Archive for August, 2016

Hawaiian Islands Sentinel Site Cooperative: where high tech and tradition mesh

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Hawaii stands alone in more ways than one. It is the only U.S. state comprised entirely of islands. There are eight major islands, but the Hawaiian Island Chain consists of more than 80 volcanoes and 132 islands, reefs, and shoals that extend across the Pacific for 1,500 miles (that's the approximate distance from Houston to San Francisco). Located about 2,400 miles from California, the islands are, in fact, the most isolated inhabited pieces of land in the world.

One would expect, then, that protecting Hawaii's natural and cultural resources poses a unique set of challenges. NOAA is working to address these challenges by considering how human activities on land are impacting near-shore systems through the lens of sea level rise and climate change, and fostering practical solutions through its Hawaiian Islands (HI) Sentinel Site Cooperative.

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NOAA Names Shepard Smith as Director of Coast Survey

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Following his selection by the Department of Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker and approval by President Barack Obama, Shepard Smith was promoted from captain to rear admiral (lower half) and named director of the NOAA Office of Coast Survey during a change of command ceremony on August 26. As the nation's chief hydrographer, Smith will oversee NOAA's charts and hydrographic surveys, ushering in the next generation of navigational products and services for mariners who need integrated delivery of coastal intelligence data.

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NOAA Engineers a More Reliable, Cost Efficient Current Sensor for Mariners

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Navigating into seaports is now safer and more efficient for mariners thanks to improved NOAA technology that ships rely on to give them information about currents. The Center for Operational Oceanographic Products and Services (CO-OPS) developed a more reliable, cost-saving version of a current sensor system that can now be placed at more remote locations along navigation channels.

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NOAA Collects Aerial Imagery in Aftermath of Severe Storms and Flooding in Louisiana

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On August 14, NOS's National Geodetic Survey (NGS) began collecting damage assessment imagery in the aftermath of the Aug. 2016 severe storms that caused significant flooding in Louisiana. Aerial imagery is being collected in specific areas identified by FEMA and the National Weather Service. View before and after images of affected areas.

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Filleting the Lion

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The lionfish, a native of the Western Pacific Ocean, is a venomous, voracious predator that’s flourishing in coastal waters of the U.S. Southeast and the Caribbean. This invasive species has the potential to harm reef ecosystems because it is a top predator that competes for food and space with overfished native stocks such as snapper and grouper. Scientists fear that lionfish will also kill off helpful species such as algae-eating parrotfish, allowing seaweed to overtake the reefs.

Fortunately for our coral reefs, the flashy lionfish has caught the attention of the hungriest predators of all: people! Once stripped of its venomous spines, cleaned, and filleted like any other fish, the lionfish becomes delectable seafood fare. NOAA scientists researching the lionfish’s spread and impact are now encouraging a seafood market as one way to mitigate the species’ impacts on reef communities.

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Least Terns Find a New Home

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Volunteers from NOAA, the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, South Carolina Audubon, and others transformed part of an old Navy dock into an unlikely nesting hotspot for the least tern. As of August 7, 2016, least terns have created seven nests (and hatched eleven chicks!) on the pier behind NOAA's Office for Coastal Management.

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NOAA helps save nearly 100 wetland acres for Michigan restoration

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The Great Lakes hold 20 percent of the world's fresh surface water, making habitat restoration critically important for severely degraded industrial areas near their shores. In Michigan, NOAA has moved that goal forward by supporting the recent purchase of 98.8 wetland acres near Muskegon Lake, which feeds directly into Lake Michigan.

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