24-25 August 2006
St. Petersburg, FL

Thursday, 24 August 2006

1.0 Welcome, Introductions, Logistics, Adoption of Agenda

The meeting was called to order at 0900 EDT by Ray Toll, Chair of the GCOOS-RA Board of Directors. He welcomed the board members, GCOOS-RA staff, and guests and thanked the University of South Florida College of Marine Science for hosting the meeting. Attendees with affiliations are given in Appendix 1. Each attendee was invited to give his/her affiliation, regular job description, and interactions with GCOOS. Ann Jochens discussed various logistical matters.

The provisional agenda was adopted with changes to accommodate the guest speakers and with the addition of the next meeting date as new business (Appendix 2).

2.0 Reports on Gulf of Mexico Alliance and Gulf of Mexico States Accord
2.1 Gulf of Mexico Alliance (Steve Wolfe)

Steve Wolfe of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection reported on the status of the Gulf of Mexico Alliance (GOMA) activities. GOMA is a partnership, created in 2004, of the Governors’ of the five Gulf states — Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas — to increase the collaborations that will enhance the regional priorities for ecological and economic health of the Gulf of Mexico and its human communities. After issuance of President Bush’s U.S. Ocean Action Plan, which recognized the leadership of the five Gulf States, 13 federal agencies became involved with the activities of GOMA. In particular, the Gulf of Mexico Program of the Environmental Protection Agency has become a major federal participant. In August 2005 in New Orleans, LA, GOMA identified its initial priority actions. In March 2006 in Corpus Christi, TX, the Governors’ Action Plan was released. This plan delineates five priority areas for focused efforts over the 36 month period from March 2006 to March 2009. These areas are

  1. Water Quality for Healthy Beaches and Shellfish Beds,
  2. Wetland and Coastal Conservation and Restoration,
  3. Environmental Education,
  4. Identification and Characterization of Gulf Habitats, and
  5. Reducing Nutrient Inputs to Coastal Ecosystems.

Wolfe, who is the back-up Florida team lead and the Florida lead for GOMA’s teams for the Water Quality and Nutrient issues, presented a matrix of the GOMA management team and priority issue teams. Each state contributes personnel to these GOMA teams. GOMA also has an Education and Outreach Network Coordinator, Lee Yokel, to assist the management team with the education and outreach activities of GOMA. Ms. Yokel is also a member of the GCOOS Education and Outreach Council; she is based at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab in Alabama. In July 2006 in New Orleans, LA, the GOMA teams developed detailed implementation plans for each focus area and identified their responsible parties. The EPA Gulf of Mexico Program issued a Request For Proposal for activities supporting the Action Plan with total funding set at approximately $3M for the year.

Wolfe then discussed in detail several items he thought would be of particular interest to GCOOS. These included water quality issues associated with detecting, monitoring, and forecasting harmful algal blooms, improving beach water quality management, and coordinating and standardizing state and federal water quality data collection and analysis methods. Several Board members suggested that GOMA should consider adding improved hurricane intensity forecasting to the focus areas. Wolfe explained that the GOMA teams had tried to incorporate aspects of hurricane response into the present Action Plan’s structure, but that detailed focus on hurricane forecasting would have to be considered during the next planning cycle.

2.2 Gulf of Mexico States Accord (Gary Springer)

Gary Springer, Secretary General of The Gulf of Mexico States Accord (GOMSA), provided an overview of the activities of the Accord. GOMSA is an international agreement signed in 1995 by representatives from each of the eleven U.S. and Mexican states that border the Gulf of Mexico (Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, Tamaulipas, Veracruz, Tabasco, Campeche, Yucatan, and Quintana Roo). The objective of GOMSA is "to establish working partnerships among these states to promote economic and infrastructure development, as well as educational and cultural exchanges." Springer showed a slide from a recent report that brought home the importance of the Gulf of Mexico to the U.S. and Mexican economies (see slide 11 of the presentation). The Gulf is the 6th largest economy in the world. The regional trade value of the 11 Gulf states is approximately $6 trillion, including $2 trillion in gross state products and ~$4 trillion in external trade. The tracks of hurricanes and their recent destruction show the high level of vulnerability of the U.S.’s Gulf coast infrastructure, which is vital for the nation’s trade.

GOMSA is interested in pursuing cooperative efforts with GOMA and GCOOS. Among the issues common to all groups are Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs). GOMSA is participating in a bilateral research project that will result in the siting of two HABs fixed monitoring stations, one off Veracruz and one to the south, targeted for early 2007. This entailed a site visit of NDBC representatives to Veracruz to prepare for the installation of equipment and data sharing. GOMSA also has helped with efforts to designate the Veracruz Aquarium a Coastal Ecosystem Learning Center, the first outside the U.S.

The cooperative efforts of GOMSA have lead to the establishment of the Gulf of Mexico States Partnership (GOMSP), which is a private sector organization for the Gulf of Mexico border states. A major research activity of the GOMSP is The Gulf of Mexico Trade Corridor Transportation Study. The study has three phases—a review of the markets and associated infrastructure, a security impact assessment of the critical infrastructure; and an environmental assessment of impacts of transportation and development projects. An "initial findings" report is available. There will be a meeting on the full regional marketing study in October 2006 in New Orleans. The other two phases are still in progress.

