NOAA's Ecosystem Goal Team Newsletter

September 2008

Spotlight On

In The News



Upcoming Events



"Spotlight on"

Ecosystem Observations Program

NOAA's Ecosystem Observations Program (EOP) is one of nine programs that make up the Ecosystem Goal Team. Its vision is to provide trusted scientific information to foster healthy marine ecosystems for current and future generations.

The Ecosystem Observations Program

The name of the Ecosystem Observations Program can be a bit misleading. While ecological observations make up the foundation of much of EOP's work, they are only the initial step in the myriad of responsibilities and accomplishments within the program. The EOP provides extensive data collection through NOAA monitoring and observing activities throughout the world's oceans. These data allow EOP and its partners the ability to monitor, assess and forecast the status and trends in and around diverse marine ecosystems that affect our economy, our environment and our culture.

EOP Structure

To achieve balance among ecological, environmental, and societal interests, EOP has adopted an ecosystem approach to management. EOP works within its five areas of expertise, or "capabilities". Each capability provides the EOP with specific data that directly support ecosystem-based management.

The Ecosystem Observations Program Capabilities are:
Capability 1: Fisheries Monitoring and Assessment
Capability 2: Protected Species Monitoring and Assessment
Capability 3: Ecosystem Monitoring, Assessments and Forecasting
Capability 4: Economic and Sociocultural Monitoring and Assessments
Capability 5: Data Management, Technology Transfer, Education, and Outreach

EOP develops assessments and forecasts to provide researchers and managers with the best scientific information available for resource management decisions. EOP also provides economic and socio-cultural assessments enabling resource managers to assess impacts of resource management decisions and to better respond to community needs. EOP observation data, assessments and forecasts provide NOAA and its external partners vital information to make sound management decisions based on knowledge of current status and trends of living marine resources. EOP observations, assessments, and forecasts from those data provide the underlying science needed to take a holistic approach in managing our oceans and coasts.

EOP Activities

Current major programs within EOP include expanding stock assessments to help set annual catch limits (ACLs) by 2010 to meet the mandates of the Magnuson Stevens Fisheries Conservation and Management Act; the development of Integrated Ecosystem Assessments (IEAs) to support ecosystem-based management; and creating information management architecture to ensure access to, and quality control of data streams used in assessments and forecasts.

EOP has several sub-capabilities and cross-Line Office partners to help support these major programs. EOP is the home of the Cooperative Research program, which provides local fishermen, scientists and resource managers the opportunity to develop local-solutions to fishery concerns impacting them. The Fisheries Statistics program summarizes U.S. commercial fisheries landings as well as provides fisheries-dependent information for U.S. marine waters through the coordination and administration of recreational fisheries surveys nationwide. The National Observers Program deploys fishery observers to collect catch and bycatch data from US commercial fishing and processing vessels. The National Data Development Center is a leader in Regional Ecosystem Data Management (REDM) and ensures that core data variables for IEAs are available to scientists in common usage formats via a web-based portal. Mussel Watch, a program of the Center for Coastal Monitoring and Assessments is the longest continuous, nationwide contaminant monitoring program in U.S. coastal waters. EOP also supports Fisheries Oceanography Coordinated Investigations (FOCI), a joint research program between the Alaska Fisheries Science Center and the Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory that determines the influence of the physical environment on marine populations and the subsequent impact on fisheries.

EOP is more than just observations. It is a coordinate group of scientists, specialists, and external partners contributing world-class expertise in oceanography, marine ecology, marine archeology, fisheries management, conservation biology, natural resource management, aquaculture, and environmental risk assessment.

EOP Contacts

For more information on EOP, its program and partners please contact:

John Boreman, EOP Program Manager 301-713-2367
Steven Swartz, EOP Deputy Program Manager 301-713-2367

EOP Staff
Eric Breuer - 301-713-2363 x140
Elizabeth Ban - 301-713-2363 x157
Mark Chandler - 301-713-2367 x152

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In the News

Coral Reef Conservation: CRCP Releases Roadmap for the Future

In 2007 NOAA's Coral Reef Conservation Program (CRCP) solicited an external review to assess the program's effectiveness in achieving its mandates and provide recommendations for improving its impact and performance. In response to the panel's recommendations and new program leadership, the CRCP released its Roadmap for the Future: A Plan for developing CRCP direction through 2015 to set the program's direction for FY 2010-2015. The document lays out new CRCP principles and priorities, and a process for implementing the proposed changes. The Program will primarily focus its efforts on addressing coral reef management needs, and will do so by emphasizing work on understanding and addressing three key threat areas: the impacts of fishing, land-based sources of pollution and climate change. The CRCP will place greater emphasis on management-relevant science and develop coral conservation tools and products that are user-friendly. The Program will also strengthen its partnerships and leverage resources with coral reef managers at the federal, state, territorial, and local level. The CRCP held a special forum during the 11th International Coral Reef Symposium to present these plans to the public and provide an opportunity for comment. The session, which was attended by over 140 NOAA staff and other partners in Federal agencies, non-governmental organizations, and academia, included a panel discussion with outside experts who provided their viewpoint of the program's future direction. In addition, a question and answer dialogue was generated with the attendees.

Contact:, Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management (CRCP), (301) 713-3155 x170

Coral Reef Conservation: 20th Meeting of the U.S. Coral Reef Task Force

The 20th meeting of the U.S. Coral Reef Task Force (USCRTF) took place from August 24 - 29 in Kona, Hawai`i. The theme of the meeting was Ola Na Papa í Pulama 'la (Cherish the Living Reef); as such, the meeting highlighted conservation strategies, successes, and challenges in Hawai`i. It also provided a forum for the USCRTF to hear about and discuss the priority threats facing reefs and innovative solutions and partnerships the USCRTF can explore. Senior leaders from the Administration and in the Pacific region shared their vision for environmental leadership and stewardship. This was the final meeting of the USCRTF during the International Year of the Reef and the 10-Year Anniversary of the USCRTF. In honor of both, the USCRTF produced a Framework for Action outlining its plans for a strengthened and refined focus on three major threats to coral reef ecosystems (climate change, adverse impacts of fishing, and water quality).

Preceding the meeting, a series of workshops covered key issues such as Traditional Ecological Knowledge, Recreational Stewardship, Watershed Planning, Bridging Communities and Government, and Climate Change Responses. In addition, 22 staff from member agencies visited schools in Kona, giving presentations and educational materials to over 600 students.

