sets being targeted and if there are protocols to collect the data. Gayanilo said GCOOS is interested in knowing what data providers are considered high priority by SECOORA.

Update on The Nature Conservancy [TNC]
Jorge Brenner provided an update on TNC activities in the Gulf of Mexico. He is working to develop tools that help determine where the most cost-effective restoration activities might be. The products include a marsh variability decision support tool; a tool for Ecosystem Services Provisioning (; a tool to determine vulnerability to erosion and inundation for Galveston Bay, comparing areas with and without oyster reefs; and a wave attenuation model for Mobile Bay, also providing output that compares areas with and without oyster reefs. Sharon Walker stated she will use TNC data at an upcoming climate change workshop for educators. Brenner told Jack Harlan that he would be able to help identify areas that can house HF radar installations and help broker use of these areas, which are often on private land. The TNC activities in the Gulf are broad and impressive.

An Integrated Water Quality Network Pilot Project for Central and South Texas
Nowlin put GCOOS in the global perspective and explained that the goal of the following talks was to form a foundation on which to develop the Central and South Texas Integrated Water Quality Network pilot project.

Gary Jeffress gave an overview of TCOON that has been part of GCOOS since 2001. There are 31 TCOON stations and six NWLON stations, a service provided for CO-OPS. Measurements of water level and of other parameters are made every six minutes. The Texas General Land Office is the major funder, with funds also received from the Texas Water Development Board, NOAA, and recently, the USACOE-Galveston. Six new stations will be installed for the USACOE this year. Upgrades and new installations will total approximately $1.9 M. There are also two sentinel installations equipped with CORS geodetic receivers to monitor subsidence and GPS as control for dredging operations. Future sentinel installations have been announced by USFWS for three Texas ship channels (Matagorda, Port Aransas and Brownsville) over the next four years.

Larry Lloyd provided an update on the September 2012 GOMA Water Quality Monitoring Workshop. Kirkpatrick and Dausman also attended and worked on the initial monitoring design for a water quality plan focused on nutrients. The priority is to find existing infrastructure and people and build from there. The process was for the 30 participants to breakout into three groups and address questions about monitoring needs on different scales: gulf-wide, regional, and coastal/estuary. Kirkpatrick said the plan meshed well with the GCOOS plan, but that they lacked expertise to draft a good plan for deep water. Once the proceedings are drafted, the plan is to be vetted with a broad community.

Ed Buskey of the University of Texas Department of Marine Science and Research Coordinator of the Mission Aransas NERR stated that this NERR is the second newest and third largest of the 28 reserves. There has been monitoring here since 2007. Water quality data are collected to data loggers every 15 minutes and sent to TCOON. Biological and chemical sensors are changed on a two-week cycle. Ongoing projects include establishing nutrient criteria for EPA and GOMA, participating in the NERR Science Collaborative to address changes in flow regime with land use, climate change and other unknowns, and undertaking a circulation model to look at flow in the bay. They also have funds to study larval recruitment and settlement of blue crabs, a preferred food of whooping cranes.

Suraida Na&ndtilde;ez-James discussed activities of the Gulf of Mexico Foundation. Although they currently do not partake in any monitoring work, they are interested in engaging teachers, students and citizens in water quality testing activities. They are preparing to open their new Habitat Restoration Technology Training Center, which can serve as a platform for teaching labs, distance learning, and serving as home base for a variety of wetland education programs.

Charlene Bohanon presented information about the Galveston Bay Foundation (GBF), which is primarily dedicated to public education and outreach centered on Galveston Bay’s oyster population. She described numerous projects that engage K-gray audiences, including Get Hip to Habitat, Bay Ambassadors, Bay Day, Bike Around the Bay, Redfish Raft-up, Trash Bash and Marsh Mania. Because of water quality issues, recent efforts target municipal and recreational activities that contribute nutrients to the bay. In an effort to get citizens to report water quality problems and participate in monitoring, GBF hosts the Galveston Bay Stream Team Data Viewer for citizen-collected data. However, Bohanon would welcome the opportunity to partner with GCOOS and have the data hosted on the GCOOS Data Portal.

Ray Allen provided a summary of the Coastal Bend Bays and Estuaries Program (CBBEP), a non-profit program. Due to loss of habitat, primarily from erosion, there has been a major decline in the number of nesting birds. Allen has been working with the USACOE to use dredge material to expand rookery islands in Nueces Bay. Within a month of building a four-acre island, thousands of nesting birds arrived. Because of hypersaline conditions and disappearing marshes in the Nueces and Rincon Bayou areas, managers are considering restoring salinity regimes by increasing freshwater flow and restoring land with sediment loading.

Following the presentations, Howard moderated a discussion on how to reach data providers and users for the Texas IWQN pilot project. GCOOS has some funds to entrain new data providers, but needs assistance identifying what is being collected, the entities doing the collecting, and the high priority users of the information. It was suggested that someone local be hired part time to identify the information available and the resources needed to serve it. Several requests were made for GCOOS to host additional workshops for potential data providers and to host a forum on our website to share information. Allen said that Paul Montagna has created a portal linking state and federal agency data for the Coastal Bend area. It is expected to be opened in October 2012. Several programs were identified as a starting place for water quality data. These include Parks and Wildlife, TCEQ, University of Texas Marine Science (e.g., Tony Amos), Center for Coastal Studies at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, Texas Clean Rivers Program, and TAMU-Galveston (e.g., Sam Brody). It also was suggested that Gulf Base could be used to identify who is providing data.

27 September 2012: GCOOS-RA Meeting (Continued)

Building Data Capabilities to Meet User Needs

Data Portal Developments
Gayanilo summarized the GCOOS data nodes showing where data are being captured and the areas that require service in the near-term. [15] He is concentrating on the following projects: 1) getting glider/mobile data into the portal; 2) creating the GOMRI GRIIDC repository; and 3) ingesting Advanced Wide Field Sensor (AWiFS) data. Gayanilo stated that GCOOS is proactive in getting data providers to use community standards and may be the only RA with 100% Sensor Observation Service (SOS) implementation.

Ruth Mullins-Perry, on behalf of Ann Jochens, summarized the GCOOS Nutrient/Hypoxia plan, which will include a user-specific subset of the portal. Rabalais asked how this plan integrates with what NOAA and others are doing to consolidate nutrient data. The GCOOS actions are in alignment with the GOMA priorities and have a focus on identifying nutrient data relative to hypoxia. The goal is for the portal to be used to help Gulf States address nutrient criteria.

Howard summarized the IOOS Biological Data Project that provided funds to launch a pilot in the Gulf of Mexico to bring biological data into GCOOS. Fisheries independent data are being ingested to match vocabularies and standardize the way information such as species abundance and catch per unit effort are transmitted and used. GCOOS installed an ERDDAP Geoserver WMS and can export information in a variety of forms. SECOORA was funded to conduct a similar exercise using MARMAP data. Regarding legacy data, Howard informed the group that much of BOEM’s data might be lost if not captured soon. The data up to 2001 have been converted to netCDF and to OpenDap. However, these are not exposed on the products side of the portal. GCOOS proposed to do the work, similar to what was done in 2010 to aid Deepwater Horizon response efforts.

Howard also provided a summary of current efforts to make data, especially sea surface height anomalies and other satellite data, accessible to modelers. Lugo-Fernandez said he can require that contractors convert to netCDF and Howard informed him that NODC suggested a new coding for these types of files, originally for numerical model data, but now being used for observed data that yields profiling data sets (e.g., from gliders). Lugo-Fernandez will try to comply and have contractors submit their data in the new NODC format.

Gayanilo provided a presentation showing the relationship between GoMRI and GCOOS Data Management activities. He is the Systems Architect for both, so both GCOOS and GRIIDC have the same architect. Howard is a subject matter expert for GRIIDC, so the two are tightly coupled. Not all data collected by GoMRI-funded researchers will go directly into GRIIDC. Some will go to federal programs. There is no well-defined plan at this time, but providers are encouraged to use national repositories as archives. A role for GCOOS might be to serve buoy and ocean data for GRIIDC, making use of Sensor Observation Service (SOS) infrastructure to acquire data using NOAA’s Data Interchange Framework (DIF). Gayanilo has about 12 years to develop the system. Lei Hu asked if there would be a catalog inventory. Gayanilo replied there will be a registry, which will avoid many broken links over time and make navigation easier by shortening the paths to data.

