26-27 February 2008, Beau Rivage Resort & Casino, Biloxi, MS

February 26, 2008

1.0 Opening of meetings

Worth Nowlin, Chair of the Board of Directors welcomed everyone to the joint meeting of the GCOOS-RA Parties and Board of Directors. The attendees (Appendix A) introduced themselves. Ann Jochens, GCOOS Regional Coordinator, provided logistical information. Nowlin then called for comments on the tentative agenda, which was accepted. Several agenda changes occurred during the course of the meetings; the revised agenda is given in Appendix B.

2.0 Combined Meeting of Board and Parties

The morning session consisted of the joint meeting of the Parties to the GCOOS-RA Memorandum of Agreement and the GCOOS-RA Board of Directors.

2.1 Reports of U.S. IOOS and GCOOS

2.1.1 NOAA IOOS Program Office

Mary Culver, NOAA Coastal Services Center (CSC), gave an update on NOAA’s implementation of the Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS). Among NOAA activities in 2007 were the establishment of NOAA’s IOOS Program Office, development of NOAA’s IOOS Program Strategic Plan for 2008-2014, inclusion of IOOS as a line item in the President’s FY2008 budget for NOAA, and initiation of development of a business model for developing regional capability. As part of the IOOS data management effort, NOAA has established a Data Integration Framework (DIF) to develop a data delivery system for 5 IOOS core variables (temperature, salinity, currents, water level, and ocean color) to improve management decision making in the 4 thematic areas of hurricane intensity, coastal inundation, harmful algal blooms, and integrated ecosystem assessment. In February 2008, NOAA held a workshop to bring IOOS regional grantees and NOAA technical staff together to initiate collaborative work on data management and communications. Turning to NOAA’s IOOS budget, Culver report that $21.5M went to the regions in FY07 and $18.3M in FY08. She reported that the President’s FY09 budget for the regions is $14.5M. The FY08 funds were distributed to continue 17 projects and to support the 11 regional associations. No new GCOOS projects were awarded in FY08 due to lack of available funds, but two of the GCOOS proposals are being held for consideration in FY09. NOAA presently is not planning a new funding opportunity for FY09.

2.1.2 Status of IOOS Modeling and Analysis Steering Team

Christopher Mooers, University of Miami, reported on the status of the IOOS Modeling and Analysis Steering Team (MAST). MAST, of which Mooers is Chair, was established to help guide the development of ocean and coastal modeling activities. MAST is preparing and coordinating the implementation of a strategic plan for building on, enhancing, and expanding existing regional and national operational modeling capabilities to improve the Nation’s capacity to address the seven societal benefits of the Integrated Ocean Observing System. The IOOS modeling goal is to provide ocean state estimation on a continuing, robust, reliable, and resilient basis to support decision-makers. Mooers outlined the operational model types needed for regional coastal ocean observing systems (RCOOS) and the forcing fields (observations) needed to drive the RCOOS circulation models. He also pointed out that global or basin models used to drive coastal models at their boundaries need comprehensive skill assessments to determine their reliability in simulating and predicting temperature, salinity, currents, and other parameters. It is expected that results from the physical models will be coupled to ecosystem models.

2.1.3 Development of the GCOOS-RA

Worth Nowlin provided background information on the Global Ocean Observing System and the U.S. Integrated Ocean Observing System. He then discussed the development of the GCOOS-RA with focus on activities over the past year. These activities included the preparation of the Conceptual Design, Operating Systems Plan, and Communication Strategy, as well as work to revise the Business Plan. The focused stakeholder workshops were reviewed, including the November 2007 workshop for development of a HABs Integrated Observing System for the Gulf of Mexico. As a result of the 2007 Harmful Algal Bloom (HAB) workshop, the public health and animal health sectors are actively involved in the plan development.

2.1.4 Status and plan for GCOOS, including discussion of Conceptual Design

Ann Jochens reviewed the status and plans for GCOOS. Three proposals received funding in FY2007: year 3 of support for the Regional Association ($425,820); one year of support to Design and Develop a Data Portal ($500,000); and year 1 support for a 3-year project to Standardize Local Data Nodes (~$300,000/year). The year 2 support for the Data Nodes project is being reduced by 25% at NOAA’s request; year 3 support depends on funding availability. Five proposals for FY08 were submitted for GCOOS. One is a 3-year proposal for Regional Association support (~$400,000/year); the first year of this proposal will be funded, as will out years if funds are available.

None of the four RCOOS development proposals were funded. Two of the four are being held by NOAA for consideration for FY09 funding. These are proposals to (1) Maintain the Data Portal and Develop a Regional Operations Center and (2) Develop the GCOOS HF Radar Network. The proposal requesting ~$300K per year for 3 years for a 3-D Circulation Model Comparison, for which the oil and gas industry is committing ~$1.5M, was declined. Without a federal contribution, the comparison will be limited to the deepwater interests of the industry with the shelves being excluded and results likely will be held proprietary. The proposal for Autonomous Meteorological Instrumentation for offshore platforms also was declined. In a matter related to this proposal, Jochens reported that NOAA and Shell Oil have finalized an agreement whereby Shell will instrument a number of their offshore platforms with autonomous meteorological packages. Jochens also reviewed possible future proposals, including a HAB Integrated Observing System and a Hypoxia Monitoring System.

