The Blog Aquatic » president obama http://blog.oceanconservancy.org News, opinions, photos and facts from Ocean Conservancy Thu, 28 Aug 2014 17:32:30 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.4.2 Nothing (Still) Beats an Astronaut and Oceanographer for Next NOAA Chief http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2013/09/18/nothing-still-beats-an-astronaut-and-oceanographer-for-next-noaa-chief/ http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2013/09/18/nothing-still-beats-an-astronaut-and-oceanographer-for-next-noaa-chief/#comments Wed, 18 Sep 2013 20:18:32 +0000 Jeff Watters http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/?p=6671

Kathryn Sullivan, President Obama’s nominee to head the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

 

Sullivan’s nomination is on the move! The Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation – the committee that has jurisdiction over the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) – is holding a hearing tomorrow on Kathryn Sullivan’s nomination to be the agency’s head. This is an important step towards Congressional approval of Sullivan’s nomination. NOAA is our nation’s lead ocean agency, and we hope that Congress moves swiftly to confirm Dr. Sullivan for this important post.

Learn more about the hearing here.

 

Excerpt from the original post:

The first American woman to walk in space. An oceanographer and acting NOAA administrator. Former president and CEO of Ohio’s Center of Science and Industry. These are just some of the highlights in the career of Kathryn Sullivan, President Obama’s nominee to head the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Needless to say, she has some serious science cred.

This is great news for NOAA and all those who care about a healthy ocean. If confirmed, the agency will have strong leadership from someone who already has a good sense of the agency, its mission and its challenges.

With Sullivan’s background in both the ocean and satellites—which represent both NOAA’s “wet” and “dry” sides—she will provide the guidance needed to make the right decisions.

Click here to read the rest of the original post.

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Nothing Beats an Astronaut and Oceanographer for Next NOAA Chief http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2013/08/06/nothing-beats-an-astronaut-and-oceanographer-for-next-noaa-chief/ http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2013/08/06/nothing-beats-an-astronaut-and-oceanographer-for-next-noaa-chief/#comments Tue, 06 Aug 2013 21:00:01 +0000 Emily Woglom http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/?p=6480

Kathryn Sullivan, President Obama’s nominee to head the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

The first American woman to walk in space. An oceanographer and acting NOAA administrator. Former president and CEO of Ohio’s Center of Science and Industry. These are just some of the highlights in the career of Kathryn Sullivan, President Obama’s nominee to head the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Needless to say, she has some serious science cred.

This is great news for NOAA and all those who care about a healthy ocean. If confirmed, the agency will have strong leadership from someone who already has a good sense of the agency, its mission and its challenges.

With Sullivan’s background in both the ocean and satellites—which represent both NOAA’s “wet” and “dry” sides—she will provide the guidance needed to make the right decisions.

When it comes to funding and resources, at times these dual missions are pitted against each other. As I’ve previously written, Congress must maintain balanced investments across NOAA’s missions. Americans shouldn’t have to choose between weather satellites and ocean and coastal resources that support and protect our coastal economies and communities. NOAA’s “wet side” programs contribute to disaster preparedness and mitigation, and support severe storm tracking and weather forecasting systems.

With Sullivan’s background, we expect her to understand the importance of supporting both sides, while finding the right balance across NOAA’s missions.

Perhaps the biggest challenge Sullivan faces may be working in today’s political climate. Some lawmakers in Congress don’t have the best track record when it comes to supporting our ocean. Whether it’s working on fisheries, climate or satellites, these tasks take courage. This job won’t be easy, but who better to take that on than a woman who has already proven to be a pioneer?

We look forward to hearing more from Sullivan and urge Congress to swiftly approve her nomination. We need smart, savvy and tough leaders defending our ocean right now, and Sullivan is the right pick for the job.

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Why the National Ocean Policy Matters http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2013/04/17/why-the-national-ocean-policy-matters/ http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2013/04/17/why-the-national-ocean-policy-matters/#comments Wed, 17 Apr 2013 20:14:21 +0000 Emily Woglom http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/?p=5477

Credit: DigitalVision

Superstorm Sandy’s coastal destruction, the Japan Tsunami’s drifting debris, BP Deepwater Horizon’s gusher of oil in the Gulf and the declaration of fisheries disasters in New England, Mississippi and Alaska have taught us that these calamities affect not only the health of our ocean and coasts, but also the well-being of our communities and our economy.  We also know that disasters, both natural and man-made, will strike our shores again.

