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Staff & Center News

Woods Hole Field Center a Multi-Agency Center

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The USGS Woods Hole Field Center has taken a step forward as a regional multi-agency marine science and policy center with the arrival of Brad Barr of the NOAA National Marine Sanctuary (NMS) Program. No stranger to the WHFC, Brad has worked closely with various USGS scientists—especially Page Valentine—and Field Center personnel when he was the manager of NOAA's Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary.

"The partnership with USGS is one of the most significant accomplishments of my tenure as Sanctuary Manager," said Brad. "USGS has played a critical role in achieving the successes the National Marine Sanctuary has had in bringing good science to support management decision-making. Much resource management is like sailing into uncharted areas, because little information is available to guide decision-making. The USGS has, literally, provided us the chart so that we can avoid the shoals."

The multi-beam and backscatter-sidescan mapping program, and the extensive ground-truthing being completed this year have produced unparalleled data and information about the essential habitats that make up the Sanctuary and allow scientists to conduct important process studies essential to understanding, and thereby better managing, the complex and dynamic marine ecosystems.

Brad Barr
Responding to a need for the NMS Program to develop policies to help guide management of the Nation's system of marine protected areas, Brad has taken on the task of helping to formulate policy for the national program. Brad expressed considerable enthusiasm for this opportunity. "What better place for NOAA and the NMS Program to develop these program-wide policies than at USGS and in the Woods Hole marine science community, an assemblage of marine science expertise of international stature."

Brad is currently working on methodologies to identify and address threats to the resources of the sanctuaries and to develop a specific policy on the placement and construction of artificial reefs in the sanctuaries. He is also beginning to address systems planning for the NMS Program, determining how best to expand and manage the sanctuary system if funds become available and the Program once again begins to look at new candidate sites.

In addition, Brad is working on a number of trans-boundary initiatives with the Canadians, including development and implementation of a framework for collaboration among Federal marine protected-area programs in the U.S. and Canada for the Gulf of Maine region. Called the Gulf of Maine Integrated Marine Protected Areas System (or IMPAS), this collaboration will allow greater coordination among agencies with MPA responsibilities in the Gulf of Maine. The collaboration will also provide opportunities for joint research, monitoring, and outreach initiatives and will allow MPA managers to share information and expertise on issues of concern in the region.

Brad will be working with others in the NMS Program office at their headquarters in Silver Spring, MD, on strengthening the ties between the USGS and the NMS Program. The USGS Coastal and Marine Geology Program (C&MP) welcomes Brad and NOAA's National Marine Sanctuary Program.

Related Web Sites
Woods Hole Field Center
U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)
National Marine Sanctuary Program
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

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in this issue: Fieldwork Navassa Island Field Trip

Cruise News: R/V Gilbert

Florida Wetlands

Outreach Montessori Academy Volunteer

Students Visit Woods Hole

Meetings Conserving Our Coast

Women's Advisory Committee

Long Island Coring

Pollution & Waste Disposal

Staff & Center News cover story:
New St. Pete Chief Scientist

Woods Hole: Multi-Agency Center

NYC Estuary System Tour

Gas Hydrates Bill Testimony

New Staff


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