NOAA

Time to make NOAA official

Cross posted at CPRBlog. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has existed since 1970, but it has never had the direct imprimatur of Congress. According to Congressional Daily, Rep. Bart Gordon (D-TN), chair of the House Committee on Science and Technology has announced that an organic act for NOAA is one of his committee’s priorities …

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Semi-good news from the Gulf Coast

NOAA this week released the latest survey of the “dead zone” just off the Gulf Coast. The dead zone results from fertilizer pollution brought down from midwest farms and cities by the Mississippi River. That nutrient influx fuels phytoplankton blooms. The subsequent decomposition of dead plankton consumes oxygen, leaving the levels of dissolved oxygen in …

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For once, regulation precedes crisis

Often government doesn’t notice, or at least isn’t sufficiently motivated to respond to, the need for regulation until after something goes badly wrong (witness the financial market meltdown). But this week the National Marine Fisheries Service got ahead of the curve. On Monday, NMFS finalized a rule prohibiting all fishing for krill, the non-charismatic but …

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Sharing the catch

According to Science Insider (subscription required), NOAA Administrator Jane Lubchenco has endorsed broader use of a “catch shares” approach to allocating the available catch in commercial fisheries. The shares strategy (also referred to as “individual transferable quotas” or “limited access privileges”) gives individual participants in the fishery a permanent and transferable right to a set …

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Rx for the oceans

The Joint Ocean Commission Initiative, the merger of the Pew Oceans Commission and the U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy, has issued a new report titled Changing Oceans, Changing World. It lays out an agenda for short-term actions for Congress and the Obama administration. The report’s key recommendations will be familiar to those who follow ocean …

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Lubchenco on scientific integrity

Shortly after her confirmation as NOAA administrator, Jane Lubchenco sat for an interview (subscription required) with Science and Nature. Asked about her priorities, she listed science at the top (others include ending overfishing, getting NOAA’s satellite program back on track, establishing a National Climate Service, and protecting and restoring ocean ecosystems). When pressed to expand …

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Finally

Having finally shaken off the various and sundry anonymous holds that had  been placed on the nominations, the Senate on Thursday confirmed Jane Lubchenco to be the administrator of NOAA and John Holdren to be Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy.  The Washington Post has a nice article about Lubchenco, why she …

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Laws as data

Julie Ekstrom, a doctoral student at the Bren School of Environmental Science and Management at UC Santa Barbara, has put together and made publicly available a searchable dataset of federal and state statutes and regulations dealing with ocean and coastal resources in the California current ecosystem. In a paper in the journal Marine Policy (subscription …

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More on climate change and water management

I posted last week about the Secure Water provision of S 22, the Omnibus Public Lands bill that has passed the Senate, which would mandate federal planning for the effects of climate change on water resources. Federal water agencies are already looking at how water planning needs to adapt to climate change. The US Geological …

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Judd Gregg on oceans

It often seems that Commerce Secretaries come in knowing little or nothing about their Department’s responsibilities for ocean resource management and ocean and atmospheric research.  One reason many environmentalists were excited about the prospect of New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson taking on the job was that Richardson had expressed a strong commitment to ocean protection. …

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