During the business meeting, ten individuals were honored for their contributions to the USCRTF and coral reef conservation. Living Reef Awards were also given out in conjunction with this meeting. Participants also had the opportunity to see and learn first-hand about on-the-ground marine and coastal conservation issues and strategies in Hawai`i during a selection of field trips.

The U.S. Coral Reef Task Force is co-chaired by the Departments of Commerce and of the Interior, and includes leaders of 12 federal agencies, seven U.S. states and territories, and three freely associated states. The mission is to lead, coordinate, and strengthen U.S. government actions to better preserve and protect coral reef ecosystems.

Contact:, Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management (CRCP), (301) 713-3155 x129

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Coral Reef Conservation: CRCP Brings Congressional Staff to Coral Reef Resources

In celebration of International Year of the Reef 2008, the Coral Reef Conservation Program (CRCP) and NOAA's Office of Legislative Affairs lead a group of nine Congressional staff to south Florida the week of August 18-22. Despite the efforts of Tropical Storm Fay, the trip offered a unique opportunity for staff to experience the suite of efforts conducted in the area to understand, conserve and sustain these complex and sensitive marine ecosystems. Over the course of the tour, participants met with NOAA representatives and staff from partner agencies, academic institutions, and other organizations to learn about resource management challenges and successes in the region. Issues covered included understanding and controlling land based pollution impacts, managing for resiliency in the face of climate change, implementing effective protected areas, and mitigating coastal development. Staff members included representation of the Senate Commerce Committee majority and minority, House Resources Committee majority, House Science Committee majority and minority, Senate Appropriations Committee and personal staff of Senators Shelby and Cochran. The trip began in Fort Lauderdale and continued south through the Florida Keys to the Dry Tortugas to highlight the capabilities of NOAA and its partners. The trip successfully raised visibility for NOAA and its partners' coral reef conservation efforts in Florida and reinforced the urgency for reauthorization of the Coral Reef Conservation Act of 2000. Hosts throughout the trip included staff from the State of Florida, National Coral Reef Institute, National Park Service, Southeast Fisheries Science Center, NMFS Southeast Regional Office, University of Miami, Mote Marine Lab, Broward County, The Nature Conservancy, and many Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary staff.

Contact:, Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management (CRCP), (301) 713-3155 x145

Coral Reef Conservation: NOAA Co-hosts Climate Change Workshops for Pacific Reef Managers

NOAA recently co-hosted two climate change workshops to increase the ability of coral reef managers to anticipate and respond to coral bleaching events, and to build resilience into management plans. Primary funding for both workshops was provided by the Coral Reef Conservation Program.

In April, thirty reef managers from Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Florida, Jamaica, Honduras, Colombia, Bahamas, Bonaire, Mexico, Guatemala, and Belize attended a workshop held in the Florida Keys.This topic is of particular concern in the Caribbean; in 2005 the region experienced a severe mass coral bleaching event that left over half of all corals dead in some parts of the eastern Caribbean. Partners included The Nature Conservancy, World Wildlife Fund, Australia's Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, and Mote Marine Laboratory.

In September, thirty reef managers from Palau, Pohnpei, American Samoa, Samoa, Hawai`i, and the mainland U.S. attended a workshop in Kona, Hawai`i. Partners included the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument (Monument), the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology (HIMB), the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, The Nature Conservancy, and Australia's Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority.

These workshops provided reef managers with the tools they need to understand coral bleaching, know when bleaching is likely to occur, and take actions to respond to these events. Utilizing A Reef Manager's Guide to Coral Bleaching, the participants initiated coral bleaching response plans for their home sites and engaged in significant discussions on how to integrate and build both social and ecological resilience in the face of climate change. To date, over 150 coral reef experts and managers have been trained; these individuals are able to apply what they learned to their local reefs in 18 nations around the world. Previous workshops in this series, held in Australia and American Samoa, have also been extremely successful.

Contacts:, NOAA Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management (CRCP), (301) 713-3155 x155.

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Coral Reef Conservation: CRCP Funds USCRTF Decision Makers Forum at CHOW

The U.S. Coral Reef Task Force (USCRTF) held a decision makers forum as part of Capitol Hill Ocean's Week (CHOW) and in celebration of the International Year of the Reef 2008 (IYOR 2008), on Wednesday, June 4. This forum was one of the nine projects selected during the NOAA Coral Reef Conservation Program's call for IYOR 2008 proposals last year. The forum included a panel discussion designed to broaden Congressional interest and specifically, policy and funding decisions to include consideration of coral reef conservation. The panel goals were to educate congressional staff, illustrate innovative, collaborative approaches, and convene a dialog among hill staff on potential congressional avenues to impact decisions that affect coral reef ecosystems. The panel began with a focus on global issues facing coral reefs, including climate change, and then narrowed to local issues and solutions including socio-economic aspects of coral reef conservation. Dr. Sylvia Earle was the keynote speaker. In addition the Task Force, along with several NGO partners led by the World Wildlife Fund, hosted a reception that evening. For more information, including a list of speakers and other sessions, visit the CHOW link above.

Contacts:, Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management (CRCP), (301) 713-3155 x129.

Coral Reef Conservation: International Workshop Initiates Six-Month Trial For New Marine Conservation Tool

A five-day assessment training workshop concluded on May 9 in the Republic of Marshall Islands (RMI), initiating a six-month trial of the SEM-Pasifika Training Program (Program), a new approach to socioeconomic monitoring in the Pacific region. The Program is conducted by the NOAA Coral Reef Conservation Program (CRCP) in partnership with the U.S. Department of State, The Nature Conservancy-Micronesia, the Pacific Islands Marine Protected Areas Community, and the South Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP). Successful applicants to the Program received travel funds to attend the workshop; 17 marine conservationists from American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, Hawaii, and RMI were chosen. Participants were trained in the use of the new SEM-Pasifika manual. This manual is the result of 2.5 years of discussion and collaboration; it was developed by Community Conservation Network of Hawaii and incorporates indicators used by the Global Socioeconomic Monitoring Initiative (SocMon) and the Locally Managed Marine Areas (LMMA). During the workshop, participants also used their new skills to develop a survey questionnaire that was then tested during an intensive two-day field trial at a village on the island of Arno. Trainers from NOAA, TNC-Micronesia, and SPREP guided participants in developing workplans to conduct assessments at their home sites. As part of the Program, participants receive a small amount of seed funds to start a socioeconomic monitoring study at their home site. They will also receive technical support, including a site visit from a technical advisor. Trainer assistance to participants will continue over the next six months during the survey implementation phase.

