Tulane-Xavier Center for Bioenvironmental Research, New Orleans, LA

Three groups of the Gulf of Mexico Coastal Ocean Observing System Regional Association (GCOOS-RA) met on 6-7 March 2007 at the Tulane-Xavier Center for Bioenvironmental Research in New Orleans, LA. The GCOOS-RA Parties met jointly with the Stakeholder Council the morning of 6 March 2007. For the afternoon meeting, it was decided the Stakeholder Council meeting would be combined with the Board of Directors meeting. Parties were welcomed to attend as well. Appendix A lists attendees and their GCOOS roles. Provisional agendas for the meetings are given in Appendices B and C. These are the combined minutes.

Tuesday morning, 6 March 2007
Welcome, Introductions, Logistics; Parties and Stakeholder Council Joint Meeting
Ann Jochens, GCOOS Regional Coordinator, welcomed everyone to the meeting at 0830 CST and thanked Doug Meffort and Tulane-Xavier for hosting the meetings. Everyone introduced themselves. Bart Bibler was identified as the acting chair of the Stakeholder Council. The morning session focused on a series of talks that provided updates on the U.S. Integrated Ocean Observing System, the GCOOS, modeling activities important to the GCOOS, and the status of ocean observing satellite missions.
Joint Meeting of GCOOS Parties and Stakeholder Council
Report on the Status of the U.S. Integrated Ocean Observing System
Ann Jochens presented the status of the U.S. Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS) for Tom Malone, Ocean.US. This included a brief overview of IOOS and a discussion of the new Ocean.US initiative that established the Modeling and Analysis Steering Team (MAST). MAST is chaired by Dr. Christopher Mooers, University of Miami. One scientist recommended by the GCOOS-RA is serving on the MAST.
Development of the GCOOS Regional Association
Ray Toll, Chair of the Board, summarized the development of the GCOOS Regional Association. The demographics of the GCOOS-RA (Parties, membership on Board, Councils, and Committees) include reasonably balanced representation from all five Gulf Coast states as well as private industry, academic/research institutions, and local, state, and federal government. There was discussion about the need for a 1-2 page fact sheet discussing the benefits of GCOOS for groups such as non-governmental organizations (NGO). It was brought out that at least one NGO had not signed as a party due to confusion about the need to contribute funds to the GCOOS-RA.
ACTION: GCOOS Office to develop a 1-2 page fact sheet regarding GCOOS for the purpose of informing organizations that might be interested in membership in the GCOOS-RA. Copies to be provided to the Board and the Membership Committee.
Jochens clarified that anyone involved in Gulf ocean observations can sign the MoA to become a Party without cost, but that to be a Voting Party requires the signatory to be either an organization that uses or contributes data and products or to be an individual who contributes $2000 (in cash or in kind). Toll reported that all GCOOS councils and committees are now in place and that GCOOS is actively involved with the Interagency Working Group for Ocean Observations (IWGOO) and the National Federation of Regional Associations (NFRA). He summarized the growing interest of the U.S. Coast Guard in IOOS and of district offices in building relations with regional associations (e.g., Districts 7 and 8 with the GCOOS-RA); follow-up meetings are planned. There was discussion of the goals of the GCOOS-RA and other groups such as the Gulf of Mexico Alliance (GOMA) and the Gulf States Accord and how these groups are partnering to coordinate and cooperate on areas of mutual interest. The building of relations with Mexico was summarized by Alfredo Prelat.
Status and Plans for the Regional Observing System, GCOOS
Ann Jochens presented the status and plans for the GCOOS regional observing system. She provided a summary of existing observing system elements and the efforts to build new elements through calls for proposals by the NOAA Coastal Services Center for RCOOS development, the National Water Quality Monitoring Network Council (NWQMNC) for pilot studies, and the Department of Homeland Security for Centers for Excellence. GCOOS-RA proposed four projects to NOAA and partnered with GOMA on a proposal to NWQMNC. The four Letters of Intent sent to NOAA were Integration of and Regional Enhancements to the GCOOS; GCOOS-RA Pilot Project: Proof of Concept for a 3-D Operational Ocean Current Forecast Model of the Gulf of Mexico; Standardization of Local Data Network Nodes in the GCOOS-RA; and Decision Support Tools for Improving Resiliency to Inundation.
Jochens reported on the action plans, developed in April 2006, of the Observing Systems, Products and Services, and Data Management and Communications Committees, and the Education and Outreach Council. The first priority of the Education and Outreach Council was the hire of an E/O Coordinator. Jochens reported that funds had been identified and approvals received to hire this person for the initial year. The E/O Coordinator is expected to be hired in April and will be located at the University of Southern Mississippi. This is in close proximity to the GOMA E/O Coordinator in Alabama and will provide opportunities for development of close ties with GOMA. Jochens also reported on the status of the pilot projects.
Present and Future U.S. Navy Operational Prediction Systems
Patrick Hogan, Naval Research Laboratory, gave a comprehensive overview of the present and future U.S. Navy operational prediction systems. The overview was prepared by P.J. Hogan, H.E. Hurlburt, O.M. Smedstad, J. Cummings, and E.J. Metzger. Models are being developed with ever-finer horizontal (1/8° to 1/32°) and vertical resolution (20 to >40 levels) and with data assimilation capabilities. Many of the model products and output are available online (see http://www.ocean.nrlssc.navy.mil/ and http://www.hycom.org).
Integrating Ocean Observations
Paul Moersdorf, National Data Buoy Center (NDBC), discussed the NDBC support to the IOOS and response to the GCOOS-RA priorities. NDBC has undertaken a substantial effort to develop an IOOS Data Assembly Center (DAC) that handles real-time ocean observations. Data flowing through the DAC receives some quality control before it is distributed further online (see http://www.ndbc.noaa.gov/). A number of GCOOS observing elements have partnered with NDBC to make their data available in near-real time through the NDBC DAC. In addition to providing the near-real time data sets, NDBC has undertaken an effort to include consideration of the priorities of the IOOS Regional Associations as NDBC develops its system expansion and augmentation activities. In January 2005, NDBC requested GCOOS-RA priorities. GCOOS requested the addition of directional waves, currents, and salinity at selected NDBC-related sites. NDBC has incorporated many of these into the plans for augmentation; some enhancements have been completed.
JCOMM Status and Ocean-Observing Satellite Elements
Matt Howard gave the presentation on the status of JCOMM and ocean-observing satellites elements on behalf of Eric Lindstrom, NASA, and Jean-Louis Fellous, ESA/CNES. The Joint Technical Commission for Oceanography and Marine Meteorology (JCOMM) of the World Meteorology Organization (WMO) and Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) is an international body that seeks an integrated ocean observing system with integrated data management. An important component to the ocean observing system is satellite observations. The summary presented showed that there is a coming substantial reduction of crisis proportions in remote sensing capabilities as the many aging satellites are not replaced or are replaced without the overlap with existing systems that is needed to ensure continuity of calibrated measurements. The crisis may be especially difficult for U.S. scientists and users of satellite data because the follow-on satellite mission resources have been reprogrammed from earth science systems into other activities such as the mission to Mars. Discussion included examples of failed efforts to obtain foreign data sets. It was suggested that the GCOOS-RA should consider creation of a satellite committee.
ACTION: Board to consider creation of a GCOOS remote sensing working group to evaluate the situation regarding earth observing satellites and to recommend actions to the Board.
Tuesday afternoon, March 6
Opening of Board of Directors Meeting; Continuation of Stakeholder Council Meeting
Ray Toll, Chair of the GCOOS-RA Board of Directors, called the Board of Directors meeting to order at 1345 hr. It was decided that the Stakeholder Council would meet jointly with the Board, and Parties were welcome to attend as well.
Specific Sector Stakeholder Workshops Held and Planned
Jochens reported on the specific sector stakeholder workshops that had been held and were planned. Three focused sector workshops have been held to date. These were on Harmful Algal Blooms (April 2004), the Oil and Gas and Related Industry (November 2005), and Storm Surge and Inundation (January 2007). Each of these workshops resulted in the development of measurement requirements with priorities and identification of pilot projects. These were reviewed. The fisheries sector has been engaged by presentations to and discussions with the Gulf States Marine Fisheries Commission, Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council, and NOAA Southeast Fisheries Research Center, with additional follow-up contacts planned. A GCOOS Task Force on Public Health has been established to consider results from IOOS workshops and to advise the Board on Public Health issues for GCOOS. Future focused sector workshops are being planned. These include maritime transportation, recreational boating, and urban planners/developers.

