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|Jurisdiction||Federal government of the United States|
|Headquarters||1305 East-West Highway|
Silver Spring, Maryland, U.S.
|Employees||1,259 (FY 2012)|
|Annual budget||US$559.6 million (FY 2012)|
|Parent agency||National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration|
The National Ocean Service (NOS), an office within the U.S. Department of Commerce National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), is responsible for preserving and enhancing the nation’s coastal resources and ecosystems along 95,000 miles (153,000 km) of shoreline bordering 3,500,000 square miles (9,100,000 km2) of coastal, Great Lakes, and ocean waters. Its mission is to "provide science-based solutions through collaborative partnerships to address evolving economic, environmental, and social pressures on our oceans and coasts." NOS works closely with many partner agencies to ensure that ocean and coastal areas are safe, healthy, and productive. National Ocean Service scientists, natural resource managers, and specialists ensure safe and efficient marine transportation, promote innovative solutions to protect coastal communities, and conserve marine and coastal places. NOS is a scientific and technical organization of 1,700 scientists, natural resource managers, and specialists in many different fields. NOS delivers a dynamic range of nationwide coastal and Great Lakes scientific, technical, and resource management services in support of safe, healthy, and productive oceans and coasts. NOS develops partnerships to integrate expertise and efforts across all levels of government and with other interests to protect, maintain, and sustain the viability of coastal communities, economies and ecosystems.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is an American scientific agency within the United States Department of Commerce that focuses on the conditions of the oceans, major waterways, and the atmosphere.
The Great Lakes, also called the Laurentian Great Lakes and the Great Lakes of North America, are a series of interconnected freshwater lakes primarily in the upper mid-east region of North America, on the Canada–United States border, which connect to the Atlantic Ocean through the Saint Lawrence River. They consist of Lakes Superior, Michigan, Huron, Erie, and Ontario, although hydrologically, there are four lakes, Superior, Erie, Ontario, and Michigan-Huron. The connected lakes form the Great Lakes Waterway.
An ocean is a body of water that composes much of a planet's hydrosphere. On Earth, an ocean is one of the major conventional divisions of the World Ocean. These are, in descending order by area, the Pacific, Atlantic, Indian, Southern (Antarctic), and Arctic Oceans. The word "ocean" is often used interchangeably with "sea" in American English. Strictly speaking, a sea is a body of water partly or fully enclosed by land, though "the sea" refers also to the oceans.
As one of six NOAA Line Offices, NOAA's National Ocean Service (NOS) observes, studies, and manages the nation's coastal and marine resources. NOS measures and predicts coastal and ocean phenomena, protects large areas of the oceans, works to ensure safe navigation, and provides tools and information to protect and restore coastal and marine resources. NOAA's National Ocean Service is composed of seven program and two staff offices.
Navigation is a field of study that focuses on the process of monitoring and controlling the movement of a craft or vehicle from one place to another. The field of navigation includes four general categories: land navigation, marine navigation, aeronautic navigation, and space navigation.
The Office of Coast Survey is the official chartmaker of the United States. Set up in 1807, it is one of the U.S. government's oldest scientific organizations. In 1878 it was given the name of Coast and Geodetic Survey (C&GS). In 1970 it became part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
A U.S. National Marine Sanctuary is a zone within United States waters, where the marine environment enjoys special protection. The program began in 1972 in response to public concern about the plight of marine ecosystems.
The Office of Response and Restoration (OR&R) is a program office of the National Ocean Service and a natural resource trustee that protects the coastal environment from oil and hazardous material releases and restores damage caused by such releases.
The Integrated Ocean Observing System is an organization of systems that routinely and continuously provides quality controlled data and information on current and future states of the oceans and Great Lakes from the global scale of ocean basins to local scales of coastal ecosystems. It is a multidisciplinary system designed to provide data in forms and at rates required by decision makers to address seven societal goals.