Contact:, Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management (CRCP), (301) 713-3155 x155.

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Coral Reef Conservation: Work to Create American Samoa Network of MPAs Begins

National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science Biogeography Brach Chief Mark Monaco and Fish Ecologist Matt Kendall returned from America Samoa the week of May 5th, where they met with the Office of the National Marine Sanctuaries (ONMS), territory officials and others to discuss work under development to conduct a biogeographic/socioeconomic assessment in American Samoa and possibly Samoa (formerly Western Samoa). The group hopes to develop a comprehensive work plan on how best to move forward on the creation of an Integrated American Samoa National Marine Sanctuary Network. It is hoped that this work will serve as a model for other ONMS activities in the Pacific. A short slide show and two-page summary document of the proposed work are available upon request; contact Alicia Clarke. Rusty Brainard of the Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center also participated in the American Samoa Sanctuary and Biogeography Program meeting on April 28-May 2 to help initiate a process to determine a network of marine protected areas around American Samoa. This process is slated to be completed over the next five years.

Contact:, NCCOS Biogeography Branch, (301) 713-3028 x160; and, NMFS Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center Coral Reef Ecosystem Division, (301) 713-3028 x158.

Coral Reef Conservation: Final Leg of Pacific RAMP Cruise Returns to Port

The NOAA Ship Hi'ialakai returned on Saturday, April 12 from the third leg of the 2008 cruise to the Central Pacific and American Samoa. Twenty-two scientists from NOAA's Coral Reef Ecosystem Division (CRED) and partner agencies participated in this final 23-day leg, from American Samoa to Hawai`i, and conducted surveys at Jarvis Island, Kingman Reef, and Palmyra Atoll. The three cruise legs comprise the fourth Coral Reef Conservation Program (CRCP) expedition to American Samoa in recent years and the sixth to the U.S. Line and Phoenix Islands. During each of the three legs of this research expedition, scientists conducted comprehensive Reef Assessment and Monitoring Program (RAMP) surveys of the shallow-water marine resources using uniform methods that are used throughout U.S. waters in the Pacific. In addition to the standard RAMP surveys, scientists investigated a newly identified wreck of a fishing boat at Kingman Reef. Preliminary results from these surveys show that large fish biomass has substantially decreased at both Rose Atoll and Swains Island and that a native tunicate of the Didemnidae family is behaving like an invasive species at Swains Island.

Contact:, NMFS Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center Coral Reef Ecosystem Division, (301) 713-3028 x158.

Coral Reef Conservation: Collaborative Monitoring Cruise Visits USVI Managed Areas

Scientists from NOAA's National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science, in collaboration with biologists from the National Park Service (NPS) and with support from NOAA's Coral Reef Conservation Program, successfully completed their bi-annual monitoring and characterization mission in and around the waters of Buck Island Reef National Monument (BIRNM),St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI). During the cruise, which ran from March 9-21, data on fish and invertebrate populations and benthic composition were collected at 122 locations, including sites in the northern part of the St. Croix East End Marine Park (EEMP). The results of this long-term monitoring study will help BIRNM and EEMP establish the knowledge base necessary for enacting place-based management decisions and assessing the efficacy of USVI Marine Protected Areas (MPAs).

Contact:, NCCOS Biogeography Branch, (301) 713-3028 x160

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Ecosystem Research/NCCOS: Coastal Ocean Dead Zones Increasing at Exponential Rate Worldwide

The number of areas in coastal waters with too little oxygen to support most marine life, otherwise known as dead zones, has greatly increased since the 1960s according to National Centers for Sponsored Coastal Ocean Research (NCCOS) - funded research. Four hundred systems worldwide, including 166 in US waters, now have documented dead zones. A review paper (SCIENCE Aug 15 2008) by NCCOS-supported researcher Robert Diaz of the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, and Rutger Rosenberg of the University of Gothenburg, attributes this dramatic trend to increasing nutrient pollution and the burning of fossil fuels. Diaz is funded by the Coastal Hypoxia Research Program, one of two national hypoxia research programs managed by NOAA's Center for Sponsored Coastal Ocean Research and authorized by the Harmful Algal Bloom and Hypoxia Research and Control Act. NOAA's long-term investment in hypoxia research and development of predictive capabilities have provided the basis of management plans for reducing nutrient loading to coastal systems, most notably, in the Gulf of Mexico.

For more information contact Libby Jewett at

Ecosystem Research/OER: Innovative use of Sonar Reveals How Herring Respond to Predators

Last winter, NOAA's Undersea Research Program (NURP) and its West Coast and Polar Regions Undersea Research Center teamed up with NOAA Fisheries' Auke Bay Laboratories, Louisiana State University and the University of Alaska Southeast to study how predators affect schooling herring. To this end, researchers integrated imaging sonar (DIDSON) with a traditional echosouder (Simrad, 38 and 120 kHz). Traditional echosounders can provide estimates of herring abundance but they cannot provide any information on the behavior of fish. Additionally it is necessary to trawl through the school to get information needed for biomass estimates. In contrast, the DIDSON sonar produces video-like images that can be used to get this information without trawling (examples of video imagery can be found online at The combined used of these sonar systems allowed the group to observe individual herring response when attacked by predators. Efforts last winter produced numerous observations of Steller sea lion attacks which are believed to be the first images captured of sea lions feeding on herring at depth. The ability to combine estimates of school size with observations of predator avoidance provides a powerful and easily deployed tool for understanding the factors that regulate herring survival.

Pacific herring is commercially and ecologically important to coastal communities throughout Alaska, this harvest has an average value of around $10 million each year. Herring have high nutritional value and are preferentially consumed by whales, seals, sea lions, salmon, groundfish and sea birds. Despite the value of herring to coastal communities and ecosystems, relatively little is known about the factors regulating their abundance.

During winter, adult herring often form dense aggregates in predictable locations. These schools can be enormous consisting of a layer of fish 150 feet thick stretching over several miles. These innovative approaches developed in this study allowed researchers to observe complex and detailed interactions between large predators and their prey in situ, without influencing their behavior. An immediate result was the ability to observe the response of individual herring to attacks and estimate the relative capture success of sea lions during each attack.

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Ecosystem Research /AOML: Reefs may "Unglue" in Oceans with High Carbon Dioxide

Cements that bind individual coral skeletons and larger coral reef structures are predominantly absent in waters with naturally high levels of carbon dioxide (CO2), making these reefs highly susceptible to a wearing down of their physical framework, say scientists with NOAA's Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory.

