Noaa corporate office nominations


What were the results of the actions in either quantifiable or qualitative terms?



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What were the results of the actions in either quantifiable or qualitative terms?
Dr. Bograd’s scientific insights were instrumental in the ability of the NOAA Southwest Fisheries Science Center to identify leading indicators of environmental variability for incorporation into assessments of fishery stocks. Further, his research on large-scale variability of recurring temperature changes off the west coast of the U.S. indicated associated impacts on the recruitment of groundfish. His research and scientific leadership are advancing the marine science community, enhancing NOAA’s international scientific partnerships, and improving NOAA’s ability to make more informed decisions for protecting marine resources and the associated ecosystems.

Additional Information
How long did it take to complete the accomplishment? When was the accomplishment completed/implemented/deployed?

Dr. Bograd’s scientific research and leadership activities span his entire five-year tenure with NOAA.



What is the short-term impact (1-2 years) of the accomplishment on NOAA’s or the Department’s mission?
In the short-term, the results of Dr. Bograd’s research promote increased recognition of the importance of climate and environmental variability to marine ecosystems.

\What is the long-term impact (3-5 years) of the accomplishment on NOAA’s or the Department’s mission?
In the long-term, Dr. Bograd’s scientific leadership will contribute to establishing ecosystem-based management strategies to ensure the long-term health of living marine populations.

Does the accomplishment affect other bureaus/Department of other Federal agencies? If so, how?
No.

Did the accomplishment result in a major advancement in science, technology, or

automation? If so, how?
Understanding of the linkages between climate variability and marine ecosystem health is in its infancy. Dr. Bograd’s research and scientific leadership efforts in these areas are adding to the knowledge base as well as expanding NOAA’s ability to incorporate climate-related information in NOAA’s fisheries management decisions.

Did the accomplishment result in a major advancement in non-scientific areas such

as customer service or administrative support? If so, how?
No.
Steven Fransen

NMFS

Nomination #24
Nominee


First and Last Name, Ph.D.(if appropriate)


NOAA Fisheries Service

Position Title & Grade or Pay Band

Past Awards

Steven Fransen


Northwest Regional Office


Fish Biologist ZP-482-III








Nominator
William T. Hogarth, Ph.D.

Assistant Administrator for Fisheries


Significance
Avoiding years of potential litigation, the Baker Settlement Agreement facilitates providing continuous hydropower to residents of the Puget Sound region while significantly improving habitat conditions for endangered salmon in and along the River.
Certificate Text
For exceptional leadership in contentious negotiations for renewing a hydropower license with provisions to enhance passage of salmon runs in the Baker River, Washington.

Justification
What was the specific goal, challenge, or problem related to the Department’s mission and/or strategic plan?
The 175-megawatt Baker River Project is Puget Sound Energy’s largest hydropower facility, and was last issued a federal license in 1956. Public interest in the process for its re-licensing was immense and diverse. Peaking operations were common at the project that consists of two high head dams with storage reservoirs to provide nearly total hydraulic control of the sub-basin. Obstructed upstream and downstream passage, with downstream being the most problematic, was the primary impact to fisheries. 1In January 2001, Washington Trout, American Rivers, and others filed a 60 day notice against Puget Sound Energy. The suit was related to an incident in November 2000, when a shut off of water releases from Lower Baker dam caused a dramatic drop in river levels in the lower Skagit River. The change in river level stranded numerous salmon and exposed juvenile salmon.

What was the context in which the nominee(s) addressed the goal, challenge or problem?
Prior to Mr. Fransen’s efforts, more than 400 separate meetings, attended by over100 representatives from 24 interested parties, and completion of 76 major studies during the previous four years had culminated in exceedingly contentious conditions.

What specific actions did the nominee(s) take to address the goal, challenge or problem?
Mr. Fransen negotiated with interested parties to craft conditions for a new hydropower license that would align with other Federal and state resource interests; fulfill Tribal trust responsibilities; accommodate municipal and county government concerns as well as those of private interests and conservation groups; and be realistically achievable for the licensee. Using ingenuity to identify workable approaches while maintaining a collegial manner, he coordinated terms that were agreeable to all.