The Center for Operational Oceanographic Products and Services (CO-OPS) and its predecessors have gathered oceanographic data along our nation's coasts for over 200 years to protect life, property, and the environment. Serving both the public and other government agencies, CO-OPS is the authoritative source for accurate, reliable, and timely water-level and current measurements that support safe and efficient maritime commerce, sound coastal management, and recreation. The combined efforts, knowledge, and experience of CO-OPS's technicians, scientists, and engineers working to carry out a central mission has led to the development of a reliable center of expertise for coastal physical oceanography.CO-OPS is composed of four divisions:
The Field Operations Division (FOD) operates and maintains all oceanographic and Great Lakes observing systems required to meet CO-OPS' mission objectives. The Division ensures the continuous operations of navigation and other real-time observing systems needed to support the protection of life and property. FOD also operates the Ocean Systems Test and Evaluation Facility (OSTEF) in order to support Requirements and Development Division (RDD), and Information Systems Division (ISD) development efforts. FOD operates equipment to test and evaluate new observing systems and software modules developed to support NOS mission objectives. The Division: installs, documents, operates and maintains CO-OPS measurement systems (e.g., NWLON, PORTS); conducts field reconnaissance and geodetic operations to include the establishment, leveling, documentation, and inspection of NOS benchmarks; and provides training in the installation, operation and maintenance of CO-OPS observing equipment.
The Oceanographic Division ensures the quality of all data collected by CO-OPS, and produces/disseminates operational products from this data stream. The Division monitors the performance of all CO-OPS observing systems and reports discrepancies to appropriate Center personnel. The Division performs operational data quality control/data analysis; produces oceanographic products; manages the content of CO-OPS data/product delivery systems; develops web page services; distributes real-time data to CO-OPS customers; produces/distributes CD-ROM products; provides information for matters such as litigation and boundary disputes (e.g., certified water level and benchmark information); provides technical assistance to customers regarding the use of CO-OPS products and services; designs new products and services to meet user needs, and maintains customer lists, billing information and accounting procedures to ensure the accurate accounting of revenues collected through user fees.
The Engineering Division establishes observation and analysis requirements for CO-OPS based on the assessment of user/customer needs. The Division also manages the Ocean Systems Test and Evaluation Program (OSTEP) and its associated test facilities. The Division develops new oceanographic measurement systems and techniques to improve the safety of marine navigation. The Division: develops and issues standard operating procedures, project instructions, and manuals, to guide the operation and maintenance of CO-OPS oceanographic and meteorological measurement systems; prepares measurement requirements (based on tidal zoning) for hydrographic or photogrammetric field surveys, and to support other NOS requirements needs for water level and current information; prepares and monitors interagency agreements, technology transfer agreements and work plans; prepares and administers contracts; provides technical assistance and guidance to other countries, agencies, and the public in the establishment and operation of water level and current measurement stations; and develops/integrates measurement and telemetry systems needed to support CO-OPS activities.
The National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science (NCCOS) provides research, scientific information and tools to help balance the nation's ecological, social and economic goals. The research and tools provided are central to addressing coastal issues raised in legislation and NOAA's priorities.NCCOS was formed within the National Ocean Service (NOS) in March 1999 as the focal point for coastal ocean science. Research areas and strategy were selected in response to Federal legislation, stakeholder input, and in concert with scientific expertise and capabilities. NCCOS has five centers with specific capabilities and research expertise in coastal and ocean issues. Three of the centers are dedicated research laboratories, another conducts research through analyses of field data, and one funds research with competitive grants.
Answers questions about the impacts of environmental stress and change on the function ecosystems and health of coastal resources and people.
Conducts research on the effects of coastal habitat change and restoration on living marine resources such as seagrasses, marshes, reefs, and fish.
Conducts field research and data analysis to support marine resource management at local, regional, and national levels.
Administers NCCOS Extramural Research - a portfolio of 11 programs consisting of 73 multi-year awards held by over 370 university, state and government scientists and managers.