Jochens then reviewed the Conceptual Design, Version 1.0, for GCOOS that was submitted to the NOAA IOOS Program Office in December 2007. The document identified the appropriate societal benefits for each of the priority observing systems and identified associated research/development and education/outreach needs. A revised version is on the GCOOS web.

2.1.5 Announcement of Results of Board of Directors Election

Landry Bernard, Chair of the GCOOS Membership Committee, reported the results of the election. Of 58 ballots sent to the Voting Parties, 39 were returned. Nancy Rabalais, LUMCON, was elected to the academic position. Lars Herbst, MMS Gulf of Mexico Regional Director, was elected to the government position. Cort Cooper, Chevron, was elected to the industry position. Their terms start at the next Board meeting in August 2008 and will run for 3 years.

2.2 Related Activities

2.2.1 Integrated Ecosystems Assessments

Becky Allee, NOAA Gulf Coast Services Center, gave an overview of NOAA’s Integrated Ecosystem Assessment for the Gulf of Mexico. The Integrated Ecosystem Assessment (IEA) embodies the ecosystem approach to management. An IEA is a synthesis and quantitative analysis of information on relevant physical, chemical, ecological, and human processes in relation to specified ecosystem management objectives. It is a tool that integrates a range of data and information. It is a product for managers and stakeholders who need scientific support for policy and decision making or who seek to enhance their understanding of ecosystem dynamics. It is a process that first identifies management priorities and objectives and the associated data needed including an assessment of what data are available and what gaps there are, then produces a quantitative assessment, and concludes with an evaluation of management strategies.

Ecosystem attributes for the Gulf of Mexico that will be used in the process are living marine resources, nutrients and water quality, habitat, climate and ocean circulation, and coastal hazards. The regional spatial units under consideration would divide the Gulf into three components: western coastal (Rio Grande to Galveston Bay), central coastal (Galveston Bay to Mobile Bay), and eastern coastal (Florida shelf). A data portal will provide data discovery, access, and sharing in a variety of formats and display venues. Ecosystem modeling will be used to synthesize and integrate information. The IEA plan for the Gulf of Mexico has been presented to the NOAA Ecosystem Team Lead, and there is a possibility of some funding in 2008. More details on the plan are given in the presentation.

2.2.2 NOAA Hypoxia Monitoring Implementation Plan

Alan Lewitus, NOAA Center for Sponsored Coastal Ocean Research and Lead for Ecosystem Stressors Research Team, reported on the status of the Gulf of Mexico Hypoxia Monitoring Implementation Plan. He provided background information on hypoxia in the Gulf. In 2001, the Mississippi River Basin and Gulf of Mexico Hypoxia Task Force issued the Gulf Hypoxia Action Plan that called for the reduction of the hypoxic zone to 5000 km2 by 2015. The Task Force has conducted a reassessment and is finalizing a new Action Plan. In January 2007, NOAA held a summit on long-term monitoring of the Gulf of Mexico hypoxic zone, resulting in a white paper and establishment of committees to develop a hypoxia monitoring implementation plan. Lewitus discussed the system requirements and their associated priorities. Core requirements are to expand the spatial boundaries of the shelf-wide hypoxia surveys, increase the number of surveys, and increase the number of buoy observing systems. CSCOR has funded monitoring efforts in recent years. However, funding for future years may be reduced, so alternative funding sources will be sought.

2.2.3 GOMA Nutrient Fate and Transport Workshop Summary; other interactions with GOMA

Ann Jochens reported on collaborations between GCOOS and the Gulf of Mexico Alliance (GOMA). A number of GCOOS-RA members participate in meetings and teleconferences of several of the GOMA Priority Issues Teams (PITs). Jochens has been participating in teleconferences and meetings to plan the GOMA Nutrient Fate and Transport Workshop held jointly by the Nutrient and Water Quality PITs. GCOOS-RA members also participate in activities and meetings of the Environmental Education PIT and the new GOMA Coastal Resiliency Group. The GCOOS-RA and GOMA are working together to develop a Gulf-wide Harmful Algal Bloom Integrated Observing System (HABIOS). To that end a workshop jointly sponsored by GCOOS-RA and GOMA was held in November 2007 to move development of the plan forward. GOMA is seeking funding for an additional two HABs workshops, and the GCOOS-RA has offered to provide partial support.

Additionally, the GCOOS-RA was part of a GOMA proposal to participate with the National Water Quality Monitoring Council as a National Monitoring Pilot. GOMA proposed to design a common monitoring approach to provide the information needed to understand the transport, fate, and effects of nutrients. This approach would assess nutrients and associated water quality factors as they are carried from coastal drainages through estuaries and near-shore waters out into the offshore Gulf of Mexico. The GOMA proposal was not selected; however, GOMA is pursuing the project.

