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U.S. Integrated Ocean Observing System Advisory Committee Meets on Offshore Wind Infrastructure, Coastal Climate Signal Task Team

Integrated Ocean Observing System, Protected Species Observers, Marine Mammal Observers

Integrated Ocean Observing System, Protected Species Observers, Marine Mammal ObserversGuice Offshore and our trained Protected Species Observer crew members will be watching this week’s U.S. Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS ®) Advisory Committee meetings with great interest as members of the Committee convene for the second of two days on Friday, May 13, 2022 for a packed agenda.

The IOOS is different than Guice Offshore’s Protected Species Observers, who are trained professionals that monitor for protected species, or animals federally protected under the Endangered Species Act and/or Marine Mammal Protection Act, to help a wide range of industries meet their regulatory compliance needs.

The IOOS® is a national-regional partnership working to provide new tools and forecasts to improve safety, enhance the economy, and protect our environment. Integrated ocean information is available in near real time, as well as retrospectively.  Easier and better access to this information is improving our ability to understand and predict coastal events – such as storms, wave heights, and sea level change. Such knowledge is needed for everything from retail to development planning.

With a decorated slate of speakers, the May 11 meeting centered around the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) response to the Interagency Ocean Observation Committee’s (IOOC) June 2021 report on its vision for future growth, along with a slate of recommendations on how to achieve it.

To read the NOAA response, which lists each recommendation and what NOAA is currently doing to achieve it, click here.  To see a slide presentation on the report, click here.

“This report aligns well with NOAA’s priorities and vision for the future,” wrote Dr. Richard W. Spinrad, Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere and NOAA Administrator in his cover letter for the response.  “NOAA supports strong and resilient coastal economies, sustainable management of protected areas and natural resources, and innovation to support science and stewardship—and recognizes the critical role of the U.S. IOOS Enterprise in those endeavors.”

The U.S. IOOS Office has already begun to implement several recommendations included in the Committee’s report, and NOAA intends to continue making progress on many more as well. Please see the attached NOAA response to the report. NOAA is keenly interested in furthering a discussion about new innovative partnerships through the IOOS Enterprise that will spur economic growth, help our nation address climate change and coastal inundation, and ensure equitable NOAA services to all Americans.

The May 11 meeting also featured a wind energy panel moderated by Shell Business Environment Advisor Dr. Ruth Perry on how ocean observing can assist the offshore wind industry achieve its goals, while minimizing adverse impacts on other ocean industries and amenities.  

The Committee heard the national perspective from David Bigger of the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management and Adena Leibman of NOAA, while Ørsted’s Ed LeBlanc, MARACOOS’ Gerhard Kuska and Jake Kritzer of NERACOOS gave the East Coast views.

During the May 13 meeting, Committee members will review a proposal to hold a workshop for representatives from ocean and coastal observing systems along with researchers to identify the key science and climate issues that need to be resolved in order to detect and respond to coastal climate issues in the coming decades.

The workshop will address the gaps and recommendations of two recent publications: Research Challenges on Climate at the Coast: A US CLIVAR White Paper (Nielsen-Gammon et al., 2021) and IOOS Coastal Climate Signal: The IOOS Contribution (IOOS Association, 2021). While these will be the core drivers of the workshop, the organizers will draw from other recent key events such as the West Coast Anomalies Workshops and the NOAA OAR/IOOS workshops.

Finally, a unique and promising aspect of this proposal is that the Interagency Ocean Observing Committee (IOOC) has approved the formation of a Coastal Climate Signal Task Team that will work to implement the recommendations of this proposed workshop, meaning that there will be dedicated federal capacity to further develop the workshop’s recommendations.

Staff support is provided through those complementary efforts via the Consortium for Ocean Leadership to enhance workshop administration, communications, financing, and logistics. The main objective of this workshop is to develop an execution plan for national coordination to codesign and optimize observing systems for detecting the coastal climate signal that integrate knowledge, data and approaches.

The workshop will foster collaborations between the climate science, operational oceanographic, and basic research communities to improve the management and mitigation of coastal vulnerability to both event-driven and long-term impacts of climate change and connections to stakeholders. The execution plan will articulate ways for optimizing global and coastal observing systems to improve understanding and predictions of how large-scale ocean and climate variability influence changes at the regional and local scale to address societal and science drivers.

Finally, Committee members will review and approve the U.S. IOOS Advisory Committee work plan for 2022 through 2024.  To read the plan, click here.

Links to the complete meeting materials for both days are provided below.

May 11 and May 13, 2022 – IOOS Public Meeting

February 17, 2022 – Administrative Call


About the U.S. Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS) Advisory Committee 

The U.S. IOOS Advisory Committee is a federal advisory committee that provides advice to the NOAA Administrator and the Interagency Ocean Observation Committee (IOOC). It comprises non-federal experts who represent scientific institutions, marine technology industries, Coastal and Great Lakes use industries, non-governmental organizations, state, local, and tribal interests, and national and international ocean leadership.

To learn more about the Committee, click here.


About Guice Offshore’s Protected Species Observer Program

The main role of Guice Offshore’s Protected Species Observers (PSOs) is to enable compliance in accordance with the stipulated mitigation measures of the project.  Available through our subsidiary, GO Marine Services, PSOs will document and generate reports regarding the compliance aspects and act as a source of information on marine wildlife and other environmental matters associated with the project.

They are responsible, impartial and unbiased during operations that require mitigation efforts and reporting.  PSOs are involved in a wide range of monitoring activities such as standard visual monitoring, passive and active acoustic monitoring, aerial surveys, dirigible and ROV surveys among others. 

Although the majority of the PSO focus revolves around Marine Mammals and Sea Turtles, PSOs often deal with a number of other wildlife groups such as birds and fish.


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