Last updated: 27 August 2014

Joint Meeting of Members & Board of Directors: March 2013

GCOOS Regional Association
Eighth Annual Meeting of the Members (13 March 2013)
Sixteenth Meeting of the Board of Directors (13-14 March 2013)
New Orleans, LA

The 8th Annual Meeting of the Members (formerly called Parties) and the 16th Meeting of the Board of Directors (BoD) of the Gulf of Mexico Coastal Ocean Observing System (GCOOS) Regional Association (GCOOS-RA) Corporation were held on 13-14 March 2013 at the Le Pavillon Hotel in New Orleans, LA. The attendees and their GCOOS-RA roles are listed in Appendix A. The agenda, as adopted, is given in Appendix B. A summary of action items from the meeting is given in Appendix C.

March 13: GCOOS-RA Meeting with Members


Jan van Smirren, Chair of the BoD, welcomed everyone, and introductions were made. Board member, Nancy Rabalais, moved that the agenda be adopted. The motion was seconded by Board member, Sharon Walker. The Board members voted unanimously to adopt the agenda.

Review of GCOOS-RA Activities

Review of the DMAC Activities and Plans

Matthew Howard, GCOOS Data Management and Communications (DMAC) Coordinator, reviewed the DMAC activities and plans. He summarized staff resources and tasks and reported information on a number of data projects now underway or completed. Two new data providers have been entrained into the GCOOS Data Portal, both related to protecting water quality and public safety. These are the Florida Wildlife Research Institute’s Harmful Algal Bloom Marine Observation Network (HABMON) and the Mote Marine Laboratory Healthy Beaches Network. A number of new capabilities have been developed for the GCOOS Data Portal, including the capability to display wave glider data. That capability was developed as a collaboration between the GCOOS Data Team, the University of Southern Mississippi (USM), and Liquid Robotics, Inc. (LRI) during a USM/LRI/NOAA wave glider ocean acidification project in the northern Gulf of Mexico. The GCOOS Data Portal will be hosting the Gulf of Mexico Alliance’s (GOMA) Catalog of Monitoring Programs (GoMONITOR). The software was received, but has not yet been installed and debugged by the GCOOS Data Team. The catalog will be populated by GOMA. Howard addressed a question on the GCOOS-RA implementation of the IOOS Biological Data Project and future funding for the project. He noted that as long as the data are collected in the same manner as under the pilot project, data will continue to roll into the existing Data Portal.

Review of the Integrated Water Quality Network for the Gulf

Howard reviewed the status of the development of the Integrated Water Quality Network (IWQN). The IWQN started with a small contract to the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation to bring their water quality data into the GCOOS Data Portal and to hold a workshop for other potential data providers in Southwest Florida. The workshop was held June 28, 2012. The IWQN for Texas was discussed at the September 2012 Board meeting and included presentations by potential data providers. Kate Nierenberg of Mote Marine Laboratory and Larry Lloyd of Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi were subcontracted to entrain data providers in FL and from AL through TX, respectively. The IWQN workshop for LA, MS, and AL was held March 12, 2013. Many state water quality sampling regimes are quarterly or monthly. Much of the data is put into EPA’s STORET database. Because of the value of integrating data sets of different types, it is important to begin development of mechanisms for access to legacy data.

Howard reviewed the development policy for the GCOOS IWQN. Stephan Howden suggested that, because the GCOOS includes access to river flow data, we might go as far upriver as possible for other data sets. Howard pointed out that the GCOOS-RA is only interested in what the rivers are bringing into the nearshore environment, not what is happening upstream or inland. Jochens mentioned that loading at the river mouths often constitutes boundary conditions for models. It was suggested that the guidelines be adjusted to reflect that GCOOS data include those from the last river gauging station before discharge into the Gulf, rather than all stations of an entire river stream or watershed.

Status of GCOOS Education and Outreach Activities

Chris Simoniello, GCOOS Education and Outreach Coordinator, provided an overview of the outreach and education activities. The GCOOS kiosk with the Eco Hero game is complete and installed at five aquariums, one in each of the five U.S. Gulf states. Mexico’s Veracruz Aquarium and the FL Pier Aquarium also are working to install the kiosk. State-specific flyers, a recruitment brochure, and other products have been developed or revised to meet needs that will occur over the next several months. Simoniello provided substantial input to a 15-minute IOOS video, including portions on oysters and ocean acidification, harmful algal blooms with Barbara Kirkpatrick, and US Coast Guard Search and Rescue. She has stepped down as Chair of the GOMA Public Relations Team. Future E/O plans include an upgrade of the Education pages on the GCOOS website, more showcase stories for the website and newsletter, and online tutorials for educators on how to find information on the various GCOOS-related websites (data and products). Simoniello authored an Education/Outreach white paper, which was developed for the IOOS Summit of November 2012; the paper includes outcomes to improve integration of observations with education. John Dindo suggested that, to support the flyer message of “how GCOOS helps the state,” the state flyers list the state partners by stakeholder group. Mike Spranger stated that the GCOOS-RA should maintain the contribution of 10% to education, and that GCOOS-RA is a leader in this area within the IOOS community and beyond.