The study, released in the July 28 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, found that the coral reefs of the eastern tropical Pacific provide a real-world example of the challenges all coral reefs will face under high-CO2 conditions resulting in ocean acidification. this is the first attempt to characterize the impacts of ocean acidification on coral reef ecosystems by examining naturally occurring, high-CO2 reef environments.

Lead author, Derek Manzello, a coral reef ecologist at AOML, and his colleagues analyzed the abundance of cements within reef framework structures from the eastern tropical Pacific, which is an entire region exposed to naturally higher levels of carbon dioxide, and compared them to reefs from the Bahamas, an ecosystem exposed to comparatively lower levels of carbon dioxide.

The impact of ocean acidification seems to be a drastic reduction in the production of the cements that allow coral reefs to grow into large, structurally-strong formations that can withstand high wave action.

"Reefs are constantly degraded by mechanical, biological, and chemical erosion," said Manzello. "This study indicates that poorly cemented reefs that develop in an acidic ocean will be much less likely to withstand this persistent erosion. These results imply that coral reefs of the future may be eroded faster than they can grow."

Ocean acidification occurs as much of the new carbon dioxide being placed into the atmosphere is dissolved into the ocean's surface waters. This increase in the amount of carbon dioxide in ocean waters leads to a decrease in the amount of carbonate available to organisms like corals, which make calcium carbonate to build the stony structure they inhabit. Calcium carbonate is also the basis of the cement that binds one coral to another and to sand that fills spaces between them.

To read the complete article:

Ecosystem Research /NCCOS:Marine Forensics Support Federal Enforcement

Marine forensic analysis helps NOAA Fisheries successfully close Federal enforcement cases and contributes to protection of the Nation's marine resources. Forensic support can be critical in deciding whether or not certain civil or criminal penalties against suspected poachers are justified and can serve as a future deterrent to illegal use of marine resources. Scientists analyzed over 100 pieces of evidence in a case involving multiple violations of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act by a Florida fisherman. DNA analysis identified fillets as red snapper, mutton snapper, and cobia. These findings were used by NOAA Fisheries Law Enforcement to cite violations resulting in civil penalties of $16,000 and a 45-day permit sanction for the owner and the operator of the vessel. Additional marine forensic support included analysis of evidence in five NOAA Law Enforcement poaching cases. Each case involved suspected violations of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, the Lacey Act, the Marine Mammal Protection Act, and the Endangered Species Act. Using DNA sequencing, scientists identified evidence as protected species: hawksbill sea turtle in two cases, sperm whale in a third case, and several shark species in the remainder.

For more information, contact Trey Knott, Kathy Moore or Lara Adams

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Habitat: NOAAResponds to Oil Spill in New Orleans

On July 23, a 600-foot chemical tanker and 200-foot fuel barge collided on the Mississippi River. The barge was torn in half, spilling several hundred thousand gallons of fuel oil into the river near the French Quarter in downtown New Orleans. The released oil spread 100 miles down the Mississippi River, resulting in injury to roughly 200 miles of shoreline.

Many NOAA personnel are currently on scene and staff are working with other federal and state agencies (collectively known as the "Trustees") on pre-assessment activities. Of the 198 miles of shoreline that have been assessed for oiling and cleanup by response personnel, 36 sites have already been identified as "Areas of Special Concern," or ecologically sensitive areas that have been affected by the spill. From this information, the Trustees will determine appropriate restoration activities to compensate the public for any loss of natural resources resulting from the spill.

Any eventual restoration projects resulting from this spill will contribute to addressing the larger challenge of protecting and restoring Louisiana's coastal ecosystem, which is losing an estimated 24 square miles of coastal wetlands a year.

According to the U.S. Coast Guard, there was an average of 1,500 reported oil spills a year in Louisiana between 1991 through 2004, or about four reported spills a day. This is in part due to the large volume of oil and gas which pass through Louisiana's coastal zone: a network of nearly 9,300 miles of oil and gas pipelines and associated energy facilities are located there. Another major factor that contributes to the large number of spills is Louisiana's receding wetlands, which increase exposure of this aging infrastructure to natural and man-made threats (e.g., tropical storms and vessel collisions).

For more information about the Louisiana oil spill, please contact Rachel Brittin at or Michael Jarvis at

Habitat: Settlement Agreement Provides Restoration in New Jersey

On June 17, 2008, the Justice Department submitted a settlement to the Federal District Court in Manhattan concerning environmental claims against the Dana Corporation brought in connection with a bankruptcy proceeding. The settlement includes $3.12 million for a natural resource restoration and assessment claim on behalf of federal natural resource trustees, including NOAA and the Department of the Interior, concerning the Cornell-Dubilier Electronics Superfund Site in South Plainfield, New Jersey. The site is contaminated with PCBs as well as other hazardous substances and elevated concentrations of PCBs are present in the sediments and biota of the nearby Bound Brook, a tributary to the Raritan River. In addition, since 1997 NJDEP has had a fish consumption advisory for all species of fish along the entire length of Bound Brook. NOAA's Damage Assessment, Remediation, and Restoration Program (DARRP) developed the natural resource injury portion of the claim on behalf of the federal trustees based on estimates of lost recreational use and ecological services. A summary of the agreement is included in the Government's press release:

DARRP is a multi-line office program comprised of the NOS Assessment and Restoration Division, NMFS Restoration Center, and the NOAA General Counsel for Natural Resources. As part of the NOAA Habitat Matrix Program, DARRP col­laborates with other agencies, industry, and citizens to protect and restore coastal and marine resources threatened or injured by oil spills, releases of hazardous substances, and vessel groundings. For more information, visit:

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Habitat: Fishing for Energy Program

On Monday and Tuesday, September 8-9, 2008, the NOAA Marine Debris Program and its partners the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, Covanta Energy Corporation, and Schnitzer Steel Northeast hosted two media events highlighting the Fishing to Energy project. The first event was held in Newport, RI, with the second event on Tuesday in Chatham, MA. The Fishing for Energy project aims to reduce the amount of unused fishing gear in the community and marine environment. The project provides a place for the fishing community to dispose of old or derelict fishing gear they recover while at sea at no cost. This program is modeled after a successful mutli-partner project in Hawaii, building upon these efforts at their Massachusetts Energy-from-Waste facility and others. Newport and Chatam are the 5th and 6th sites in the effort which is proposed to span the East Coast.

ORR Director Dave Westerholm and Marine Debris Program Communications Coordinator Megan Forbes spoke on behalf of NOAA at these events, highlighting NOAA's continued enthusiasm for this partnership.