Easter gave a high-level overview of IOOS DM activities. Derrick Snowden is the current IOOS Systems Architect. Because it is likely there will not be new money to deploy more assets, efforts are focused on using data we have more effectively. IOOS priorities are SOS reference implementation, IOOS Catalog V3, Quality Assurance of Real-Time Oceanographic Data (QARTOD), developing the biological projects, including animal telemetry network, and publishing procedures for dealing with Dissolved Oxygen data. Dausman will help the IOOS office engage USGS in the latter. Questions about where IOOS is going to archive its Comprehensive Large Array Storage System (CLASS) arose. Nowlin reminded the group of the history of IOOS DMAC starting with Airlie House, and how DMAC is an ongoing challenge. He was impressed with DMAC progress and stated that the most beneficial outcome of the GRI funds might very well be development of GRIIDC which is anticipated to entrain, store and serve a variety of data. If done well, it could be a lesson for other federal agencies to use.

A Product for Recreational Boaters
Shin Kobara demonstrated the iphone application he recently developed to make readily available the GCOOS web pages for boaters and received hardy applause. There was agreement that an aggressive outreach and awareness plan is needed to inform the public about the new product. Mike Spranger suggested Simoniello participate in the Florida Outdoor Writers Association meeting in Titusville, FL.

Update on Education and Outreach Products
Simoniello provided an update on the status of the seven GCOOS interactive kiosks. The first dedication will be November 5, 2012, at the Institute for Marine Mammal Studies, Gulfport, MS. She informed the group that Jochens approved the purchase of a portable kiosk to enable use of the game at numerous education and outreach events. Discussion of the IOOS Summit and Community White Papers ensued and Simoniello requested BoD input for E/O-related priorities to be shared at the Summit.

Ecosystem Modeling and Needs of Resource Managers
Evan Turner, on behalf of Paul Montagna, discussed data needs for ecological monitoring, including the need to create intermediaries for models. He framed Montagna’s ecosystem model problem as the ‘Humpty Dumpty Problem,’ referring to the challenge of losing critical information when you put experimental data into different model systems. Usually, experimental design is broken because metadata do not go with the data, and it becomes difficult to deduce the original experimental design. Montagna is working on a Coastal Marine Systems Modeler Framework to couple data and output. Nowlin said that the new World Meteorological Organization’ data schema requires identification of the "version" of the data so users know the origin of the information and that this strategy might be used to address the problem.

Development of Special Data Projects
Barb Kirkpatrick, Senior Scientist at Mote Marine Lab (MML) and GCOOS BoD member, provided a Harmful Algal Bloom Integrated Observing System (HABIOS) project update. She summarized results of the March 2012 HABIOS Workshop which was the third in a series to create a joint GCOOS-GOMA implementation plan. The plan, written with input from researchers and managers, is framed in terms of "now", "the next five years", and "into the future", and includes a fully developed HAB monitoring plan for the Gulf of Mexico. Kirkpatrick will work with Jochens to complete the report so the Gulf-wide HABS community can vet it.

Howard then provided updates on four GCOOS-funded projects. 1) The GCOOS Data Portal will soon be serving data from a Florida Fish and Wildlife Research Institute platform in upper Tampa Bay that is part of the Harmful Algal Bloom Monitoring (HABMON) network. 2) Kobara is working to serve data from the Flow Cytobot operated by Lisa Campbell of Texas A&M University. The HAB sensor was vandalized and has recently been replaced. 3) The joint University of South Florida and Mote Marine Laboratory (MML) cooperative glider mission to study a HAB event on the West Florida Shelf is underway. Kobara is working on a glider tracking page for the GCOOS website, and Howard is working on data integration. Following a flow intake issue with the USF glider Bass, the mission is back on track and currently gathering data during a bloom event. 4) Howden and Howard described the joint GCOOS-Liquid Robotics-Northern Gulf Institute glider project to study ocean acidification. There was great interest because Willis said the NERACOOS and MARACOOS demonstration project did not have enough bandwidth to receive data in real time and failed to establish SOS. She would like to follow up with Kobara, Howden and Howard to learn how they resolved these issues.

Kirkpatrick provided an update on the beach data pilot project that has been operating at MML since 2006. After the yearlong 2005 HAB event off southwest Florida, Bob Courier worked with GCOOS to consolidate beach reports from 25 Sarasota beaches into the Healthy Beach Report served from the GCOOS Data Portal.

Discussion on Data Capabilities
Following the reports on special data projects, Jan van Smirren moderated a discussion on data capabilities. There was consensus that what most people want are the data products. The question was raised as to why we do not have as many users as we would like. In some instances, we have solicited feedback and know what stakeholders want. In others, the GCOOS Products and Services Advisory Council and Education and Outreach Council need to inform GCOOS-RA staff regarding the development of needed products. For the products that do exist, we need better marketing and communications.

Hernandez said that as she is pulling together the user-requirements chapter for the IOOS Summit, she realizes these are IOOS-wide issues. The RAs have not yet come together as a community to leverage products. The question arose of what products can be produced and disseminated without conflict with the perceived rights of private sector companies. Willis clarified that the IOOS public/privacy policy is on the website and that if questions arise about products, they will go through the review process on a case-by-case basis. The IOOS Office does not have standard guidance policies. Rather they are trying to seed growth of products that use IOOS data. A strong indication of IOOS success will be the development of an ocean enterprise similar to what exists with weather data. Until then, the RAs should continue to develop products of public interest.

Lunch Speaker
Dave Driver, Technical Authority, BP Exploration and Production and GCOOS BoD member, gave a talk titled "Working Toward Improved Cooperation Between GCOOS and Industry." Driver emphasized that GCOOS has a lot of information of interest to diverse industry stakeholders, but we have not been effective at marketing. One area he can help improve is acquiring space to put sensors on oil and gas platforms. Retrofitting is nearly impossible, but front end planning to accommodate more sensors can be addressed. He also had reviewed the Members that have signed the GCOOS Memorandum of Agreement and saw that only two of at least 20 oil and gas companies have signed. Driver said all should be signatories, but might have legal issues similar to his experience with BP due to the current language. Driver will make an effort to raise awareness about GCOOS.

GCOOS Engagement and Development Activities

GCOOS-RA Engagement Activities
Nowlin reviewed the process for membership recruitment, and reminded the group that BoD approval is needed prior to accepting new members. Any person or entity that had not signed prior to February 2012 must have approval.

Driver summarized GCOOS engagement with the oil and gas industry saying that we need to step-up our efforts. He will take the lead, first by getting BP to sign the GCOOS MoA. Driver said there are 18-20 companies involved in the Joint Industry Program (JIP), but only about six to eight have in-house meteorological-oceanic experts who might help convince their companies to sign.

Rabalais, for Alfredo Prelat, provided a summary of engagement with Mexico. As a result of Prelat’s work, two new parties from Mexico have signed the GCOOS MoA: Ingenieria and Desarrollo Empresarial de Tobasco S.A. (IDETSA) and Professionales Especialistas del Medio Ambiente (PROEMAC). Prelat also has visited with Mexican colleagues in SEMARNAT and PEMEX to discuss improving communications, particularly data contribution and distribution, and exploring joint projects.

Next Steps in GCOOS Development Activities
Following an introduction by Nowlin, the remainder of the day was spent in breakout groups. Participants were asked to: assess where we are now relative to the topic; determine where we want to be in one to five years; determine the next steps needed to improve the GCOOS position relative to the topic; identify the highest priority activities among the next steps; and estimate the amount of time and resources needed to achieve each step and monitor progress.

Breakout Working Groups: Planning the Next Steps
Nowlin reviewed the questions each group was expected to address. The groups were given two hours in separate areas to prepare their reports, following which the group leaders made presentations to plenary. A summary from each group is reported here. Detailed reports can be found in Appendix C.

Group 1: Financing Strategy
(Worth Nowlin (Lead), Nancy Rabalais, Zdenka Willis, Josie Quintrell, Susan Martin)

Nowlin reported that there is agreement on the need for GCOOS to hire a Development Officer. GCOOS must approach local contingents of federal agencies making observations called for in our Build-out Plan and discuss those plans with them. More effort is needed to engage the major NGOs in the region and foundations for potential funding. A priority is to identify likely sources of additional funding for education and outreach projects, including NOAA, NSF, NASA, private foundations and the private sector. It was suggested funds be provided to EOC members and partners to prepare proposals.

Group 2: Implementation of the GCOOS Build-out Plan (BOP)
(Stephan Howden (Lead), Barb Kirkpatrick, Jan van Smirren, Sharon Walker, Steve Sempier, Jack Harlan, Debra Hernandez, Felimon Gayanilo, Shin Kobara)

Howden reported that GCOOS has gone far in developing a comprehensive build-out plan (BOP), but with projected funding levels, it will be necessary to lower short-term expectations and prioritize implementation. The team suggested a concise executive summary be written for the BOP. They recognized that the plan is a long-range living document that can change rapidly with technological advances, and they recommended that it be reviewed and the GCOOS Observing System Committee make adjustments. They recommended comparison with the GOMA Gulf Monitoring Plan Workshop summary. They recommended that GOMA become a Member of the GCOOS-RA, to which Nowlin responded he is drafting a memorandum of understanding between GOMA and the GCOOS-RA. The team recommended approaches to help partners "own" the BOP.