The Cooperative Oxford Laboratory (COL) research mission is to combine the unique scientific, response, and management capabilities of NOAA, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, and U.S. Coast Guard to identify and evaluate actions and policies that will protect, restore, and secure the health of the Chesapeake Bay and other threatened coastal marine ecosystems.
The Hollings Marine Laboratory studies the complex interaction between marine environments, aquatic organisms and their connections to human health. The research required to address the interactions requires an interdisciplinary approach that our partnership fosters.
Provides navigation products and services that ensure safe and efficient maritime commerce on America’s oceans and coastal waters, and in the Great Lakes.OCS consists of the following offices:
Established in 2014 when NOAA combined two offices: the Coastal Services Center and the Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management. In addition to implementing specific initiatives, a top priority for NOAA's Office for Coastal Management is to unify efforts to make communities more resilient. Many organizations are involved, including the private sector, nonprofits, the scientific community, and all levels of government. The Office for Coastal Management works to be a unifying force in these efforts, providing unbiased NOAA data and tools and providing opportunities for the community to come together to define common goals and find ways to work smarter by working together. Issues run the gamut from protecting endangered species to erosion to generating better building codes for storm-resistant buildings.The OCM has four programs:
The National Coastal Zone Management Program comprehensively addresses the nation’s coastal issues through a voluntary partnership between the federal government and coastal and Great Lakes states and territories. Authorized by the Coastal Zone Management Act of 1972, the program provides the basis for protecting, restoring, and responsibly developing our nation’s diverse coastal communities and resources. Currently 34 coastal states participate. While state partners must follow basic requirements, the program also gives states the flexibility to design unique programs that best address their coastal challenges and regulations. By leveraging both federal and state expertise and resources, the program strengthens the capabilities of each to address coastal issues.
NOAA's Coral Reef Conservation Program (CRCP) is a cross-cutting program that brings together expertise from a wide array of NOAA programs and offices in the National Ocean Service (NOS), National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research (OAR), and the National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service (NESDIS). The CRCP was established in 2000 to help fulfill NOAA's responsibilities under the Coral Reef Conservation Act of 2000 (CRCA) and the U.S. Coral Reef Task Force (established by Presidential Executive Order 13089 on Coral Reef Protection). The mission of the CRCP is to protect, conserve, and restore coral reef resources by maintaining healthy ecosystem function. CRCP focuses on four main pillars of work: increase resilience to climate change, reduce land-based sources of pollution, improve fisheries' sustainability, and restore viable coral populations. In strong partnership with local managers, CRCP addresses strategic coral reef management needs in a targeted, cost-effective, and efficient manner.
CRCP funds and equips reef conservation activities by NOAA and its partners in the seven U.S. states and jurisdictions containing coral reefs (American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Florida, Guam, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and the United States Virgin Islands), uninhabited islands including the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands and Pacific Remote Island Areas, and the Pacific Freely Associated States (Federated States of Micronesia, Republic of the Marshall Islands, and Palau).CRCP supports multiple cross-cutting activities and associated products including the National Coral Reef Monitoring Program and Coral Reef Watch .
This NOAA-sponsored website is focused on helping communities address coastal issues and has become one of the most-used resources in the coastal management community. The dynamic Digital Coast Partnership, whose members represent the website’s primary user groups, keeps the effort focused on customer needs.
The National Estuarine Research Reserve System is a network of 28 coastal sites designated to protect and study estuarine systems. Established through the Coastal Zone Management Act, the reserves represent a partnership program between NOAA and the coastal states. NOAA provides funding and national guidance, and each site is managed on a daily basis by a lead state agency or university with input from local partners.