What were the results of the actions in either quantifiable or qualitative terms?
Mr. Fransen’s diplomatic skills and excellent understanding of the conflicting issues not only facilitated concurrence on the terms for re-licensing, but also enabled inclusion of provisions that significantly improve habitat conditions for endangered salmon in and along the River. Signed in November 2004, the Settlement Agreement was hailed by the president and CEO of Puget Sound Energy as showing “that people can find common ground for the common good even when they hold widely differing interests and objectives at the outset.”
Additional Information
How long did it take to complete the accomplishment? When was the accomplishment completed/implemented/deployed?

For 12 months Mr. Fransen negotiated with interested parties to identify mutually agreeable conditions for re-licensing the hydropower facilities on the Baker River in Washington. The Baker Settlement Agreement was signed in November 2004.


What is the short-term impact (1-2 years) of the accomplishment on NOAA’s or the Department’s mission?
Successful completion of the Settlement Agreement avoided years of litigation among the parties and enabled timely implementation of important resource protections for the valuable fisheries.
What is the long-term impact (3-5 years) of the accomplishment on NOAA’s or the Department’s mission?
Under the agreement, Puget Sound Energy is committing future investments of more than $360 million for protection, mitigation and improvement measures covering fish, wildlife, recreation and flood management over the 45-year license period. The settlement enhances access to 36 miles of habitat upstream of the dams and improves spawning conditions in the 30 miles downstream of the dams for Chinook salmon, listed under the Endangered Species Act. New powerhouse modifications are included to provide adequate water levels for reasonably safe passage for salmon up and down the Baker River. Further, construction of new hatchery facilities, mandated in the Settlement, will improve and supplement an existing fish culture program.
Does the accomplishment affect other bureaus/Department of other Federal agencies? If so, how?
Signatories to this Agreement included not only NOAA and Puget Sound Energy, but also the National Park Service, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as well as other federal, state, and local agencies, private interests, conservation groups, and Tribes.
Did the accomplishment result in a major advancement in science, technology, or automation? If so, how?
Not applicable.
Did the accomplishment result in a major advancement in non-scientific areas such

as customer service or administrative support? If so, how?
Completion of Baker Settlement Agreement facilitates providing continuous hydropower to the residents of the Puget Sound region while significantly improving habitat conditions for endangered salmon in and along the River.
Lance Garrison

NMFS

Nomination #25
Nominee

First and Last Name, Ph.D.(if appropriate)


NOAA Fisheries Service



Position Title & Grade or Pay Band

Past Awards

Lance Garrison, Ph.D.

Southeast Fisheries Science Center

Research Fishery Biologist GS-13

None


Nominator
William T. Hogarth, Ph.D.

Assistant Administrator for Fisheries


Significance
NOAA is developing and implementing effective marine mammal conservation measures that minimize impacts to mariners, fishermen, and the nation’s economy as a result of Dr. Garrison’s research.
Certificate Text
For sustained and tireless efforts to produce high quality scientific analyses, thus furthering critical marine mammal conservation goals for NOAA.
Justification
What was the specific goal, challenge, or problem related to the Department’s mission and/or strategic plan?
NOAA is charged with implementing protections afforded living marine resources by the mandates of the Endangered Species Act and the Marine Mammal Protection Act. Doing so requires NOAA scientists to identify, evaluate, and attempt to minimize human impacts on protected marine species. Harmful human actions include accidental capture in fishing gear and collisions with ships. Developing and implementing policy and regulations to minimize these harmful actions requires an underpinning of sound scientific data.

What was the context in which the nominee(s) addressed the goal, challenge or problem?
Right whales are among the most endangered species in the world and are highly vulnerable to ship collisions; and calves, or baby whales, are the most susceptible. Reducing serious injuries and deaths among Right whales would allow more of these rare marine mammals to reach maturity and reproduce. Improving the mortality for right whales is essential for their population to eventually reach sustainable levels.
Pilot whales and Risso’s Dolphins are frequently accidental catches in the pelagic longline fishery. Changes to fishing practices and gear are crucial if NOAA is to achieve the Marine Mammal Protection Act goal of reducing the accidental catch of marine mammals to insignificant levels that approach the zero rate. Previously, little scientific data existed on the pilot whale/Risso’s dolphin stock structure and the nature of their interactions in the pelagic longline fishery.
What specific actions did the nominee(s) take to address the goal, challenge or problem?
The North Atlantic Right whale’s known range includes winter calving and nursery areas in coastal waters off the southeastern U.S. Dr. Garrison conducted risk assessments of shipping lanes in three southeastern U.S. ports in the Right whale’s calving area. He also used a general additive model to analyze the relative contribution of habitat features such as water temperature and bathymetry to Right whale mother/calf distribution.
In support of the efforts of the multi-stakeholder Pelagic Longline Take Reduction Team (PLTRT) to develop management measures, Dr. Garrison evaluated multiple factors associated with the accidental catch of pilot whales and Risso’s dolphins in that fishery. He developed a predictive model to identify what changes in fishing practices and gear might help reduce accidental catches. Dr. Garrison analyzed the effects of changing hook shape, hook size, presence or absence of light sticks, bait type, hook depth, mainline length, number of hooks, set duration, soak duration, and haul duration on interaction rates of pilot whales and Risso’s dolphins.