3.0 Reports on GCOOS Activities
3.1 Education and Outreach Council (Mike Spranger)

Mike Spranger reported on activities of the Education and Outreach Council (EOC). He reviewed the results of the April 2006 meeting, focusing on the EOC Work Plan for May 2006 – May 2007. The GCOOS Office plans to arrange for hire of an E/O Coordinator (see section 9 below). The person will be located to enhance coordination with the E/O activities of GOMA and CenGOOS. One area of coordination will be a needs assessment for the Gulf region. The Dauphin Island Sea Lab, working through the Gulf of Mexico Alliance, has put forth a grant proposal to the EPA Gulf of Mexico Program to conduct a needs assessment for the Gulf. This project is pending, but if funded, GCOOS will explore ways to piggy-back several ocean observing system related questions on this survey.

In the discussion of membership, it was noted that the EOC currently includes three of the five education contacts of the Gulf of Mexico Alliance (John Dindo of AL, Sharon Walker of MS, Gary Lytton of FL) as well as the GOMA Education and Outreach Network Coordinator and that the Alliance for Coastal Technology has hired an education coordinator. The Board approved extending an invitation to join the GCOOS EOC to the GOMA Education and Outreach representatives from Texas and Louisiana and the education coordinator of ACT. These additions will provide enhanced coordination between GCOOS, GOMA, and ACT education and outreach activities.

Because of the large amount of work to be done in the education and outreach arena, the Board identified the need for a Strategic Plan for the Education and Outreach Council as a high priority. This plan should be in place before the needs assessment, materials development, or training workshops are planned and implemented by the EOC.


  • Spranger to invite Susan Testroet-Bergeron (LA) and Scott Jones (TX) of GOMA and Ali Hudon (FL) of ACT to join the GCOOS Education and Outreach Council.
  • Spranger to initiate and pursue development of an EOC Strategic Plan with the EOC’s Strategic Plan Committee.
  • Spranger to provide Susan Martin, GCOOS Office, with EOC list serve member information. Martin to set up the list serve. Martin to ask Board members if they want to be on the EOC list serve.
3.2 Stakeholder Council (Cort Cooper)

Cort Cooper reported on the activities of the Stakeholder Council relative to the Action Plan for February 2006 to January 2007. There were no recommended changes in the membership. The Council had recommended identification of the economic benefits of priority measurements and products. Cooper reported that such identifications are difficult to determine, even for the oil and gas industry. Of particular concern was how to identify the economic impacts of events such as hurricanes, where losses are exceedingly high, but direct economic impacts of improved ocean observing systems are hard to quantify.

One priority from the Stakeholder Council was to link the county/state coastal water quality measurements in a standard way. Bart Bibler, Florida Department of Health, has been working actively on this task. He has successfully worked to get the Florida measurements into NOAA’s National Coastal Data Development Center (NCDDC). He now is pursuing ways to accomplish this with the other four states. This lead the Board to a discussion of ways to communicate with the state agencies about GCOOS priorities. Most if not all the states have councils or similar groups that consist of the coastal ocean agencies. Presentations presently are made to the Florida Oceans and Coastal Resources Council (various Board members) and to the Texas Coastal Coordination Council (Nowlin). Walker agreed to find out from LaDon Swann, Director of the Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium, how to get onto the agendas for similar councils in Alabama and Mississippi, and Rabalais agreed to find a contact for Louisiana. Similar coordination contacts for networks of emergency responders are still being identified.

The Board determined that the development of a communication strategy for GCOOS was increasingly important. To that end, it was agreed that Ray Toll would prepare a strawman strategy and that the Board would review, modify, and eventually approve. The Board determined that additional comments on the prioritized requirements for measurements and products from the November Oil and Gas and Related Industry workshop would be beneficial.


  • Walker to contact LaDon Swann about how to get onto the agendas for state/county coastal ocean councils in Alabama and Mississippi
  • Rabalais to find a contact for state/county coastal ocean councils in Louisiana.
  • Toll to prepare strawman communication strategy for GCOOS.
  • Cooper to contact Paul Kelly to determine the input from the Offshore Users Council on the list of priority measurements from the November 2005 Workshop. Cooper also to send the list to the Offshore Operators Committee for their comment.
  • Nowlin to send the November 2005 Workshop priority measurements list to Tom Fry, President of the National Ocean Industries Association (NOIA).
3.3 Observing Systems Committee (Buzz Martin)

The progress of the Observing Systems Committee on the Action Plan for May 2006 – April 2007 was reviewed by Buzz Martin. The committee had recommended changes to their Terms of Reference (ToR). The ToR are included in the GCOOS Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) so changes would need the okay of the voting Parties. The Board decided that no changes would be made formally to the MOA. Because the requested changes are clarifications rather than substantive revisions, the Board agreed that the committee should consider its recommendations approved for operational purposes (Appendix 3). The committee chair suggested the membership should be augmented by the addition of a fisheries representative, but no specific suggestions were made. An initial outline of the GCOOS Observing System Plan has been prepared. Portions of the plan have been drafted, but none are ready for outside review. Gary Jeffress has begun to identify historical sea level data sets for the Gulf. The Committee provided comments to the GCOOS Office on the Operation Center pilot project; these comments were considered by the team working on the pilot. The committee has not provided comments on the draft Business Plan; Jochens will be working on revisions and will notify the committee that their comments are needed.