Investing in our ocean’s health will help not only respond to future disasters, but also better withstand their impacts. Coastal wetland buffer zones in the U.S. are estimated to provide $23.2 billion per year in storm protection, and a single acre of wetland can store 1 to 1.5 million gallons of flood water or storm surge.  The levels the president put forward in his budget, including an increase to NOAA’s funding, are a step in the right direction

With the release of the National Ocean Policy Implementation Plan just this week, all levels of government, tribes and ocean-users can benefit from the increased guidance and coordination.

This isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach. Regions can decide what they want – or don’t want – and what works best for them. Ultimately, a healthy and well-managed ocean and coast benefits everyone – industry, beachgoers, fishermen, divers and whale watchers alike.

Here’s why others say the National Ocean Policy matters to them:

Markian Melnyk, president of Atlantic Grid Development, LLC:

“Our business requires coordination on the local, state and federal level and listening to the views of affected ocean users. By engaging ocean users, and by providing data and information, the smart ocean planning described in the National Ocean Policy provides greater predictability, consistency and efficiency – in short, less time, lower risk and lower costs. For emerging industries like offshore renewable energy, it’s vital to know where things like critical fish habitat, shipping lanes and recreation hot spots are in order to avoid them.”

Edward Anthes-Washburn, Deputy Port Director, Port of New Bedford:

“Ocean planning is critical to the Port of New Bedford’s past, present and future.  The Port of New Bedford is the #1 valued fishing port in the United States, the premier staging site for offshore wind deployments on the East Coast, and a bustling commercial and recreational port.  We rely on strong and thoughtful strategic planning to balance those uses here in the port.  By the same token, comprehensive regional ocean planning is vital for all of our industries to thrive – without it, we risk conflict and chaos between uses.  More than providing a clearinghouse for information needed and collected by ocean users, ocean planning provides a forum and produces development options that make sense for all stakeholders.”

Paul Cooper, Vice President of CARIS USA:

“The more we know about the ocean, the better we’ll be able to protect and utilize its resources sustainably and reliably.  The National Ocean Policy helps ensure this happens.  The continued development and application of crowdsourcing ocean data and other ‘citizen science’ initiatives promotes efficiency and collaboration while strengthening our nation’s marine spatial planning infrastructure.  The engagement of the public accomplishes collection of data and outreach to users and contributors outside of the professions normally involved in sea surveying.”

Jeff Grybowski, CEO, Deepwater Wind:

“For those of us with businesses and livelihoods that rely on the ocean, the benefits of the National Ocean Policy are clear. The demand for ocean resources is growing by the day. Renewable energy, commercial and recreational fisheries and maritime industries, among others, are all interested in the same waters. Many times these areas intersect, and conflict between uses could result without sensible planning.  The release of the Implementation Plan moves us one step closer to creating smart plans to guide us toward sustainable ocean development.”

Nathan Johnson, Director of Environmental Affairs for the Ocean Renewable Power Company:

“As New England regional planning begins and methods to involve stakeholders are investigated, our project serves as a positive example of collaboration between existing marine users and new industry. In essence, we have implemented many of the principles of smart ocean planning and have shown its success. By forging an early path of engagement and through continued diligence, new ocean users can contribute to increased sustainability and vitality of coastal communities.”

John Hersey, ARGUS Project Manager for SURVICE Engineering:

“As part of the community’s efforts to develop and apply innovative technologies to the understanding of the world’s oceans, we are very encouraged by the National Ocean Policy Implementation Plan’s goal of efficiently targeting Federal resources and delivering demonstrable results.  Crowdsourced bathymetry –  or water depth and the sea floor information – is one such technology that can contribute to this goal and further serve all of the Plan’s guiding themes.  As our company continues to develop this crowdsourcing technology, we will rely on the National Ocean Policy to help further our goals by sharing and coordinating with fellow ocean users.”

Captain John McMurray, president, One More Cast Charters, writing in The Hill:

“Recreational and commercial fishermen would indeed benefit from the National Ocean Policy. It would help us address all the factors that stand to jeopardize fish populations, from habitat destruction to water pollution. While ocean-use conflicts between industries like fishing and energy development continue to increase, the NOP will help us manage these conflicts by planning ahead to help keep, for example, energy plants off prime fishing grounds and unique habitat, so that all sectors can coexist.”

