NOAA seeks public comment on ending production of traditional paper nautical charts
NOAA is initiating a five-year process to end all traditional paper nautical chart production and is seeking the public’s feedback via a Federal Register Notice published on November 15, 2019. Chart users, companies that provide products and services based on NOAA raster and electronic navigational chart (NOAA ENC®
) products, and other stakeholders can help shape the manner and timing in which the product sunsetting process will proceed. Comments may be submitted through NOAA’s online ASSIST feedback tool
. The comment period ends on February 1, 2020.
NOAA field crew works through the night to repair bridge clearance sensors
A NOAA field crew traveled to Charleston, South Carolina, to perform maintenance on the air gap sensors
located on the Don Holt
bridges. These stations provide critical real-time under-bridge clearance data, and in conjunction with the nearby meteorological and water level stations, provide ship captains and pilots with invaluable information. South Carolina Department of Transportation regulations require that all bridge work that requires lane closures be conducted at night after 9 p.m., leaving the crew to navigate the repairs in the dark. Despite the challenging nature of this maintenance trip, the team completed the work in a smooth, safe, and timely manner. NOAA has 18 bridge clearance systems across its network of 33 Physical Oceanographic Real-Time Systems (PORTS)
in the U.S.
Nav-cast recording available: How to obtain NOAA ENC-based paper nautical charts
Did you miss NOAA’s recent Nav-cast: How to obtain ENC-based paper nautical charts after NOAA ends production of traditional paper charts? The Nav-cast discussed the decision and timeline to sunset raster charts and provided a demonstration of the NOAA Custom Chart Application prototype. You can listen to the recorded presentation or review the slides and transcript
. NOAA Nav-cast is a quarterly webinar series that highlights the tools and trends of NOAA navigation services.
Great Lakes water level station survives winter storm
A massive storm that caused near-record storm surge along Michigan’s west coast on November 27, was no match for NOAA’s water level station
located near Holland, Michigan. The storm caused significant damage along the coast, but the NOAA station never stopped disseminating data. There was some damage to the surrounding infrastructure, but the station continued to provide important water level data throughout the duration of the storm. Stations in the Great Lakes are part of the National Water Level Observation Network (NWLON)
, a permanent observing system of more than 200 water level gauges throughout the U.S. and its territories. NWLON is the source for accurate real-time and historical water levels for governments, the commercial navigation sector, and recreational users.
While many are aware that hurricanes can inflict costly damage when they make landfall, tropical storms and depressions are not to be underestimated. Tropical Depression Imelda moved over the Texas coast in mid-September producing heavy rain and causing extensive flooding. Nine barges broke free from their mooring on the San Jacinto River and two of these barges hit the Interstate 10 bridge in Lynchburg, Texas. At the request of the U.S. Coast Guard Captain of the Port Houston-Galveston, NOAA’s navigation response team
was called in for rapid hydrographic survey response. The Lynchburg section of the San Jacinto River is a heavily-used mooring area for barges and tugs making their way in and out of the Houston Ship Channel. After the channel was surveyed and the damage assessed, the Captain of the Port allowed vessel traffic to transit the area with restrictions. Authorities also partially reopened the bridge for commuter vehicle traffic.
Great Lakes Coordinating Committee meets to update international vertical reference system
The Coordinating Committee on Great Lakes Basic Hydraulic and Hydrologic Data held their 107th meeting in Silver Spring, Maryland. NOAA is working with Canadian counterparts on this committee to update the International Great Lakes Datum (IGLD), a common vertical water level reference datum. The Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River System, one of the world’s largest freshwater resources, is shared by the U.S. and Canada. Management of this shared resource requires a common elevation reference surface, or datum, from which to measure its water levels. Due to the gradual rising of the Earth’s crust from receding glaciers, the IGLD must be adjusted every 25-30 years. This updated reference system is critical for safe and efficient navigation, shoreline development, and habitat preservation in the Great Lakes. An updated IGLD (2020) datum is due to be released in 2025. Click here
for more information on the IGLD update.