  • Susan Martin to ask Howden who in the fisheries sector the committee suggests be added.
  • Jochens will invite new members to join the committee on behalf of the Board.
  • Jochens to provide the committee members with an expanded Terms of Reference, operationally approved by the Board (Appendix 3).
3.4 Data Management and Communications Committee (Matt Howard)

Matt Howard discussed the work of the Data Management and Communications Committee’s Action Plan for May 2006 – April 2007. The DMAC had suggested revisions to their ToR; the Board determined the committee should consider these changes to be operational (Appendix 3), but decided not to make these changes to the MOA at this time. No changes in membership were recommended. The committee was waiting for new certification guidance before reviewing the draft Business Plan. However, Jochens will be revising the plan before revisions come out, so she will request comments from the committee.

The committee has surveyed informally the other regional associations and concluded funds would be needed to develop a GCOOS Data Portal. Costs would likely range from ~$100K to $250K, depending on the level of complexity of the portal. It was agreed that a Data Portal would need to have a web disclaimer page that any data user would have to agree to before they could get to the data. The portal should be open structure to allow addition of new parameters through time. Discussion then considered the possibility of a generic data portal that could be used by any RAs that do not yet have Data Portals. It was suggested that NOAA’s Coastal Services Center be brought into the project; Dave Easter agreed to inquire. The Board requested that a prospectus for a Data Portal be developed. Howard will lead a team consisting of Luther, Vembu Subramanian, and Dave Easter.


  • Jochens will request comments on the draft Business Plan for use in revisions.
  • Howard to lead a team to prepare a prospectus for a generic Data Portal, possibly useable by GCOOS, CaRA (Caribbean), MACOORA (Mid-Atlantic), PacIOOS (Pacific Islands), and/or others.
  • Easter to look into what NOAA’s Coastal Services Center might be able to contribute (funding, human resources, and/or ideas), if anything, towards development of a Data Portal.
  • Jochens to provide the committee members with an expanded Terms of Reference, operationally approved by the Board (Appendix 3).
3.5 Products and Services Committee (Nancy Rabalais)

Rabalais presented the status of the activities of the Products and Services Committee (see the Action Plan for May 2006 – April 2007). The committee had suggested revisions to their ToR; the Board determined the committee should consider these changes to be operational (Appendix 3), but decided not to make these changes to the MOA at this time. By Rabalais’ report, the comments of the committee on the draft Business Plan have been transmitted to the GCOOS Office for consideration during the upcoming revision of that draft.

The committee had begun to work on building an inventory of existing products. Because there will be a substantial effort to develop a catalogue of measurements through a NOAA lead effort spearheaded by Jim Boyd of NOAA CSC, the Board suggested that activities of other GCOOS groups making requests of data providers be put on hold so that there will be only one request, rather than many, made to such providers. This also will avoid duplication of effort. It is suggested that requests to RAs that they assemble and maintain updated information for this NOAA inventory be endorsed by management personnel from NOAA CSC, Office of Naval Research, and Ocean US.

The committee recommended a number of changes in the membership (see minutes of the April 2006 meeting). Of particular importance is the addition of a fisheries representative. The Board agreed with need and asked for specific, prioritized recommendations. The Board also determined that an additional modeler and a representative from the National Association of Charterboat Operators (Captain Robert Zales, President) or tourism sector be included.


  • Rabalais to ask Russ Beard, Chair, for his specific recommendation on a fisheries representative.
  • Luther to invite Zales to join the committee on behalf of the Board.
  • Jochens to provide the committee members with an expanded Terms of Reference, operaitonally approved by the Board (Appendix 3)
3.6 Membership Committee (Worth Nowlin)

The Board had expanded the Terms of Reference operationally for the membership committee (Appendix 3). This expanded ToR clarifies the role of the membership committee in recruitment of new Parties to the Regional Association by signing the Memorandum of Agreement. The committee members are willing to undertake recruitment at general meetings they will be attending, such as the MTS/IEEE Oceans ’06 conference. The committee also has a list of companies they plan to approach for recruitment. The Board suggested adding the Florida Section of the Marine Technology Society, Terralliance, NOIA, BP, ConocoPhillips, and ExxonMobil. ChevronTexaco and Shell are members of the GCOOS-RA. Cooper pointed out that GCOOS is moving from a hypothetical exercise to an activity that may have some budget to carry out priorities.