One area of difficulty for the workshop deliverables was in accomplishing the goal of determining the economic benefits of the various priority measurements and pilots. The determination of economic benefits of IOOS systems is expected, yet the oceanographic community is not trained to do it. The Colgan report was an early effort by a trained economist to identify the benefits of the broad categories. Russ Beard, Chair of the Products and Services Committee, reported on a short review of that report with recommendations (see Appendix D). It was suggested that GCOOS consider making a recommendation that NOAA undertake a detailed look at the economic benefits of ocean observations. Toll then asked whether there were other sectors that had been missed. It was suggested that the urban planners/developers be expanded to cover hotel owners and tourism bureaus. It was suggested that coral reefs and their use be considered as a workshop area.
ACTION: Board to consider how to approach the issue of obtaining improved estimates of economic benefits of the GCOOS.
There then ensued an extensive discussion of the relationship between the GCOOS-RA and GOMA. Bryon Griffith of the EPA Gulf of Mexico Program stated that GOMA had the strong backing of the state governors as well as a number of federal agencies. He indicated there is some confusion on the part of groups he deals with over what is GCOOS and what is GOMA. He recommended that the GCOOS-RA integrate itself more tightly with GOMA by establishing closer ties with GOMA and undertaking a small number of priorities that mesh with the GOMA goals, and thereby accelerate the successes of both groups. The Board members indicated they support strong cooperation with GOMA and indeed the ties between the two groups already were strengthening, with a number of GCOOS-RA active participants also being active participants in GOMA. The Board also stated that the GCOOS-RA had a much broader stakeholder community than the state agencies and federal agencies involved with GOMA and that therefore GCOOS-RA efforts to obtain the regional priorities and to build the regional observing system could not be limited to the five theme areas selected by GOMA.