Group 3: Expanding Engagement with Federal and State Agencies
(Steve Buschang (Lead), Mike Spranger, Jennifer Wozencraft, Dave Easter, Chris Simoniello)

Buschang reported that one issue with current GCOOS engagement is that there are a number of agencies not represented or under-represented. The group suggested the goals for the next one to five years include the following: identify missing people/organizations and reach out to get them involved; raise awareness about the resources the RA has to offer; identify and prioritize a list of important meetings where representation is needed to demonstrate the services GCOOS can provide; and identify state agencies that can benefit from existing information and ways we can benefit from their participation. Emphasis should be on demonstrating GCOOS capabilities and the value of strengthened relationships and engagement. The GCOOS-RA needs to look more beyond the Board and tap into capabilities and expertise of its councils, committees, task teams, staff and the Members.

Group 4: Expanding Industry Engagement and Membership Recruitment
(Dave Driver (Lead), Alexis Lugo-Fernandez, Terry McPherson, Matt Howard, Ruth Mullins-Perry)

Driver and team listed the action of identifying 20 new members for the coming year and committing 10 to sign the GCOOS MoA, upon BoD approval. The team also requested that GCOOS develop a web form that allows BoD members to identify potential recruits. Willis requested that we send her the most frequently asked questions we receive from potential members deciding if they should/can sign the MoA.

28 September 2012: Meeting of the GCOOS-RA Board of Directors with Staff

Call to Order
Terry McPherson called the Board of Directors meeting to order, conducted roll call, and determined there was a quorum. He started the morning session by asking the Directors members to think about the GCOOS priority actions for developing the GCOOS and the guidance needed to help redirect or realign staff priority activities. The minutes from the fourteenth Board meeting were unanimously approved.

Results of the GCOOS Board of Directors Election
Simoniello, on behalf of Ann Jochens, announced the results of the election of corporate officers by the Directors. The results are: Jan van Smirren, Corporate President; Terry McPherson, First Vice President; Alfredo Prelat, Second Vice President; Joe Swaykos, Secretary; and Worth Nowlin, Treasurer. McPherson then handed the Corporate Presidency and Chairman of the Board position, to van Smirren.

Statement by New President
Van Smirren recognized the efforts of Ann Jochens and those of the staff to keep GCOOS making progress. He stated that his expectation as leader is to provide a road map for the staff on the tasks the Board wants to complete, with clearly defined goals and metrics to determine achievement. It will be the Board’s responsibility to provide feedback and redirect as needed. An immediate priority is to focus on the needs of stakeholders by delivering information and systems that satisfy their needs.

Selection of Directors to Serve in Liaison Roles and on NFRA Board
Nowlin moved to re-elect Jochens and Dindo to the NFRA Board, with the provision that Jochens can appoint at her discretion a substitute as needed. McPherson seconded the motion and all voted in favor.

Van Smirren projected the tentative assignments of Board liaisons to the GCOOS Councils, Committees, Task Teams and Working Groups. Nowlin moved to adopt the list. McPherson seconded the motion and all voted in favor.

Simoniello, on behalf of Jochens, projected the tentative assignments of Board liaisons to the GOMA Priority Issue Teams:
Environmental Education – Walker
Ecosystem Integration and Assessment – Wozencraft
Habitats – Buschang
Water Quality – Rabalais
Nutrients – Rabalais, with Howden and Dindo as back-up
Alliance Management Team – van Smirren and Nowlin.
Nowlin moved to accept the list of liaisons. McPherson seconded. All voted in favor.

Nowlin made a motion that the Board approve that he and van Smirren work with Larry McKinney to draft a MOU between GCOOS and GOMA. Spranger seconded the motion and all voted in favor to approve.

Next BoD Meeting and Telecoms
Dates and locations of the next BoD meetings were selected. The next will be held March 13-14, 2012 in New Orleans, LA. It was suggested by McPherson that the Board consider inviting local elected officials. The tentative date and location of the subsequent meeting is September 25-27, 2013 in either Huntsville or Mobile, Alabama. There was agreement that email communication has been an effective tool and that calls can be arranged on an ad hoc basis as needed to address specific issues.

Next Steps Regarding Recommendations of the Breakout Groups
Van Smirren moderated a discussion on next steps for the GCOOS-RA. Priority items included having the Membership Committee follow up with recruiting and membership activities and addressing the low voting participation by members. Discussion of the results of Day 2 breakout sessions was postponed for a teleconference among members of the Executive Committee.

Progress on Development of the Corporation
Nowlin provided an update on the corporate status of the RA, stating that Form 1023 requesting the IRS to grant non-profit status to the corporation will be submitted before January 2013. He moved that the Board accept a formal resolution (Appendix D) naming Nowlin as the Board representative in negotiations with the corporate attorney and the IRS regarding gaining non-profit status. Directors voted unanimously in favor. Nowlin then moved that the Board accept the Conflicts of Interest Policy and Organizational Conflict of Interest Mitigation Plan for the Corporation given in Appendix D. Directors voted unanimously in favor.

The Board had approved terms of reference for the establishment of a GOOS Government Relations Task Team between its regular sessions (Appendix E). Nowlin proposed rules governing the GCOOS-RA in the matter of advocacy (Appendix D). Those rules clearly state that lobbying for specific legislation is not permitted. Directors voted unanimously in favor. Nowlin proposed that those rules be included with the with the IRS Form 1023. The Directors voted in favor.

Nowlin showed a PowerPoint detailing the suggested structure of the RA, including new groups.

GCOOS Budget and Office Review
Nowlin, on behalf of Jochens, summarized spending of approximately $1.2M in FY12 funding. Van Smirren raised the question of liability insurance for Board members to which Nowlin clarified that existing coverage would carry over to the corporation. There was discussion on the need for a Finance Subcommittee once corporate status is achieved. The Terms of Reference for the finance committees of SECOORA and NERACOOS, the only other RAs with nonprofit status, will be reviewed. Van Smirren suggested that the Board consider seeking International Organizations for Standardization (ISO) certification for the corporation, stating that front-end planning would make certification easier later, and would make it easier to seek new (non-federal) money.

Simoniello and Howard, on behalf of Jochens, summarized GCOOS accomplishments and planned activities, respectively. McPherson requested Jochens send progress reports to the Board members prior to submitting to NOAA. It was agreed that the organization needs to do a better job of marketing and showcasing program successes.

Discussion and decisions Regarding GCOOS-RA Structure
Van Smirren moderated discussions and decisions on the Modeling Task Team, Products and Services Advisory Committee (PSAC), Glider Task Team, DMAC Committee, Observing Systems Committee, and Membership Committee, and suggested a RESTORE Act Task Team be created.

Between regular meetings the Board had approved the establishment of a Modeling Task Team and had agreed on its terms of reference (Appendix D). Various modelers and Board members had nominated a list of potential Team members. The Board reviewed this list and selected a potential slate of Task Team members. The Board selected Nowlin as the Board liaison to the Modeling Task Team and charged him to send letters of invitation to potential team members and to help the chair of the Team (to be selected by the Board) arrange for the Team’s initial meeting. The first action of the Task Team will be to advise on planning a GCOOS ecosystem-modeling workshop that will be coordinated with a BOEM workshop on physical and biological modeling. Although BOEM is interested in developing a research plan for modeling regions deeper than 100 m while the RA is interested in the inner shelf and estuaries, there is overlap and benefits to collaboration.

The Board had agreed between regular meetings to establish a Products and Services Advisory Committee (Appendix D). Nowlin moved to accept Steve Sempier as interim Chair of the PSAC and all voted in favor. The Board selected a slate of potential PSAC members; Steve Sempier had agreed to assemble the Council and arrange its first meeting. The Board approved the draft letter of invitation prepared by Sempier. Once the invited PSAC membership is confirmed, former members of the Stakeholder Council and Products and Services Committee need to be thanked for their service. The Board selected Nowlin as its liaison to the PSAC and Swaykos as its alternate. The Board selected John Dindo as the Education and Outreach Council’s liaison to the PSAC.

There was agreement that members of the RESTORE Act Task Team focus efforts at the state level and that state leads be Barb Kirkpatrick (FL), John Dindo (AL), Sharon Walker (MS), Nancy Rabalais (LA), and Van Smirren and Nowlin (TX). The team will coordinate activities with the Government Relations Task Team, which Spranger agreed to Chair.