The National Data Buoy Center – A key U.S. IOOS Partner

Helmut Portmann, NDBC Director, gave a presentation on NDBC as a key IOOS partner. Of the data provided through the NDBC website, 22% is from NDBC platforms (e.g., Coastal-Marine Automated Network (C-MAN) and Deep-ocean Assessment and Reporting of Tsunami (DART) stations and the Tropical Atmosphere Ocean (TAO) Array) and the remaining 78% is from other IOOS partners. NDBC has a Mission Control Center with Joe Swaykos in charge. Portman showcased their participation in the Global Ocean Observing System, including tsunami, tropical ocean, and climate observations as well as weather observations network. He discussed regional collaborations and successes. Discussion focused on future activities, including the possibility of adding subsurface sensors and camera technology, and on the impact of sequestration on NDBC, including less maintenance and more lay-offs. Portman suggests GCOOS develop a strong partnership with NOS under its coastal intelligence network priority as well as identify necessary observations so NDBC has regional input to assist them in identifying regional priorities.

Review of Council, Committee and Task Team Activities and Plans

Written reports from each group were circulated prior to meeting. The Board liaisons reported on the groups at the meeting.

Products and Services Advisory Council (PSAC)

Ann Jochens, for Worth Nowlin, explained why the Board had decided to merge the Stakeholder Council and the Products and Services Committee. She provided a listing of the membership and the roles and responsibilities. Ken Barber (USM) is the new Chair and Jim Gibeaut (GoMRI) is the Vice Chair. The PSAC held its first teleconference. The first in-person meeting of the PSAC will likely not be until September. Landry Bernard suggested that the Council, with Stephanie Watson’s input, could move forward sooner on identifying some priority products. Howard agrees that the group can start working on things prior to a face-to-face meeting.

Observing System Committee (OSC)

Stephan Howden, Chair of the Observing System Committee, gave an overview presentation. He discussed the four main actions for the OSC: review the GCOOS Build-Out Plan (BOP), develop a draft plan for GCOOS spare equipment and policies and procedures for replacement, identify Gulf technical centers of expertise, and participate and coordinate with the task teams. Howden asked for Board guidance on how best to proceed regarding the BOP review. Jerry Boatman suggested that the PSAC also review the GCOOS BOP. It was agreed that many of the GCOOS groups should review the document. Jochens asked if the membership of the OSC had been reviewed, and Howden said this was something he was planning to do.

Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and RESTORE Act: Much of the follow-on discussion centered around the activities associated with the RESTORE Act and the Natural Resources Damage Assessment (NRDA) that are resulting from the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill. There was agreement that the GCOOS BOP should be the basis for a comprehensive Gulf-wide plan. Monty Graham of USM recommended establishing an Ad Hoc committee or working group to find the best and most effective line of communication with each of the groups receiving funding as a result of the oil spill, including NRDA, NFWF, NAS, and the RESTORE act categories. He was volunteered to lead this group and was willing to do so. With respect to the state representatives on the Restoration Council, John Dindo suggested that a one-pager be prepared on what GCOOS is, its accomplishments, its impact, and the BOP to solicit state feedback vis-a-vis GCOOS and the Gulf Restoration activities. GCOOS (van Smirren and Rabalais) has met with GoMURC and is establishing an MOA. Van Smirren met with NOAA’s Holly Bamford and Paul Sandifer at the IOOS Summit. GCOOS has met with GOMA. Graham said that GCOOS is moving too slowly; other institutions are going after the restoration-related funds and they will likely not go to infrastructure unless GCOOS or other move more rapidly. He suggested that GCOOS should hold a stakeholder workshop and make a plan where GCOOS is a leader. A number of parties recommended that GCOOS should be more directly engaged. Potential GCOOS roles include: handling data, bringing stakeholders and partners together to access funding, helping to guide activities through a comprehensive plan for the Gulf.

Van Smirren suggested retooling how GCOOS has been thinking about RESTORE, NRDA, and other possible opportunities. He also suggested that GCOOS engage all five Centers of Excellence; ties are strong to at least two. Jochens asked how GCOOS can get the BOP into the hands of the right people for NRDA and the Council. Boatman suggested Bob Gagosian at COL could help. Other academic entities outside the Gulf are also likely to compete for funding throughout RESTORE. Kirkpatrick said she, Howden and Nowlin created an Executive Summary for the BOP from which GCOOS can create a high level summary of the BOP to gain support for the GCOOS observing infrastructure from the RESTORE and related participants.