  • Luther to provide Nowlin with a contact for the MTS-FL section.
  • Prelat to approach his employer, Terralliance.
  • Cooper to provide Nowlin with contacts for the oil companies.
  • Nowlin will send new targets as Parties and contacts to Landry Bernard.
3.7 Summary of Councils and Committees

The Board discussed how it might improve interactions with the councils and committees. One item was the GCOOS Newsletter that is sent to the listserve. The Board recommended that the content should be broader than just the activities of the councils and committees. Spranger and Walker suggested the publication be changed from monthly to bimonthly to allow more activities to occur between each reporting period. The Board approved this decision. A second approach was to have the Board Chair contact the Committee/Council Chairs periodically; Toll agreed to pursue this.


  • GCOOS Office to enhance the breadth of the GCOOS Newsletter and distribute bimonthly.
  • Toll to contact Chairs every couple of months.
4.0 Review of Workshop Planning Activities (Ann Jochens and Worth Nowlin)

Jochens and Nowlin provided an overview of the workshops being planned. The workshop for the fisheries sector has been substituted with a series of discussions with the Gulf of Mexico Fisheries Management Council (7 June 2006), the Gulf of Mexico States Marine Fisheries Commission (25 October 2006), and NOAA’s Southeast Fisheries Research Center (to be arranged). Contacts developed through these discussions will be used to determine the next steps in obtaining the priorities of the commercial, recreational, and regulatory/research fisheries sectors.

Because several recent national meetings (IOOS Public Health Workshop, January 2006, St. Petersburg, FL) and publications (The Oceanography Magazine, June 2006) have identified requirements and priorities for the public health sector, the public health workshop has been replaced with a standing GCOOS-RA Public Health Task Force chaired by Bart Bibler of the Florida Department of Health. Identification of members for this Task Force is in progress.

Planning for the GCOOS-RA/SECOORA/NOAA-CSC workshop on inundation and storm surge is advancing with the assistance of the workshop’s steering team; Nowlin is the lead. The workshop will be held 24-26 January 2007 in New Orleans, LA.

Planning for the Marine Transportation Workshop has begun with the organization of the steering team. Jim Kruze, Ports and Harbors Specialist for the Texas Sea Grant Program, will be asked to lead this workshop steering team. Other workshops are for the recreational boating sector and the urban planners/developers sector. Don Roman has agreed to assist with the recreational boating sector workshop. Mike Spranger offered to assist with the marina operators group in Florida. Ali Hudon offered to provide contacts for the recreational boating steering team. Board members are to provide ideas for steering teams and invitees to Nowlin. John Jacob, Coastal Community Development Specialist for the Texas Sea Grant Program, will be asked to lead the urban planners/developers workshop.

The Board briefly discussed adding spill responders and search and rescue sectors to the list of workshop sectors, but no decision was made.


  • Hudon to provide Nowlin with suggestions for the recreational boating steering team.
  • Board members to provide Nowlin with suggestions for steering team members and invitees to the recreational boating and urban planners/developers sector workshops.
5.0 Brief on Education and Outreach Activities in SECOORA (Chris Simoniello)

Chris Simoniello, SEACOOS Regional Coordinator, Florida Sea Grant Extension Program, provided an overview of the education and outreach activities of SECOORA. SECOORA is the Regional Association encompassing the Carolinas, Georgia, and Florida regions (Florida also is in the GCOOS-RA). A major step in an education and outreach program is to engage the users. This requires identification of the user groups of interest to the program, such as groups that are connected with the seven IOOS societal goals. A stakeholder assessment performed by the SouthEast US Atlantic Coastal Ocean Observing System (SEACOOS) identified eleven distinct user groups for engagement. These included commercial and recreational fishing and boating, coastal communities, search and rescue, oil and hazardous waste spill at sea, paddlers and surfers, beach communities, commercial shipping, and military. Feedback from these groups on their needs is sought to identify gaps and set priorities for regional ocean observations and products necessary to meet those needs. Wave, current, and wind data or products were most commonly needed by these user groups. An inventory of existing assets and products showed a variety of observations and products available for the target user groups, many developed through SEACOOS. Products need to be targeted to the audience, whether formal educational uses (K-12) or extension activities. Education and outreach activities must be constantly refined through interactions with data management and monitoring groups.

6.0 Closed Session of Board Meeting

Ray Toll, Chair, is a member of the Ocean Research and Resources Advisory Panel of the National Oceanographic Partnership Program. He announced he also will be a member of the Interagency Working Group on Ocean Observations that will replace the Ocean.US Executive Committee.

