Register Now! March 8, 2017

The new resilience area spans from north of the Bering Strait, shown here, to north of Bristol Bay, which is farther south. (Credit: NASA/GSFC/JPL/MISR-Team)

Obama Creates ‘Resilience Area’ To Protect Bering Ecosystem

President Barack Obama responded to appeals from Alaska Native villages and gave them more of a say in the federal management of marine resources of the Bering Sea. Obama signed an executive order Friday to create a Northern Bering Sea Climate Resilience Area that will focus “locally tailored” protections on marine resources. The newly created resilience area covers 112,300 square miles and stretches from north of the Bering Strait to north of Bristol Bay. The order requires more focused federal consultation with Alaska tribes and 39 communities that line the west coast of Alaska, along with state officials. The area supports what may be the world’s largest annual marine mammal migration of bowhead and beluga whales, Pacific walrus, ice seals and migratory birds.

(Click to enlarge) The Northeast Ocean Plan and the Mid-Atlantic Ocean Action Plan were released today. (Credit: Wikimedia Commons)

The Nation’s First Ocean Plans

Today, the National Ocean Council (NOC) finalized the Nation’s first ocean plans, taking a historic step toward fulfilling President Obama’s commitment to healthy ocean ecosystems and a strong, sustainable marine economy. The two regional plans, the Northeast Ocean Plan and the Mid-Atlantic Ocean Action Plan, promote the use of integrated ocean data and best practices for informed and efficient management of the Nation’s shared marine resources. This approach is designed to work across all levels of government and to advance economic, environmental, and cultural priorities within each region. In addition to years of historic collaboration among states, tribes, Federal agencies, and Fishery Management Councils, the Plans are a result of extensive participation and input from marine stakeholders representing fishing, recreation, energy, transportation, telecommunications, and many other interests.

President-Elect Trump has nominated Todd Ricketts for deputy commerce secretary. (Credit: The Blue Diamond Gallery)

Todd Ricketts Nominated For Deputy Commerce Secretary

President-elect Donald Trump has nominated Todd Ricketts — brother of Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts and a member of the team’s board of directors — as deputy commerce secretary. “The incredible job he and the Ricketts family did in the purchase and turnaround of the Chicago Cubs — one perfect step after another, leading to the World Championship, is what I want representing our people,” Trump said in a statement on Wednesday. “I am very proud to have him on our team.”

President-Elect Trump will name Wilbur Ross Jr. as Commerce Secretary. (Credit: U.S. Department of Commerce)

Donald Trump To Name Wilbur Ross as Commerce Secretary, Transition Official Says

Donald Trump will name Wilbur Ross Jr. as commerce secretary, a transition official said Tuesday, selecting a fellow businessman whose name rings out in the Rust Belt. In 2001, with the steel industry in crisis and more than 30 steelmakers in bankruptcy, Mr. Ross swooped in and bought key assets, such as LTV Corp., Bethlehem Steel and Weirton Steel Corp. By cutting jobs and legacy costs, as well as negotiating new deals with unions, he was able to put mills back on their feet, before selling them at a profit.

Majority Republicans on the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology target reforms at EPA, DOE, and NASA as well as STEM education (Credit: Peter Kratochvil/PublicDomainPictures.net)

Groups Urge Trump To Appoint Science Adviser

The leaders of 29 science organizations are urging President-elect Donald Trump to meet with them and quickly appoint a science adviser. Signers of the new Trump letter include most major science groups, including the American Association for the Advancement of Science and American Geophysical Union. Appointment of an adviser would help the president-elect analyze effective ways to use science and technology to address national challenges, the leaders said.

The Office of Management and Budget put out a memorandum that included guidance for federal agencies regarding conference attendance (Credit: Amy/Flickr)

Waste Not, Want Not: OMB Memorandum Promotes Efficient Agency Spending

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) released a memorandum last week titled “Promoting Efficient Spending to Support Agency Operations.,” The document builds on years-long efforts to save taxpayer dollars by improving agency operations and efficiency. Section Two of the memo focuses on oversight of expenses related to federally-sponsored and-hosted conferences, which “play an important role in the federal government” through improved collaboration and knowledge sharing.

31 Top Scientific Societies reaffirmed the reality of human-caused climate change. (Credit: Bart / Flickr)

U.S. Strategy To Cut Carbon Emissions 80 Percent By 2050

While this year’s United Nations Marrakech Climate Change Conference was taking place in Morocco, strategic planning to combat climate change was also happening across the pond in the U.S. On November 16, the outgoing administration released the “United States Mid-Century Strategy For Deep Decarbonization.” Developed with input from stakeholders and in collaboration with Canada, Mexico, and other nations developing similar strategies, this plan explains potential pathways to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by at least eighty percent by 2050.

An Argo float is deployed in the Southern Ocean. (Credit: Hannes Grobe/AWI)

Experts Agree: Tackle Obstructions to Ocean Observing

A teacher in Boise checks his weather app and packs an umbrella while a Miami businesswoman decides to work from home because the local news announces her usual route to work is flooded. What do these two have in common? The information they rely on for their daily activities depends on observational data from the ocean. Some ocean observations provide real-time results, but others must be continuously collected for years before significant patterns and changes can be detected and analyzed. Due to the vital importance of observing systems to the benefit of our nation’s economy, national security, and scientific enterprise, the National Academy of Science’s Ocean Studies Board ad hoc observations committee held a two-day workshop to hear expert opinions on ocean observation systems as they draft a report prioritizing imperative ocean variables for climate research.