What were the results of the actions in either quantifiable or qualitative terms?
NOAA will use the results of Dr. Garrison’s analyses on ship collisions with Right whales to identify shipping lanes on its nautical charts that are less risky to right whales. NOAA’s marine resource managers are using his analyses of temperature and bathymetry with Right whale mother/calf distribution in southeastern coastal waters to assess potential critical habitat areas for these marine mammals.
The results of Dr. Garrison’s predictive model for pilot whales and Risso’s dolphins formed the basis of management measures recommended by the Pelagic Longline Take Reduction Team to achieve the Marine Mammal Protection Act goal of reducing accidental catch of marine mammals to almost zero.
Additional Information
How long did it take to complete the accomplishment? When was the accomplishment completed/implemented/deployed?
Dr. Garrison’s predictive modeling and risk assessments to further the objectives of marine mammal conservation were produced during the last four years.

What is the short-term impact (1-2 years) of the accomplishment on NOAA’s or the

Department’s mission?
Results from Dr. Garrison’s key analytical products enable NOAA to implement marine mammal conservation measures that are not overly burdensome to mariners and fishermen.

What is the long-term impact (3-5 years) of the accomplishment on NOAA’s or the

Department’s mission?
Incorporation of the results of Dr. Garrison’s rigorous analyses into NOAA’s marine mammal conservation measures will continue to instill public confidence in NOAA’s approach, and ensure that marine resource managers use the best information to implement effective measures with minimum associated impacts on the nation’s economy.

Does the accomplishment affect other bureaus/Department of other Federal agencies? If so, how?
Not applicable.
Did the accomplishment result in a major advancement in science, technology, or automation? If so, how?
Not applicable.
Did the accomplishment result in a major advancement in non-scientific areas such

as customer service or administrative support? If so, how?
Dr. Garrison’s excellent communication skills in explaining results from his rigorous scientific analyses to stakeholders and managers enable NOAA to develop and implement effective marine mammal conservation measures that minimize impacts to mariners, fishermen, and the nation’s economy.
Loretta O’Brien

NMFS

Nomination #26
Nominee

First and Last Name, Ph.D.(if appropriate)





NOAA Fisheries Service

Position Title & Grade or Pay Band

Past Awards


Loretta O’Brien


Northeast Fisheries Science Center




Research Fishery

Biologist

Pay Band ZP IV

None




Nominator
William T. Hogarth, Ph.D.

Assistant Administrator for Fisheries


Significance
More effective fishery management and improved stock conditions for Atlantic cod and haddock on Georges Bank are possible due to increased accuracy of assessments of the reproductive potential for specific quantities of spawning stock biomass.
Certificate Text
For distinguished research on the reproductive potential of finfish, specifically the effects of stock demographics and environmental factors.
Justification
What was the specific goal, challenge, or problem related to the Department’s mission and/or strategic plan?
The Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act requires NOAA to develop and implement conservation and management measures to restore exploited stocks to sustainable levels for the benefit of the nation and its economy. These measures are required to be based on rigorous scientific data.
What was the context in which the nominee(s) addressed the goal, challenge or problem?
Finfish stocks in the waters of the Northwestern Atlantic are among those considered exploited and require management measures to return their populations to sustainable levels. Current management of these stocks involves evaluation of both fishing mortality and biomass-based biological reference points. Spawning stock biomass, one such biological reference point, is a common measure to evaluate reproductive capability to generate increased populations. The reproductive potential of a given quantity of spawning biomass, however, may vary according to various factors. For example, the reproductive success of fish spawning for the first time is lower than that for repeat spawning fish. Ms. O’Brien’s goal was to identify and quantify those factors associated with the reproductive potential of finfish in the Northwestern Atlantic.