Discussion of Glider Task Team membership was postponed. Simoniello and Howden will follow up identifying potential members and suggesting them to the Board.

Nowlin reported on the Membership Committee. [50]

Driver summarized Observing Systems Committee activities. In the absence of funds to support observing system infrastructure, the main activity has been to review the Build-out Plan. It was suggested the Committee’s terms of reference be revised to reflect this role and to replace the Committee with a task force when that task was completed. The Board voted to amend the terms of reference for the Observing Systems Committee as given in Appendix D.

Van Smirren provided an update on the DMAC Committee, including modification of the terms of reference to reflect the advisory role of the group, with emphasis on identifying new technologies. The Board had approved new terms of reference between regular meetings; see Appendix E. The committee is engaged and will respond well if given a charge. He suggested the Board work with Chair Lei Hu to define expectations. There is interest in a Public Health pilot project with Rabalais, Andy Reich, and Kirkpatrick that can be pursued as a DMAC activity.

The Board of Directors meeting was adjourned.

Executive Committee Meeting
The Executive Committee met briefly and agreed to regular telephone communications.


Appendix A: Meeting Attendees

Attendee Affiliation
Ray Allen Coastal Bend Bays & Estuaries Program
Charlene Bohanan Galveston Bay Foundation
Laura Bowie Gulf of Mexico Alliance
Jorge Brenner The Nature Conservancy
Steven Buschang Texas General Land Office (Board member)
Edward Buskey Mission-Aransas NERR
Colton Crow GCOOS Student Worker (TAMU Corpus Christi)
Alyssa Dausman USGS
David Driver BP America, Inc. (Board member)
Dave Easter NOAA
Felimon Gayanilo GCOOS Staff
Jack Harlan NOAA
Debra Hernandez SECOORA
Kristin Hicks Mission Aransas NERR
Matthew Howard GCOOS Data Manager
Stephan Howden University of Southern Mississippi (Board member)
Lei Hu Dauphin Island Sea Lab (DMAC Committee)
Gary Jeffress TAMU Corpus Christi
Barb Kirkpatrick Mote Marine Laboratory (Board member)
Shinichi Kobara GCOOS Staff
Larry Lloyd TAMU Corpus Christi
Alexis Lugo-Fernandez Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (representing Pat Roscigno)
Susan Martin GCOOS Staff
Larry McKinney Harte Research Institute
Terry McPherson The Baldwin Group (Board member)
Paul Montagna Harte Research Institute
Worth Nowlin TAMU Emeritus (Board member)
Suraida Nañez-James Gulf of Mexico Foundation
Ruth Mullins Perry GCOOS Staff
Josie Quintrell NFRA
Nancy Rabalais LUMCON (Board member)
Steve Sempier University of Southern Mississippi
Kevin Shaw Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative
Chris Simoniello GCOOS EO Coordinator
Mike Spranger University of Florida (Board member)
Philippe Tissot TAMU Corpus Christi
Jace Tunnell Coastal Bend Bays and Estuaries Program
Evan Turner Texas A&M University – Corpus Christi
Jan van Smirren Fugro GEOS (Board member)
Sharon Walker IMMS (Board member)
Pat Welsh University of South Florida
Zdenka Willis NOAA
Jennifer Wozencraft US Army Corps of Engineers (Board member)


Appendix B: Meeting Agenda

Meeting Theme: Building Synergies, Capabilities, and Integration to Expand Engagement with Industry and Public Sectors

26 September 2012: GCOOS-RA Meeting

0730 Coffee, Tea, Juice
0800 Opening of Meeting
Welcome from TAMU-Corpus Christi and the Harte Research Institute (Larry McKinney)
Welcome from GCOOS: Introductions, Adoption of Agenda (Terry McPherson, Chair of Board of Directors)
Adoption of Agenda
0830 The World Within Which GCOOS Exists: Key Issues Impacting the GCOOS-RA
0830 U.S. IOOS Activities
Update on the U.S. IOOS Office Activities (Zdenka Willis)
IOOS Certification for the GCOOS-RA (Dave Easter)
Update on the national HF Radar Network (Jack Harlan)
Discussion: Improving U.S. IOOS Office & GCOOS-RA Interactions (Worth Nowlin, moderator)
0930 NFRA, Legislation, and GCOOS
Update on NFRA and pending legislation (Josie Quintrell)
Discussion (Worth Nowlin, moderator)
1000 BREAK
1015 Gulf of Mexico Alliance Update (Laura Bowie)
Discussion (Terry McPherson, moderator)
1045 Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative Update (Kevin Shaw)
1100 Gulf of Mexico Ecosystem Restoration Task Force Update
1115 BOEM Update (Alexis Lugo-Fernandez)
1130 West Florida Shelf Collaborations
SECOORA Update (Debra Hernandez) – 15 min
GCOOS Update on West Florida Shelf data sources (Matt Howard) – 5 min
Discussion (Barb Kirkpatrick, moderator) – 10 min
1200 Lunch provided – Luncheon Speaker
Inexpensive Instruments for Use by Citizens and Other Scientists – Pat Welsh
1300 RESTORE ACT: Opportunities to Build the Foundational GCOOS
1300 RESTORE ACT Background
Summary of Opportunities and Challenges for Federal, State, and GCOOS-RA Interactions to Build the Foundational GCOOS (Matt Howard)
1310 Discussion: Effective Integration of Federal, State, and GCOOS-RA RESTORE ACT
Activities to Build the Foundationa GCOOS (Chris Simoniello, moderator)
1400 Synergies and Integration from the Rivers to the Ocean
1400 Synergies being developed for IOOS with EPA and NWQM Network (Zdenka Willis)
1425 SW FL Integrated Water Quality Network (IWQN) Pilot Project Update (Worth Nowlin, Matt Howard, and Chris Simoniello)
1445 BREAK
1500 Update on The Nature Conservancy and Collaborations with GCOOS (Jorge Brenner)
Central and South TX Integrated Water Quality Network Pilot Project
1520 Introduction (Worth Nowlin)
1525 TCOON and Its Water Quality Network Activities (Gary Jeffress, Larry Lloyd)
1535 Update on GOMA Water Quality Monitoring Workshop (Larry Lloyd)
1545 Mission-Aransas NERR (Ed Buskey and Kristen Hicks)
1555 Gulf of Mexico Foundation (Suraida Nañez-James)
1605 Galveston Bay Foundation (Charlene Bohanan)
1615 Coastal Bend Bays and Estuaries Program (Ray Allen, Jace Tunnell)
1625 Discussion: Reaching Data Providers and Users for the TX IWQN Pilot Project (Howard, moderator)
1725 Wrap-up (Terry McPherson)
1730 Adjourn for the day

27 September 2012: GCOOS-RA Meeting (continued)

0730 Coffee, Tea, Juice
0800 Building Data Capabilities to Meet User Needs
0800 Data Portal Developments – Updates
Real-Time Data Expansion Plan – Felimon Gayanilo (10 min)
Nutrient/Hypoxia Plan – Ruth Mullins-Perry (5 min)
Biological DMAC Work – Matt Howard (10 min)
Historical Data Plan – Matt Howard (5 min)
Model Resource Center – Matt Howard (5 min)
GoMRI Data Management and GCOOS – Felimon Gayanilo (15 min)
Discussion – Jan van Smirren, moderator (10 min)
0900 IOOS DMAC Update (Dave Easter)
Discussion (Jan van Smirren, moderator)
0930 Update on Recreational Boater Needs (Shin Kobara)
0935 Update on Education Sector User Needs (Chris Simoniello)
0945 Ecosystem Modeling and Research Manager Needs (Paul Montagna, Evan Turner)
1000 BREAK
1015 Developments on Special Data Projects (Each: 8 min)
HABIOS Workshop and Project Update – Barb Kirkpatrick
FL FWRI HAB Project Update – Matt Howard for FL FWRI
Flow Cytobot HAB Project Update – Matt Howard for TAMU
Glider HAB Pilot Project Update – Matt Howard for USF and Mote
Glider pCO2 Project Update – Stephan Howden (pCO2); Matt Howard (Data Portal)
Beach Data Pilot Projects Update – Barb Kirkpatrick
Discussion (12 min)
1115 Discussion on Data Capabilities (Jan van Smirren, moderator)
1140 Wrap Up (Terry McPherson)
1145 Lunch provided – Luncheon Speaker
Working Toward Improved Cooperation Between GCOOS and Industry – Dave Driver
1300 GCOOS Engagement and Development Activities
1300 GCOOS Engagement Activities (Terry McPherson, moderator)
(15 min each including Q&A)
Membership Recruitment (Worth Nowlin)
Corporate Engagement – Oil & Gas Industry (Dave Driver)
Engagement with Mexico (Nancy Rabalais)
1400 Next Steps in GCOOS Development Activities – One-Year Time Horizon
Needs and Goals Overview (Worth Nowlin)
1405 Break-out Working Groups: Planning the Next Steps (note takers also participate and the lead and note takers prepare the summaries for the meeting report) – attendees not listed below can self-select with which group to participate.
Group 1: Financing Strategy
Worth Nowlin (lead)
John Dindo, Nancy Rabalais, Zdenka Willis, Josie Quintrell
Susan Martin (note taker)
Group 2: Implementation of GCOOS Build-out Plan
Stephan Howden (lead)
Barb Kirkpatrick, Jan van Smirren, Sharon Walker, Steve Sempier, Jack Harlan, Debra Hernandez, Felimon Gayanilo, Shin Kobara
Steve Sempier (note taker)
Group 3: Expanding Engagement with Federal and State Agencies
Steve Buschang (lead)
Joe Swaykos, Mike Spranger, Jennifer Wozencraft, Dave Easter
Chris Simoniello (note taker)
Group 4: Expanding Industry Engagement and Membership Recruitment
Dave Driver (lead)
Alfredo Prelat, Alexis Lugo-Fernandez, Terry McPherson, Matt Howard
Ruth Mullins-Perry (note taker)
Questions to address in the follow-on breakout written report: (due to Simoniello by October 8th):
1. Assess where we are now relative to the topic.
2. Determine where we want to be in one year and five years relative to the topic.
3. Determine the next steps to be taken to improve the GCOOS position relative to the topic.
4. Identify the highest priority activities among the next steps.
5. Prepare an Action Plan to achieve each step: How much time is estimated for each priority? Who should do the work? What resources are needed? How will progres be monitored?
1500 BREAK
1515 Resume Breakout Discussions
1615 Lead Report Out on Break-out Groups
Discussion (Terry McPherson, moderator)
1730 Adjourn

