NOAA Announces 2024 Brennan Matching Fund Selection and Webinar for 2025 Funding Opportunity

A decorative banner advertising the Brennan Matching Fund.

Meet our FY2024 Brennan Matching Fund partner at the upcoming August 10 webinar for the 2025 Rear Admiral Richard T. Brennan Ocean Mapping Fund program! The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is pleased to announce our partnership with the State of Connecticut’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (CTDEEP) on behalf of the Steering Committee for the Long Island Sound Cable Fund (LISCF) for a hydrographic surveying project in Long Island Sound. The LISCF Steering Committee project was selected for the Brennan Matching Fund from last year’s round of applicants. Register for the August 10 informational webinar to learn about the new 2025 funding opportunity and to hear from a CTDEEP representative about their experience with the mapping matching fund process!

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United Nations Ocean Decade endorses Seascape Alaska

A graphic showing the Seascape Alaska and United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development logos on a blue background.

Congratulations to Seascape Alaska! The Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization recently endorsed this important regional mapping campaign as part of the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development 2021-2030 (Ocean Decade), in part for its contributions to The Nippon Foundation-GEBCO Seabed 2030 Project.

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NOAA contributes to Empowering Women in Hydrography through at-sea experience, part 4

NOAA Ship Thomas Jefferson tied up at the Port of Galveston before departing for its survey leg.

The Empowering Women in Hydrography project is a global effort led by the International Hydrographic Organization and Canada that seeks to initiate, organize and track a series of activities and initiatives which will enable more women to participate equitably in the field of hydrography and to assume leadership roles within the hydrographic community. NOAA is contributing to the project via an ‘at-sea experience’ on NOAA hydrographic ships for three women each year over the lifespan of the project. After a global call for nominations, three women were selected to join NOAA ships for the 2023 survey season. Lt.j.g. Liezel Bastez, a hydrographer surveyor from the Hydrography Branch under the National Mapping and Resource Information Authority (NAMRIA) of the Philippines, joined NOAA Ship Thomas Jefferson from 27 May to 9 June 2023 while surveying the Gulf of Mexico Galveston, Texas.

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Nippon Foundation/GEBCO scholar joins NOAA Ship Thomas Jefferson

An image of Thomas Jefferson's survey launch 2903.

By Rebecca Formanek

Staring off into the seemingly infinite blue horizon something inside me asks, what secrets lie beneath the last frontier of this planet? Three weeks aboard NOAA Ship Thomas Jefferson showed me I am not the only one to think this. The talented individuals that comprise the crew of Thomas Jefferson demonstrated the range and dedication to discovering these secrets, and I thank them for sharing their time, knowledge, and experiences. If there is anything that can unite a diverse group of people, it is the sea.

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NOAA helps develop undergraduate course in lakebed mapping

Grand Traverse Light aerial of Northport Michigan.

As the New Blue Economy grows along with demands for a climate-ready workforce, NOAA is connecting the dots between climate resilience and the need for a workforce skilled in science and technology supporting ocean and coastal mapping. Exposure to key disciplines, from geodesy, oceanography, and science data management to modeling, hydrography and GIS-based cartography, is critical to building robust interest, opportunities and expertise in the government and industry geospatial careers supporting climate resilience. NOAA works with a variety of partners to advance workforce development in these foundational geospatial areas. In particular, hydrography – measuring water depths, locating hazards, and describing the seafloor – is a challenging but exciting field dependent on skilled technicians, surveyors, and scientists to acquire mapping data using state-of-the-art technologies. With only 50% of U.S. coastal, ocean and Great Lakes waters mapped, there is a lot of work to do! Read on to learn about a hydrographic surveying project NOAA is supporting with Northwestern Michigan College in the Great Lakes.

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Research vessel Bay Hydro II makes history on Mayland’s Elk River

NOAA survey vessel Bay Hydro II in it's homeport at the Patuxent River Naval Air Station.
By Lt.j.g. Carly Robbins, junior officer in charge R/V Bay Hydro II

Situated on the east side of the Chesapeake Bay, 162 nautical miles above the Virginia Capes, Elk River is the western approach to the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal. The canal is one of the busiest waterways in the country. It connects the Chesapeake and Delaware Bays, servicing the ports of Baltimore, Wilmington, and Philadelphia. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers regularly surveys the dredged channels in the approaches and in the canal, but they are not responsible for the remaining waters of the Elk River. The Elk River was last surveyed in the early 1900s, making depths on the nautical chart close to 100 years old! As a result, NOAA R/V Bay Hydro II was tasked to conduct a modern hydrographic survey of Elk River in Spring 2023.

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The Interagency Working Group on Ocean and Coastal Mapping announces progress report on mapping U.S. ocean, coastal, and Great Lakes waters

A graphic showing a map of the United States and the percentage of unmapped waters as of January 2023.

The federal Interagency Working Group on Ocean and Coastal Mapping (IWG-OCM) has released the fourth annual report on progress made in mapping U.S. ocean, coastal, and Great Lakes waters. Knowledge of the depth, shape, and composition of the seafloor has far-reaching benefits, including safer navigation, hazard mitigation for coastal resilience, preservation of marine habitats and heritage, and a deeper understanding of natural resources for sustainable ocean economies. The 2020 National Strategy for Mapping, Exploring, and Characterizing the United States Exclusive Economic Zone (NOMEC) and the Nippon Foundation-GEBCO Seabed 2030 Project make comprehensive ocean mapping a priority for the coming decade. The Unmapped U.S. Waters report tracks progress toward these important goals.

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NOAA releases 2023 hydrographic survey season plans

An image showing all NOAA hydrographic survey vessels.

NOAA hydrographic survey ships, navigation response teams, and contractors are preparing for the 2023 hydrographic survey season. The ships and survey vessels collect bathymetric data (i.e. map the seafloor) to support nautical charting, modeling, and research, but also collect other environmental data to support a variety of ecosystem sciences. NOAA considers hydrographic survey requests from stakeholders such as marine pilots, local port authorities, the Coast Guard, and the boating community, and also considers other hydrographic and NOAA science priorities in determining where to survey and when. Visit our “living” ArcGIS StoryMap to find out more about our mapping projects and if a hydrographic vessel will be in your area this year!

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3D Nation Study report, website, and StoryMap now available

The 3D Nation Elevation Requirements and Benefits Study focuses on 3D elevation data on land and under water.

A new StoryMap on the 3D Nation Elevation Requirements and Benefits Study, which was published in September 2022, is now available. Sponsored by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), and conducted by Dewberry, the 3D Nation Study documents nationwide requirements and benefits of 3D elevation data both on land and under water. The study also estimates the costs associated with meeting these requirements and evaluates multiple scenarios for enhancing national elevation mapping programs.

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Geospatial information in the Southwestern Pacific

An image of the Island of Tarawa, part of the Republic of Kiribati in the Central Pacific.

By Dr. John Nyberg

An image of Dr. John Nyberg
Dr. John Nyberg

NOAA’s Office of Coast Survey Deputy Hydrographer Dr. John Nyberg participated in a State Department Science Fellowship through the U.S. Embassy in Suva, Fiji this past summer. The fellowship’s main goal for the region is to assist in accelerating the use of coastal and marine spatial planning for marine conservation and to deliver a curriculum to support it. Dr. Nyberg was asked to pay particular attention to engaging Kiribati (pronounced Kiribas), home to the Phoenix Islands Protected Area, one of the world’s largest and most important protected areas. The government of Kiribati is in the process of re-evaluating their approach toward managing the area, and one of the primary goals is to encourage the use of marine spatial planning in that process.

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