Reports from Chairs of All Committees and Councils
Products and Services Committee
Russ Beard, Chair of the Products and Services Committee, reported on the activities of the committee (Appendix E). One new member, Mr. Joe Jewell of the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources and Office of Marine Fisheries, has been added to enhance the committee’s capabilities associated with the fisheries sector. Beard identified two products that soon will be available through servers; NCDDC has been working with the Northern Gulf Institute to serve NRL MODIS model output through the Ecosystem Data Assembly Center and with Florida to serve Florida Beach Quality Data through the NCDDC C-SIDE web site. Beard said he would provide to the GCOOS Office two NOAA presentations on IOOS and Integrated Ecosystem Assessments for information. The committee had a number of suggestions for the Board to consider. These focused on reviewing the processes by which projects are selected or endorsed for building the GCOOS infrastructure. The NERRs and the full GOMA network would like to be better incorporated into GCOOS. Beard will report back to the Board on additional progress on the committee’s Action Plan tasks.
ACTION: Board to evaluate the processes by which projects are selected or endorsed for building the GCOOS infrastructure.
ACTION: Board to consider how to engage the NERRs and GOMA more effectively into the GCOOS-RA.
Observing Systems Committee
Stephan Howden, Chair of the Observing Systems Committee, reported on the progress of the committee on its Action Plan tasks. The committee had reviewed and provided comments to the Board and/or GCOOS Office on its Terms of Reference, the draft Business Plan, and the draft plan for a Regional Operations Center. The outline of the Observing System Plan had been completed. Work is underway on the Observing System Plan itself. A key first task is to update the inventory, then gather information from user groups (through the Councils, Committees, and groups such as GOMA) on what products are wanted, and then to do a gap analysis for missing measurements. The Observing Systems Committee developed a suggestion for the Board on an enhanced RCOOS infrastructure in response to the NOAA announcement of opportunity.
Data Management and Communications Committee
Matt Howard presented the report of the DMAC Committee. Progress has been made on 5 of 8 tasks in the committee’s Action Plan. The draft prospecti for the 3-D modeling pilot project and the Regional Operations Center were reviewed and comments provided through the GCOOS Office. Efforts to build a data portal consisted of survey of other data portals and GCOOS data portal needs; a plan was drafted and funding is needed. This was used as the basis for a Letter of Intent under the NOAA funding opportunity. The GCOOS-RA has no resources to conduct an extensive demonstration of interoperability. So data and model output from selected GCOOS data providers were supplied successfully via the OpenIOOS and Texas Mesonet sites as a first step in this demonstration. Two members of the DMAC committee have moved to new positions and can no longer serve on the committee. Potential new members were suggested to the Board for consideration. Howard then reported on new developments in the DMAC arena. Among these are the pending request of NOAA-CSC for information from data providers for the IOOS Regional Observations Registry and the adoption by the NWS of the Open Geospatial Consortium Web Map Service (OGC WMS; http://www.opengeospatial.org/) server approach (for more information on the NWS implementation see http://www.weather.gov/forecasts/xml/OGC_services/).
Education and Outreach Council
On behalf of the Education and Outreach Council Chair Mike Spranger, Sharon Walker, Past-Chair, reported on the status of council activities. The highest priority task for the council was to identify funds for and then hire an Education and Outreach (E/O) Coordinator. Funds for at least one year were identified and the GCOOS Office subcontracted with Walker of the University of Southern Mississippi to hire and supervise the E/O Coordinator. Eleven applications were received before the closing date. Search Committee members expect to interview up to 5 candidates by telephone and up to 2 in person. A decision is expected in April. Once this person is hired, the additional tasks in the council’s Action Plan will be undertaken in earnest, with the first effort being the needs assessment that will be coordinated with the GOMA Environmental Education Network (GOMA EEN). Walker also reported that the pending proposals to NOAA are planned to include funds for education and outreach activities associated with each project. The GCOOS Education and Outreach Council plans to hold a joint meeting with the GOMA EEN the week of 18 June 2007.
Wednesday morning, 7 March 2007
Status of Planning for Pilot Projects
Discussion centered around the possible proposals to NOAA from the four Letters of Intent (see 1.3 above). The Board plans to consider what role it will have in tracking the activities.
ACTION: Don Roman to initiate email discussion.
Status of Identification of User Requirements
GCOOS Standing Public Health Task Team
Bart Bibler, Chair of the Standing Public Health Task Team, reported that the team has been established with representatives from all five states. The team will build on the results of the IOOS Public Health Workshop held in St. Petersburg, FL, in January 2006. Bibler participated in a meeting of a working group of six on public health in Denver in August 2006. The goals of this group were to develop the conceptual framework for an observing system designed to protect public health. The group decided to start to prepare two case studies. One was to examine harmful algal blooms of K. brevis in the Gulf of Mexico; the other was to examine pathogens on California beaches. Bibler reported that a number of people are working on the conceptual design for the HABs system (see 8 below). Bibler recommended that the Task Team be added to the GCOOS web site. Nancy Rabalais reported that the International Geospherre-Biosphere Program has a core project on Land-Ocean Interactions in the Coastal Zone that may touch on some of the public health issues and other issues of interest to GCOOS. She is on the Scientific Steering Committee and will keep the Board informed of pertinent activities.