6.1 Plans for Proposals to Support Pilot Projects or Enhancements to Observing Subsystems

Jochens displayed the list of priority pilot projects for review and discussion by the Board. These are:

  1. Instrument tankers (Mark Luther) – A steering team, consisting of M. Luther, A. Thompson of Tampa Bay Pilots Association, and G. Morrison of SeaKeepers, is preparing a prospectus for a pilot project involving instrumentation of regularly scheduled tanker traffic. The initial route being considered is between Tampa and Houston using ships with weekly runs, which will sample through the Loop Current, eddies, Mississippi River plume, and the Texas and Louisiana and west Florida continental shelves. Other possible routes include Houston-Galveston to Port Everglades. Two to four tankers would be instrumented with automated oceanography and meteorology monitoring systems (SeaKeeper 1000). Discussions with several ship operators have shown there is interest in this activity. Cost estimates are being done, with installation costs not yet complete. Other issues include: identification of any additional sensors, who would do QA/QC on the data sets, and ships that are or could be instrumented with ADCP.
  2. Water quality measurements for human pathogens linked into a GOM-wide beach health indicator map (Bart Bibler) – Bart Bibler is making substantial progress in linking county/state water quality measurements for human pathogens. The Florida beach data are now being sent to the NCDDC, and Bibler will work next to encourage other Gulf states to do the same. (See agenda item 3.2.)
  3. Pilot GCOOS Operations Center (Raymond Toll) – The prospectus was posted to the web for comment and was revised. The revision is posted and final comments are requested. During discussion of the data portal, it was suggested that such a portal could be the start for the Operations Center. It was agreed that a pilot generic regional data portal should be pursued. (See agenda item 3.4.)
  4. Forecasts of three-dimensional surface currents for the Gulf of Mexico (Cort Cooper) – The prospectus was posted to the web for comment by August 11, 2006. Comments are being considered by the steering team. Once revised, Ray Toll will send to MMS Gulf of Mexico Regional Office, MMS Headquarters Environmental Studies Branch, NOAA NOS, and the NOPP Interagency Working Group on Ocean Observations as initial places for further comments and possible funding interest. Cooper suggested the oil and gas industry might be interested in contributing to the funding.
  5. Measurement and products archive for the deepwater Gulf of Mexico (Worth Nowlin) – Identification of what users might want archived is needed before further planning for this pilot can progress.
  6. Maps of marine mammals and endangered turtles (Deferred)
  7. Probability maps of bottom hazards and maps of hydrocarbon seeps (Alfredo Prelat) – Board members had previously discussed by telephone a report on this project from Prelat and had suggested that the project be narrowed to enhance chances for support. The revised draft prospectus for this pilot is nearing completion. Once received, Jochens will circulate the draft to the Board for comment. The steering team will revise as necessary, and then the draft will be posted to the GCOOS web site and comments will be solicited from the GCOOS listserve and the public.
  8. Improving forecasts of hurricane severity (Cort Cooper) – Cooper reported that a letter was sent to NOAA’s Assistant Administrator for the National Weather Service endorsing the recommendation of NOAA’s Scientific Advisory Board that NOAA embark on a new initiative to improve hurricane intensity forecasts and offering to help with that effort by assisting in obtaining access for NOAA to offshore platforms for mounting instruments or releasing probes. Toll reported that he received positive feedback from NOAA on the letter. Nowlin suggested the possibility of getting the Gulf states governors to support the recommendation for improving hurricane intensity forecasts. Cooper reported on a program for improvements to hurricane intensity forecasts and impacts projections (HiFi) being proposed by the National Center for Atmospheric Research and university principal investigators who are prominent scientists in the study of hurricanes. Running the project through UCAR would provide a peer-reviewed, competitive mechanism for the selection of HiFi research projects. The Board voted to send an open letter to NOAA endorsing the prospectus as being consistent with the interests of the GCOOS-RA in seeing improvements made to hurricane intensity forecasts. The Board discussed whether it should contribute to an 11-13 October 2006 workshop to develop the details of the HiFi science plan; it decided to endorse support of this project and possibly to provide some support for the workshop. Nowlin suggested that SECOORA might also be interested in endorsing the project and be a cosponsor of the workshop; Luther agreed to pursue.


  • Team leads to continue to move the planning for the priority pilots forward.
  • Jochens to let the Committee chairs know they have a week to comment on the Operations Center Pilot prospectus.
  • Jochens to draft open letter endorsing the HiFi project in concept. Board to comment. Toll to send to NOAA with copy to the principal investigators preparing the complete prospectus.
  • Luther to pursue engaging SECOORA on the HiFi topic.
6.2 Next Actions for Engaging Mexico in the GCOOS-RA (Alfredo Prelat)

Prelat contacted all the university personnel that were visited by GCOOS members Nowlin, Toll, Prelat, and van Smirren in June 2006. The universities are pursuing the possibility of becoming Associate Members of the GCOOS-RA, as is PEMEX. The scientists are seeking a technical meeting with NDBC and EPA technical personnel to discuss measurements, buoy deployments, real-time transmission, and QA/QC. Although it is not sponsoring or funding the meeting, the GCOOS-RA is willing to help facilitate the setting up this meeting. The meeting would be held in early 2007, possibly in the New Orleans area.


  • Prelat to continue to track progress towards associate GCOOS-RA membership of Mexican scientists and PEMEX.
  • Prelat to continue interact with Mexican scientists and technical personnel on the technical meeting with NDBC and EPA. Nowlin to assist Prelat with contacts.
6.3 GCOOS-RA Business Plan (Ann Jochens)

Jochens reported that revision of the Business Plan had been deferred due to the changing requirements for RA certification. She also reported she had received comments from the EOC and some Board members. She will request comments from the committees. The Board decided the plan should be reviewed and then be revised to read as we believe a Business Plan should be structured.


