News and Updates Archive

October, November, and December 2008

December 2008

Representative Wittman
Representative Wittman


Representative Wittman Visits NOAA Chesapeake Bay Office

On December 9, Representative Rob Wittman (R VA-1) visited the NOAA Chesapeake Bay Office in Annapolis, Maryland. Representative Wittman was briefed on NOAA's role in supporting non-native oyster research, native oyster restoration, and menhaden research as well as an overview of the Chesapeake Bay Interpretive Buoy System, and NOAA's support of derelict fishing gear research projects in the Bay.


November 2008


Representative Tierney
Representative Tierney

Representative Tierney Attends Regional Office Opening

On November 21, Representative John Tierney (D MA-6) joined the Acting Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere, Bill Brennan, in Gloucester, Massachusetts, for the opening of NOAA's National Marine Fisheries Service Northeast Regional Office (NERO). NERO is responsible for planning, developing, implementing and administering programs for management of living marine resources in the Large Marine Ecosystems of the North Atlantic Shelf and the Great Lakes. The Regional Office is comprised of five divisions: Sustainable Fisheries, Habitat Conservation, Protected Resources, Fisheries Statistics, and State, Federal, and Constituent Programs.


bluefin tuna
Atlantic bluefin tuna cruise through the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary during their annual migrations up the eastern seaboard. Young fish travel in schools but the "giants" usually travel alone.

Senate Passes Bluefin Tuna Resolution

On November 20, the Senate passed S RES 709 expressing the sense of the Senate that the United States should pursue the adoption of bluefin tuna conservation and management measures at the 16th Special Meeting of the International Commission on the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT). NOAA provided technical drafting assistance for the resolution and the resolution is fully consistent with the positions the United States is taking at the ICCAT meeting in Morocco that will conclude Monday.

The resolution was introduced by Senator John Kerry (D-MA), Senator Olympia Snowe (R-ME), Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Senator Jack Reed (D-RI).


Congressional Staff Attend USCRN Event

On November 16, staff from the offices of Senator Richard Burr (R-NC) and Representative Heath Shuler (D NC-11) attended NOAA's U.S. Climate Reference Network (USCRN) Completion Celebration Event in Ashville. NOAA's USCRN is a network of climate stations developed to provide future, long-term, homogeneous observations of temperature and precipitation that can be coupled to long-term historical observations for the detection and attribution of present and future climate change. The USCRN has installed and commissioned all 114 sites, thus completing the design for the contiguous United States. The first two network sites were placed in the Asheville area: one in the North Carolina Arboretum and the other at the North Carolina Horticultural Crops Research Center.


Senator Isakson’s Staff Tour WFO

On November 13, staff from the office of Senator Johnny Isakson (R-GA) toured NOAA's National Weather Service Weather Forecast Office (WFO) and Southeast River Forecast Office in Peachtree City/Atlanta, Georgia.

Senator Stabenow Visits Thunder Bay

On November 7, Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) visited NOAA's Great Lakes Maritime Heritage Center and the offices of the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary. Sanctuary staff gave Senator Stabenow a tour of exhibits and provided updates on education and research initiatives. She was also briefed on the Great Lakes Maritime Heritage Trail proposal, which is a joint sanctuary and state of Michigan initiative. The sanctuary and the state are seeking funding from the Michigan Department of Transportation to create a three-county-wide heritage trail. The trail would include the creation of substantial "gateway" exhibits in each of the three counties, adding smaller complimentary exhibits at local venues, dozens of shore-side historic markers, outdoor interactive kiosks, and digital media such as podcasts.

Senator Stabenow
Senator Stabenow
Russ Green, Deputy Superintendent and Senator Stabenow review the Sanctuary office's capabilities for mapping underwater shipwrecks.
From right to left, Jeff Gray, Sanctuary Superintendent; Senator Stabenow; Brandon Fewins, staff to Senator Stabenow; and Sarah Waters, Sanctuary Visitor Experience Coordinator, discuss the visitor Center's newly completed interpretive exhibits. 
Senator Stabenow
Senator Stabenow
The group discuss plans for the proposed heritage trail that would span three counties.
Jeff Gray, Sanctuary Superintendent, and Senator Stabenow tour the Great Lakes Maritime Heritage Center.


Committee Staff Visit Woods Hole

On November 6, staff from the House Committee on Natural Resources visited Woods Hole, Massachusetts, to learn about NOAA’s Fishery Observer Program and groundfish assessment.