Shannon McArthur of NOAA suggested following the approach of other strategic plans and detail how monitoring will serve the science of the key RESTORE Act actions. There needs to be a strategic approach to develop comprehensive plan that identifies and ties in the major philosophical issues underpinning the observing system. Adaptive management is one strategic approach that is of interest to many in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill. Bernard said we should review the BOP in light of RESTORE, remove the financial constraints assumed during the original development of the BOP, and target all the potential sources of funding for the observing system. The BOP should be Gulf-wide, but also communicated to the NRDA Trustees of each state. Stakeholders are the biggest asset to GCOOS. Spranger suggested the Government Relations Task Team might engage the Trustees. Graham suggested engagement of Trustees in a sequential way and suggested populating an ad hoc committee with those familiar and interested in the BOP. Dindo said many of the decisions with respect to the funding that might become available are linked to politics and most of those involved have a limited knowledge of science and technology. GCOOS could help in this regard and could help link to stakeholders.

Announcement of Election of Directors

Jerry Boatman, Membership Committee Chair, announced the winners of the election of new GCOOS Board members: Jan van Smirren (private), Pat Hogan (government), Stephan Howden (academic), and Sharon Walker (education and outreach). He recommended that a second person besides the Membership Chair be identified to confirm the voting for future elections. Boatman mentioned that voting numbers were low and that we need to get a message through to members that their vote is important. He also stated that of the two slots open for industry only one was filled, so there are only 14 of the allotted 15 Board member positions filled. He recommended there needs to be an election for the 15th member before the September 2013 meeting or the by-laws should be reviewed for revision.

Membership Committee

Boatman gave a report on the Membership Committee. As a way to inform potential new GCOOS-RA members, he suggested a GCOOS presentation at the Lunch and Learn Speaker Sessions of the Houston Marine Technology Society (MTS) Section. Van Smirren reported he has given a talk on GCOOS twice in the venue; he suggested that the Steering Committee of the Houston MTS Section might be approached. Jochens thanked Boatman for his service on committee since its inception, as he is retiring from the committee. Boatman’s replacement is William Lingsch from QinetiQ, with the other members being Vernon Asper (USM) and Alyssa Dausman (USGS). Dausman will be the new Chair, replacing Boatman.

Public Health Task Team

Barbara Kirkpatrick reported on the Public Health Task Team. She reviewed the results of two pilot projects to provide data into the GCOOS Data Portal: the EPA Healthy Beaches Pilot Project (Sarasota County) and the Mote Marine Laboratory’s Beach Conditions Reporting System (36 beaches in Southwest FL). Kirkpatrick recommended there be a small stakeholder meeting with Manatee, Sarasota, and Charlotte counties to engage them. An EPA Healthy Beaches data product could be developed in coordination with the Integrated Water Quality Network (IWQN) and could also include rip current forecasts.

Modeling Task Team and Plans for an Ecosystem Modeling Workshop

Howard reported on the Modeling Task Team. The first GCOOS Modeling Task Team meeting, led by Cort Cooper, Chair, was held 15 February 2013 at the Holiday Inn Houston-Intercontinental Airport. The GCOOS conference line was provided for remote attendees. In the morning, the attendees reviewed the GCOOS-RA, the Terms of Reference for the Modeling Task Team, and the state of Gulf of Mexico circulation modeling including the GOMEX-PPP project. They considered the modeling elements of the Build-Out Plan.

In the afternoon, the attendees reviewed the information from the first GCOOS Ecosystem Modeling Workshop. The outcome of the consideration of a possible joint GCOOS/BOEM modeling workshop was discussed. Discussions between GCOOS and BOEM personnel had revealed that GCOOS wants the focus to be on the nearshore environment, while BOEM wants it to be in the deeper water. It was concluded that two separate workshops would be held, but that each group would support the other. Dates are under consideration. The Modeling Task Team created a subcommittee to plan the 2nd GCOOS Ecosystem Modeling Workshop with Paul Montagna taking the lead.

Rabalais noted that ecosystem modeling and coupled physical-biological modeling are needed to meet RESTORE Act goals. Graham suggested that Sergio Derado of the Naval Research Lab would be a good addition to the task team from the ecological modeling perspective.

Gulf Glider Task Team

Stephan Howden, Chair, gave a presentation on the GCOOS Gulf Glider Task Team. He has a list of people to invite to the Team, but needs BOD approval of the membership to move forward. He also has a proposed Terms of Reference for the Task Team. The Team will look at the GCOOS glider section of the BOP, the national glider plan and how it fits with the GCOOS plan, and other activities, such as the glider component of the Hypoxia Forum being held by NOAA on 17-19 April 2012 at Stennis. The current plan includes four AUVs for the Loop Current and a minimum of 3 gliders out along a “conveyor belt” pattern over the shelf at any one time. It is estimated to take ~25 days for any one glider to transverse the entire conveyor belt line. Note: comments on the draft national glider plan are due April 22.