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A “To Do” List for the Ocean http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2013/04/16/a-to-do-list-for-the-ocean/ http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2013/04/16/a-to-do-list-for-the-ocean/#comments Tue, 16 Apr 2013 15:00:54 +0000 Janis Searles Jones http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/?p=5203

Photo by Mattox. Creative Commons

Great news for anyone who thinks having a healthy ocean is a good idea.  The President’s National Ocean Policy Final Implementation Plan was released today.  It may not have the catchiest title, but since it’s essentially a “To Do” list for a healthy ocean and economy, it’s something worth getting excited about.

This “To Do” list includes over 50 action items related to making smarter use of the ocean and Great Lakes, both for conservation and the economy.  There are tasks related to protecting the Arctic, tackling climate change and ocean acidification, improving water quality and overall finding ways to better coordinate and manage ocean uses through data collection and monitoring, mapping and improved agency coordination.

Like most to-do lists, there are a lot of routine tasks, such as monitoring of temperature. There are also some ambitious feats on there. It provides the underpinning to cope with unpreventable and unpredictable events, like hurricanes and tsunamis, increased marine debris or rising sea levels.  This plan tackles many of those issues, and much more.

The National Ocean Policy is about making smart choices for a healthier ocean – which, in turn, saves money, time and jobs. The Implementation Plan shows that the policy is a realistic plan that recognizes the tough fiscal climate we’re in.  That’s why it emphasizes that these priorities can help direct the limited resources to where they’re most needed.

We’ve written before about the National Ocean Policy and what has happened so far.

Unfortunately we can expect some of the same critics to cry foul about this based on politics rather than the content of the plan.  Slowing down or blocking the National Ocean Policy could devastate services that many businesses and communities rely on. Congressman Markey once said that opposing the National Ocean Policy is like opposing air traffic control.

Our new CEO, Andreas Merkl, recently said,

“The ocean is at the very center of the key challenges of our time: how to meet the enormous resource demands of a rapidly growing global population without destroying the natural systems that sustain us. In every aspect of this challenge—food, energy, climate and protection of our natural resources—our ability to manage our impacts on the ocean will make the crucial difference in sustaining the resources that we need to survive.”

Approaches that look at the big picture, like the National Ocean Policy, are exactly what we need to rise to this challenge.

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Five Reasons to be Hopeful About President Obama’s Budget http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2013/04/10/five-reasons-to-be-hopeful-about-president-obamas-budget/ http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2013/04/10/five-reasons-to-be-hopeful-about-president-obamas-budget/#comments Wed, 10 Apr 2013 19:47:46 +0000 Emily Woglom http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/?p=5407

President Obama’s budget proposal for the 2014 fiscal year was released today, shedding light on the Administration’s funding priorities for the coming year. While the budget has a long way to go before it is enacted, here are five reasons that the initial outlook for the ocean is promising:

1. The overall budget for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) would rise to $5.4 billion from $4.8 billion after the sequestration.

In the wake of Superstorm Sandy, it became clear that coastal resilience and planning for the protection of coastal communities is essential. NOAA’s habitat restoration and protection, and coastal resilience programs are key tools that we need to rebuild our coastal communities smarter and safer. Coastal wetland buffer zones in the US are estimated to provide $23.2 billion per year in storm protection and a single acre of wetland can store 1 to 1.5 million gallons of flood water or storm surge.

Sandy will not be the last major storm to hit our shores, and NOAA activities such as coastal mapping, storm surge modeling and forecasting and restoration can provide the data, tools and other items necessary for decision-makers to plan for long term resilience and reduce future disaster costs.

2. President Obama’s budget provides the tools we need to end overfishing

The commercial fishing industry accounts for $32 billion of the US economy, and the sustainable management of fisheries is vital to ensure the health of our coastal economies and ecosystems. NOAA has made great strides toward ending overfishing by establishing annual catch and accountability measures in all US fisheries. The president’s budget acknowledges the importance of these efforts and provides critical funding for core data collection, catch monitoring and stock assessment programs within NOAA that are crucial to ending overfishing.

3. The budget also supports investments that promote well-coordinated ocean and coastal science and management activities throughout the country.

Regional Ocean Partnerships connect state and federal agencies, tribes, local governments and stakeholders to tackle ocean and coastal management issues of common concern, such as siting offshore energy, habitat restoration, coastal storm mitigation and marine debris. While the priorities, structures and methods of each partnership may differ to suit the needs of each region, they are collectively working towards an improved ocean environment and a stronger ocean and coastal economy. The president’s budget supports these partnerships, in part because two new partnerships have been created in the Caribbean and the Pacific in just the past year.