In February 2008, GOMA held the Nutrient Source, Fate, and Transport Study Design Workshop in Galveston, TX, to begin the design of a monitoring pilot project. Jochens assisted in the workshop planning and participated in the workshop. A discussion paper was developed in advance of the workshop; it formed the basis for the workshop discussions. The overall goal is to obtain the data and information necessary for the states to develop nutrient criteria for the all the estuaries and coastal waters of the Gulf states. The nutrient criteria, which may be based on cause-effect relationships, should protect ecosystems by regulating nutrient discharges so as to prevent undesirable ecosystem changes. The strategy is to design an initial core study protocol (what to sample, when, where, etc.), use it to conduct pilot studies in 3-5 different Gulf systems and to provide nutrient criteria specific those systems, identify a subset of this initial core study protocol that would simplify the sampling but still result in establishment of nutrient criteria, and use the simpler core study protocol to obtain data needed to set criteria for additional estuarine and coastal systems. A draft study design is targeted for completion in late spring/early summer. Four Working Groups have been established to prepare sections on nutrient pathways, biological indicators, physical/chemical monitoring, and monitoring needed to support model development.

2.2.4 HABIOS Plan

Bart Bibler, Florida Department of Health, summarized the status of the HABIOS Plan. The fifth version of the plan will incorporate the comments generated by the participants who attended the HABs Workshop in November 2007. The plan will be sent out to participants and posted to the GCOOS web for final review in spring. The workshop included participation by five representatives from Mexico who are involved with development of HABs monitoring in Mexican waters. Bibler also reported that the Alliance for Coastal Technologies is working with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission on a proposal to compare in situ HABs sensing technologies.

2.2.5 Discussion of issues raised by Parties

One Party was interested in seeing the proposals. The GCOOS Office will ask the Principal Investigators about allowing a release of the proposal or a summary thereof. There was discussion of the proposal process, and it was suggested that proposal development should be improved. One Party suggested that there should be a card or fact sheet on the benefits of GCOOS that could be given out.

3.0 Open Meeting of Board of Directors

3.1 Reports from GCOOS-RA Councils and Committees

Reports on the activities were presented for the Councils and Committees of the GCOOS-RA, except the Products and Services Committee. The Report of the Membership Committee consisted of the results of the Board election, reported above.

3.1.1 Report on Stakeholder Council

Robert Stickney, Chair, presented the report of the Stakeholder Council (SC). There was little activity by the Stakeholder Council during the past year. The Council has developed a new action plan for 2008 (Appendix C). A key category of actions is to improve communications among the SC members and develop stronger interconnections between the SC and the GCOOS Board, Committees, and Education and Outreach Council (EOC). The Council has begun to have telephone conference calls every other month. The SC Chair plans to send informative emails to the members on approximately a monthly basis. Collaborative efforts of the SC with the Education and Outreach Council would be beneficial and ways to accomplish this are being examined. Participation in the SC calls by a member of the Education and Outreach Council will be invited; participation of an SC member in EOC meetings could be beneficial. Exchanges with the other Committees are being developed. Efforts will be made to involve one or more members of the SC in the GCOOS-RA focused stakeholder workshops. Stickney also requested that a Board member provide a briefing to the SC on how the SC can best provide their advice to the Board; Cort Cooper, as the SC liaison, will provide this briefing.

3.1.2 Report on Education and Outreach Council

As the GCOOS principal investigator for the Education and Outreach Coordinator position, Board member Sharon Walker introduced the new GCOOS Education and Outreach Coordinator, Dr. Chris Simoniello. Although reporting to Walker at the University of Southern Mississippi, Simoniello will be based at the University of South Florida. Board members Mike Spranger and Mark Luther will provide routine oversight. Simoniello gave a brief summary of her background. She has excellent experience that includes four years as the E/O Coordinator for SEACOOS and strong contacts within the Gulf E/O community and GCOOS sister organizations such as SECOORA and GOMA.

Jessica Kastler, EOC Chair, then reported on the status of the EOC activities. The EOC has developed a Strategic Plan. Kastler reviewed the five goals and their objectives. The EOC has prepared a set of actions associated with each objective. Several members of the EOC expressed concern that they do not know what GCOOS data are available and what products there might be. To remedy this, one focus of the upcoming summer meeting of the EOC will be to provide some training to the members about the GCOOS data and products. Board member Don Roman suggested some modifications to the plan. He is interested in what are priorities for the EOC and what timelines for accomplishment might be; Kastler indicated these were under development. Board member Alfredo Prelat suggested that there be some outreach to Mexico.

3.1.3 Report on Observing Systems Committee and Status of Observing System Plan

Stephan Howden, Chair of the Observing Systems Committee (OSC), presented the OSC Action Plan. One action is to improve communications between the OSC and other Committees and Councils. Howden plans to invite the Chairs to participate in the OSC teleconferences and meetings. He then reviewed the Observing System Plan that the Committee prepared. The IOOS Data Registry will be used as the data inventory for the GCOOS. The OSC plans to encourage all RCOOSs in the Gulf participate once the present revision to the registry is completed. Alexis Lugo-Fernandez, representing the MMS, suggested that in addition to a gap analysis, there should be an optimal array design that might really be achievable. Howden pointed out that the development of such a design is dependent on the phenomena and time/space scales of interest. Howden requested that the Board consider inviting Mike Hemsley to join the OSC.