Government Relations Task Team

Mike Spranger, Chair, discussed the background and activities of the Government Relations Task Team, including its Terms of Reference and membership (currently 15 members). He summarized the information in the GRTT report. Spranger noted that Task Team suggested that the GCOOS-RA needs to improve the dissemination of better stories on how GCOOS positively impacts communities; Ray Toll had provided the Task Team with the example of the IOOS stories produced after Superstorm Sandy where the Regional Association data helped reduce the cost of the storm by helping with diversions of the shipping industry and navy vessels (MTS funded this study). GCOOS needs stories with high impact to educate Congressional members and staffers of the importance of the system. Spranger recommended that educational visits to the legislators should be scheduled after the release of the executive branches’ budget or as quarterly visits to local offices with clear messages on impacts during relatively quiet times. He also recommended that local legislative office staffs be invited to GCOOS meetings and events. Van Smirren suggested that the Team consider the outcome of last year’s educational visits to discuss an engagement plan. He said it’s important to keep a record of who we spoke with, and when to hold people accountable.

Relations with Mexico

Alfredo Prelat gave a presentation on relations with Mexican observing entities. He reported that GCOOS has two new associate members from Mexico (IDETSA – support services to PEMEX, and PROEMAC – a civil organization focused on sustainability and conservation and helping with oil spill response). They are interested in GCOOS coming to Mexico to visit with them. With the election of a new President of Mexico, there is change in the upper management of the Mexican government. Prelat suggested that GCOOS work with PEMEX, as they have significant resources. He also said that a monitoring system in the Yucatán Peninsula is important and funding from PEMEX could help implement it. SEMARNAT is interested in data management, with Juan Jose Guerra Abud as the new data lead. Prelat has held weekly calls with these groups to stay engaged. He also suggested that PEMEX and SEMARNAT be connected with NDBC.

Nancy Rabalais then gave a presentation on the Gulf of Mexico Large Marine Ecosystem project (GOM LME) being run by Mexico. In September 2012, Rabalais attended the national LME oceanography conference on hypoxia and pollution in Mexico. She made a presentation on behalf of GCOOS at the meeting. She visited an LME mangrove restoration site, where researchers are restoring hydrology to facilitate mangrove restoration.

Members’ questions and discussion

Rabalais noted that observing assets are becoming fewer and fewer. It is important that opportunities to reverse this trend be pursued to maintain the capabilities to provide data to the portal. Graham suggested that GCOOS’ business model for the data portal is passive, with users having to go to the site to get the data they most need; he suggested using a model that pushes data and products to users, such as in the efforts of the University of California Santa Barbara’s National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS). Graham suggested that GCOOS also develop a business model that focuses on this approach, particularly on generating useful products. Boatman also noted that GCOOS should be talking directly to emergency managers and providing them with critical information products.

Larry Lloyd suggested using social media as a mechanism to reach more people by putting stations on Facebook or Twitter or RSS feeds (RSS = Really Simple Syndication); he gave the example that the TCOON pages on Facebook have demonstrated how many in the public sector are engaged. Kirkpatrick noted that a number of people are following the MOTE-FWRI stations using social media. She suggested that GCOOS consider two Facebook pages, one shared with FWC for HABs. There might be a way to set this up so that the system posts weather updates. Could each station from GCOOS provide a phone update? Howard said that we looked into this for GCOOS, with RSS feeds triggered by events, automatic mailing push. Currently we have no GCOOS social media. Some RAs have Facebook pages, but these contain a lot of stale content. Stephanie is getting feedback from RAs that use social media. She suggested providing space on GCOOS home page to upload current content on relevant subjects via RSS feeds to help keep the page current.

Graham said that the development of an overall marketing plan with branding is important. Rabalais noted that funding for the data portal has been fine, but that the GCOOS actually is losing in situ water stations. For example, currently only 2 of 6 LUMCON stations are working. Steve Buschang noted that maintenance and operations of existing instruments is very difficult. We can build a lot of new things, but keeping them going is challenging. In the BOP, the operations and maintenance side of things is addressed, but no new funding has occurred. Rabalais reminded the group that the civil and criminal penalty funds from the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill are absolutely vital for a viable observing system in the Gulf.

Rabalais announced for Walker, who had to leave the meeting unexpectedly, that GCOOS should publicize Rabalais’ award as a MacArthur Genius Fellow in the GCOOS newsletter; the article also should mention that the loss of funding for LUMCON stations threatens the loss of a station that is one year shy of a 30-year data record.

Next Meetings and Other Business

The next BOD meeting is scheduled for 25-26 Sept 2013 in Alabama, maybe Huntsville. Next meeting of all the parties will be in March 2014.

The Members’ meeting was then adjourned.

March 13: GCOOS-RA Corporation Board of Directors Meeting

Jan van Smirren opened the Board of Directors meeting at 1:50 pm by determining that there was a quorum in attendance: Steve Buschang, John Dindo, Dave Driver, Stephan Howden, Barb Kirkpatrick, Alfredo Prelat, Nancy Rabalais, Pat Roscigno, Mike Spranger, Jan van Smirren, and Jennifer Wozencraft. Absent were Sharon Walker (who left early due to an emergency), Terry McPherson, Worth Nowlin, and Joe Swaykos. The Board of Director Meeting minutes should identify all motions, with actions, the person responsible and the date for the action to be completed.