4. The budget provides assistance in targeting the increasing problem of ocean acidification.

The rapid acidification of the earth’s ocean caused by uptake of CO₂ from the atmosphere is making it harder for some species, such as oysters, to properly develop via the formation of their shells. Furthermore, it alters a vast number of biological processes necessary for healthy ecosystems and the coastal industries that depend on them.

Scientists are rapidly expanding our knowledge of the impacts of ocean acidification, and the president’s budget funds the Integrated Ocean Acidification program at NOAA so it can continue to increase our understanding of this emerging economic and environmental threat.

5. President Obama’s budget supports ongoing efforts to deal with Marine Debris

Marine debris has become one of the most pervasive pollution problems facing the world’s oceans, beaches and waterways. In its various forms marine debris includes derelict fishing gear, plastics and trash. Marine debris causes wildlife entanglement, ghost fishing, destruction of habitat, navigational hazards, vessel damage and pollutes coastal areas. Research has demonstrated that persistent debris has serious effects on the marine environment, wildlife and the economy.

The debates over government funding will certainly continue in the coming months, but this initial proposal from the Obama Administration is a great start for the ocean. Funding aimed at programs that support ocean health benefit both coastal ecosystems and the economies they support. At this early stage, the president’s budget is movement in the right direction on ocean conservation.

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What’s So Scary about a National Ocean Policy? Only That We Could Be Doing More. http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2012/07/17/whats-so-scary-about-a-national-ocean-policy-only-that-we-could-be-doing-more/ http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2012/07/17/whats-so-scary-about-a-national-ocean-policy-only-that-we-could-be-doing-more/#comments Tue, 17 Jul 2012 15:27:59 +0000 Janis Searles Jones http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/?p=1746

July 19, 2010: President Obama signs the Executive Order establishing a National Ocean Policy. Credit: whitehouse.gov

During this week two years ago, the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster was still dominating the news.  And as our staff surveyed the Gulf, inspecting the impacts of gushing oil, it was already becoming clear that systemic problems with how decisions are made in the ocean contributed to this disaster.

So when on July 19th, 2010, President Obama signed an Executive Order establishing a National Ocean Policy, it was a bright spot shining through the murky waters.  The Ocean Policy and the National Ocean Council it created will use a set of common sense principles to protect important marine habitat, help clean up our nation’s beaches and foster emerging industries and jobs.  It’s a way to untangle the web of existing ocean regulations and protect coastal communities and the economy. This policy wouldn’t have stopped the oil disaster, but it could provide a better path forward for a thriving, healthy ocean that also meets our economic needs.

Unfortunately, as we mark the two year anniversary of the National Ocean Policy, not enough has been said about a group of critics using a coordinated campaign of scare tactics and misinformation to try to drum up opposition for a common sense policy that is simply about coordinating existing programs that manage and protect the ocean, beaches and coastal economies.

So what’s so scary? Has anything happened that is worth being afraid of?

  • People are talking. A national workshop was held, and the regions that want to move forward have invited the federal agencies and ocean stakeholders to engage in the initial stages of smart ocean planning. For example, states in the Northeast held a workshop this spring to establish a planning and engagement process and start a discussion about goals for the region.
  • Maps and Data are being publicized. A National Data portal has been established, and the National Ocean Policy is in the process of making Federal data resources, as well as tools to view and interpret the data, available to the public. Several states and regions are developing Ocean Atlases to look at all their ocean information comprehensively.
  • A draft implementation plan was released.  The plan includes steps like improving the efficiency of ocean and coastal permitting processes, improving water quality and providing locally tailored forecasts and vulnerability assessments of climate change impacts on coastal communities.

These are not world-ending developments.  If anything, we can and should be doing more to move the National Ocean Policy forward because better coordination can help avert the truly scary ocean disasters.   Contrary to the critics, the laws already exist to do the actual work of governing, the National Ocean Policy simply serves as a coordinating blueprint that takes into account all of the moving pieces.

We need to move forward, not backward.  Regions that want to move ahead with planning need support and funding.  They shouldn’t be held back because of partisan bickering. A final Implementation Plan for the National Ocean Policy will be released this summer with action items that will provide guidance for those regions that want to invite the National Ocean Council to assist with research, education, planning, management and monitoring.  It addresses things that matter to the public and ocean users, like ocean acidification, dead zones, marine debris, ocean observing systems and sea level rise.

It’s time to get to work.  This policy is good for our ocean and the people who depend on it.

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