Representative Young Staff Visit Fairbanks Station

On November 4, staff from the office of Representative Don Young (R-AK) visited NOAA's Fairbanks Command and Data Acquisition Station in Fairbanks, Alaska, to learn about the station’s role in the command and control of NOAA’s satellites and obtaining data from polar satellites for weather forecasting in Alaska.

House and Senate Committee Staff View Science on a Sphere

On November 3, staff from the House Committee on Science and Technology and the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works viewed a demonstration of NOAA’s Science on a Sphere at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. The demonstration highlighted NOAA's climate modeling, and oceans and carbon tracking data. Staff from NOAA’s Office of Education and the Office of Legislative Affairs hosted the event with NASA’s Office of Legislative Affairs.

Science on a Sphere
NOAA's Science on a Sphere.

October 2008

Pisces christening.

Fleet Plan Released

October 28, congressional staff were briefed by the Director of NOAA’s Office of Marine and Aviation Operations, Rear Admiral Jon Bailey, on the recently announced 15-year plan to upgrade NOAA’s fleet of research ships. This plan outlines the goals of replacing nine research ships and refurbishing a tenth in the next 15 years. To view copy of the plan, please visit


Representative Farr
Representative Farr

Representative Farr Visits WFO

On October 24, Representative Sam Farr (D CA-17) visited the San Francisco Bay Area National Weather Service Weather Forecast Office (WFO) in Monterey, California. Representative Farr was accompanied by congressional staff and two representatives from the Monterey County Water Resources and Flood Control (the Deputy Director and Chief of Planning), and he and his constituents are interested in predictions of coastal flooding, especially Carmel Lagoon, and in the potential for debris flows (mudslides) and flooding in the Big Sur and Santa Cruz areas. These have been ongoing problems for residents and county emergency managers.

Representative Boyda
Representative Boyda

Representative Boyda Visits WFO

On October 23, Representative Nancy Boyda (D KS-2) toured the National Weather Service Weather Forecast Office (WFO) in Topeka, Kansas. Representative Boyda was very interested in the June 11 EF-4 tornado that hit Manhattan, Kansas. She had been out to the damage path and thanked the staff for the "great warning notification" they provided to the residents and emergency manager of Manhattan. (Approx 17 minutes of lead-time to the city limits - no fatalities in the city. Average lead-time is 12-13 minutes.) Representative Boyda also asked about climate change and the WFO briefed her on the climate services they provide, and noted that a number of NOAA scientists shared in the recent Nobel Peace Prize.

National People’s Congress Delegation Tour of NSOF

On October 23, NOAA provided a briefing at, and tour of, the NOAA Satellite Operations Facility (NSOF) in Suitland, Maryland, at the request of the House Committee on Science and Technology, to a delegation from the National People’s Congress of the People’s Republic of China during their visit to Washington, DC. The delegation is visiting the United States to learn more about disaster management in light of the devastating earthquake in China earlier this year. The committee requested NOAA provide a briefing on its work on disaster management, especially related to satellites. The Assistant Administrator of NOAA’s National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service, Mary Kicza, and NOAA’s Deputy Assistant Secretary for International Affairs, Jim Turner, hosted the delegation during their tour.

Chinese Delegation
Delegation in front of NSOF. (Credit: NOAA)


Representative Edwards at WFO Sterling Dedication

On October 18, Representative Donna Edwards (D MD-4) and staff from the office of Representative Chris Van Hollen (D MD-8) joined NOAA representatives at NOAA’s National Weather Service Weather Forecast Office (WFO) dedication and Open House in Sterling, Virginia. The WFO moved from its existing location directly adjacent to Dulles International Airport and reopened its doors at a location about one-half mile away. Over 5,000 people attended the Open House.

Representative Edwards
(Credit: NOAA)


Members of Congress Meet New Director of Coral Program

From September 24 – October 21, meetings were held with 13 offices of Members of Congress to introduce the new Director of NOAA’s Coral Reef Conservation Program, Kacky Andrews. The meetings addressed the Program’s recent accomplishments with documenting the health of all U.S. coral reef ecosystems, the status of efforts to conserve them, and reauthorization of the Coral reef Conservation Act.

Hearing on New England Groundfish

On October 14, the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries, and Coast Guard (Chair Maria Cantwell, D-WA) held a field hearing in Portland, Maine, to discuss the ongoing problems in the New England groundfish fishery. Senator Olympia Snowe (R-ME) called the hearing and the NOAA witness was the Acting Assistant Administrator of NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service, Jim Balsiger.

Copies of hearing testimony may be viewed on the Congressional Testimony page.

New England groundfishing
Declining harvests of New England groundfish were already apparent by the time this photo of the Boston Fish market was taken in 1940. (Source: NOAA Archives)