Van Smirren then stated that the major responsibility of the Board is to review and approve fiscal plans and expenditures for the GCOOS-RA. In reply to a question on voting on matters for which one or more members would recue themselves from the discussion and vote, it was concluded that the standard procedure is for a member to abstain, not recuse themselves, from voting. In terms of a governance document, the GCOOS-RA Business Model addresses most, if not all, of the points that are needed in a governance document.

Motion: The GCOOS-RA Business Model is the governance document for the GCOOS-RA, and the Board of Directors will review and update it approximately annually. Prelat made the motion and Howden seconded it. Voting for: 11. Voting against: 0. Abstentions: 0. Motion carried.

Consideration of Strategic Directions for the GCOOS-RA

Van Smirren gave a presentation on the recommendations from the four strategy sessions held during the September 2012 Board Meeting. Appendix D contains the reports from the Board’s September 2012 strategy sessions. The Board then discussed each of the sessions in turn.

Group 1: Finance strategy

The Board brainstormed on the priorities.

  • Participate in RESTORE proposals

    The GCOOS-RA now has a signed MOA with GOMURC, which has members who are involved with the development of RESTORE Centers of Excellence in each state. The group suggested focusing not only on RESTORE, but additional funding sources as well. One goal is to obtain funding from a variety of sources so the GCOOS-RA can solicit RFPs and invest in existing systems that are in jeopardy. This effort also can be used to show how the GCOOS-RA can assist NOAA making sure it is an integrated approach. Roscigno suggested we include an example from Jochens’ summary on the value of the GCOOS during the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill. GCOOS-RA has invested a few million dollars over the years to develop, playing fairly, so it could be the lead/clearinghouse for funds and help connect GOM/state efforts. The GCOOS-RA must address fisheries in the BOP or it will not be effective. Efforts likely will not be coordinated, integrated or sustained if done state by state.

  • Hire a fiscal development officer

    If the BOD is going to execute strategies, we need to put resources in place to do it. Kirkpatrick said Mote has its own fiscal development officer and they are very professional. There is a special approach to pursuing foundation money and we could educate ourselves how to do it. It is possible for a fiscal development specialist to work on commission, but these people are not always as committed when on commission because they are usually juggling multiple jobs and interests. Jochens pointed out that the GCOOS-RA has no funding for such as person.

  • Approach federal agencies contributing to the IOOS backbone
  • Engage with NGOs to gain support

    It was agreed that each Board member would suggest one non-governmental funding source with contact information.

  • Identify foundations as potential funders (this overlaps somewhat with the bullet above)

    Watson suggested that the group focus on fundraising efforts by matching needs to specific funding sources (i.e., identify their priorities and match ours with theirs). Rabalais noted there is a person from a Fortune 500 company who wants to understand hypoxia and oil and gas in Gulf, so she is taking that person into the field; the effort might lead to grant money.

  • Seek additional support for education and outreach

Other potential funding sources might include the BP promotional funds. Jochens gave an update on the Sandy Supplemental funding, none of which is likely to come to the RA level, despite the RAs’ efforts.

The GCOOS Business Model needs specific marketing priorities. Marketing is important (e.g., Sandy example). The historic under-funding of science and observations in the Gulf of Mexico has had impacts that should be explained clearly, as well as showing the need for a coordinated, regional approach.

Discussion on the annual budget de-scoping process for NOAA to ~$1.4M: The BOD needs to identify priorities and rank. Rabalais doesn’t recommend AUVs as the best technology for monitoring hypoxia; more resources should be put toward HFR (for various purposes, but, importantly, for oil spill response). Howden noted that maintenance of the present observing system is missing from the priorities list and that it is only partially addressed in the BOP. At present, GCOOS is funding 10-12 organizations for their parts of the observing system. Dindo said he does not feel knowledgeable enough to know which assets to fund or not. The Board needs information on how the information is being used. Howden said the sub-award reports should capture information about what is being provided to GCOOS and how the funding was leveraging other resources. What difference has the funding made to your monitoring efforts? Van Smirren asked if we are paying for a data node, how long to we have to keep paying? Is there a transition point? Driver asked whether a system goes away if we stop funding it? Jochens said the IOOS office recommended making decisions that do not take assets out of the water. Van Smirren asked when we have to make the next decision about budget? Jochens said probably the end of the month. The BOD will look at the budget tomorrow. How did we leverage the data portal funds? Can we put a dollar value on each data node? How has everything been leveraged?

Group 2. Implementation of BOP

GCOOS should consider, modify as necessary and approve the document, “Priorities for Implementation of the GCOOS Build-out Plan”, including developing an Executive Summary. Fewer words and more visualization and animation are important. The BOP must include Living Marine Resources. Rabalais volunteered to talk with people at LUMCON for suggestions. A complementary one-page summary of GCOOS with impacts is also important. GCOOS should help its partners own the GCOOS BOP (e.g., prepare an interactive map for the website, package portions of the plan for the GOMA PITs, states and Congress).