Working Dinner [Board and Staff only]

28 September 2012

0730 Coffee, Tea, Juice
0800 GCOOS-RA Board of Directors Business Meeting
(Board and Staff)

0800 Call to order, roll call, determination of quorum and approval of March 2012 minutes (Terry McPherson)
0810 Election Results: BOD Chair, Executive Committee, and Corporation Officers (Simoniello for Jochens)
0814 Installation of new Chair of Board and Corporate President (McPherson)
0815 Election of GCOOS Representatives on the NFRA Board (currently Jochens & Dindo) (New President)
0820 Selection of 2012-2013 Board Liaisons for Councils, Committees, Working Groups (New President)
0830 Selection of 2012-2013 Liaisons for GOMA Priority Issue Teams (Nowlin for Jochens)
0835 Scheduling of Next Meetings (New President)
Selection of Date and Location of Next Board Meeting
Selection of Date and Time of Next Telecoms
0840 Discussion of Results of Next Steps Plan Break-out Groups (Moderator, New Chair)
0940 GCOOS-RA & Non-profit Corporation (Worth Nowlin)
Update on Corporation
1015 BREAK
1030 GCOOS Office Review – brief written summaries to be provided in advance
Budget detail (Simoniello for Jochens) – 5 min
Summary of activities accomplished (Chris Simoniello) – 5 min
Summary of activities planned (Matt Howard) – 5 min
Discussion (New BOD President, moderator) – 10 min
1055 Discussion and Decisions on Councils, Committees, Task Teams, RA membership
(Moderator, New President)
1130 New or Outstanding Business
1145 Adjourn Board Meeting
1200 Begin Executive Committee Meeting (Executive Committee only)
Topic: Results of This Meeting, Goals of Next Meeting, The Future
1300 Adjourn Executive Committee Meeting


Appendix C: Reports from Break-out Strategy Sessions

Group 1: Financial Strategy for GCOOS
(Worth Nowlin (Lead), Nancy Rabalais, Zdenka Willis, Josie Quintrell, Susan Martin)

Current Status

  • We receive U.S. IOOS support for the RA structure, stakeholder engagement, and Data/Products Portal (development and enhancements)
  • We are well leveraged relative to the amount of support we receive.
  • We receive limited support for E/O projects.
  • We have a GCOOS build-out plan.
  • The RESTORE Act offers potential for additional support.

Where do we wish to be?

  • Within one year we wish to have initial funding in addition to current sources.
  • Within five years, we wish to have additional resources of at least $5M/year.

Next Steps
We must develop additional sources of funding and observations.

  1. RESTORE Act
    • Participate in proposals for Parts 2 and 5 of the Act.
  2. Development Officer
    • Hire a development officer.
  3. Federal agencies contributing to the IOOS "backbone"
    • We must approach local contingents of federal agencies making observations called for in the GCOOS Build-out Plan.
    • Include DBC, DOE, ACOE districts, and EPA.
    • Check on NDBC interest in wave gliders.
    • DOE might be interested in providing for sensors on wind farms.
    • TGLO and BOEM might be persuaded to mandate sensors on future wind farms.

Engagement with NGOs

  • Educate major players (e.g., Nature Conservancy, Ocean Conservancy) as to role of GCOOS-RA


  • Identify foundations with potential for funding enhanced capabilities, though probably not observing systems.

Outreach/Education Projects

  • Provide support to those willing to prepare proposals for support of E/O projects.
  • Likely funding sources include NOAA, NSF and NASA education components and selected private foundations.
  • Industry might be a source of funding.

Federal agencies supporting sustained observations/product production

  • We need timely identification of good funding opportunities.
  • This would be a task of the development officer.
  • Provide support to individuals to prepare proposals.

GCOOS-RA Members

  • Should we solicit financial assistance from Members of the Corporation?
  • Through membership dues or solicitations for donations

Identify highest priority next steps
Steps with highest three priorities are numbered in preceding list.

A Plan of Action
For priority step 1:

  • Time frame to accomplish:
    Months to year or more depending on actions of BP, federal and state agencies and the GoM Ecosystem Restoration Council
  • Actions needed
    Board forms small group to coordinate actions
    Contacts are secured with other proposing entities
    Proposals are prepared
  • Resources needed
    Volunteers to carry out tasks
  • Metrics:
    Success of proposals

For priority step 2:

  • Time frame to accomplish:
    Six months needed to accomplish.
  • Action needed:
    Executive Director should hire.
  • Resources needed
    Half to full time salary support.
  • Metrics:
    Success of financial development.

For priority step 3:

  • Time frame to accomplish:
  • Action needed:
    Identify priority list of entities to contact
    Prepare materials for presentations and schedule
    Maintain contacts at regular intervals
  • Resources needed
    Part time of development officer and volunteers
  • Metrics:
    Numbers of new observations

Group 2: Implementation of the GCOOS Build-out Plan
(Stephan Howden (Lead), Barb Kirkpatrick, Jan van Smirren, Sharon Walker, Steve Sempier, Jack Harlan, Debra Hernandez, Felimon Gayanilo, Shin Kobara)

Current status

  • Need $4 million/yr to maintain; receiving ~$1.6 million now
  • Everything is being leveraged (e.g., part-time GCOOS staff; admin, PI, technicians, students)

Where do we want to be in one year and five years?
Within one year:

  • Approach and build-out plan
    • Consistent with other RA where appropriate
    • Revisit build-out plan and make adjustments
    • They are long-range, living documents
    • Lower expectations (reduce initial budget)
    • Prioritize if get additional funds (already completed prioritization)
    • Become more realistic (e.g., one new asset per year)
    • If large funding is obtained (e.g., RESTORE), be ready with build-out plan
  • Executive summary with tables
    • Include graphics showing where assets will be
  • Agreement with GOMA (and with SECOORA)
    • Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that states GOMA is "super stakeholder" and recognizes GCOOS as a monitoring lead entity
    • Ensure connections between GOMA DMAC and GCOOS DMAC
    • Promote synergy between GOMA and GCOOS
    • Make MoU with SECOORA if feasible
    • Highlight many joint projects

Next steps to be taken to improve the GCOOS position

  • Joint GCOOS/GOMA meeting at All Hands Meeting
    • Careful organization so that it is not conflicting times (e.g., not concurrent) so people can attend both
    • Joint DMAC meeting
    • PIT’s hear of GCOOS common areas/focus topics (e.g., WQ)
    • Some people can cover both GOMA and GCOOS responsibilities
  • Get additional funding
    • RESTORE is a once in a lifetime opportunity; GCOOS should be at the table
    • Inform Congress of GCOOS possibilities
    • Texas (HRI) included GCOOS prominently

Highest priority activities among the next steps

  • Keep things running (e.g., data portal and funding E and O at 10%)
  • Need elevator speech
    • Focus on a few things
    • Sample topics
      • Hypoxia
      • HABs
      • Ports
      • Oil/Gas
      • Storms
    • Pitch to congress to fund IOOS
      • Then fund GCOOS and others
      • No earmarks
      • Mention jobs
  • Be positioned for RESTORE
  • Identify sites for deployment, recovery, and maintenance of gliders
  • Identify who will operate and maintain HFR sites and where to put them
    • Get permission on where to put them
    • High level requirements so commonality across all
    • Ask stakeholders where to put sensors
      • Some parts of Gulf are better covered than others
        • Louisiana needs HF radar
        • Ports and spill area have higher concentration
    • Need to consider sacrificing sensors in storms versus hardening
    • May need to make HFR task team
  • GOMA Gulf Monitoring Plan Workshop summary
    • Review the plan and compare to build-out plan
    • Barb will share the GCOOS build-out plan with Steve Wolfe
    • GOMA will have second workshop on this topic

Action plan to achieve each step.