ACTION: GCOOS Office to add the Task Team to the GCOOS web site.
ACTION: Rabalais to keep the Board informed of activities of the IGBP core project on Land-Ocean Interactions in the Coastal Zone.
Further Identification of User Requirements
Bryon Griffith then raised the importance of including the GOMA priorities in the GCOOS-RA priorities; hypoxia was given as an example. The Board pointed out that many of the observations needed for the GOMA priorities were included in the GCOOS-RA priorities, but perhaps that needed to be clarified. Griffith suggested there needed to be a blueprint showing what GCOOS priorities addressed GOMA priorities. It was discussed that GCOOS is being built as a sustained system of coastal observations for all users and that collaborations with many different users including GOMA were being built. All agreed that it was important for GCOOS-RA and GOMA to establish a stronger strategic partnership. One area of clear overlap and where cooperative efforts were already strong was in the area of education and outreach. Don Roman suggested that he draft a letter to GOMA, with copies to EPA (Griffith) and NOAA-CSC (Davidson), that (1) describes the GCOOS mission, (2) discusses how GCOOS can and intends to support GOMA activities, and (3) states that GCOOS is delighted to be supportive of GOMA and would welcome GOMA support of GCOOS. The Board supported this effort.
ACTION: Roman to draft letter to GOMA on GCOOS-GOMA interactions.
Griffith mentioned that EPA will be hosting a GOMA workshop in July 2007 in St. Petersburg, FL, and he hoped there would be a GCOOS topical track at the meeting. Board members were receptive to this idea and willing to participate. The Board supports having GCOOS-RA participate, and Griffith will get the GCOOS-RA invited. The Board decided that, in preparation, the GCOOS Business Plan should be evaluated to identify what parts match with each of the GOMA themes and then to consider a gap analysis. The results could then be presented at the workshop. Nancy Rabalais mentioned there likely also would be a workshop on developing a hypoxia observing system in July.
ACTION: GCOOS to participate in July workshop.
ACTION: Board, with assistance of GCOOS Office, to cross-reference the GCOOS Business Plan components to GOMA themes with a gap analysis, as practical, for presentation at the July workshop.
Status of IWGOO and Ocean.US Office
Ray Toll presented information on the status of the IWGOO and the Ocean.US office. Toll is a member of the Interagency Working Group on Ocean Observations (IWGOO). Activities of this group of 15 U.S. agencies include drafting of a white paper identifying actions that each agency can undertake in support of IOOS. The Ocean.US office is moving location and will be co-located with the NOAA IOOS office; the nature of its future duties is still to be decided. The National Federation of Regional Associations was holding its annual meeting in Washington, D.C., just after the GCOOS meetings. As the GCOOS representatives, both Ray Toll and Buzz Martin were attending. Included on the second day were planned meetings for Toll and Martin with staff of 7 congressional offices. Lugo-Fernandez suggested that the topic of the crisis in earth observing satellites be brought up at the NFRA meeting; Toll agreed it would. Roman proposed the Board draft a letter to IWGOO or the heads of NOAA and NASA decrying the lack of satellites in the near future. The Board nominated Worth Nowlin to draft the letter, the Board would review, and Toll would sign and send.
ACTION: Nowlin to draft letter on the coming crisis associated with earth observing satellites.
Status of GCOOS Business Plan and Communication Plan
Communication Plan
A draft communications strategy had been circulated to the Board by Worth Nowlin. Discussion focused first on the various audiences that might be addressed under a communication plan. The Board decided the plan needed to have the targeted audiences added, perhaps as prioritized constituencies in an appendix. The Education and Outreach needs assessment is a first step for identifying E/O audiences. Roman had substantial comment on the strategy, emphasizing it needed to be more specific and inclusive, needed a budget, needed a timeline, needed to cover interactions with NFRA, the public, congressional education, to name a few points. Jochens pointed out there was no money to engage in a broad communications effort and that what was suggested was what was doable in the present resource limited situation. The Board decided that they would review the draft and provide comments to the GCOOS Office within two weeks; these comments should be incorporated and a new draft provided for Board review.
ACTION: Board to provide comments to GCOOS Office on draft Communications Strategy by March 21.
ACTION: GCOOS Office to revise and circulate a new draft to the Board.
Business Plan
Jochens reported that the few comments received had been evaluated and will be incorporated in the draft Business Plan. She stated the plan would require substantial work based on a needed update of the inventory and a gap analysis. Worth Nowlin plans to work on the inventory and gap analysis with Stephan Howden and the GCOOS Office staff. The Board expressed concern that the complexity of the document made it difficult for the vision and mission to be clear. The vision and mission of GCOOS should be clearly stated at the beginning of the plan in an executive summary of 1-6 pages. The goal would be to have the vision lead clearly to the mission leading to the goals and then the actions with budgets projected through time.
ACTION: Nowlin, Howden, and others to update the inventory and gap analysis.
ACTION: Board to consider ways to get the GCOOS message across more clearly and concisely.