Group 3. Expansion of Engagement with State and Federal Governments

Other potential engagement opportunities: Hurricane workshops in Texas (showcase GCOOS); Clean Gulf Workshop in Tampa, FL (November, 12-14); Rabalais may be invited to speak at Ecosystem Modeling Conference; Simoniello is speaking to the FL outdoors writers’ association in August. Our partners with data sets interact with these government managers and should have ideas for engagement. Van Smirren raised the point that we need another Emergency Response stakeholder workshop.

Group 4. Expansion of Industry Engagement and Membership Recruitment

Jochens has developed a long list of potential members. The Membership Chair, Alyssa Dausman, and the GCOOS staff will revise this document for Board consideration at the September Board meeting.


March 14: Board Meeting (Continuation of Strategy Session)

Business Model – Table of Contents with Nowlin comments

Van Smirren showed the slide from Nowlin with the Table of Contents for the Business Model.

Review of current and out-year budgets and what has been achieved

Jochens reviewed the GCOOS-RA budget, including a discussion of suggested funding for the subcontractors. She pointed out that some staff salaries had been covered by unrestricted TAMU funds to which she had access, but that these funds are dwindling and the NOAA GCOOS-RA award may be called on to cover more of the staff support.

Several members of the Board conducted an evaluation of the progress reports by subcontractors. Issues noted were subcontractors with very high indirect costs, subcontractors without current project reports, and subcontractors who were a “surprise” to some Board members. For all subcontractors, the issue really is whether the GCOOS is being advanced enough by the funds expended for the subcontractor. Are we able to demonstrate what we are supporting and what of value is generated? A number of questions were recommended for subcontractors to address in their reports. We need to ask for metrics in proposals so we have some way to assess if subcontractors are meeting expectations. Subcontractor reports are accessible to the Board through a Dropbox; but an alternative solution is needed so Board members who cannot access via a Dropbox can receive the reports.

Motion: If subcontractors do not provide semi-annual reports or meet other reporting criteria specified in the RFP, the GCOOS funding ceases. Van Smirren made the motion; Buschang seconded it. Voting for: 11. Voting against: 0. Abstain: 0.

This is a step in working on a procedure for how to handle grants and reporting. Prelat noted that the GCOOS-RA must give adequate information and reminders before the penalty is imposed.

The Board decided the vote on the membership of the Gulf Glider Task Team will be done by email. Dave Driver suggested adding Mike Vogel of Shell. Howard was added as staff support. Simoniello will get list from Howden, create spreadsheet for BOD to vote, tally and provide to Jochens and BOD.

BOEM/LSU Economic Study of Gulf of Mexico Ocean Observing System

With the LSU match in kind, the total study will cost approximately $750,000 to look at the value of an ocean observing system and to create an economic model of how valuable ocean observing is to the Gulf of Mexico. Richard Kazmierczak is the lead PI. This project was a suggested by GCOOS which prepared a brief prospectus for the study. Simoniello will work with Roscigno to get updates on reports from the study and will work with BOEM personnel to write articles for the GCOOS newsletter and press releases.

Focus on Business Model and Expenditures for the Coming Fiscal Year

BOD gave guidance for the upcoming budget preparation. If budget changes by 10% or less, Jochens has discretion to make adjustments. Roscigno suggested looking for opportunities to reduce the budget for meetings. Van Smirren wanted to know if the funds for data portal maintenance can be separated from those for product development. Van Smirren asked about the wisdom of a new project (Virtual Buoy). Jochens suggested removing money for this from the budget, keeping USF at level funding, and putting together a separate proposal for this kind of a project with a HABs focus.

Motion: Dindo moved that Jochens has discretion to adjust the budget if the final allocation is within 10%; if more than that, Jochens will come back to obtain BOD advice on how to scale back. The motion was seconded by Driver. All present voted in favor.

Amend Motion Above:

Motion: Van Smirren moved the FY2013 USF funds to Hu for the virtual buoy support be removed and that Jochens will make total satellite budget to USF for $20K. Rabalais seconded. All voted in favor.

Van Smirren, thanked everyone and Jochens. He solicited feedback on the structure of Board meetings. If there are suggested improvements, they should be conveyed to him. The Executive Committee will start to work on the next agenda soon.

Jochens thanked Alfredo Prelat and Steve Buschang for all the time and effort they each put into their service on Board. They have added tremendously to helping GCOOS be successful.

Spranger made motion to adjourn. Dindo seconded. All voted in favor. The meeting of the Board of Directors was adjourned.