  • Revise actions/activities in build-out plan
    • Identify any changes that are needed
      • GCOOS Observing System Committee will take the lead
      • Complete within 6 months
      • No additional funds needed
  • Executive summary of build-out plan
    • Stephan Howden and Barb Kirkpatrick
    • Complete within one month
    • No additional funds needed
  • One pager of GCOOS
    • DONE!
  • Initiate discussion with GOMA to develop an MoU
    • Jan van Smirren and Worth Nowlin
    • Completed by Christmas 2012
    • No additional funds needed
  • Help partners "own" the build-out plan
    • Prepare interactive map on web site
      • Highlight different components
        • E.g., WQ, HABs
        • Each type of observation has a layer in different color that can be added
      • Interactive by build-out plan too
        • E.g., if GCOOS received extra $1 million what additions would there be and how would it grow as more money is received
        • Should show growth (more sites) as build-out is achieved
        • Collaborate with SECOORA so it has a similar look to their plans
    • Package up for GOMA PITs, states, congress
    • Less documents and more visualization and animation
      • Responsibilities
        • GCOOS office coordinate–delegate who does what (Felimon and Shin)
        • One month to map data once it is collected and finalized (separate by amount of funding and also separate by topic area)
        • Limited cost
  • Create a RESTORE Task force
    • GCOOS BOD coordinates

Group 3: Expanding Engagement with Federal and State Agencies
(Steve Buschang (Lead), Alyssa Dausman, Mike Spranger, Jennifer Wozencraft, Dave Easter, Chris Simoniello)

One issue with the current status of GCOOS engagement is that there are a number of agencies not represented (e.g., USGS, Navy, EPA) or underrepresented (e.g., oil and gas, only one person or division of a large organization). An example is TGLO where Buschang is involved, but the Coastal Unit within TGLO is not. We suggest that the BoD prioritize the list of new potential members circulated prior to the BoD meeting according to those that will advance goals of the Build Out Plan. The list should be expanded to include local, municipal, and community-level groups (e.g., the City of Milwaukee has a funded buoy). The RA also needs to designate state leads, either BoD members or others, to champion GCOOS. It is important to identify barriers to signing the GCOOS MOA and active participation.

Goals for the next one to five years are as follows:

  • Identify missing people and have GCOOS reach out to them to get involvement;
  • Raise awareness about the resources we have to offer;
  • Have the BoD identify and prioritize a list of important meetings where we need representation to demonstrate the services we can provide (e.g., Clean Gulf, National Water Quality) and arrange participation with the meeting convener;
  • Identify state agencies that can benefit from existing information and how we can benefit from their participation;
  • Identify how high up we need to engage a particular organization and how to address turnover within organizations.

We want to: encourage quality not quantity engagement; demonstrate that we have established a baseline of capability; and strengthen relationships as much as expand engagement. The highest priority activities among the next steps are to:

  • Communicate the benefits of GCOOS more clearly and more broadly;
  • Have GCOOS members be more vocal about the benefits to their organizations;
  • Be more visible among the communities we are trying to engage;
  • Advertise more effectively GCOOS successes;
  • Create brochures advertising products to targeted audiences.

It is estimated that less than one year would be needed to identify GCOOS individuals to be liaisons for each state/sector, and for them to reach out to colleagues who can help reach the targeted audiences. The GCOOS-RA needs to look more broadly beyond the BoD and tap into the councils, committees, staff and entire GCOOS membership. The main resources needed are time and communication. Funds for travel and conference registration fees for face-to-face engagement would be ideal, as would nominal support to demonstrate GCOOS-partner products. Indicators of success would include an increase in web usage, requests for GCOOS information, the number of new signatories, and new joint projects.

Group 4: Expanding Industry Engagement and Membership Recruitment
(Dave Driver (Lead), Alexis Lugo-Fernandez, Terry McPherson, Matt Howard, Ruth Mullins-Perry)

Current Status
The GCOOS-RA is not currently where it needs to be with regard to industry engagement. There are important industries not currently represented that should be actively pursued.

Determine where we want to be in one year and five years
One-year: Action plan developed and to start identifying at least 20 members with 10 of those signing within the year

Five-years: Continue with action plan with rate of 10 new members a year

Next steps to be taken to improve the GCOOS position
1. Develop a web form that allows Board and Members to identify potential new Members of the Corporation (Susan Martin) and populate a spreadsheet by Board and Members
2. Spreadsheet goes to Membership Committee to identify 20 potential members, points of contact, and bios for each (end of 2012)
3. Board would vote on the 20 potential members (January)
4. Executive Director would extend invitation to sign MOA. (March Board Meeting 2013)
5. Repeat Steps 1 – 4

The highest priority activities among the next steps.
Starting this process! Each step is in priority order.

An Action Plan
Resources needed: Active Membership Committee, web form to consolidate information provided by the Board and Members (avoid redundancy in information and keep track of industry groups targeted)

People to carry out tasks: Board, RA Members, Membership Committee, Executive Director and staff

Progress to be monitored by number of new members

The team listed the action of identifying 20 new members for the coming year and committing 10 to sign the GCOOS MoA, upon BoD approval. The team also requested that GCOOS develop a web form that allows BoD members to identify potential recruits. Willis requested that we send her the most frequently asked questions we receive from potential members deciding if they should/can sign the MoA.


Appendix D: Resolutions Passed during the September 2012 Meeting of the Board

1. Resolution to authorize Worth D. Nowlin, Jr. to execute IRS Form 1023 on behalf of the GCOOS-RA Corporation

The Board of Directors, in formal meeting on September 28, 2012, authorizes board member Worth D. Nowlin, Jr. to execute IRS Form 1023 and related documentation on behalf of the Corporation, following approval of that material by the Corporation’s attorney of record, Christopher J. Smitherman, P.C.

The Directors of the Corporation adopted this resolution on September 28, 2012.

2. Resolution to adopt Conflicts of Interest Policy for the GCOOS-RA Corporation

The Board of Directors, in formal meeting on September 28, 2012, adopted the attached Conflicts of Interest Policy and Organizational Conflict of Interest Mitigation Plan for the Corporation.

Gulf of Mexico Coastal Ocean Observing System Regional Association
Conflicts of Interest Policy
September 28, 2012


The purpose of this conflicts of interest policy is to protect the interest of the Gulf of Mexico Coastal Ocean Observing System Regional Association [the "GCOOS-RA"] when it is contemplating entering into a transaction or arrangement that might benefit the private interest of a member of the Board of Directors, Councils and Committees, or Management Staff of the GCOOS-RA. This policy is intended to supplement but not to replace any applicable state laws, including those governing conflicts of interest applicable to nonprofit and charitable corporations.


Interested Person. Any Board member, Management Staff member, or member of a council or committee with Board-delegated powers who has a direct or indirect financial interest, as defined below, is an interested person.

Financial Interest. A person has a financial interest if the person has, directly or indirectly, through business, investment or family –

  • An ownership or investment interest in any entity with which the GCOOS-RA has a transaction or arrangement, or
  • A compensation arrangement with the GCOOS-RA or with any entity or individual with which the GCOOS-RA has a transaction or arrangement, or
  • A potential ownership or investment interest in, or compensation arrangement with, any entity or individual with which the GCOOS-RA is negotiating a transaction or arrangement.

Compensation includes direct and indirect remuneration as well as gifts or favors that are substantial in nature.

A financial interest is not necessarily a conflict of interest. A person who has a financial interest has a conflict of interest only if the appropriate Board or committee determines that a conflict of interest exists.


Duty to Disclose

In connection with any actual or possible conflicts of interest, an interested person must disclose the existence of his or her financial interest and must be given the opportunity to disclose all material facts to the Board Members and members of councils and committees with Board-delegated powers considering the proposed transaction or arrangement.