Habitat: Salmon Creek Estuary Restored After Years of Lumber Mill Impacts

NOAA's restoration of the Salmon Creek Estuary, found at the head of Discovery Bay, is one of the most important restoration projects in the greater Puget Sound area. Home to Endangered Species Act threatened chum salmon, as well as Chinook and steelhead salmon, much of this estuary has been uninhabitable for fish due to runoff from a lumber mill that started more than 50 years ago.

Sulfur and ammonia leach into the water from more than 22,000 cubic yards of wood fill, making it difficult for salmon and a number of other important species to live in the estuary.

"Unfortunately, much of the Puget Sound is threatened by similar problems all along its coastline," said Polly Hicks of the NOAA Restoration Center. "There are hundreds of estuaries just like Salmon Creek that are partially filled and degraded by old lumber mills, making it difficult to sustain salmon populations."

Work began this summer, but it took more than four years for NOAA's Restoration Center, the North Olympic Salmon Coalition, the FishAmerica Foundation and the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife to research, fund and implement the project.

When finished, more than 38,000 cubic yards of gravel and five derelict lumber mill buildings will have been removed, along with the wood waste, to restore 2,600 feet of tidal channel and salt marsh. Shorebirds, waterfowl and shellfish are just a few of the species that will return when the estuary restoration is complete. Bald and Golden eagles will once again feed on salmon along the creeks and intertidal areas, and Roosevelt elk will graze on the grasses nearby.

The Salmon Creek Estuary will soon be a much healthier place for people too. Local community members have been helping with monitoring. In addition, the wood waste will go mostly to a local farm for reuse as winter bedding and compost, since the wood was not treated by the lumber mill during manufacturing. In October, when the restoration is complete, the area will be a popular place for recreation such as bird watching, fishing and kayaking.

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Coral Reef Conservation: NOAA Participates in the 11th International Coral Reef Symposium

The 11th International Coral Reef Symposium (ICRS) took place July 7-11, in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. This Symposium takes place every four years and has not been hosted by the United States since 1977; this year NOAA was a co-sponsor. NOAA, via the Coral Reef Conservation Program (CRCP), contributed over $200 K to this important symposium. Over 2,500 coral reef scientists from the United States and internationally participated, including broad NOAA representation. VADM Lautenbacher provided plenary remarks about the NOAA Coral Reef Conservation Program's leadership and commitment to coral reef research and conservation. Deputy Assistant Secretary, Tim Keeney, participated in the opening ceremonies promoting the International Year of the Reef and the important role scientists play in communicating the issues and inspiring action. NOAA released the State of Coral Reef Ecosystems of the United States and Freely Associated States, a report which provides detailed status of the health of coral reef ecosystems in the 15 U.S. and Freely Associated States where NOAA supports monitoring efforts. Finally, NOAA staff gave over 80 oral and poster presentations, coordinated symposium sessions, planned and led field trips, and hosted a NOAA seminar and panel discussion on new directions of the NOAA Coral Reef Conservation Program. News about NOAA, the release of three major CRCP reports, and the efforts of the CRCP reached over 400 media outlets, including Time Magazine and stories on National Public Radio (NPR)., Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management (CRCP), (301) 713-3155 x147.

Coral Reef Conservation: Resource Roundup CD Released

In honor of International Year of the Reef 2008, the U.S. Coral Reef Task Force (USCRTF) released the 2008 Resource Roundup CD late this Spring. Produced by NOAA's Coral Reef Conservation Program, the CD is a collection of coral reef education and outreach materials created by state and federal agencies as well as non-profit organizations that are part of the Education and Outreach Working Group of the USCRTF. The materials cover a wide-range of topics related to coral reefs, including basic coral biology, coral reef ecosystems, human use, threats, and conservation efforts. Contents also span a variety of genres, including lesson plans, student activities, posters and videos. These resources provide educators with tools for the classroom to teach and inspire students about coral reefs and are also useful for community groups and marine recreation operators as a tool to build public awareness and support for protection of coral reefs. The contents of the CD are being provided online as a convenience and to allow wider distribution. Due to its popularity, a second edition of the 2008 CD, including additional resources, was released in August. The first Resource Roundup CD was created in 2004.

Contact:, Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management (CRCP), (301) 713-3155 x156.

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Coral Reef Conservation: Coral Reef Information System Releases Two New Tools

The NOAA Coral Reef Information System (CoRIS) announces the release of a new Regional Portal and an improved map search function, both of which will greatly enhance the existing CoRIS database. The Regional Portal provides regional access to Coral Reef Conservation Program (CRCP) data and information, based on the regions defined in the State of Coral Reef Ecosystems of the United States and Pacific Freely Associated States: 2005 report. Portal pages for each region include links to the CoRIS metadata and data for that region, as well as library materials, the relevant "State of the Reef" report section and other key regional documents, Marine Protected Areas in the region, and other items of interest about the region. The new map search is based upon Google™ Maps and is a new way to search the data available on CoRIS. It allows users to zoom to a place on the globe, such as Florida, and then select from the various data and metadata products available for that region. The new map search was developed for CoRIS by the National Coastal Data Development Center (NCDDC). These two new tools are available from the CoRIS home page. CoRIS is a CRCP-funded project managed by the National Oceanographic Data Center (NODC) and houses all data and products produced by CRCP-funded projects, as well as other related information. It is the main access point for data and products resulting from CRCP-funded projects. These new tools greatly enhance the ease with which users can access data and products within the CoRIS database.

Contact:, National Oceanographic Data Center (CoRIS), (301) 713-3284 x205.

Coral Reef Conservation: CRW Launches Online Coral Bleaching Tutorial

Coral reefs are some of the most valuable and spectacular places on earth. Abnormal sea surface temperatures, in conjunction with natural and anthropogenic stressors are causing the delicate balance of these magnificent ecosystems to be disrupted thus increasing the frequency of bleaching events. The operational products of Coral Reef Watch (CRW), a core component of the Coral Reef Conservation Program, provide help to resource managers to better manage resources in their jurisdictions. CRW is pleased to announce an online tutorial that takes the reader through coral bleaching, satellite technology, and how CRW uses satellite data to monitor for the conditions that cause bleaching. Readers will also find hands-on exercises to test themselves on what they've learned and show them where to find data on the CRW Web site. The tutorial was designed mainly for coral reef managers and scientists, who need to know when corals they manage or study are at risk for bleaching. However, CRW has also tried to use non-technical language so the resource will be useful for students, teachers, or anyone else who wants to learn more about coral reefs and satellite technology. The lessons are tied to the U.S. National Science Education standards for use in the classroom.