Appendix A
Attendees at GCOOS-RA Members’ and Board Meeting, 13-14 March 2013
New Orleans, LA

Attendee Affiliation 13 Mar 14 Mar
Landry Bernard USM/NDBC  
Jerry Boatman Retired  
Steven Buschang Texas General Land Office
Matthew Chatfield Tulane/Xavier Center for Bioenvironmental Research  
John Dindo Dauphin Island Sea Lab
Dave Driver BP
Monty Graham University of Southern Mississippi, Dept. of Marine Science  
Matthew Howard GCOOS Data Manager
Stephan Howden University of Southern Mississippi
Ann Jochens GCOOS Executive Director
Barb Kirkpatrick Mote Marine Lab  
Chunyan Li LSU  
Larry Lloyd Texas A&M University – Corpus Christi  
Shannon McArthur NOAA  
Kate Nierenberg Mote Marine Lab  
Helmut Portmann NDBC  
Alfredo Prelat NEOSGeosolutions
Nancy Rabalais LUMCON
Pat Roscigno BOEM
Chris Simoniello GCOOS Education & Outreach Coordinator
Tom Soniat University of New Orleans  
Mike Spranger University of Florida
Jan van Smirren Fugro GEOS
Sharon Walker IMMS  
Stephanie Watson Consultant to GCOOS  
Jennifer Wozencraft U.S. Army Corps of Engineers



Appendix B
Adopted Agenda for March 2013 GCOOS-RA Board Meeting
New Orleans, LA

March 13: GCOOS-RA Meeting with Members

Review of GCOOS-RA Activities
0800 – 0830 Review of DMAC activities and plans, including summary of current and future planned products (Matthew Howard)
0830 – 0845 Review of the Integrated Water Quality Network for the Gulf (Worth Nowlin)
0845 – 0910 Status of GCOOS Education and Outreach activities, including activity and plans of the Education and Outreach Council (Chris Simoniello with input from Mike Spranger and Sharon Walker)
0910 – 0940 The National Data Buoy Center–A key U.S. IOOS Partner (Helmut Portmann)
Review of Council, Committee, and Task Team activities and plans
[Written reports from each group circulated prior to meeting. Board liaisons to represent groups at meeting.]
0940 – 0950 Products and Services Advisory Council (Jan van Smirren with input from Worth Nowlin)
0950 – 1000 Observing System Committee (Stephan Howden)
1000 – 1020 BREAK
1020 – 1025 Announcement of Election of Directors (Jerry Boatman)
1025 – 1030 Membership Committee (Worth Nowlin)
1030 – 1040 Public Health Task Team (Barb Kirkpatrick)
1040 – 1050 Modeling Task Team and plans for an ecosystem modeling workshop (Worth Nowlin)
1050 – 1100 Gulf Glider Task Team (Stephan Howden)
1100 – 1110 Government Relations Task Team (Mike Spranger)
1110 – 1120 Relations with Mexico (Alfredo Prelat)
1120 – 1140 Member questions and suggestions
1140 – 1200 Next meetings and other business
Adjourn Members meeting

Begin GCOOS-RA Board of Directors Meeting

Board of Directors Meeting
Consideration of Strategic Direction for the GCOOS-RA
1330 – 1415 Consideration of the questions:
Where do we see GCOOS-RA in 3-5 years: how do we measure success?
What does GCOOS-RA do well now?
What areas need strengthening?
Considerations of follow-on to group recommendations from September 2012 Board meeting.
1415 – 1515 Group 1: Finance strategy
Focus on RESTORE and other funding sources
Consider, modify as necessary and approve the document, “Priorities for Implementation of the GCOOS Build-out Plan”
1515 – 1530 BREAK
1530 – 1700 Recommendations from groups 2 – 4
1900 Dinner for Board and Staff

March 14: Board Meeting (continued)

Continuation of Strategy Session
0830 – 1000 Review of current and out-year budgets and what has been achieved
1000 – 1015 BREAK
1015 – 1140 Focus on Business Model and expenditures for the coming fiscal year
1140 – 1200 Next meetings and other business
1200 Adjourn Board Meeting

March 14: Executive Committee Meeting

Executive Committee Meeting
1200 – 1230 Brief meeting of Executive Committee



Appendix C
Summary of Action Items from GCOOS Members and BOD Meetings
13-14 March 2013, New Orleans, LA

Action Items from the Members’ Meeting

  • Go to Integrated Water Quality Network workshop participants’ websites and farm data, ID information of interest to GCOOS. (Also possibly identify legacy data that will help Chuanmin generate virtual buoy products for the GOM.) (Kate and Larry, but target date).
  • Think about composition of Observing System Committee (Howden, but no target date)
  • Set up ad hoc RESTORE/NRDA team; Monty potential leader (no target date)
    • Mike put forward Government Task Force to engage Trustees, but no stated action, leader or target date.
    • John says pots of money are linked to politics and many politicians are not well-versed in science and technology. Get GCOOS out in front by informing politicians of long history with stakeholders – no stated action, leader, or target date.
  • Membership Committee: a second person needed to confirm numbers for recent elections. No stated person or target date.
  • Public Health Task Team: Barb will hold a stakeholder workshop on EPA Healthy Beaches and the IWQN in Manatee, Sarasota, and Charlotte Counties and report back to the BOD in September.
  • Vote on Glider Task Team membership (all BOD)
    • Stephan to send Chris list of potential members (ASAP); Chris to send to BOD (same day), tally votes by end of March, and send results to Ann and Stephan. Stephan will formally invite members.
  • Government Relations Task Team: Ann/Chris will send last year’s government relations committee report to Mike immediately. Schedule visits to Capitol Hill after the release of the President’s budget in April. Develop of one-pagers for each state with listing of partners (Chris will help) for April. Schedule quarterly visits to local Congressional and State offices with clear messages on impacts when it is relatively quiet – no target date. Invite local Congressional offices to GCOOS meetings and events – no target date. Prepare low charts of what funding is available, e.g., RESTORE and NRDA, with points-of-contact for each – no target date.
  • Mexican Relations: Visit Villahermosa (PEMEX headquarters), visit Mexico City (SEMERNAT), write GCOOS News articles on the two new Mexican associate members. No person or target date identified.
  • Next BOD meeting: 25-26 Sept 2013, AL (maybe Huntsville). Next meeting of the parties would be in March 2014.