Status and Plans for Interactions with Mexican and Caribbean Colleagues
Building Mexican Associations
Alfredo Prelat summarized recent activities associated with building relations with Mexican counterparts. Arrangements are underway to invite Dr. Porfirio Alvarez Torres, Nacional Director of the Environmental and Natural Resources Agency in Mexico (Secretaria de Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales), to visit NDBC. Paul Moersdorf endorses the invitation, Alfredo Prelat will extend the invitation, and Landry Bernard will be the point of contact at NDBC. Dr. Alvarez is the head of the "Ordenamiento Marino del Golfo de Mexico", a program for the integration of coastal and ocean observations in the Gulf. The visit of Dr. Alvarez will be followed by a workshop on coastal ocean observations with attendees from Mexico and USA.
Building Caribbean Associations
Ann Jochens summarized recent activities associated with building relations with Caribbean counterparts. The focus of these efforts is on the Caribbean Regional Association (CaRA), which is one of the 11 U.S. regional associations under IOOS. At the November 2006 IOOS Regional Coordination Workshop in Chicago, IL, one of the breakout sessions was “Enhancing coordination between neighboring RAs” and the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean were paired. Jochens showed the list of action items resulting from that session. She reported that CaRA was invited to and a representative did attend the GCOOS/SECOORA/NOAA-CSC Storm Surge and Coastal Inundation Workshop held in January 2007.
Bart Bibler suggested that coral reefs issues were common to all three RAs (GCOOS-RA, SECOORA, and CaRA) and that collaborative efforts might be made in this area. Board discussion resulted in the conclusion that, although many groups are working on the coral reef issues (e.g., NOAA Coral Health and Monitoring Program; UNEP Coral Reef Unit), it may be worthwhile to investigate with SECOORA and CaRA what the RAs might be able to contribute to the stakeholders interested in coral reef health. A gap analysis and possibly having the RAs as one mechanism for getting monitoring instruments deployed are two possibilities.
ACTION: Board to consider whether to develop, together with SECOORA and CaRA, a workshop dealing with requirement relative to coral reefs.
Creating a Detailed Observing System Plan for (a) Maritime Transportation, (b) Beach and Water Quality, and (c) Enhanced Resilience to Inundation
Jochens reported that one of the conclusions from the November 2006 IOOS Regional Coordination Workshop was that the need for conceptual designs of specific observing systems, including costs, is acute. Three areas of particular interest to the Gulf of Mexico are maritime transportation, beach and water quality, and enhanced resilience to inundation. One aspect of beach and water quality is the harmful algal bloom (HAB). Worth Nowlin has volunteered to put together a plan for the Gulf of Mexico system, using as one starting point the HAB pilot project discussion draft presented at the November 2006 Workshop. The Board agreed with this plan. Nancy Rabalais and Don Roman wish to be involved; Sharon Walker mentioned that E/O should be included as part of the design.
ACTION: Nowlin to prepare a detailed observing system plan for HABs.
Actions Related to U.S. IOOS by Federal Agencies and Ocean.US
Ray Toll reported that the efforts to engage the U.S. Coast Guard into IOOS were proceeding well, both at the national and GCOOS levels. The USCG is involved in ocean activities in the regions of all the RAs and so is a natural stakeholder for IOOS. Toll and Martin met with District 8 personnel on March 6; the District is interested in engaging with GCOOS and participating on committees. A meeting with District 7 is being set up.
Closed Session
Election of Executive Committee
Sharon Walker moved that the present members of the Executive Committee continue in that capacity. Jan van Smirren seconded. The vote was unanimously in favor. The Executive Committee will continue to be Buzz Martin, Worth Nowlin, Don Roman, Mike Spranger, and Ray Toll.
Liability Insurance
Jochens has requested a quote for Board of Directors general liability insurance. Nancy Rabalais moved that GCOOS funds be expended to purchase such insurance. Sharon Walker seconded. The Board voted unanimously in favor.
Conflict of interest Statements for Board Members and Others as Appropriate
Jochens had sent to the Board of Directors, in a 2 March email, a proposed GCOOS-RA Conflicts of Interest Policy and associated statement for signature by Board members and other GCOOS participants as appropriate (Appendix F) and an Organizational Conflicts of Interest statement (Appendix G). Jochens recommended that the Conflicts of Interest Policy be adopted by the Board and that the Board leave it to the discretion of the individual industry members as to whether they wish sign the Organizational Conflicts of Interest. Nancy Rabalais moved and Sharon Walker seconded that the proposed Conflicts of Interest Policy be adopted and that the Organizational Conflicts of Interest be made available to industry members as a discretionary option. The Board voted unanimously in favor. The FAR 9.5 mentioned in the Organizational Conflicts of Interest is available. Each Board member is to sign the Conflicts of Interest Policy statement and send it to the GCOOS Office.
Committee Memberships
The Board discussed the membership of the committees and councils. If vacancies occur, as expected through time, the Board will entertain suggestions and will the select new members.
Other Business
The Board decided it will review the proposal process, including oversight responsibilities, and obtain and give feedback. The Board plans to promulgate an annual budget and asks Worth Nowlin to prepare the budget for Board review. It was determined no meeting of the Executive Committee was needed.
ACTION: Nowlin to develop for Board review a budget for annual operating costs of the GCOOS RA per se.
The meeting adjourned at 1240 hr CST.


