NOAA Ship Thomas Jefferson returns to survey approaches to Chesapeake Bay during the 2020 field season

NOAA Ship Thomas Jefferson

By Hydrographic Assistant Survey Technician Sophia Tigges

For the first portion of the 2020 field season, NOAA Ship Thomas Jefferson surveyed approaches to Chesapeake Bay. Thomas Jefferson’s 2020 field season consisted of two 45-day “bubble” periods. Bubble periods are established windows of time  in which ship personnel have undergone COVID-19 testing and risk mitigation protocol. The ship spent the entire first bubble working off the coast of North Carolina and Virginia for this project. These surveys served as a continuation of the ship’s work in the area in the 2019 season.  To learn more about Thomas Jefferson’s work in this area last year, read the 2019 post titled “NOAA Ship Thomas Jefferson tests innovative DriX unmanned surface vehicle.”

Continue reading “NOAA Ship Thomas Jefferson returns to survey approaches to Chesapeake Bay during the 2020 field season”

Coast Survey Spotlight: Meet Teresa Fleisher

Teresa Fleisher

Ever wonder what it’s like to be a member of the NOAA Coast Survey team? We use the Coast Survey spotlight blog series as a way to periodically share the experiences of Coast Survey employees as they discuss their work, background, and advice.


Teresa Fleisher, Program Specialist

“I love the work that we do, knowing that we’re contributing to making the country (and the world) a better – and safer – place.” 

Continue reading “Coast Survey Spotlight: Meet Teresa Fleisher”

Make your voice heard: Provide input on ocean mapping, exploration, and characterization efforts in the U.S. EEZ

Underwater scene

The National Ocean Mapping, Exploration, and Characterization Council (NOMEC Council), a group of federal agencies established to carry out the National Strategy for Mapping, Exploring, and Characterizing the United States Exclusive Economic Zone, requests your input on developing an Implementation Plan and setting strategic priorities for the effort to map the entire U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) by 2040 and explore and characterize strategic areas.

Continue reading “Make your voice heard: Provide input on ocean mapping, exploration, and characterization efforts in the U.S. EEZ”

NOAA electronic navigational charts reduce accidents and provide benefits, study finds

NOAA ENC visible on a portable tablet on the bridge of a ship while navigating on the Mississippi River.

A nautical chart is one of the most fundamental tools available to the mariner. For nearly two centuries, they have provided the critical information for safe and efficient use of our nation’s waterways and for protection of our marine environment. Needless to say that most, if not all mariners have held a nautical chart in their hands, relying on the data to help them navigate safely. That confidence, the ability to avoid accidents, injury, and damage to property, has value, and this value provides the justification for chart production.

Continue reading “NOAA electronic navigational charts reduce accidents and provide benefits, study finds”

NOAA concludes hydrographic survey response following Hurricane Delta

NOAA Ship Thomas Jefferson Launch 2904 surveying the Bar Channel, Calcasieu, Louisiana Approach.

This week NOAA’s Office of Coast Survey concluded its hydrographic survey response following Hurricane Delta. At the immediate request of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), NOAA’s navigation response teams (NRTs) and NOAA Ship Thomas Jefferson surveyed areas within the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway (GIWW), Calcasieu Ship Channel, and the entrance to the channel. With lessons learned from the response to Hurricane Laura — the first major hurricane of the 2020 season and the first hurricane response during a pandemic — the teams and Thomas Jefferson successfully collected, processed, and delivered data to the USACE, identifying significant hazards to navigation and helping to ensure the timely reopening of waterways.

Continue reading “NOAA concludes hydrographic survey response following Hurricane Delta”

Autonomous vessel operations in the Arctic: Lessons learned from the Summer 2020 Mapping Mission

On May 28, 2020, four uncrewed vessels departed Alameda, California, to begin their transit across the Pacific Ocean, through Unimak Pass, across the Bering Sea, and into the Arctic. These small, uncrewed vessels, powered only by wind and sun, arrived at Point Hope, Alaska, in early August to start an ambitious project acquiring new depth data along the 20 and 50 meter depth contours from Point Hope to the Canadian border. This was the start of a challenging Arctic project that would contend with weather, sea ice, and equipment failures, all while avoiding potential conflicts with indigenous subsistence hunting. 

Continue reading “Autonomous vessel operations in the Arctic: Lessons learned from the Summer 2020 Mapping Mission”

Coast Survey Spotlight: Meet James Moy

James Moy with chart in background

Ever wonder what it’s like to be a member of the NOAA Coast Survey team? We use the Coast Survey spotlight blog series as a way to periodically share the experiences of Coast Survey employees as they discuss their work, background, and advice.


James Moy, Cartographer

“As a cartographer, I consider it a success if the updates to a chart are accurate and justified, reviewed by another with little or no revisions, and is deemed useful and safe for the public.

Continue reading “Coast Survey Spotlight: Meet James Moy”

NOAA bathymetric data helps scientists more accurately model tsunami risk within Barry Arm

Barry Glacier, Alaska.

In May of 2020, local geologists identified a steep, unstable slope that has the potential to become a tsunami-generating landslide in Barry Arm, a glacial fjord 60 miles east of Anchorage, Alaska. With documented cases of tsunami-generating landslides in Alaska including Lituya Bay in 1958 and Taan Fjord in 2015, this new hazard immediately caught the attention of state and federal partners who quickly joined forces to quantify the risk to those living and boating in Alaska’s Prince William Sound, specifically the communities of Whittier, Valdez, Cordova, Tatitlek, and Chenega.

Continue reading “NOAA bathymetric data helps scientists more accurately model tsunami risk within Barry Arm”

NOAA navigation response teams complete hydrographic surveys following Hurricane Laura

Lt. John Kidd operates the NRT-Stennis vessel in Devil's Elbow.

Hurricane Laura, the first major hurricane of the 2020 Atlantic Hurricane Season, made landfall over Louisiana in the early morning hours of Thursday, August 27. As a Category 4 storm and with maximum sustained winds reaching 150 miles per hour, it caused significant damage along the Gulf coasts of Louisiana and southeastern Texas. For NOAA’s Office of Coast Survey –  whose job it is to identify dangers to navigation and help speed the reopening of ports and waterways following severe storms – this marked the first hydrographic survey response effort of the hurricane season.

Continue reading “NOAA navigation response teams complete hydrographic surveys following Hurricane Laura”