Action Items from Board of Directors’ Meeting

  • Meeting Minutes: Identify All Motions, with Actions, person responsible and date to be completed (Staff and Board ExComm)
  • Send the most recent version of Business Model to all BOD members no later than March 20th (Executive Director). For clarification, the Business Model=BOD strategy; Business Plan=Exec director=spending plan for funds available and how these support plans of Business Model)
  • Business Model
    • EXCOMM to review business model; Jan and Worth to deliver strawman to BOD for review by June 26; Rabalais also agreed to review first draft
    • Ann to send most recent version of Business Model to all BOD members by March 20th (Business Model =BOD strategy; Business Plan=Exec director-spending plan for funds and how these support plans of Business Model)
  • Before next meeting, each BOD member will offer the name/contact information for one non-governmental potential funding source. (Alfredo and John already contributed Al Gore and Shell’s Marine Habitat Program, respectively.)
  • Formal letter stating GCOOS wants to be at the table for Center of Excellence discussions:
    • Ann draft letter by March 25th
    • Jan sign and share with BOD by April 1st before sending to Paul Sandifer, NOAA
  • Chris will write newsletter article on GOMURC MOA and hope Zdenka uses it in her Zgram.
  • Chris will send team Xi info to Dindo; plan with John to see feasibility of meeting with Al Gore (either TN or DC).
  • Ad Hoc RESTORE/NRDA Committee. John (AL), Monty (MS), Buschang (TX), Barb (FL), Rabalais (LA), Ann, Staff. Form committee, gather information, report back to Jan/BOD in mid-April.
  • BOP actions
    • Ann review BOP plan with help from Stephan;
    • Rabalais work with Chris to get team to review BOP in terms of fisheries/Living Marine Resource/HAB science (already sent invites to review to Ernst Peebles, Water Institute of the Gulf, and Behzod Mahmoudi (FWC); both engaged with GCOOS in past); Rabalais will also entrain LUMCON colleague. What about fisheries council rep–Chris will contact colleague Emily at GOM Fisheries Council; Team to complete review by end of May.
    • Fisheries/LMR/HAB elements have to be incorporated into high level summary to funders (RESTORE, NRDA)–Ann, BOD complete prior to high level meetings with RESTORE, NRDA, National Academies leaders
    • Align BOP with adaptive management to address various science issues–SPELL IT OUT TO FUNDERS/POLITICAL LEADERS–Ann, BOD
  • In the GCOOS flyer, replace Bill Walker’s quote with one from Jerome Zeringue. Chris to send Rabalais a reminder and attach a current flyer and Rabalais to make request to Zeringue.
  • GCOOS Subcontractors
    • Ann to create a reporting template for those funded by GCOOS. She will share with the BOD for approval and incorporate in the subcontractor RFP stronger language as to the reporting requirement for continued funding, and need for timely submission of invoices. Increasingly important to have in case non-profit gets audited.
    • BOD also suggested she include language that states GCOOS logo/credit will be made visible on their sites.
  • Chris S and Mike to present GCOOS at FL Outdoor Writers Association meeting in Aug. Report to BOD at Sept. meeting.
  • GCOOS Membership
    • Ann to follow up with Worth regarding list of names/companies awaiting BOD approval for GCOOS membership.
    • Ann will send via email to BOD for approval.
    • Ann/BOD will invite people once approved. No time frame specified for any task related to membership.
  • GCOOS BOD Drop Box Issue: Matt or Susan needs to address drop box issue, as some Board members cannot access anything in the Cloud for security reasons. To do immediately.
  • Congressional Outreach: Chris to add the names of partners, those funded by GCOOS even at low levels, to outreach materials targeting political leaders. To do immediately–for inclusion in next round of Hill visits/decision-maker engagement.
  • Ann will copy the BOD members when NOAA reports are submitted. No action by the BOD is needed.
  • BOEM/LSU Economic Study of Ocean Observing Systems: Pat will work with Chris to get updates on reports and press releases so she can write articles and banner stories for GCOOS news. This will be a three-year study.



Appendix D
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.