Appendix A: Meeting Attendees
GCOOS Parties, Board of Directors, and Stakeholder Council

6-7 March 2007

(P = Party; IP = Individual Party; RP = Representing Party; BOD = Board of Directors member; SC = Stakeholder Council member; RSC = Representing Stakeholder Council Member; MC = Membership Committee member; PSC = Products and Services Committee member; OSC = Observing System Committee member; DMAC = Data Management and Communications Committee member; PP = Prospective Party; IO = Interested Observer)

Name Institution GCOOS Role March 6 March 7
Board of Directors
Buzz Martin Texas General Land Office P, BOD X X
Don Roman University of Southern Mississippi IP, BOD X X
Alfredo Prelat Terralliance Technologies RP, BOD X X
Nancy Rabalais LUMCON P, BOD X* X
Ray Toll Science Applications International Corporation P, BOD Chair X X
Jan van Smirren Fugro GEOS P, BOD X X
Sharon Walker J.L. Scott Marine EducationCenter & Aquarium P, BOD X* X
Other Participants
Landry Bernard NOAA National Data Buoy Center MC Chair X
Bart Bibler Florida Department of Health SC Chair Pro Tem X X
Jerry Boatman Planning Systems, Inc. P, MC X
Russ Beard NOAA National Coastal Data Development Center PSC Chair X*
Yoko Furukawa Naval Research Laboratory IO X
Bryon Griffith EPA Gulf of Mexico Program PP X* X
Norman Guinasso Texas A&M University P X
Tom Gustafson Nova Southeastern University Oceanographic Center RP, SC X
Callie Hall NASA IO X
Patrick Hogan Naval Research Laboratory P, PSC X
Stephan Howden University of Southern Mississippi IP, OSC Chair X
Paul Kelly Rowan Companies SCl X
Alexis Lugo-Fernandez Minerals Management Service RP, RSC X X
Tom McGee University of Mississippi P X
Terry McPherson NASA MC X
Paul Moersdorf NOAA National Data Buoy Center Speaker X
Mitchell Roffer Roffer’s Ocean Fishing Forecasting Service P, PSC Vice-Chair X
Glen Shen Mote Marine Laboratory IP X
Bruce Spiering NASA IO X
David Szabo Woods Hole Group, Inc. P X
Jyotika Virmani Florida COOS Consortium P X
Larry Warrenfeltz Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition P X
GCOOS Office Staff
Ann Jochens Texas A&M University IP, GCOOS Regional Coordinator X X
Matt Howard Texas A&M University IP, DMAC Chair Pro Tem, GCOOS Data Coordinator X X

*Did not attend the morning meeting of March 6.


Appendix B: GCOOS Board of Directors Meeting

March 6-7, 2007
Tulane-Xavier, New Orleans, LA
Provisional Agenda, version 3

Tuesday afternoon, March 6

1340 Opening of meeting
1350 Reports (of actions, plans, and membership) from chairs of all committees and councils (2 hours)
1600 Status of planning for pilot projects (30 minutes)
1630 Status of identification of user requirements, including report from Public Health Task Team (30 minutes)
1700 Status of pending or planned proposals (30 minutes)

Wednesday morning, March 7

0800 Coffee, Juice, and Bagels
Continue Board Meeting in joint session with the Stakeholder Council
0830 Status and plans for interactions with Mexican and Caribbean colleagues (note actions from November 2006 IOOS Regional Summit)
0900 Status of IWGOO and Ocean.US Office (Ray Toll)
0930 Status of GCOOS Business Plan and Communication Plan
1000 BREAK
Separate Board of Directors meeting continues
1015 Creating a detailed observing system plan for (a) maritime transportation, (b) beach and water quality, and (c) enhanced resilience to inundation
1145 LUNCH