Determining Whether a Conflict of Interest Exists

After disclosure of the financial interest and all material facts, and after any discussion with the interested person, the interested person shall leave the Board or council/committee meeting while the determination of a conflict of interest is discussed and voted upon. The remaining Board or council/committee members shall decide if a conflict of interest exists.

Procedures for Addressing the Conflict of Interest

An interested person may make a presentation at the Board or council/committee meeting, but after such presentation, the interested person shall leave the meeting during the discussion of, and the vote on, the transaction or arrangement that results in the conflict of interest.

The Chair of the Board or council/committee shall, if appropriate, appoint a disinterested person or committee to investigate alternatives to the proposed transaction or arrangement.

After exercising due diligence, the Board or council/committee shall determine whether the GCOOS-RA can obtain a more advantageous transaction or arrangement with reasonable efforts from a person or entity that would not give rise to a conflict of interest.

If a more advantageous transaction or arrangement is not reasonably attainable under circumstances that would not give rise to a conflict of interest, the Board or council/committee shall determine by a majority vote of the disinterested Directors whether the transaction or arrangement is in the GCOOS-RA’s best interest and for its own benefit and whether the transaction is fair and reasonable to the GCOOS-RA, and shall make its decision as to whether to enter into the transaction or arrangement in conformity with such determination.

Violations of the Conflicts of Interest Policy

If the Board or council/committee has reasonable cause to believe that a member has failed to disclose actual or possible conflicts of interest, it shall inform the member of the basis for such belief and afford the member an opportunity to explain the alleged failure to disclose.

If, after hearing the response of the member and making such further investigation as may be warranted in the circumstances, the Board or council/committee determines that the member has in fact failed to disclose an actual or possible conflict of interest, it shall take appropriate disciplinary and corrective action.

Records of Proceedings

The minutes of the Board and all councils or committees with Board-delegated powers shall contain–

  • The names of the persons who disclosed or otherwise were found to have a financial interest in connection with an actual or possible conflict of interest, the nature of the financial interest, any action taken to determine whether a conflict of interest was present, and the Board’s or committee’s decision as to whether a conflict of interest in fact existed; and
  • The names of the persons who were present for discussions and votes relating to the transaction or arrangement, the content of the discussion, including any alternatives to the proposed transaction or arrangement, and a record of any votes taken in connection therewith.


A voting member of the Board of Directors who receives compensation, directly or indirectly, from the GCOOS-RA for services is precluded from voting on matters pertaining to that member’s compensation.

A voting member of the Board of Directors who is a family member of a person who receives compensation, directly or indirectly, from the GCOOS-RA for services also is precluded from voting on matters pertaining to that person’s compensation.

A voting member of any council or committee whose jurisdiction includes compensation matters and who receives compensation, directly or indirectly, from the GCOOS-RA for services is precluded from voting on matters pertaining to that member’s compensation.

Annual Statements

Each Director, Officer, and member of any council or committee with Board-delegated powers shall annually sign a statement that affirms that such person –

  • has received a copy of the conflicts of interest policy,
  • has read and understands the policy,
  • has agreed to comply with the policy, and
  • understands that the GCOOS-RA operates in a manner consistent with charitable purposes and that in order to maintain its federal tax exemption it must engage primarily in activities which accomplish one or more of its tax-exempt purposes.

Gulf of Mexico Coastal Ocean Observing System Regional Association
Conflict of Interest Statement

I, _________________________________________________, being a member of the _____________________________________________________________ of the Gulf of Mexico Coastal Ocean Observing System Regional Association (GCOOS-RA), do hereby affirm that I–

  • have received a copy of the GCOOS-RA conflicts of interest policy,
  • have read and understand the policy,
  • agree to comply with the policy, and
  • understand that the GCOOS-RA is funded by agencies of the federal government and must engage in activities consistent with the applicable grant, contract, or cooperative agreement and must comply with the federal conflict of interest rules.
  • understand that the GCOOS-RA operates in a manner consistent with charitable purposes and that in order to maintain its federal tax exemption it must engage primarily in activities which accomplish one or more of its tax-exempt purposes.
Signature   Date


Name: ______________________ Company:______________________________.

  1. I acknowledge I have agreed to support the Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS) by working with the Gulf of Mexico Coastal Ocean Observing System Regional Association (GCOOS-RA) in the following capacity____________________________________________________________________________________________.
  2. I acknowledge that I have read, understand and will comply with the terms and conditions set forth in CAR-1352.209-71 (Organizational Conflicts of Interest) and CAR 1352.209-72 (Restriction Against Disclosure) attached to this agreement.
  3. I understand that my obligation to preserve the confidentiality of Sensitive Government Acquisition or Budget Information and/or Proprietary Information acquired in the course of my involvement in this capacity does not end upon my termination with this support. This OCI Mitigation Plan is in effect from the date of signature until twelve (12) months after completion of my participation.
  4. If, at any time during my participation, I witness or am party to any activity that might result in a conflict of interest, I will immediately report the circumstances to the GCOOS-RA.
  5. For the purposes of this Agreement, the undersigned participant shall consider him/herself as the Contractor and the GCOOS-RA as the Contracting Officer or Contracting Officer’s Technical Representative that are referred to in the following CAR and FAR clauses.
  6. For the purposes of this Agreement, CAR means "Commerce Acquisition Regulation" and FAR means "Federal Acquisition Regulation".

CAR-1352.209-71 Organizational Conflicts of Interest (March 2000)

  1. The Contractor warrants that, to the best of the Contractor’s knowledge and belief, there are no relevant facts or circumstances which could give rise to an organizational conflict of interest, as defined in FAR Subpart 9.5, or that the Contractor has disclosed all such relevant information.
  2. The Contractor agrees that if an actual or potential organizational conflict of interest is discovered after award, the Contractor will make a full disclosure in writing to the Contracting Officer. This disclosure shall include a description of actions, which the Contractor has taken or proposes to take, after consultation with the Contracting Officer, to avoid, mitigate, or neutralize the actual or potential conflict.
  3. Remedies – The Contracting Officer may terminate this contract for convenience, in whole or in part, if it deems such termination necessary to avoid an organizational conflict of interest. If the Contractor was aware of a potential organizational conflict of interest prior to award or discovered an actual or potential conflict after award and did not disclose or misrepresented relevant information to the Contracting Officer, the Government may terminate the contract for default, debar the Contractor from Government contracting, or pursue such other remedies as may be permitted by law or this contract.
  4. The Contractor further agrees to insert provisions, which shall conform substantially to the language of this clause, including this paragraph (d), in any subcontract or consultant agreement hereunder.

CAR 1352.209-72 Restriction Against Disclosure (March 2000)

The Contractor agrees, in the performance of this contract, to keep the information furnished by the Government and designated by the Contracting Officer or Contracting Officer’s Technical Representative in the strictest confidence. The Contractor also agrees not to publish or otherwise divulge such information in whole or in part, in any manner or form, nor to authorize or permit others to do so, taking such reasonable measures as are necessary to restrict access to such information while in the Contractor’s possession, to those employees needing such information to perform the work provided herein, i.e., on a "need to know" basis. The Contractor agrees to immediately notify the Contracting Officer in writing in the event that the Contractor determines or has reason to suspect a breach of this requirement.

The Contractor agrees that it will not disclose any information described in subsection a) to any person or individuals unless prior written approval is obtained from the Contracting Officer. The Contractor agrees to insert the substance of this clause in any consultant agreement or subcontract hereunder.

Signature   Date

3. Rules governing the GCOOS-RA in the Matter of Advocacy

The GCOOS-RA Corporation will not directly attempt to influence legislation. However, members of the Board of Directors of the Corporation and other interested parties are encouraged to convey to their elected officials the value of legislation that would enhance the U.S. Integrated Ocean Observing System as defined and authorized by The Integrated Coastal and Ocean Observation System Act of 2009. All such activities of the Corporation will be handled through the entity’s Government Relations Task Team; that team is governed and limited by the attached terms of reference (see Appendix E) for the team adopted by the Board of Directors.

The Directors of the Corporation adopted these rules on September 28, 2012.

4. Resolution to revise Terms of Reference for the GCOOS Observing Systems Committee Passed September 28, 2012 by the GCOOS-RA Board of Directors

The revised Terms of Reference:
The Observing Systems Committee is charged with aiding in the technical and scientific development of GCOOS observations. The Committee is responsible for consideration of and recommendations on technology improvements necessary to meet present and future user needs, and development of requirements for scientific research and pilot projects. The Committee will be composed of experts in the various fields of ocean observing systems such as biological, physical and chemical oceanography, fish and shellfish, seabirds, marine mammals, atmospheric science, remote sensing, fisheries technology, and aquaculture and mariculture. The Board of Directors will appoint the members of the Committee, and members will elect the chair for a two-year term. The Committee can use targeted workshops and establish working groups to develop its scientific and technical advice.


