Archive News & Events

Interagency Ocean Policy Task Force Releases Interim Framework

On December 14th 2009, the White House Council on Environmental Quality released the new Interagency Ocean Policy Task Force Interim Framework for Effective Coastal and Marine Spatial Planning. The Interim Framework includes a number of important provisions that would significantly overhaul the Federal Government's approach to coastal and marine planning. Under the Framework, coastal and marine spatial planning would be regional in scope, developed cooperatively among Federal, State, tribal, local authorities, and regional governance structures, with substantial stakeholder and public input.

President Obama issued a Memorandum on June 12, 2009, establishing an Interagency Ocean Policy Task Force, to be led by the Council on Environmental Quality Chair. The Task Force's Interim Framework proposes this new planning system to be based upon sound science, which is comprehensive, adaptive, integrated, ecosystem-based and transparent in analyzing current and anticipated uses for the oceans, coasts and Great Lakes. The Task Force will be accepting public comments on the Framework through Friday, February 12, 2010.

NOAA Vents Program Celebrates 25 Years of Success

The NOAA Vents Program at the Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory celebrates its 25th anniversary this month, marking a quarter century of research, discoveries, and technological innovations in some of the oceans most interesting depths.

Started in 1984 with 4 personnel in Newport, Oregon the NOAA Vents Program has grown to a program with over 20 scientists and technical staff located in both Newport, Oregon and Seattle, Washington. Over the course of the past quarter century, the Vents team has made a host of fundamental discoveries and conducted research focused on understanding ocean environmental impacts of deep volcanic eruptions and their associated hydrothermal venting.

The Vents Program is a partner with the Office of Ocean Exploration and Research. Together they are making discoveries that have important implications for marine ecosystems.

Interagency Ocean Policy Task Force Releases Interim Report

On September 17th, the White House Council on Environmental Quality released the new Interagency Ocean Policy Task Force Interim Report. The report details a proposed national policy for the stewardship of the ocean, coastal and Great Lakes ecosystems. The proposed policy coordination framework is also outlined to provide stronger ocean governance and coordination, including the opportunity for greater involvement of State, local, and tribal authorities as well as regional governing structures.

President Obama issued a Memorandum on June 12, 2009, establishing an Interagency Ocean Policy Task Force, to be led by the Council on Environmental Quality Chair. This interim report by the Task Force considered public comment in developing the national policy, framework for policy coordination, and the implementation strategy that prioritizes the objectives for the United States to meet for the national policy. The next step of the Task Force will be to develop a framework for coastal and marine spatial planning, which is due to the President by December 9, 2009.

Forensic Science Bolsters Prosecution of Environmental Crime Cases

NOAA's National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science (NCCOS) Center for Coastal Environmental Health and Biomolecular Research (CCEHBR) in Charleston, SC is one of the only laboratories in the country focused on the forensic analysis of marine species. CCEHBR's Marine Forensics Program researchers identify and analyze species, parts and products using protein, lipid and DNA-based techniques and conduct field investigations of unusual mortalities among marine animals to determine cause of death.

In a recent case, DNA was used to identify loggerhead sea turtle eggs taken from a Florida beach. The successful prosecutions of those who violate federal wildlife laws help to protect and prevent the further decline of valuable fisheries resources, marine mammals, and endangered species. Providing up to 85% of all forensic law enforcement scientific support for NOAA's Fisheries Office of Law Enforcement, CCEHBR's analysis of evidence has resulted in over $2M in fines, permit sanctions, forfeitures of goods and prison time for cases involving CITES, ESA, MSA and Lacey Act violations.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Boosts Effectiveness in Addressing Top Threats to Coral Reefs

On June 19, NOAA's Coral Reef Conservation Program (CRCP) released its Coral Reef Conservation Program Goals and Objectives: 2010-2015 and International Coral Reef Conservation Strategy. They are now available on the Threat-based Working Groups page of the CRCP Web site. The program is narrowing the focus of its U.S. domestic activities and shifting the allocation of resources to action on the ground and in the water. Efforts will concentrate on understanding and addressing the top three recognized global threats to coral reef ecosystems: climate change, fishing impacts, and land-based sources of pollution. The program is also expanding its international presence by becoming more actively involved in coral conservation efforts, primarily in the Pacific, Coral Triangle region, and Caribbean. The decline and loss of coral reefs have significant social, cultural, economic, and ecological impacts on people and communities in the United States and around the world.