Wednesday afternoon, March 7

1330 Actions related to U.S. IOOS by federal agencies and Ocean.US
1500 Liability insurance and conflict of interest statements for Board members and others as appropriate
1530 BREAK
1545 Other Business
1615 Executive Committee meeting, if needed


Appendix C: GCOOS Stakeholder Council Meeting

6-7 March 2007
Provisional Agenda, version 3

Tuesday morning, March 6

0800 Coffee, juice, and bagels
0830 Opening of Meeting: Welcome, Logistics, Introductions
Joint meeting with GCOOS Parties
0900 Report on the status of the U.S. Integrated Ocean Observing System (Talk from Tom Malone or Mary Altalo, Ocean.US Office)
0920 Development of the GCOOS Regional Association (Ray Toll, SAIC)
0940 Status and plans for the regional observing system GCOOS (Ann Jochens, TAMU)
1000 Specific sector stakeholder workshops held and planned (Worth Nowlin, TAMU)
1020 BREAK
1040 Present and future U.S. Navy operational prediction systems (P. J. Hogan, H. E. Hurlburt, O. M. Smedstad, J. Cummings, and E. J. Metzger)
1110 Integrating Ocean Observations (Paul Moersdorf, NDBC)
1140 JCOMM status and ocean-observing satellite elements (Worth Nowlin for Eric Lindstrom, NASA, and Jean-Louis Fellous, ESA/CNES)
1210 LUNCH (on your own)

Tuesday afternoon, March 6

1340 Continue Stakeholder Council Meeting
  • Discussion of needs for future focused stakeholder workshops in light of those described in the morning session.
  • Review of the Stakeholder Action Plan
  • Consideration of membership of the Stakeholder Council: Is it the correct size? Does it have the correct mix of people?
1510 BREAK
1530 Open discussion of GCOOS and the RA

Wednesday morning, March 7

0800 Coffee, juice, and bagels
Continue Stakeholder Council meeting in joint session with the GCOOS Board of Directors
0830 Status and plans for interactions with Mexican and Caribbean colleagues (note actions from November 2006 IOOS Regional Summit)
0900 Status of IWGOO and Ocean.US Office (Ray Toll)
0930 Status of GCOOS Business Plan and Communication Plan
1000 BREAK
1015 Separate Stakeholder Council Meeting continues
  • Conclude open discussion of GCOOS and the RA
  • Final review of Stakeholder Council Action Plan and assignments


Appendix D: Memorandum to the GOOS Products and Services Committee

19 September 2006

To: GCOOS Products and Services Committee
From: NOAA’s NCDDC Ecosystem and Liaison Office (Parsons and Cross)
Subject: Studies of the Economic Benefits of Coastal Observing Systems in the Gulf of Mexico


Through the National Ocean Partnership Program (NOPP), the Marine Policy Center of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution was funded to complete the project “Coordinated Regional Benefit Studies of Coastal Ocean Observing Systems”. The goal of the project was to assess the economic benefits of sustained and improved coastal observing systems. An overall NOPP report (Kite-Powell et al., 2004) and a draft regional report (Kaiser and Pulsipher, 2004) were reviewed with particular emphasis for findings in the Gulf of Mexico. Energy production served as the focus activity for the Gulf of Mexico in both studies. Kite-Powell et al. (2004) lists Florida as a separate "region" and focused on assessing benefits to recreational activities in that state. However, it is unclear how to separate benefits between Florida’s east and west coasts to ascertain Gulf of Mexico economic benefits. The Regional Study breakdown includes:

Region Likely Sector Study Lead Researcher(s)
Gulf of Maine Search and Rescue Kite-Powell/Colgan
Mid-Atlantic Commercial Fishing Kite-Powell/Colgan
Southeast Storm Tracks M. Luger, UNC
Florida Recreational boating/fishing K. Weiand, USF
Gulf of Mexico Offshore Energy Production A. Pulsipher, LSU
California Recreational beach use L. Pendleton, UW
Pacific Northwest Shipping/Oil spill response K. Wellman, Seattle
Alaska Search and Rescue Kite-Powell/Colgan
Great Lakes Shippings T. Pelsoci, DRC

Discussion: The economic benefit analyses in these studies relied on a conservative approach based on a "footprint" analysis. The conservative assumption in both reports is that the potential value of the observing system is derived from only a small percentage (1%) of the total value of a particular activity (e.g. improving weather forecasting for oil drilling projects, etc.). In order to utilize a more rigorous "benefits management process", economic and usage data would need to be collected as part of the observing system (Colgan, personal communication, 2006). A "benefits management process" identifies the potential benefits of an observing system and then measures the necessary parameters involved in following the coastal observations to economic benefit (e.g. enhanced fisheries, better oil production management, etc.). These "benefits" could be directly linked with the original justification of the coastal observing system and therefore the assessment should be inherent to the overall observing system. Kite-Powell et al. (2004) report a conservative economic benefit to the Gulf of Mexico from $3.8 to $7.5 million dollars per year derived from a coastal observing system support to energy production through improved hurricane forecasts. Kaiser and Pulsipher (2004) report a conservative economic benefit from coastal observing as it relates to hydrocarbon production and related pollution management of $8.3 to $15.3 million dollars per year.