  • Committees and Board members with comments on the Business Plan should provide them to Jochens by the end of September.
  • Jochens and Nowlin to review the plan and determine what revisions are needed.
  • Jochens to revise the Business Plan and circulate it to the Board before the next Board meeting.

Evening Session, 24 August 2006

7.0 Focus Group Discussion for the NOAA/CSC Gulf of Mexico Needs Assessment (Chris Ellis and Dave Easter)

The Board acted as a focus group for a Gulf Coast Needs Assessment conducted by Chris Ellis and Dave Easter of the NOAA Coastal Services Center. Topics covered included

  1. Ecosystem-based management
    What are the informational gaps and capabilities that the coastal management community is missing that would help strengthen ecosystem based approaches to managements?
  2. Community resiliency
    What information and tools could NOAA provide related to increasing community resiliency in the Gulf of Mexico?
  3. Communication
    How/where do you currently access NOAA information?
    How would you like to receive NOAA information?
    Are there existing sources of NOAA information that are particularly useful or challenging?
    How does the academic community see themselves interacting with the Gulf Coast Services Center?

The CSC plans to conduct additional focus group discussions with other groups. After completion, a synthesis report will be drafted and made available.

Friday, 25 August 2006

8.0 Closed Session of Board Meeting (continued)
8.1 Review of GCOOS Public Relations Activities (Worth Nowlin and Ann Jochens)

The Board decided that the GCOOS-RA should develop a Communications Strategy. Toll agreed to put together a strawman for Board comment. Nowlin reported that a consultant has been contacted to help develop a logo and letterhead for GCOOS. The Board made a number of suggestions for logo themes. Jochens reported that the GCOOS Office had purchased a 3-panel traveling display case. Generic GCOOS information will be developed for one panel, and material for the other panels will be developed depending on use of the display. Jochens is presenting a paper on the development of GCOOS at the MTS/IEEE Oceans ’06. Nowlin and Jochens are preparing an article on GCOOS for the MTS journal. Nowlin requested that Board members keep track of events/meetings at which they speak on GCOOS and provide that information for inclusion in the 6-month reports (October and April) to NOAA on GCOOS-RA activities. Nowlin reported that a GCOOS brochure would eventually be developed and made available to the Board for handing out after presentations; Spranger suggested a 3-fold brochure. Spranger also suggested a GCOOS bookmark could be developed quickly; the bookmark should contain the GCOOS web address as well as statistics about the Gulf.


  • Toll to prepare a strawman Communications Strategy and circulate to the Board and Jochens.
  • Nowlin to continue development of GCOOS logo and letterhead and include the design of a GCOOS bookmark.
  • Jochens to prepare standard material for the display case.
  • Board members to provide list of meetings when and where they spoke on GCOOS and papers to Toll, who will consolidate and provide to Susan Martin/Nowlin.
8.2 Conflict of Interest Policy and CRADAs (Ann Jochens)

Jochens reviewedconflicts of interest (COI) policy and Cooperative Research and Development Agreements (CRADAs). The Board agreed that a conflicts of interest policy should be formally adopted and that COI mitigation plans should be implemented.


  • Jochens to circulate a suggested Conflict of Interest Policy and COI mitigation plan to the Board for comment. Eventually, these would be reviewed by an attorney for the GCOOS-RA, adopted, and implemented by the members.
8.3 Membership of GCOOS Councils, Committees, and Public Health Task Team (Worth Nowlin)

The Board considered the membership of the Councils and Committees. It approved that invitations to join the EOC be extended to the Louisiana and Texas E/O representatives of the Gulf of Mexico Alliance and the ACT E/O Coordinator. The Board decided to invite Steve Morey to join the Products and Services Committee; Jochens is to extend the invitation. The Board discussed addition to the PSC of representatives from fisheries, flood plain managers, recreation/tourism and other sectors. The Board agreed that the PSC (and other committees) could have outside people attend its meetings or participate in its working groups as the committee believed necessary to conduct its work. Rabalais agreed to iterate with Russ Beard on what additional membership he wants for the PSC. The Board considered potential membership for the GCOOS Public Health Task Force and developed suggestions, which Jochens will pass along to the Chair, Bart Bibler.

The Board discussed how long member terms should be on the councils and committees. The Board decided that the terms should be 3 years for the Councils and 2 years for the Committees. Membership is renewable. Terms are not staggered. The Board also discussed ways to enhance communication between the Board and the Councils and Committees. Toll will contact the chairs between the annual meetings to keep the Board engaged with the Councils and Committees.