3.1.4 Report on Data Management and Communications Committee

Matthew Howard, GCOOS Data Technical Coordinator, reported on the activities of the GCOOS DMAC Committee. He reviewed the membership of the Committee and then summarized the DMAC Action Plan for 2008. The plan contains three focus areas, which Howard described. These were (1) adoption of protocols for interoperability, such as vocabulary and cross-walk activities; (2) entrainment of new data providers, including potential federal, and self-assessment of data provider system architecture and IT skill sets; and (3) promotion of regional IT communications. Howard reviewed the progress on the actions and on the tasks associated with the two funded GCOOS data projects–development of a data portal and standardization of the local data nodes. Board discussion centered around the data quality. It was brought out that the systems that transmit ADCP data from platforms, including drilling rigs and other movable platforms, should have real-time GPS embedded in the data stream because new locations are not always updated by operators when rigs are moved.

3.2 Interactions with other groups

3.2.1 NFRA: Ideas for Upcoming Retreat

NFRA is conducting a retreat of its Board on 2 March 2008 in Orlando, FL. NFRA requested information from the RAs on priorities for NFRA strategies and work plans. The Board discussed a range of issues, from realistic contract vehicles that allow for sustained, multi-year operations to improved direct involvement of non-NOAA federal agencies and the private sector in IOOS. Don Roman agreed to draft an open letter from the GCOOS Board to the NFRA Board for review on day 2 of the meeting.


Parker Lumpkin, Executive Director, reported on the Southeast Coastal Ocean Observing System Regional Association (SECOORA). He gave an overview of how SECOORA is transitioning to operations. SECOORA has elected to incorporate as a non-profit 501(c)(3) corporation and is in the process of doing so. It has a dues structure requiring $1K per year for each Board member; these funds go toward operational systems. Board members are institutions. The administrative structure consists of two full-time and two part-time employees as well as volunteers. Lumpkin then reviewed the status of SECOORA proposals and activities.

One successful activity of the SECOORA observing system was the use by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers of the HF radar data, provided by the University of Miami, to monitor current speed and direction during dredging operations in the Port of Miami. These data were vital to continuation of the project after the project’s ADCP failed. Without the HF radar, dredging operations would have ceased and losses would have accrued for federal and state agencies. Unfortunately, this important HF radar component of the SECOORA RCOOS is at risk of being shut down because of lack of sustained, multi-year funding.

3.2.3 Islands in the Stream

Brian Keller, National Marine Sanctuaries Program, presented an overview of the Islands in the Stream concept for the Gulf of Mexico. This concept is a network of marine protected areas that would functionally connect the coral reefs, banks, ridges, and pinnacles on the outer continental shelf and upper slope. The concept includes regions from Belize, Mexico, and the U.S. Gulf of Mexico. The initiative is in the review stage within the federal administration; if pursued, there would be public discussion before a designation were made. The initiative would move the presently disjointed governance of protected areas into a unified management system that would be based on an ecosystem approach. Keller showed maps of the various regions of interest. He also presented information from a science forum on the concept that was held in Sarasota, FL, on 23 January 2008. The Board discussed with Keller ways that GCOOS might help and how the initiative might support GCOOS. GCOOS data could assist with providing data to show the connectivity of the ecosystems or to underpin ecosystem models. The initiative might provide GCOOS with sentinel stations that measure numerous parameters (e.g., water quality, meteorological properties, and biological data) and that provide platforms on which other instruments could be deployed.

3.2.4 Next Actions in Engaging Mexico

Alfredo Prelat summarized the meetings that have been held with Mexican entities over the last several years. There continues to be much interest on the part of several of these entities in becoming Associate Members of the GCOOS-RA. However, none have yet signed the MOA. Another meeting with GCOOS Board members and NDBC representatives will be held this year at the invitation of SEMARNAT.

Nowlin reported on the activities of NDBC and the EPA Gulf of Mexico Program in Mexico. The EPA has provided funds to install 3 HABs stations along the coast of Veracruz. NDBC will provide training on the buoys. Mexican representatives also participated in the GCOOS/GOMA HABs workshop.

3.2.5 PORTS

Worth Nowlin reported on the new PORTS that are being installed in the Gulf of Mexico. NOAA Physical Oceanographic Real-Time Systems (PORTS) have been operational in Tampa Bay and Houston/Galveston for a number of years; these systems include both observations and modeling components that are accessible by marine vessels entering the ports. Observing systems are being installed and starting operation to serve the port and navigation community as well as local coastal communities and states at Mobile, Pascagoula, Gulfport, the lower Mississippi River, Lake Charles (including the Calcasieu ship channel), and the Sabine Neches region. At this time there are no plans for nowcast/forecast systems for these new PORTS areas.