Recommendations: Following discussion with Colgan, the Gulf of Mexico Coastal Ocean Observing System (GCOOS) should develop benefits management process that directly correlates to the activities and processes targeted by GCOOS (from GCOOS mission statement):

  1. Detecting and predicting climate variability and consequences
  2. Preserving and restoring healthy marine ecosystems
  3. Ensuring human health
  4. Managing resources (e.g., Fisheries Management)
  5. Facilitating safe and efficient marine transportation
  6. Enhancing national security
  7. Predicting and mitigating against coastal hazards.

Comment: These initial studies only focused on one group of activities that would benefit from a sustained and capable coastal observing system. A more comprehensive study would likely find a cumulative economic benefit that would more than justify the investment in GCOOS. Further review of the regional study breakdown is underway.


Kite-Powell, H.L., C.S. Colgan, M.J. Kaiser, M. Luger, T. Pelsoci, L. Pendleton, A.G. Pulsipher, K.F. Wellman, and K. Wieand. 2004. Estimating the economic benefits of regional ocean observing systems. A report prepared for the National Oceanographic Partnership Program. Marine Policy Center, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.

Kaiser, M.J. and A.G. Pulsipher, 2004. The impact of weather and ocean forecasting on hydrocarbon production and pollution management in the Gulf of Mexico, NOPP/ONR draft regional report under the Coordinated Regional Benefit Studies of Coastal Ocean Observing Systems Project


Appendix E: GCOOS Products and Services Committee Report

6 March 2007
Russell H. Beard, Chair
Dr. Mitch Roffer, Co-Chair

New Membership

Mr. Joe Jewell, Mississippi Department of Marine Resources and Office of Marine Fisheries, Biloxi, Mississippi (228) 216 4001 cell

Products and Services

NCDDC initiated an OPeNDAP server on the Ecosystem Data Assembly Center (EDAC) Website through the Northern Gulf Institute serving the NRL MODIS model data stream. Initial data sets include Inter American Seas Model output; MODIS Level 3; MODAS; and NCOM. There are 1200 data products we are going to make available in the future.

NCDDC will initiate the Florida Beach Quality data sets into C-SIDE starting end of March.

Committee Comments

  • Perhaps an important item to discuss is to review, focus on lessons learned, and hopefully modify the recent vetting process that the GCOOS board conducted on letters of intent to contribute to building a GCOOS infrastructure.
  • GCOOS should work as a facilitating entity, encouraging all possible contributors -and in particular helping them- to build the best possible proposals to build a robust, comprehensive system that serves the region and the nation.
  • Concerned by the lack of peer review and with the process used in making decisions on letters of intent at GCOOS.
  • Appreciated some sort of feedback process, whereby GCOOS helps in building that infrastructure in an iterative and constructive manner
  • If these things are not clarified, there will be little incentive to participate in building something up like that, and we will see business as usual, where some groups benefit more than others without building true regional capacity, or strengthening the regional infrastructure that already exists outside as well as within the federal government.

Partner Comments

  • Grand Bay NERR, Mississippi and Alabama expressed concern the NERR network in the Gulf is not a true partner with GCOOS
  • Also some discontent expressed that the GOMA Network has not been fully embraced by the GCOOS organization


Appendix F: Gulf of Mexico Coastal Ocean Observing System Regional Association Conflicts of Interest Policy

Adopted by the GCOOS-RA Board of Directors on 7 March 2007

Gulf of Mexico Coastal Ocean Observing System Regional Association
Conflicts of Interest Policy
1 March 2007


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


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

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

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

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

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


Duty to Disclose

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

Determining Whether a Conflict of Interest Exists

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

Procedures for Addressing the Conflict of Interest

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

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

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

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

Violations of the Conflicts of Interest Policy

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

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

Records of Proceedings

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

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


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

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

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

Annual Statements

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

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

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


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

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


Signature Date


Appendix G: Organizational Conflicts of Interest Policy

Adopted by the GCOOS-RA Board of Directors on 7 March 2007


Name: ________________________________________ Company: ________________________________________
  1. I acknowledge I have agreed to support the Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS) by working with the Gulf of Mexico Coastal Ocean Observing System Regional Association (GCOOS-RA) in the following capacity


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

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

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

CAR 1352.209-72 Restriction Against Disclosure (March 2000)

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

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


Signature Date