  • Spranger to invite new members to the EOC.
  • Jochens to invite Steve Morey to join the Products and Services Committee.
  • Rabalais to determine from Russ Beard what additional members are needed on the Products and Services Committee.
  • Jochens to inform all Council and Committee Chairs that they may invite outside people to their meeting as necessary to carry out their work—they need not always add members.
  • Jochens to inform all chairs that Council terms are for three years and Committee terms are for two years and that membership is renewable.
  • Jochens will pass Board suggestions regarding Public Health Task Team to Bart Bibler.
  • All chairs to be invited to attend summer Board meetings and to participate in at least one Board telephone discussion during the year.
9.0 New Business

Approval of EOC Coordinator contract: The GCOOS Office has identified funds sufficient to cover the hire of the GCOOS Education and Outreach Coordinator. After Walker and Lugo-Fernandez left the room, the Board discussed the proposal of Nowlin to hire this person through a subcontract to Sharon Walker of University of Southern Mississippi and to base this person in the Ocean Springs, MS, area. The Board approved this action. This location was selected to centralize the GOMA, CenGOOS, and GCOOS education and outreach coordinators in close proximity to each other to enhance coordination between the groups.


  • Walker to provide Nowlin with a final proposal and budget for the GCOOS Education and Outreach Coordinator. Once the subcontract is final, Walker is to pursue the hire with input from a hiring committee that consists of John Dindo, Sharon Walker, and Joe Swaykos of the EOC’s Ad Hoc E/O Coordinator Subcommittee and Ann Jochens of the GCOOS Office.

Increasing contacts with the U.S. Coast Guard: The Board decided that GCOOS should enhance its interactions with the U.S. Coast Guard. It was agreed that Toll and Luther would meet with District 7 representatives and that Toll and Martin would meet with District 8 representatives.


  • Board to provide names of U.S. Coast Guard contacts to Ray Toll.
  • Luther to set up meeting with District 7.
  • Martin to set up meeting with District 8.

Next Board Meeting: The Board agreed that the next meeting would be the week of March 5th in New Orleans, LA. The Parties and Stakeholder Council would meet that week as well. The first day would be the meeting of the Parties and Council. The morning would consist of a review GCOOS activities and plans. In the afternoon and on the morning of the second day the Stakeholder Council would continue their meeting. The Board meeting would begin on the morning of the second day and might continue into thte morning of the third day. It was agreed that the focus would be on the Business Plan.

There being no further business, Ray Toll adjourned the Board of Directors meeting at approximately 1030 EDT.


APPENDIX 1: GCOOS-RA Board of Directors Meeting Attendees

Name Affiliation 8/24/06 8/25/06
Board Members
Cortis Cooper ChevronTexaco
Mark Luther University of South Florida
Robert (Buzz) Martin Texas General Land Office
Worth Nowlin Texas A&M University
Alexis Lugo-Fernández for Chris Oynes Minerals Management Service, Gulf of Mexico Regional Office
Alfredo Prelat Terralliance
Nancy Rabalais Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium
Mike Spranger Florida Sea Grant Program
Raymond Toll Science Applications International Corporation
Jan van Smirren Fugro GEOS
Sharon Walker J. L. Scott Marine Education Center & Aquarium, University of Southern Mississippi
Ann Jochens Texas A&M University, GCOOS Regional Coordinator
Matt Howard Texas A&M University, GCOOS Data Coordinator
Jeff Donovan University of South Florida  
Dave Easter NOAA Coastal Services Center  
Chris Ellis NOAA Coastal Services Center  
Ali Hudon University of South Florida, Alliance for Coastal Technologies
Cliff Merz University of South Florida  
Chris Simoniello Florida Sea Grant Program  
Gary Springer Gulf of Mexico States Accord  
Vembu Subramanian University of South Florida  
Steve Wolfe Florida Department of Environmental Protection  


APPENDIX 2: Agenda

GCOOS Board of Directors Meeting
St. Petersburg, FL
USF College of Marine Sciences, Conference Room
August 24-25, 2006

Discussion leaders are identified.

AUGUST 24, 2006

0830 Coffee, juice, etc.
0900 Opening of meeting: welcoming remarks, introductions, logistics, adoption of agenda
Reports on Gulf of Mexico Alliance and Gulf of Mexico States Accord
0930 Update on the Gulf of Mexico Alliance–Steve Wolfe, Florida Department of Environmental Protection
Wolfe is the back-up lead person for the Alliance in Florida, the state lead for the Alliance’s teams on the Water Quality Issue and Nutrient Issue, and the chief staffer for the Florida Oceans and Coastal Resources Council.
1000 Brief of the activities of the Gulf of Mexico Accord–Gary Springer, General Secretary of the Accord.
1030 Coffee
Reports on GCOOS Activities
1050 Activities, plans, and requirements of the Education & Outreach Council–Mike Spranger, chair of the EOC
1120 Activities, plans, and requirements of the Stakeholder Council–Cort Cooper
1140 Activities, plans, and requirements of the Observing Systems Committee–Buzz Martin
1200 Lunch
1300 Activities, plans, and requirements of the DMAC Committee–Matthew Howard
1330 Activities, plans, and requirements of the Products & Services Committee–Nancy Rabalais
1350 Activities, plans, and requirements of the Membership Committee–Worth Nowlin
1400 Review of workshop planning activities–Ann Jochens and Worth Nowlin
Reports on Related Activities
1440 Brief on education and outreach activities in SECOORA–Chris Simoniello, SECOORA Education and Outreach Coordinator
1510 Coffee
Closed Session of Board Meeting
1530 Discussion of plans for proposals to support pilot projects or enhancements to observing subsystems
1615 Next actions in engaging Mexico in the GCOOS-RA–Alfredo Prelat
1640 Discussion of the Business Plan
1720 Adjourn closed session for day
Evening Session
1800 Focus group discussion for the NOAA/CSC Gulf of Mexico Needs Assessment–Chris Ellis and Dave Easter, group leaders [Held in the Regatta Room of the St. Petersburg Yacht Club]
1930 Dutch treat dinner at Ceviche Tapas Bar and Restaurant