February 27, 2008

Resume Open Session of Board Meeting

3.3 Reports on Development Activities of GCOOS

3.3.1 Plans for Further Identification of User Requirements

Worth Nowlin reported on the plans to identify user requirements through focused stakeholder workshops. Three workshops are in various stages of planning. A steering team for each workshop is being assembled to plan and guide the workshop. Plans are to include a member of the GCOOS EOC and/or Stakeholder Council on each steering team.

Jim Kruse (Ports and Harbors Specialist for Texas Sea Grant), Alan Bunn (NOAA), and Mark Luther have agreed to serve on the steering team for the Marine Transportation Workshop. Several industry representatives have been suggested. It is anticipated that this workshop will be held in 2008.

John Jacob, Coastal Community Specialist for Texas Sea Grant, has agreed to chair the steering team for the Urban Renewal and Development Workshop. Mark Luther suggested that GCOOS should take advantage of the Coastal Cities Summit 2008, being organized by the International Ocean Institute-USA, to be held in St. Petersburg, FL, on 17-20 November 2008.

Don Roman agreed to chair the steering committee for the Recreational Boating Workshop. Mike Spranger will assist. Mark Luther will provide contact information for Scott Guddes, Vice President of Government Relations for the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA), who may be able to identify people that might serve on the steering team and/or attend the workshop.

3.3.2 Status of Pilot Projects

Worth Nowlin began the discussion of the GCOOS pilot projects with a listing of the eight pilots that are undergoing planning. Team leaders, when present, gave the status of each pilot. Mark Luther reported on the pilot project to instrument tankers. The University of South Florida is purchasing 3 SeaKeeper 1000 flow-through systems. The project team has a tentative agreement with OSG-America to install SeaKeeper 1000 systems on two of their product carrier vessels that trade between Texas ports and eastern seaboard ports. Most transects are between Houston or Corpus Christi and Tampa or Port Everglades but some run up the east coast to ports farther north. All make regular transits across the northern Gulf. The third system is planned to be installed on a pier at the mouth of Tampa Bay. Surface ocean data (T, S, Chl, CDOM, turbidity, DO, and pH) will be collected at USF and made available to the GCOOS portal. Surface met data from the vessels are collected by NDBC and incorporated into their VOS data stream but will be collected at USF as well. Funding for the instruments comes from internal USF state monies and are non-recurring. SeaKeepers International will provide installation and maintenance for the first year in partnership with USF. Beyond that, funds to keep these systems going need to be identified. Partnerships with other sectors, such as the oil and gas industry, will need to be forged to fund continuing operations and maintenance.

Nowlin reported on the status of the pilot project on water quality measurements for human pathogens. Bart Bibler is the pilot leader. He has arranged for release of beach and nearshore water quality data off Florida. NCDDC has agreed to put the data on GIS maps, but has not yet begun this work. Matt Howard is working with Florida to get access to the database. He then will arrange to display the data on the GCOOS web site/data portal. He has discussed this work with Eric Roadie, who is the NCDDC employee who will work on this task. Nowlin explained the hope is that, once this is done for Florida, the other Gulf states will be interested in doing the same with their databases, thus giving a Gulf-wide beach water quality data product.

Nowlin reported on the status of the pilot GCOOS Regional Operations Center. Ray Toll was the team leader on the original prospectus for the center and was assisted by Matt Howard. The initial step of developing a Data Portal was funded by NOAA for one year. A proposal to continue development and transition to a proto-type was proposed for funding through NOAA is being held by NOAA for possible funding in FY2009.

The pilot project for 3-dimensional models of currents, lead by Cort Cooper, was proposed to NOAA. But NOAA declined funding, despite an industry contribution of $1.5M.

Nowlin reported that he had received comments on a prospectus for a measurement and products archive. A major issue is whether or not the archive should contain proprietary data. If it should, then the next issue is to determine who might fund it. Nowlin will revise the prospectus and circulate it to the Board for comment. The oil and gas industry and the European Commission are funding a project called System of Industry Metocean data for the Offshore and Research Communities (SIMORC), which is an archive of metocean data sets collected by the oil and gas industry around the globe. Jan van Smirren agreed to contact SIMORC to get information on lessons learned. It was suggested that NFRA and MMS should approach NODC requesting that it develop a public archive for RCOOS data sets. There was concern about whether NODC was the best place for such an archive because data sent to NODC are not always accessible. There is a new NODC Director who might be open to ideas. These suggestions will be considered further before action is taken.

Alfredo Prelat, lead on the pilot project to develop probability maps of bottom hazards and maps of hydrocarbon seeps, reported two difficulties with the original pilot that was to cover the central Gulf. First, a large budget is required to cover the entire area. Second, there is an assumption that the currents would be known, but this is generally not the case. Thinking now is that the pilot would be done in an area where ADCP data are available. Additionally, there is a new Japanese satellite, Advanced Land Observing Satellite “Daichi” (ALOS), with data that might be used for detecting oil seeps. The Americas data node is the Alaska Satellite Facility. Prelat will investigate costs and revise the prospectus.