Vents Scientists Witness Molten Lava at Underwater Volcanoes

Scientists from the NOAA Vents Program at Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory in cooperation with University of Washington and Oregon State University recently visited an underwater volcano off the coast of Tonga in the Southwest Pacific Ocean. The site, named West Mata was first visited in November 2008 where evidence that an active eruption might be taking place. Armed with the ROV Jason-2 aboard University of Washington's Research Vessel Thomas Thompson scientists witnessed firsthand red molten lava and volcanic rock formations at two eruptive vent sites on the summit of West Mata. Pictured is the Prometheus eruptive vent located in 1208 meters of water. Chief scientist, Joseph Resing, describes witnessing lava on the seafloor, explosions with flashes of light and molten rock forming new earth in the cruise blog all in the span of this 8-day cruise. Resing and other scientists will now pour over the data including rock and biological specimens with the goal to better understand fundamental processes shaping our Earth. This cruise was funded by the National Science Foundation, NOAA's Office of Ocean Exploration and Research, and the Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory

Coastal and Marine Habitat Restoration Projects Funding Announcement

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is seeking applications for projects that will restore coastal and marine habitats under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, in an unprecedented effort to jumpstart the economy, create save several thousand jobs, and restore valuable coastal and marine habitat. Congress has entrusted NOAA with up to $170 million for habitat restoration in coastal areas including the Great Lakes. NOAA accepting applications for a variety of habitat restoration projects - including wetlands restoration, dam removals, shellfish restoration, and coral reef restoration.

These habitats support valuable fisheries and protected resources, improve the quality of our water, provide recreational opportunities for the public's use and enjoyment, and buffer our coastal communities from the impacts of storms and sea level rise. Projects funded through NOAA have strong habitat restoration components that provide social and economic benefits for people and their communities in addition to long-term ecological habitat improvements.

To compete well, applicants will have to demonstrate that their project can achieve significant ecological benefits, maximize jobs creation/preservation, and are “shovel-ready.” Typical investments by NOAA are expected to range between $1.5 million to $10 million per project. Applications are due by April 6, 2009. To read the full announcement, including information on eligibility and how to submit an application, please read the Federal Funding Opportunity below.

First Global Socioeconomic Monitoring Report Launched

NOAA's Ecosystem Goal Team is committed to increasing its work in the social sciences and has achieved an early milestone in this effort with the release of Socioeconomic Conditions Along the World's Tropical Coasts: 2008. Synthesizing data from close to 14,000 household interviews in 29 countries, the report highlights local community dependence on coral reefs in developing countries, provides information on perceived threats to coastal resources, and points to the difficulties coastal managers face to effectively implement decades-old recommendations as a significant barrier to coral reef protection. This report is the first comprehensive analysis of regional and global data from the Global Socioeconomic Monitoring Initiative, which is coordinated by NOAA's Coral Reef Conservation Program. The report was produced in partnership with Conservation International. It complements the Status of Coral Reefs of the World: 2008 report, and the two were launched together on December 9, 2008.

In 2008, success of the Bolsa Chica Wetlands Restoration is evident: "An Explosion of Sea Life"

Two years ago, a sand berm that blocked the Pacific Ocean from entering an old oil field located in Orange County, California was removed for the first time in a hundred years in hopes of establishing a 364-acre wetland restoration project-the largest west of the Mississippi. The $147-million project, spearheaded by NOAA, the Fish and Wildlife Service and the State of California, has brought, in the words of the Los Angeles Times, an "explosion of sea life." The restored tidal basin has been attracting marine animals to habitats both above and below the water. Biologists from NOAA expect the 27 fish species currently in the wetlands to burgeon to as many as 60. A total of eight state and federal agencies are monitoring the wetland's progress.

  • Bolsa Chica Wetlands Restoration is evident
  • Ecosystem Programs

    Aquaculture Coastal Marine Resources Enforcement
    Fisheries Management Protected Species Ecosystem Observations
    Coral Reef Conservation Habitat Ecosystem Research