AUGUST 25, 2006

0800 Coffee, juice, etc.
Resume Closed Session of Board Meeting
0815 Review of GCOOS Public Relations activities–Worth Nowlin and Ann Jochens
0845 Discussion of Conflict of Interest policy and CRADAs–Ann Jochens
0905 Consideration of membership of GCOOS groups based on inputs from group chairs; Decide on membership of Public Health Task Team
0930 New business
Date of Next Board Meeting
1010 Adjourn Board Meeting
Meeting of Executive Committee
1025 Open Meeting of Executive Committee
1200 Adjourn Meeting


APPENDIX 3: Operational Terms of Reference

Data Management and Communications Committee
(Revised from GCOOS Memorandum of Agreement Section VI.b.8)

The DMAC Committee will oversee development of the data management and communications component of GCOOS and ensure its alignment with the IOOS DMAC Plan. The DMAC Committee will make recommendations to the Board on DMAC pilot projects that are needed to sustain and enhance IT infrastructure of the coastal ocean observing system and associated data. The DMAC Committee also is responsible for recommending to the Board annual updates to the business plan for data management and communications activities. The DMAC Committee will be appointed by the GCOOS Board of Directors and the chair will be elected by the members of the Committee.

Adopted August 24, 2006 by the GCOOS Board of Directors.


Observing Systems Committee
(Revised from GCOOS Memorandum of Agreement Section VI.b.9)

The Observing Systems Committee will be established to aid in the technical and scientific development of GCOOS observations. The Committee will be responsible for the recommendation of standards, QA/QC procedures, and observing system architecture, the consideration of and recommendations on technology improvements necessary to meet present and future user needs, and the 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, geological, and chemical oceanography, hydrography, fish and shellfish, seabirds, marine mammals, atmospheric science, remote sensing, fisheries technology, and aquaculture and mariculture. The Observing Systems Committee also is responsible for recommending to the Board annual updates to the business plan for observational issues associated with the GCOOS. Members will be appointed by the Board of Directors and the chair will be elected by the members of the Committee. The Committee can use targeted workshops and establish working groups to develop its scientific and technical advice.

Adopted August 24, 2006 by the GCOOS Board of Directors.


Products and Services Committee
(Revised from GCOOS Memorandum of Agreement Section VI.b.10)

The Products and Services Committee will be responsible for examining and recommending the products and services necessary to meet the requirements of the GCOOS user community. The Committee will define the initial user input and feedback processes and develop the products and distribution mechanisms. The Committee also will make recommendations to the Board on research or pilot projects that are needed to sustain and enhance the products and services provided under the coastal ocean observing system. Members will be appointed by the Board of Directors. The Products and Services Committee also is responsible for recommending to the Board updates to the business plan for user services and products. The chair will be elected by the members of the Committee and will work with the chairs of the DMAC and Observing Systems Committees, the Stakeholder Council, and the Education and Outreach Council to closely link the work of the committees and councils.

Adopted August 24, 2006 by the GCOOS Board of Directors.


GCOOS Membership Committee
(Revised from GCOOS Memorandum of Agreement Section VI.b.5)

The Membership Committee is responsible for overseeing the election of members of the Board of Directors, including soliciting nominations, preparing ballots with biographies, distributing ballots to voting Parties to the GCOOS-RA Memorandum of Agreement, counting votes, and announcing new members.

The Membership Committee is responsible for overseeing the election of the Chair of the Stakeholder Council, including soliciting nominations from among the Stakeholder Council members, preparing ballots with biographies, distributing ballots to Stakeholder Council members,  counting votes, and announcing the new chair.

The Membership Committee will actively seek potential new members of the GCOOS-RA. There are three classes of members who sign the GCOOS-RA MoA: voting Parties (organizations or financially contributing individuals), non-voting Parties (individuals), and Associates (non-U.S. members; a non-voting class). Priority should be given to recruiting more voting Parties. The Membership Committee should obtain on a regular basis from Stakeholder Council members and from their own members recommendations for prospective new members. Although the Membership Committee may discuss membership with prospective members to the RA, they should not tender formal invitations. The Chair of the Membership Committee should forward recommended new members along with adequate contact information to the GCOOS Regional Coordinator. Formal invitations to prospective members will be sent by the Regional Coordinator on behalf of the Chair of the GCOOS Board of Directors.

Adopted June 19, 2006 by the GCOOS Board of Directors.