The Office of National Geodetic Survey (NGS) provides the framework for all positioning activities in the Nation. The foundational elements - latitude, longitude, elevation, shoreline information and their changes over time - contribute to informed decision making and impact a wide range of important activities including mapping and charting, navigation, flood risk determination, transportation, land use and ecosystem management. NGS' authoritative spatial data, models, and tools are vital for the protection and management of natural and manmade resources and support the economic prosperity and environmental health of the Nation.The NGS consists of six divisions:
The Office of National Marine Sanctuaries serves as the trustee for a network of underwater parks encompassing more than 170,000 square miles of marine and Great Lakes waters from Washington state to the Florida Keys, and from Lake Huron to American Samoa. The network includes a system of 13 national marine sanctuaries and Papahānaumokuākea and Rose Atoll marine national monuments.These monuments are:
NOAA's Office of Response and Restoration (OR&R) is a center of expertise in preparing for, evaluating, and responding to threats to coastal environments, including oil and chemical spills, releases from hazardous waste sites, and marine debris. To fulfill its mission of protecting and restoring NOAA trust resources, the Office of Response and Restoration:
OR&R has three divisions:
The Emergency Response Division (ERD) of NOAA's Office of Response and Restoration (OR&R) provides scientific expertise to support an incident response. Under the National Contingency Plan, NOAA has responsibility for providing scientific support to the Federal On-Scene Coordinator (FOSC) for oil and hazardous material spills. To support this mandate, ERD provides 24-hour, 7 day a week response to spill events. Find out more about ERD's work with oil and chemical spills.
The Assessment and Restoration Division (ARD), formerly Coastal Protection and Restoration Division (CPRD), is responsible for evaluating and restoring coastal and estuarine habitats damaged by hazardous waste releases, oil spills, and vessel groundings. To fully accomplish this mission, ARD joined with NOAA's General Counsel for Natural Resources and Office of Habitat Conservation to create the Damage Assessment, Remediation and Restoration Program (DARRP). This successful NOAA partnership tackles the challenges of environmental damages to ensure marine natural resources are protected and restored. The Assessment and Restoration Division comprises NOAA biologists, toxicologists, ecologists, policy analysts, information specialists, attorneys, geologists, environmental engineers, and economists. Together, they help assess ecological risk and environmental and economic injury from contamination and ship groundings. In particular, ARD has developed specific expertise in aquatic risk assessment techniques, contaminated sediment issues, and data interpretation.
The ARD publishes the Screening Quick Reference Tables (SQuiRT cards), for rapid evaluation of water, sediment and soil contamination.
Since 2005, the NOAA Marine Debris Program has served as a centralized program within NOAA, coordinating, strengthening, and promoting marine debris activities within the agency and among its partners and the public. The NOAA Marine Debris Program undertakes national and international efforts focused on researching, reducing, and preventing debris in the marine environment. The program continues to support and work closely with various partners across the U.S. to fulfill its mission.
The Integrated Ocean Observing System (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 now 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.
The Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary is a sanctuary off the Pacific coast of Southern California. The National Marine Sanctuary program is administered by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
The National Geodetic Survey (NGS), formerly the United States Survey of the Coast (1807–1836), United States Coast Survey (1836–1878), and United States Coast and Geodetic Survey (USC&GS) (1878–1970), is a United States federal agency that defines and manages a national coordinate system, providing the foundation for transportation and communication; mapping and charting; and a large number of applications of science and engineering. Since its foundation in its present form in 1970, it has been part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), of the United States Department of Commerce.
The National Oceanographic Data Center (NODC) was one of the national environmental data centers operated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) of the U.S. Department of Commerce. The main NODC facility was located in Silver Spring, Maryland and was made up of five divisions. The NODC also had field offices collocated with major government or academic oceanographic laboratories in Stennis Space Center, MS; Miami, FL; La Jolla, San Diego, California; Seattle, WA; Austin, Texas; Charleston, South Carolina; Norfolk, Virginia; and Honolulu, Hawaii. In 2015, NODC was merged with the National Climatic Data Center and the National Geophysical Data Center into the National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI).
The Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary protects the wildlife, habitats, and cultural resources of one of the most diverse and bountiful marine environments in the world, an area of 3,295 square miles off the northern and central California coast. The waters within Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary are part of a nationally significant marine ecosystem, and support an abundance of life, including many threatened or endangered species.