The pilot project to improve forecasts of hurricane severity has been pursued through several routes. First, letters of support for research projects to improve these forecasts have been provided to the National Weather Service (NWS) and to academic researchers. Cort Cooper was the lead. Second, a proposal to install automated meteorological instruments on platforms was submitted to NOAA IOOS, but was declined. It was suggested that the proposal might be pursued further, possibly with NWS.

3.3.3 Development of New Parties to the GCOOS-RA MoA

Nowlin suggested that the RA membership be developed with the goal of having 100 members by the end of 2008. He is pursuing signatories to the resolution who have not yet signed the MOA. Committee/Council members also might be asked to pursue getting their employers to sign. The Board discussed ideas about how best to accomplish this goal. All Board members are to send Nowlin the names of contacts of entities from various sectors (private, NGO, government, academic) that should be invited to join. Mark Luther volunteered to provide ideas for port authorities and shipping associations. Board members also agreed that they would suggest joining the GCOOS-RA to groups in appropriate venues, such as at the Southern Association of Marine Laboratories (Nancy Rabalais) or boat shows (Mike Spranger, Mark Luther). Spranger and Simoniello told the Board that kiosks at boat shows are not very successful unless there is a draw for the audience. They recommended that specific user groups be identified and then targeted. A GCOOS brochure to hand out is important to have for this effort

3.4 Regional Association Business Session

3.4.1 Plans for Development of DMAC Plan

Matthew Howard reported that at the IOOS Regional Coordination Workshop in October 2007, it was agreed that the Business Plan for each RA should include a DMAC Plan with a common format. This format is nearing finalization. Howard reviewed the purpose and contents of the RA DMAC Plan. It is anticipated that the plan will be useful not only as a description of the status, plans, and gaps for DMAC implementation, but also for identifying collaborations, sharing lessons, and developing enterprise-wide solutions to common DMAC gaps and assessments of DMAC implementation.

3.4.2 Status of the Business Plan

Ann Jochens reviewed the status of the GCOOS Business Plan. Originally dated August 2005, it is undergoing a major revision. She presented the outline for the Business Plan (Appendix D) and identified the lead authors for sections 1-6. The lead authors will obtain assistance from Board, Committee, and/or Council members as necessary. The R&D and E&O sections will be drafted by the end of March and sent to Jochens for assembly. A rough draft of sections 1-6 is targeted to be distributed to the Board about mid-April. Wording will be included on priorities. Nowlin will update the matrix of users.

3.4.3 Status and Discussion of GCOOS Communication Plan

Worth Nowlin reported that he received few comments on the draft Communications Plan. Simoniello will be provided a copy so she can become familiar with the plan.

3.4.4 Further Discussion of Possible Future Roles of NFRA; Preparation of Letter to NFRA

Don Roman presented a draft letter to NFRA and lead the Board discussion through each paragraph. The document was revised. The Board adopted the letter with the agreement that the revision would be sent to the Board for final comment and edit. Appendix E gives the final letter that was provided to the NFRA Board for their March 2nd retreat.

3.4.5 ACT update

Mark Luther reported that the Alliance for Coastal Technologies (ACT) is funded in FY08 at a level of approximately 25% of the amount requested. As a result, a salinity sensor evaluation is being scaled back but will proceed in late May or early June. ACT also will be involved with the Savannah River Laboratory in the area of sensor technology for maritime security and with NFRA in facilitating an HF Radar Plan for the Nation.

4.0 Closed Session of Board Meeting

4.1 Conflict of Interest

Board members signed the annual GCOOS conflict of interest policy and provided them to Jochens.

4.2 Date of Next Board Meeting

The next Board meeting will be 19-20 August 2008 tentatively in Corpus Christi, TX. Bi-monthly teleconference calls will be scheduled for 1 pm central time on 29 April and 17 June.

4.3 Changes to committee/council memberships

The Board discussed changes to memberships. They were appreciative of the service of council and committee members who are rotating off. They agreed to invite Dick Crout and Mike Hemsley to join the OSC and James Koziana to join the DMACC; all subsequently agreed to serve.

4.4 Liability insurance

Liability insurance for directors and officers and for general liability has been obtained.

4.5 Review of RA Budget

Jochens reviewed the RA budget. A request will be sent to NOAA for a one-year no-cost time extension and to re-budget funds to cover the hire of the Education and Outreach Coordinator. Funds also are planned to support two joint GOMA-GCOOS HABs workshops. The Board would like to see something operational or a product be added to the GCOOS web to show progress on delivering products. Spranger, Simoniello, Ali Hudon of ACT and possibly others will form an EOC web committee to provide E/O product suggestions for the web.

4.6 New business

Ray Toll and Mark Luther will be meeting on March 7 with Commander Jennifer Ketchum, Waterways Management, District 7, U.S. Coast Guard, to discuss observational requirements of the USCG.

Adjourn Board Meeting

5.0 Meeting of Executive Committee

There being no business for the Executive Committee to address, no meeting was held.


