Dear NAML Members,
I am very pleased to report that NAML had a very productive winter meeting at the beginning of March in Washington, DC. Forty NAML members participated in the day and a half meeting, an additional four members joined by phone with real-time access to the powerpoint presentations, which represented an excellent turnout from our organization. The business meeting featured the approval of several new member institutions including the Coastal Field Station at Mendocino College, the Nature Coast Biological Station at the University of Florida, and the James J. Carlton Marine Science Center at Williams College. In addition, Paul Sandifer was unanimously elected as an Emeritus Member of NAML. As many of you know, Paul was one of the founding members of SAML and served as the second president of SAML in 1987. Paul recently retired from NOAA and has a long and distinguished career in championing the science-based management of marine and coastal resources. I look forward to Paul’s continued involvement and contributions to public policy and development of the NAML network.
Several members of the Executive Committee were acknowledged for their sterling service to NAML including Nancy Rabalais as Past President, Jim Sanders as Treasurer, Sandy Gilchrist as Secretary, and Lou Burnett for his guiding hand in redevelopment of the website. Jim Sanders has elected to step down as Treasurer and is succeeded by Billie Swalla (Friday Harbor Lab). Bob Cowen (Hatfield Marine Science Center), Vice President and Chair of the Public Policy Committee, presented the 2017 Public Policy Agenda that was approved unanimously. This document will serve as the basis for written testimony for the House and Senate Appropriations Committees (these documents are now posted on the NAML website, along with the final 2017 Public Policy Agenda).
Two new work groups were formed including one on Data Integration and the other on Science Communication. The Data Integration Work Group, chaired by Steve Weisberg (Southern California Coastal Water Research Project) and Bob Dickey (U. Texas Marine Science Institute), will be working with several offices of NOAA (Integrated Ocean Observing System, National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science and the National Estuarine Research Reserve System) to develop opportunities to integrate data streams from NAML institutions into national observing systems. Future workshops are expected to provide training and information on standards and QA/QC to facilitate integration. The Science Communication Work Group, chaired by Karina Nielsen (San Francisco State U.) represents a partnership with the Integration and Application Network (IAN) at the University of Maryland to improve access to and use of coastal science by local decision-makers. A variety of social media (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, and #CoastalChange) will be explored to create an online community of practice for the application of coastal science to solve the challenges of coastal change at the local level. A pilot project involving several NAML institutions will be pursued.
The Public Policy meeting featured a broad range of senior policy makers and program managers from throughout government (the meeting agenda and draft minutes are posted at the NAML website). Many collaborative opportunities were identified for NAML members with NSF, NOAA and NGO partners and programs. These included expansion of the observing system footprint and development of data products with NAML labs, coordination of messages and outreach activities with NSF and other “like-minded organizations” such as the IOOS Association, National Estuarine Research Reserve Association, Coastal and Estuarine Research Federation, American Geophysical Union and the National Council for Science and the Environment. New funding opportunities with NOAA’s Coastal Resilience Program, the Restore Act, and NSF education programs were also discussed. Much interest was expressed with development of an REU program that capitalizes on the diversity of NAML institutions, engages minority students, and helps train the future federal workforce.
Margaret Davidson, the keynote speaker, identified several non-traditional sources of funding for the NAML community including FEMA and HUD with respect to replacement of critical national infrastructure, and the National Insurance Association with respect to environmental change and climate adaptation. Much discussion also was held on the opportunities to influence the marine and coastal science agenda by engaging early with the transition teams, and the new Congress following the November election. NAML Work Groups and members of the Executive Committee will be following up on these opportunities.
Finally, I want to thank all of the members for a productive winter meeting that produced a very ambitious agenda for us in the coming years. Special thanks also to Joel Widder and Meg Thompson for the invaluable insight they shared on the appropriations process and timetable for 2016-2017, and their advice and guidance on preparing for the administrative and congressional transition. Thanks also go to Brett Burk and Jill Drupa for the excellent meeting support they provided.
All the best,
Mike De Luca