Contact:, NESDIS Coral Reef Watch, 301-713-2857 x109.

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Coral Reef Conservation: CRW Expands Coral Bleaching Alert System

NOAA's Coral Reef Watch (CRW), a core component of the Coral Reef Conservation Program, is pleased to announce that its expansion of the experimental Virtual Station system is complete, and 190 coral reef sites are now available.Virtual Stations are based on satellite measurements of the thermal stress that can lead to coral bleaching, highlighting pixels that are close to specific reefs.Users can access time series graphs and data, view regional temperature imagery, and sign up for free alert e-mails that warn when conditions are right for coral bleaching.

The operational system began in 2005, with 24 reefs around the world.The new experimental sites are open for comment and further discussion from partners around the world to optimize placement and the satellite data will be validated againstin situdata where available.

The new experimental sites cover coral reefs in the Florida Keys, Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, Indian Ocean, Coral Triangle, Australia's Great Barrier Reef, Hawaii, and the Pacific Ocean.Products are available from CRW's experimental products Web page.

By providing automated bleaching alerts of potential bleaching conditions, CRW helps resource managers to anticipate and plan for potential bleaching events in their jurisdiction.

Contact:, NESDIS Coral Reef Watch, (301) 713-2857 x109.

Coral Reef Conservation: Redesigned U.S. Coral Reef Task Force Website Launched

In honor of the International Year of the Reef 2008 and the 10-Year Anniversary of the U.S. Coral Reef Task Force (USCRTF), the USCRTF Website has undergone a redesign by NOS Special Projects. As part of this redesign, maintenance of the Website was transferred to NOAA from the Department of Interior. This Website is the official business site of the USCRTF and it serves as a record and repository for information on the USCRTF members and activities as well as an outreach mechanism. The redesigned site was launched on August 25th to coincide with the 20th meeting of the USCRTF, which was held that week in Kona, Hawai`i. In addition to a new look, the redesigned site boasts additional information and improved navigation; check it out at The USCRTF was established in 1998 by Presidential Exuecutive Order 13089 to conserve coral reef ecosystems and includes leaders from 12 Federal agencies, seven states and territories, and the three Freely Associated States. The USCRTF is co-chaired by the Departments of Interior and Commerce, through NOAA.

Contact:, NOAA Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management (CRCP), (301) 713-3155 x129.

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Ecosystem Research /OER: Federal Agency Representatives Meet to Discuss Marine Biodiversity

Representatives from eight government agencies, including NOAA, met at the Ocean Leadership Offices on July 31st to discuss marine biodiversity research in the federal government. The workshop built upon efforts begun in 2006 by the Census of Marine Life, explored current federal agency interests in biodiversity, and engaged agency representatives in a roundtable discussion of future actions. The workshop was sponsored by the NOPP Interagency Working Group on Ocean Partnerships and a summary of the workshop results and recommendations will be provided to the Joint Subcommittee on Ocean and Science Technology in the near future. A workshop summary can be found at:
The next interagency meeting will be held Thursday, October 30th. A NOAA-only meeting to discuss future engagement and potential activities will be held October 19th in Silver Spring.

If interested in participating or for further details please contact, in OER.

Ecosystem Research: First Time Experimental Lake Erie Harmful Algal Bloom Bulletin issued 4 September 2008

A harmful Microcystis aeruginosa bloom was identified in western Lake Erie through use of MERIS satellite imagery: The Center for Coastal Monitoring and Assessment provided MERIS imagery (distributed by the NESDIS Coastwatch program) suggesting that a large bloom of the toxic cyanobacterium, M. aeruginosa, might be present in western Lake Erie. Sampling conducted by the Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory (GLERL) verified that very high concentrations of M. aeruginosa were observed on August 28, 2008, covering much of the southern portion of the western basin of Lake Erie from Maumee Bay to Sandusky Bay. This is the first near real-time use of satellite imagery in M. aeruginosa detection and monitoring in western Lake Erie. An experimental bulletin was provided to researchers in the area.

For more information contact Shelly Tomlinson at (301) 713-3028 x225 or or Juli Dyble Bressie at (734) 741-2444 or

Ecosystem Research/NCCOS: Scientist Receives Medal for Innovative Ocean Research Linked to Climate Change

National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science (NCCOS) researcher Bill Sunda has received the prestigious Clair C. Patterson Medal for ground-breaking research that links trace metal nutrients to global climate change. The award-winning NCCOS research describes the connections among trace metals, microalgae, the ocean, and the atmosphere. Iron and other trace metals regulate the growth of oceanic microalgae, which absorb and fix carbon dioxide (CO2). Microalgae remove large amounts of CO2 from the ocean and atmosphere. This removal controls atmospheric levels of CO2, a greenhouse gas thought to contribute to global warming. This research is timely because "fertilizing" the ocean with iron is currently being considered for reducing atmospheric CO2 levels to mitigate global climate change. The Geochemical Society awarded the medal for "outstanding contributions to environmental geochemistry" during the Goldschmidt Conference in Vancouver, BC, July 14-18.

For more information, contact Bill Sunda,

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Ecosystem Research: Molecular Identification of Black Sea Bass Larvae Will Improve Fishery Management

Reef fish communities include slow-growing, late-maturing species such as groupers, snappers, and black sea bass, which fishery managers must conserve to avoid overfishing and stock collapse. Currently, sea bass larvae are difficult to distinguish because various species, including black sea bass, have similar physical appearances, spawning times, and overlapping habitat ranges. To maintain reef fish populations, scientists are developing and using new genetic and molecular techniques that will assist with accurate assessment of these important species. Collaborating with the National Marine Fisheries Service and the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, researchers used DNA from individual fish larvae to produce a species-specific genetic fingerprint that differentiates sea bass larvae to help fishery managers and decision makers conserve black sea bass, an economically important species.

For more information, contact Mark Vandersea

Ecosystem Research: NOAA Involved in 1st Oceans and Human Health Academic Courses (OHHI)

NOAA's Oceans and Human Health Initiative (OHHI) helped kick off new academic courses in Oceans and Human Health (OHH) by providing an introduction to OHH issues, problems, policies and translating policies to practice. These full semester classes are being held at the University of Miami's Rosenstiel School for Marine and Atmospheric Science (RSMAS) and a joint course through the University of Mississippi/University of Southern Mississippi and illustrate the growing scientific and policy interest in the field of OHH.