Appendix E: Resolutions Passed by the GCOOS-RA Board Between Regular Meetings

Report on establishment of the GCOOS Modeling Task Team
September 6, 2012

On August 11, 2012, the GCOOS-RA Board of Directors passed an action creating the GCOOS Modeling Task Team with the following Terms of Reference:

GCOOS Modeling Task Team

"The GCOOS-RA establishes a Modeling Task Team charged with providing on a regular basis to the GCOOS Staff, and through them to the Board of Directors, reports on the current state of modeling for the Gulf of Mexico and suggestions as to which model outputs should be served via the GCOOS Products Portal. In addition, the task team should formulate and recommend a plan for GCOOS Modeling.

Members should represent the broad range of model types, including: general circulation and forecast, hypoxia, storm surge, nutrient loading, surge/slosh, rip currents, hydrodynamic models of bays and estuaries, river discharges and effects, and PORTS models as examples.

It is expected that this task team will be comprised of not more than twelve members, will have a chair appointed by the GCOOS Board, will have a Board member as liaison, will meet not more than semiannually, and will be supported by the GCOOS Staff."

Report on establishment of the GCOOS Products and Services Advisory Council
September 12, 2012

On August 22, 2012, the GCOOS-RA Board of Directors passed an action creating the GCOOS Products and Services Advisory Council to replace both the GCOOS Products and Services Committee and Stakeholder Council.

Terms of Reference for the GCOOS Products and Services Advisory Council

"This council ensures that the products and services developed and shared by GCOOS are driven by the needs of end-users. Council members will be appointed by the GCOOS-RA Board of Directors and will reflect the broad spectrum of users and stakeholders interested in the data and products of ocean observing systems. The council will have the following roles and responsibilities:

  • Identify potential new audiences for data, products and services,
  • Identify new products and services, and provide input to improve existing GCOOS data, products and services necessary to meet the requirements of the GCOOS user community,
  • Assess the usefulness of products and services to users and the effectiveness of information dissemination and delivery practices to decision makers (this should include advice on needed metrics for evaluation),
  • Make recommendations to the Board on research or pilot projects that are needed to sustain and enhance the products and services and on projects to transition to operational status, and
  • Provide advice as may be requested by the GCOOS-RA Board or other bodies.

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 Council members. At least one member of the Board of Directors and one member of the Education and Outreach Council shall be appointed by the Board to serve on the Products and Services Advisory Council. The chairperson and other officers will work with the chairs of the Education and Outreach Council (EOC), Data Management and Communications Committee and Observing Systems Committee DMAC to closely link the work of the committees and councils.

Sectors that might be represented on the Products and Services Advisory Council include:

  • Education and Outreach (a representative from the EOC might suffice.)
  • Emergency Management (1-2?)
  • Recreational boating and fishing
  • Modeling
  • Data Tools
  • Energy
    • Oil and Gas
    • Wind Farms
  • Bathymetry/Topography/Geodetic
  • Public Health
  • Ports and Harbors
  • Recreation
  • Commercial Fishing
  • Tourism – FL or TX association (HABs impacted?)
  • Resource management, might include:
    • Sea Grant extension agents
    • NCDDC data management
    • NOAA GoM Regional Collaboration Team
    • NERRS/NEP? – Weeks Bay to get AL
    • US Army Corps of Engineers
    • EPA Gulf of Mexico Program
    • State agency managers (MS/AL/LA)
    • NGOs (e.g., The Nature Conservancy)"

GCOOS-RA Board of Directors Action
Establishment of a GCOOS Government Relations Task Team
September 20, 2012

On September 10, 2012 an initial draft Terms of Reference (TORs) for a Governmental Outreach Task Team was circulated via email by Worth Nowlin to all GCOOS-RA Board members. Comments were requested by September 14, 2012. As of that date five comments had been received including a much-improved rewrite by Mike Spranger that also suggested changing the name of the Team to the Government Relations Task Team. . Following that rewrite and Mike’s comments regarding the fine line between lobbying and communications with elected officials, Ann Jochens suggested that our corporate attorney examine the document. He did so and made an addition, to define lobbying or advocacy activities, which he believes will relieve the GCOOS-RA of responsibility should one of the Team members decide to undertake such activities on their own initiative.

On September 15, 2012, Nowlin sent via email to all Board members the revised TORs and requested approval or dissent by September 19, 2012. As of September 20, 2012, Nowlin had received 11 votes to approve the revised TORs and no negative comments or further suggestions. (Four Directors abstained from voting.) Therefore, the GCOOS Government Relations Task Team is established with the Terms of Reference to follow.

Terms of Reference for this Task Team
The Government Relations Task Team is established to serve the Board of Directors and regularly report on their activities to the Board. It will be chaired by a Board member and may be comprised of members of the GCOOS-RA Board of Directors, GCOOS-RA Members, and others approved by the Board. The charge of the Task Team is to prepare and update the approach and to provide, as appropriate, information on matters relating to the GCOOS-RA to legislative bodies and staffers, upper level governmental personnel, and other influential persons or entities. The goal of the Task Team is to improve relationships and communications between the GCOOS-RA and these decision-making entities.

The Task Team responsibilities include:

  • Develop an approach, protocols and suggested operational procedures for the GCOOS-RA that will lead to the establishment and/or maintenance of strong relationships with elected officials, their staff, and other governmental agencies.
  • Recommend to the GCOOS-RA Board and membership appropriate positions on issues related to ocean observing systems and ocean policy.
  • When requested by the GCOOS-RA Executive Director, review and approve flyers and brochures intended to provide information for legislative bodies or high-level executive personnel on GCOOS, ocean observing, ocean policy, and other matters relating to GCOOS-RA interests in the Gulf of Mexico. Such approval should include confirmation that no lobbying content is included.
  • Provide appropriate outreach information to members and others interested in discussing GCOOS matters with their legislative representative.
  • Develop testimony for legislative bodies and other governmental entities when invited to do so.
  • Write GCOOS-RA position papers on ocean observing system or ocean policy issues, as directed by the GCOOS-RA Board of Directors or Executive Director. These position papers will be informational and reflect thoughts of the GCOOS-RA Board of Directors.
  • Work with national, state, and local agencies on their programs that relate to GCOOS-RA interests.

The Task Team is to undertake only outreach activities and must not engage in any lobbying or advocacy activities, either actual or implied, when dealing with elected officials. For purposes of this restriction, " lobbying or advocacy activities" shall mean, but not be limited to, (i) direct advocacy for the adoption or rejection of legislation and (ii) efforts to encourage the public to contact members of a legislative body to propose, support, or oppose legislation or the government’s budget process.

The Board will appoint the Chair of the Government Relations Task Team. There will be approximately 10-15 members on the Task Team. Membership will consist of people, knowledgeable about the GCOOS and GCOOS-RA, from a range of areas, including the private, non-governmental organization, academic, government, and education/outreach sectors. When possible, one member from Florida should also be cognizant of public policy positions of SECOORA to allow coordination of positions impacting overlapping jurisdiction. The NFRA Executive Director may be appointed to an ex officio position.

Action taken by GCOOS-RA Board of Directors
Regarding Terms of Reference for the GCOOS DMAC Committee
August 28, 2012

On August 14, 2012, Worth Nowlin sent via email to all Directors of the GCOOS-RA Corporation draft new Terms of Reference for the GCOOS Data Management and Communications (DMAC) Committee together with a statement from the interim Chair of that Committee outlining the reasons why, in the opinions of DMAC Committee members and the GCOOS Regional DMAC Coordinator, the TORs should be changed. Suggested changes to the new draft TORS were requested by August 17.

As of August 18, seven responses from Directors had been received. Five Directors suggested rewriting the first sentence of the TORs for clarity; all generally agreed to the changes proposed.

On August 22, 2012, Revised TORs, with clarification as requested, were sent via email to all Directors. As of August 28, fourteen approvals and no suggested changes or comments had been received (one director did not vote).

Therefore, the Terms of Reference for the GCOOS Data Management and Communications (DMAC) Committee are changed to read:

"The GCOOS DMAC Committee will keep abreast of contemporary information technology aspects of the data, products and information management systems of the Regional Associations and similar systems as well as the U.S. IOOS DMAC Plan. The Committee will recommend GCOOS systems’ enhancements to the GCOOS-RA Board of Directors. The Committee will respond to requests by the GCOOS-RA Board of Directors for information or recommendations. The Committee will be appointed by the Board of Directors, and its chair will be elected by the members of the Committee."