What specific actions did the nominee(s) take to address the goal, challenge or problem?
Collaborating with the Working Group on Reproductive Potential, under the auspices of the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization, Ms. O’Brien compiled a North Atlantic-wide atlas of existing data and analyses correlated with measures of reproductive potential such as egg and larval production, gonadosomatic and hepatosomatic indices, as well as measures of stock demographics such as growth and age structure. She then developed a set of life history and general additive models that quantified the role of these and other environmental factors in determining an overall measure of the reproductive potential of a stock. Further, working with a team under the auspices of the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, Ms. O’Brien investigated the role of reaction norms in explaining the onset of age and size maturity of Atlantic cod and haddock of Georges Bank.

What were the results of the actions in either quantifiable or qualitative terms?
Ms. O’Brien’s results enable more accurate assessments of the reproductive potential for specific quantities of spawning finfish stock biomass, thereby facilitating more effective fishery management and improved stock conditions over the long term. For example, her research indicated the importance of maintaining multiple age groups in the stocks of Atlantic cod and haddock on Georges Bank in order to achieve sustainable populations.

Additional Information
How long did it take to complete the accomplishment? When was the accomplishment completed/implemented/deployed?
Ms. O’Brien’s research began in 1999 and is on-going.
What is the short-term impact (1-2 years) of the accomplishment on NOAA’s or the Department’s mission?
The results of Ms. O’Brien’s research on impacts of the onset of age and size maturity on the reproductive capability of spawning biomass of Atlantic cod and haddock on Georges Bank will be incorporated in near-term fishery management measures to promote maintaining multiple age groups for these stocks.

What is the long-term impact (3-5 years) of the accomplishment on NOAA’s or the Department’s mission?
Ms. O’Brien’s results will be applied to other exploited fish stocks to create more effective fishery management measures to promote sustainable populations.

Does the accomplishment affect other bureaus/Department of other Federal agencies? If so, how?
Not applicable.

Did the accomplishment result in a major advancement in science, technology, or automation? If so, how?
Ms. O’Brien’s research enables more accurate assessments of the reproductive potential for specific quantities of spawning finfish stock biomass, thereby facilitating more effective fishery management measures and improved stock conditions over the long term.

Did the accomplishment result in a major advancement in non-scientific areas such

as customer service or administrative support? If so, how?
Not applicable.

John Catena/Eric Hutchins

NMFS

Nomination #27

(Originally submitted as Silver; NIAB recommended resubmission as Bronze)
Nominees
John G. Catena

NOAA Fisheries Service, Office of Habitat Conservation

Northeast Regional Supervisor, Band IV

Silver Medal (2000), Bronze (2000), General Counsel's Award (1998)


Eric Hutchins

NOAA Fisheries Service, Office of Habitat Conservation

Fisheries Biologist, Band IV

Silver Medal (2000), Administrator’s (2004)



Category: Leadership

Nominator: William T. Hogarth, Ph.D.

Assistant Administrator for Fisheries



Significance:

Focusing limited resources on the highest priority projects, the Gulf of Maine Habitat Restoration Strategy is increasing restored habitat acreage and stream miles in the region via greater cooperation between the U.S. and Canada.



Certificate Text:

For spearheading collaborative relationships with United States and Canadian partners to conceive, complete, and implement the Gulf of Maine Habitat Restoration Strategy.


Definitions: The Gulf of Maine Council on the Marine Environment (GOMC) is a collaboration between public and private entities around the Gulf of Maine that was established to enhance, improve, and protect the estuarine, coastal, and marine resources of the Gulf. In 1989, the Governors of Maine, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire, and the Premiers of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia passed a resolution stating that each jurisdiction is committed to the Council's mission “to maintain and enhance environmental quality in the Gulf of Maine (GOM) and to allow for sustainable resource use by existing and future generations.” NOAA’s Fisheries Service is a voting member of the Council.
Justification
What was the specific goal, challenge or problem related to the Department’s mission and/or strategic plan?
Increased commercial and residential development, non-point source pollution, and invasive plants are among factors threatening salt marshes, seagrass beds, and riverine habitats that provide productive and diverse habitat for finfish and shellfish in the Gulf of Maine. This Team’s leadership was instrumental in developing an approach to involve interested parties, with competing interests, to work together to identify and restore coastal habitats. Their efforts are in support of NOAA’s stewardship mission to promote an ecosystem-based approach to conserving and managing our Nation’s coastal and marine resources.


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