Oceanic and Atmospheric Research (OAR) is a division of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). OAR is also referred to as NOAA Research.
The Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory (AOML), a federal research laboratory, is part of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research (OAR), located in Miami, Florida. AOML's research spans tropical cyclone and hurricanes, coastal ecosystems, oceans and human health, climate studies, global carbon systems, and ocean observations. It is one of seven NOAA Research Laboratories (RLs).
The Experimental Oculina Research Reserve preserves the Oculina Banks, a reef of ivory bush coral off the coast of Fort Pierce, Florida. Oculina varicosa is a U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service species of concern. Species of concern are those species about which the U.S. Government’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), National Marine Fisheries Service, has some concerns regarding status and threats, but for which insufficient information is available to indicate a need to list the species under the U.S. Endangered Species Act (ESA).
Marine ecosystems are the largest of Earth's aquatic ecosystems and are distinguished by waters that have a high salt content. These systems contrast with freshwater ecosystems, which have a lower salt content. Marine waters cover more than 70% of the surface of the Earth and account for more than 97% of Earth's water supply and 90% of habitable space on Earth. Marine ecosystems include nearshore systems, such as the salt marshes, mudflats, seagrass meadows, mangroves, rocky intertidal systems and coral reefs. They also extend outwards from the coast to include offshore systems, such as the surface ocean, pelagic ocean waters, the deep sea, oceanic hydrothermal vents, and the sea floor. Marine ecosystems are characterized by the biological community of organisms that they are associated with and their physical environment.
The Environmental Science Services Administration (ESSA) was a United States Federal executive agency created in 1965 as part of a reorganization of the United States Department of Commerce. Its mission was to unify and oversee the meteorological, climatological, hydrographic, and geodesic operations of the United States. It operated until 1970, when it was replaced by the new National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
Ocean Conservancy is a nonprofit environmental advocacy group based in Washington, D.C., United States. The organization helps formulate ocean policy at the federal and state government levels based on peer reviewed science. Ocean Conservancy is one of the few organizations that help protect wildlife in the ocean.
The National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service (NESDIS) was created by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to operate and manage the United States environmental satellite programs, and manage the data gathered by the National Weather Service and other government agencies and departments.
The NOAA Ship Nancy Foster is a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration research vessel.
Coral reef protection is the process of modifying human activities to avoid damage to healthy coral reefs and to help damaged reefs recover. The key strategies used in reef protection include defining measurable goals and introducing active management and community involvement to reduce stressors that damage reef health. One management technique is to create Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) that directly limit human activities such as fishing.
The Blake Plateau lies in the western Atlantic Ocean off the southeastern United States coasts of North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Florida. The Blake Plateau lies between the North American continental shelf and the deep ocean basin extending about 145 kilometers east and west by 170 kilometers north and south, with a depth of about 500 meters inshore sloping to about 1,000 meters about 375 kilometers off shore, where the Blake Escarpment drops steeply to the deep basin. The Blake Plateau, associated Blake Ridge and Blake Basin are named for the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey steamer George S. Blake, in service 1874-1905, that first used steel cable for oceanographic operations and pioneered deep ocean and Gulf Stream exploration. Survey lines of the steamer Blake first defined the plateau that now bears the ship's name.
Organizations which currently undertake coral reef and atoll restoration projects using simple methods of plant propagation:
NOAAS Townsend Cromwell was an American fisheries research vessel that was in commission in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) fleet from 1975 to 2002. Prior to her NOAA career, she was in the United States Fish and Wildlife Service's Bureau of Commercial Fisheries fleet from 1963 to 1975 as BCF Townsend Cromwell.
The St. Croix East End Marine Park (STXEEMP) was established to “protect territorially significant marine resources, and promote sustainability of marine ecosystems, including coral reefs, sea grass beds, wildlife habitats and other resources, and to conserve and preserve significant natural areas for the use and benefit of future generations.” It is the U.S. Virgin Islands’ first territorially designated and managed marine protected area (MPA).