Appendix A: Attendees to the Meeting of the GCOOS-RA Parties and Board of Directors

Name Affiliation 2/26 2/27
Becky Allee NOAA
Landry Bernard NOAA
Bart Bibler Florida Department of Health
Piers Chapman TAMU
Cort Cooper Chevron
Mary Culver NOAA
Matt Howard GCOOS DMAC Coordinator
Stephan Howden University of Southern Mississippi
Ann Jochens GCOOS Regional Coordinator
Jessica Kastler University of Southern Mississippi
Brian Keller National Marine Sanctuaries Program
Alan Lewitus NOAA Center for Sponsored Coastal Ocean Research
Alexis Lugo-Fernandez Minerals Management Service
Parker Lumpkin SECOORA
Mark Luther University of South Florida
Robert “Buzz” Martin Texas General Land Office
Susan Martin GCOOS RA Office
Chris Mooers RSMAS
Worth Nowlin Texas A&M University
Alfredo Prelat Terralliance
Nancy Rabalais LUMCON
Don Roman University of Southern Mississippi
Denise Runnels Radiance Technologies
Nick Shay RSMAS
Chris Simoniello GCOOS Education & Outreach Coordinator
Tom Soniat Nicholls
Mike Spranger Florida Sea Grant
Robert Stickney GCOOS Stakeholder Council Chair
Ray Toll SAIC
Jan van Smirren Fugro GEOS
Jyotika Virmani University of South Florida
Sharon Walker University of Southern Mississippi
Larry Warrenfelz Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition


Appendix B: GCOOS Board of Directors Meeting, 26-27 February 2008
Beau Rivage Casino, Biloxi, MS


February 26, 2008

Combined Meeting of Board and Parties (8:00 am)

Opening of Meetings (Worth Nowlin, Ann Jochens)

Reports on U.S. IOOS and GCOOS

  • NOAA IOOS Program Office (Mary Culver)
  • Status of IOOS Modeling and Analysis Steering Team (Christopher Mooers)
  • Development of the GCOOS-RA (Worth Nowlin)
  • Status and plan for GCOOS, including discussion of Conceptual Design (Ann Jochens)
  • Announcement of results of Board of Directors election by Membership Committee (Landry Bernard)

Related Activities

  • Integrated Ecosystems Assessments (Becky Allee)
  • NOAA Hypoxia Monitoring Implementation Plan (Alan Lewitus)
  • GOMA Nutrient Fate and Transport Workshop Summary and other interactions with GOMA (Ann Jochens with input from Steve Wolfe of GOMA)
  • HABIOS Plan (Bart Bibler)
  • Discussion of issues raised by Parties


Open Meeting of Board of Directors

Reports from GCOOS-RA Councils and Committees

  • Report on Stakeholder Council (Robert Stickney, Chair)
  • Report on Education and Outreach Council
    • Introduction of Education and Outreach Coordinator (Sharon Walker)
    • Status of Strategic and Action Plans (Jessica Kastler, Council Chair)
  • Report on Observing Systems Committee and Status of Observing System Plan (Stephan Howden, Chair)
  • Report on Data Management and Communications Committee (Matthew Howard)
  • Report on Products and Services Committee (Rost Parsons, Chair) No show

Interactions with other groups

  • NFRA; Ideas for the upcoming retreat
  • SECOORA (Parker Lumpkin)
  • Islands in the Stream (Brian Keller, National Marine Sanctuaries Program)
  • Next actions in engaging Mexico (Alfredo Prelat)

Adjourn meeting for the day (5:30 pm)

February 27, 2008

Resume Open Session of Board Meeting (7:30 am)

Reports on Development Activities of GCOOS

  • Plans for further identification of User Requirements (Worth Nowlin)
  • Status of Pilot Projects (Worth Nowlin)
  • Development of new Parties to the GCOOS-RA MoA

Regional Association Business Session

  • Plans for development of DMAC Plan (Matthew Howard)
  • Status of the Business Plan (Ann Jochens)
  • Further discussion of the possible future roles of the NFRA and preparation of a letter to NFRA for consideration at their March 2008 Retreat (Don Roman)

Closed Session of Board Meeting

  • Signing of annual Conflict of Interest statements
  • Date of Next Board Meetings–telephone and in person
  • Changes to committee/council memberships
  • Liability insurance
  • Review of RA Budget
  • New business

Adjourn Board Meeting (11:30 am)