Please contact for more information.

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Coral Reef Conservation & Ecosystems Research: NOAA Releases Latest Assessment of U.S. Coral Reef Ecosystem Conditions

On July 7, NOAA released the third in a series of status reports assessing the condition of coral reef ecosystems in 15 locations ranging from the U.S. Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico to the western Pacific. The 569-page report, The State of Coral Reef Ecosystems of the United States and Pacific Freely Associate States: 2008 represents an evolving effort to assess the condition of coral reef ecosystems at local, regional, and national scales, and serves as a vehicle for the dissemination of information about data collection activities in the U.S. and Freely Associated States.

Developed by NOAA's National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science and supported by the Coral Reef Conservation Program (CRCP), the report is structured to provide information according to the primary threats, topics, and goals outlined in the National Coral Reef Action Strategy and other guidance documents developed by NOAA's CRCP, the U.S. Coral Reef Task Force, and its member organizations. More than 270 scientists and managers working throughout the Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean, the Atlantic and Pacific authored the jurisdiction-specific chapters of the report, and graded coral reefs and ecosystems on a five tier scale: excellent, good, fair, poor and unknown. Nearly half are now considered to be in "poor" or "fair" condition.

The report also describes the impacts of 13 major threats in each location while offering recommendations for on-the-ground conservation actions. Since publication of the second report in 2005, newly recognized threats, such as ocean acidification, have emerged while other threats have intensified. At present, high threats include climate-related issues such as the 2005 regional mass coral bleaching and disease event, which reduced live coral cover at monitoring sites in the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico by approximately 50 percent, as well as stressors like coastal development, recreational and commercial fishing, tourism and recreational use, vessel damage and marine debris. ICRS participants were offered a copy of this report in CD format at the NOAA exhibit booth.

Contact:, NCCOS Biogeography Branch, (301) 713-3028 x174.

Coral Reef Conservation: Coral Reef Conservation Program delivers Report to Congress

Implementation of the National Coral Reef Action Strategy: Report on U.S. Coral Reef Task Force Agency Activities from 2004 - 2006 highlights the activities of the U.S. Coral Reef Task Force (USCRTF) in 2004 to 2006 to promote understanding of coral reefs and to reduce the threats to these valuable marine ecosystems. The report provides summaries and examples of the activities conducted by USCRTF members and their extramural partners to fulfill the goals and objectives of the National Action Plan to Conserve Coral Reefs (2000) and the U.S. National Coral Reef Action Strategy (2002).
As called for by the Coral Reef Conservation Act of 2000 (Pub. L. No. 106-562; 16 U.S.C. § 6401 et seq.), the report addresses each of the 13 goals detailed in the National Coral Reef Action Strategy and charts annual funding by federal agencies for activities directly related to the National Coral Reef Action Strategy. It also presents a brief analysis of the future opportunities and challenges facing coral reef ecosystems and the communities that depend on them. Highlights of activities include designation of the co-managed Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument, coordinated interagency response to the 2005 Caribbean coral bleaching event, listing of Acropora coral species as threatened under the Endangered Species Act, and a status assessment of coral reefs following the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami.

Contact:, Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management (CRCP), (301) 713-3155 x129.

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Coral Reef Conservation: Report Provides Status of LAS Initiative

NOAA recently released the Report on the Status of Local Action Strategies to Conserve and Protect Coral Reefs forYears 2002-2006 (pdf, 6.3 mb). This report to the U.S. Coral Reef Task Force (USCRTF) from the USCRTF Steering Committee provides an overview of the progress that states, territories, federal agencies, and nongovernmental partners have made during years 2002-2006 in developing and implementing Local Action Strategies (LAS) to reduce threats to the Nation's coral reef ecosystems. The USCRTF initiated development of LAS in partnership with the U.S. All Islands Coral Reef Committee (AIC) during the Fall of 2002 to increase resources, coordination, and effectiveness of local coral reef conservation efforts in U.S. jurisdictions. The report was prepared by NOAA in cooperation with the AIC and representatives from the USCRTF to highlight activities and accomplishments at the end of the initial five years of the LAS initiative. The report describes the overall status of the LAS initiative including accomplishments, an overall project and funding summary, and an overview of the LAS process and funding for each jurisdiction. The final section presents a summary of lessons learned and recommendations for future phases of the LAS effort.

Contact:, Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management Coastal Programs Division.

Coral Reef Conservation: NOAA Releases Comprehensive Assessment of American Samoa's Coral Reefs

Vice Admiral Lautenbacher announced the release of the final version of the Coral Reef Ecosystem Monitoring Report for American Samoa: 2002-2006 on July 10. This report, produced by the Coral Reef Ecosystem Division (CRED) of the Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center (PIFSC) is the most comprehensive interdisciplinary coral reef ecosystem assessment of the Territory of American Samoa (AS) ever performed. It reflects extensive Reef Assessment and Monitoring Program (RAMP) research conducted in AS by PIFSC scientists and their partners during 2002-2006. The draft report was presented to the resource management agencies and key stakeholders in AS and at the 18th U.S. Coral Reef Task Force meeting in August 2007. A limited number of hard copies of the final report are available upon request.

Contact:, NMFS Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center Coral Reef Ecosystem Division, (301) 713-3028 x158.

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Coral Reef Conservation: NCCOS Research Quantifies Chemical Contaminants in Southwest Puerto Rico

Coral reefs ecosystems are extremely important to the Puerto Rican economy, not only as a resource for food, but for water related tourist activities which provide jobs in rural, economically depressed areas. The research presented in an article in the March 2008 issue of Marine Pollution Bulletin is part of a larger National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science effort to link chemical contamination with coral condition, in order to help resource managers preserve and restore these valuable ecosystems. The article, "Chemical contamination in southwest Puerto Rico: An assessment of organic contaminants in nearshore sediments," presents the results of a study which indicated somewhat elevated levels of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), typically associated with the use and combustion of fossil fuels, adjacent to coral reefs and near the town of La Parguera. Even higher concentrations were found in Guánica Bay at the eastern end of the study area. Within Guánica Bay, concentrations of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and dichloro-diphenyl-trichloroethane (DDT) in the sediments were at toxicologically relevant levels, and appear related to past industrial and agricultural activity in the watershed. Additional analyses are currently being carried out to quantify contaminants in coral tissues.

Contact:, NCCOS Biogeography Branch, (301) 713-3028 x158

Coral Reef Conservation: NOAA Coral Reef Watch Coauthors Science Cover Article on Corals and Climate Change & co-authors Science Letter Response

Dr. Mark Eakin of NESDIS Coral Reef Watch is one of the co-authors of a review paper published in Science on December 14, 2007, entitled, "The carbon crisis: coral reefs under rapid climate change and ocean acidification." The article discusses "increasing concentrations of atmospheric carbon dioxide that are warming and acidifying the oceans to the point where coral reef ecosystems will disappear, putting marine biodiversity and human livelihoods at risk". Australians Andrew Baird and Jeffrey Maynard wrote a comment entitled "Coral Adaptation in the Face of Climate Change" in response to the article, in which they suggested that corals are likely to adapt to anticipated climate change. In a response appearing in Science on April 18, 2008, the original 17 marine scientists stated their hope that Baird and Maynard are correct, but the evidence to date indicates that temperature rise and changing ocean chemistry are occurring at a rate that exceeds the ability of corals to respond.

Hoegh-Guldberg, O, P. J. Mumby, A. J. Hooten, R. S. Steneck, P. Greenfield, E. Gomez, C. D. Harvell, P. F. Sale, A. J. Edwards, K. Caldeira, N. Knowlton, C. M. Eakin, R. Iglesias-Prieto, N. Muthiga, R. H. Bradbury, A. Dubi, M. E. Hatziolos (2007) Coral Reefs Under Rapid Climate Change and Ocean Acidification. Science Vol. 318. no. 5857, pp. 1737-1742, DOI: 10.1126/science.1152509
Contact:, NESDIS Coral Reef Watch, 301-713-2857 x109.

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Upcoming Events

Coral Reef Conservation: Pacific Coral Reef Mapping and Monitoring Workshop, November 18-20, 2008, Honolulu, Hawaii

The NOAA Coral Reef Conservation Program (CRCP) is reviewing and potentially revising long-term plans for its monitoring and mapping activities (collectively the Coral Reef Ecosystem Integrated Observing System [CREIOS]) to ensure they are cost-effective, aligned with management needs, and allow for the timely delivery of required products and services to all essential users, given funding constraints. As a first step in a strategic planning effort to strengthen the link between science and management goals, the CRCP will bring together coral reef ecosystem managers and CRCP scientists at a three-day workshop during November 18-20, 2008, in Honolulu, Hawai`i. The workshop objectives are to 1) identify mapping and monitoring priorities for local, jurisdictional, regional, and national management efforts, 2) identify data and information needs to address gaps, and 3) identify beneficial products and potential new solutions that meet management needs. This facilitated workshop is intended to be a forum for discussing managers' needs for monitoring and mapping data to achieve the common goals of increasing understanding of coral reef ecosystems and improving coral reef ecosystem health. The CRCP has invited 26 representatives from local agencies of the State of Hawaii, the Territory of Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, American Samoa, as well as the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument, the Western Pacific Fisheries Management Council, and the Department of the Interior, to attend this workshop. NOAA scientists will participate alongside the managers in order to discuss scientific capabilities and understand location-specific needs directly from the managers. The outcomes from the meeting will inform strategic long-term funding decisions with regard to the CRCP's CREIOS program.

Contact:, NESDIS Coral Reef Watch, (301) 713-2857 x129.

Ecosystem Research/OHHI: Coastal Cities Summit - "Values and Vulnerabilities" November 17-20, 2008

Two OHH-related panels are:
- Coastal Cities and Oceans and Human Health Threats
- Coastal Cities: Adapting to and Coping with OHH Threats

Ecosystem Research: Oceans and Human Health Stakeholders Workshop, June 20, 2008, Seattle WA (OHHI)

The West Coast Center for Oceans and Human Health and Washington Sea Grant co-sponsored a Stakeholders Workshop to evaluate current and future program directions forunderstanding the role of the oceans in human health. Along with Center staff,nearly 30 participants representing state (i.e., research and monitoring, regulatory) academic, Tribal, and NGO interests) attended the one day workshop to identify emerging issues and discuss priorities on West Coast regional needs, from delivering useful tools and technologies to communication of environmental information related to ocean health. Information and feedback from the West Coast Center's stakeholders will be used to develop a science action plan for future OHH work and identify joint strategies for raising the visibility of oceans and human health along the west coast.

For more information contact Tom Hom at

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Coral Reef Conservation: CRCP Welcomes New Program Manager

Kacky Andrews has returned to the Coral Reef Conservation Program (CRCP) full-time as the new Program Manager. Kacky was selected for this position at the end of 2007, and worked with us for three weeks in December prior to heading to New Zealand to fulfill a prior commitment. She completed a six-month Ian Axford Fellowship working with New Zealand on governance issues at the end of July and started her new position with us in early August. Previously, Kacky served as the Executive Director of the Coastal States Organization from November 2005 through December 2007. In that role she developed long range strategies to advance coastal and ocean management; oversaw policy development; and established sound working relationships with federal, state, and non-profit organizations. Kacky is a leader in the field of coastal management and her skills, experience, and passion are an excellent match for this position. We are thrilled to have her as part of the NOAA family, and equally thrilled that she decided to return to us after experiencing the beauty of New Zealand. David Kennedy will retain his role as NOS representative to the CRCP Senior Management Council.

Contact:, Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management (CRCP), (301) 713-3155 x129.

Coral Reef Conservation: NOAA Staff Member Serves as Lead Scientist on Global Coral Mission

A National Marine Fisheries Service employee, Dr. Andy Bruckner, began a leave of absence in May to serve a four-year tour as lead scientist for the Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation's Global Expedition. The primary objectives of this cruise are to characterize coral reef ecosystem health across gradients of human and natural disturbance, determine global and local processes that control the functioning of these ecosystems, identify and predict impacts across gradients, and identify strategies to mitigate impacts. Look for more information about this expedition on the Foundation's Web site in the future. The expedition will be conducted aboard The Golden Shadow.

Contact:, NMFS Office of Habitat Conservation, (301) 713-3549 x195.

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Next Issue Guidance

The Newsletter is an email newsletter of the Ecosystem Goal Team highlighting accomplishments and activities. The Newsletter is produced by the NOAA Ecoystem Goal Team staff to facilitate communication within NOAA and serve as a source of ecosystem information. The NOAA Ecosystem Goal Team supports effective management and sound science to promote an ecosystem approach to management.

Questions or comments? Contact Karen Eason, NOAA Ecosystem Goal Team, karen.eason@