Appendix C: GCOOS Stakeholder Council Draft Action Plan, January – December 2008

  • Establish periodic contact of Council members through conference calls and e-mail.
    • First conference call completed (January) and a second to be held in March.
    • Stickney indicated he would contact Council members via e-mail at least once a month.
  • Determine if the Council would like to have an election run by the GCOOS Board for a Vice-chair or Chair-elect.
    • The Council membership was asked to express their opnion to the Chair (January).
  • Establish liaisons with other GCOOA-RA groups as a means of keeping abreast of their activitieis, identifying additional stakeholder individuals and groups that should be participants in future workshops and to provide Stakeholder Council input to assist other GCOOA-RA groups in achieving their programmatic goals.
    • A liaison from the Education and Outreach Council (Jessica Kastler) has been identified and Stickney has agreed to be the liaison with that Council (January).
    • Worth Nowlin contacted to provide contact names with other GCOOS-RAs (January).
  • Get one or two members of the Stakeholder Council to serve as members of steering committees for Stakeholder meetings planned for 2008. As of January, meetings were planned for Urban Planners/Developers, Recreational Boating Industry, and Marine Transportation. Worth Nowlin and Ann Jochens are interacting on behalf of GCOOS with fisheries entities (commercial, recreational, regulatory) and Bart Bibler has developed a GCOOS Public Health Team and keeps the Board apprised on Public Health Matters.
    • Stickney solicited names for contacts from Worth Nowlin for the Recreational Boating Industry, offered to be the Stakeholder Council contact for fisheries, e-mailed steering committee members of the Urban Planners/Developers and Marine Transportation Industry to make contact and e-mailed Bart Bibler to determine if there was anything additional that the Stakeholder Council needed to do with respect to the Public Health Team (January).
    • Response from John Jacob on Urban Planners/Developers and Marine Transportation. Neither has been activated. E-mail sent to Nowlin to schedule meetings (January).
  • The Stakeholder Council needs to get a briefing on GCOOS activities from a member of the Board and develop a mechanism for interacting and providing feedback to the board.
    • Cort Cooper, the Board’s representative to the Council will provide the briefing in conjunction with the March conference call.


Appendix D: Gulf of Mexico Coastal Ocean Observing System Regional Association: Business Plan Outline, Version 4

Executive Summary

  • Highlights
  • Mission Statement
  • Keys to Success

1. Organization (Nowlin)

  • Name
  • National and regional goals
  • Mission statement
    • Ultimate goals and objectives
    • Initial goals and objectives
  • Regional benefits (Prelat for Benefits)
  • Location
  • GCOOS-RA Role in IOOS
  • Governance
    • MOA summary and Membership Policy
    • Governance Structure and Administration
    • Interaction with NFRA and GOMA (Spranger for E/O & GOMA)
  • Current status of GCOOS-RA

2. Marketing Plan (Jochens)

  • Marketing Strategy (the plans here (how, when, etc.))
    • Identify target stakeholder sector
    • Identify stakeholder requirements
    • Gap Analysis
    • Data/Product Development
    • Periodic Review of User Satisfaction
    • Mechanism for response to emerging needs
  • Potential users
    • Stakeholder sectors identified
    • Stakeholder sectors engaged to date
    • Stakeholder sectors to be engaged
  • Demands – Needs assessments (results or plans)
    • Natural resource management
      • Oil and gas resources
      • Living marine resources
        • Fisheries (resource management, commercial fishing, recreational fishing)
        • Marine mammals/sea turtles
        • Coral reefs
        • Submerged aquatic vegetation
      • Habitats
    • Coastal management
    • Public health
    • Emergency response
    • Navigation
    • Recreational boating
    • Water quality
    • Beaches
    • Other

3. Operations Plan (Jochens)

  • Observations and Data Transmission Subsystem
    • Present status (refer to Appendix for Observing System Plan)
    • GCOOS Priorities for Enhancements (refer to Appendix for Conceptual Design)
  • Data Management and Communications Subsystem
    • GCOOS & the IOOS DMAC Program
    • GCOOS DMAC Plan (refer to Appendix)
  • Modeling and Analysis Subsystem
  • Staffing Plan (refer to Appendix?)

4. Research and Development (Roman)

  • Identify Research Needs
  • Development Strategy
  • Priorities
  • Initial Pilot Projects

5. Education and Outreach (Spranger)

  • Audiences
    • K-16 formal education
    • Informal education
    • Outreach/extension
    • Workforce training
    • Federal/State/Local Governmentss
    • Internal GCOOS
  • Education and Outreach Strategic Plan (refer to Appendix)

6. Communication Strategy (including linkages to E/O and Marketing; refer to Appendix for Plan) (Nowlin)

7. System Evaluation

  • Assess User Satisfaction (stakeholders, including E/O)
  • Cost/benefit analyses
  • Evaluation of metrics of operational functions and performance measures
  • Assess and maintain operational continuity

8. Financial Plan

  • Current Financing
  • Funding Needs
  • Funding Plan (Federal, State, Private, and Other sources)
  • Financial History
  • Financial Forecasts

9. References
Possible Appendices:
Memorandum of Agreement
Conceptual Design
Observing System Plan
Data Management and Communication Plan
Education and Outreach Strategic Plan
Communication Plan
Marketing Plan??? (Products and Services Plan?)
Modeling and Analysis Plan????
Strategic Implementation Plan???
Listing of Current GCOOS observing systems
Listing of Potential users of GCOOS including Draft BP lists as follows

  • Appendix 1: Southern Association of Marine Laboratories (SAML) 2000
  • Appendix 2: For-Profit Groups from the Private Sector
  • Appendix 3: Organizations Represented in Southern Association of Marine Educators
  • Appendix 4: Gulf Restoration Network Membership
  • Appendix 5: Environmentally Concerned Organizations in Louisiana


Appendix E: Letter to NFRA from GCOOS-RA Board of Directors

The letter (pdf).