Shown on About Page. Employee/ Lynker culture related articles such as food bank donation, holiday parties and the Lynker flag photo contest.

Estimating the Value of NOAA’s Digital Coast

The Digital Coast, a NOAA-hosted platform containing data, tools, training, and more, is a valuable resource communities use to address coastal issues. Lynker team members support NOAA’s Office for Coastal Management to create and maintain these resources and provide technical support to the communities that rely on them. Up until this point, staff have depended on testimonies from users to measure the worth of everything the Digital Coast has to offer. While these accounts do a great job of showcasing the variety of issues the Digital Coast can help to mitigate, they can’t put a dollar value on what this website provides. 

Resources for the Future, a nonprofit organization, recently developed a report—The Societal Value of NOAA’s Digital Coast—indicating just how valuable this platform is. Research techniques included case studies, literature reviews, and examinations of typical uses; one study alone estimates that a one-time use of the Sea Level Rise Viewer to move critical infrastructure yielded societal benefits of $1.1 million to $2.2 million. Another study estimates that trainings yield benefits of $1.8 to $9.7 million annually—concluding, collectively, that the Digital Coast offers “considerable demonstrated value to the public across its variety of programs.”  We’re so proud of all of our Lynker team members working to support this platform every day!

2020 Vessel Traffic Data Now Available

Vessel traffic data is one of the most important data sets when it comes to management of port operations, assessing port access and coastal shipping routes for maritime transportation, vessel carbon production modeling and research, offshore infrastructure and aquaculture siting, renewable energy siting and leasing, establishment of transit corridors, and species and habitat management. Thanks to our team, what used to take 18 months to get online, now only takes four!

AIS (automatic identification system), or vessel traffic data, has been identified by the regional ocean planning community as one of the most critical data sets for planning and analysis and included as a joint milestone under the implementation plan for the E.O. 13840 – Ocean Policy to Advance the Economic, Security, and Environmental Interests of the United States. While originally designed as a vessel collision-avoidance tool, the collection and aggregation of AIS data has become invaluable to a variety of uses.

Mission Complete! 94,472 Pounds of Debris Removed!

94,472 pounds of marine debris removed! Lynker is proud to be part of the 25-day Papahanaumokuakea Marine Debris Project (PMDP) team’s cleanup mission to Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument during the 15th anniversary of the monument. The crew of 12 removed debris from Laysan Island, Lisianski Island, Midway Atoll, French Frigate Shoals and Kure Atoll.  The team removed derelict fishing nets and plastics from approximately 200 acres of shoreline habitat in the northwestern Hawaiian islands.  The crew sailed into Kewalo Basin back on April 21 with a staggering 94,472 lbs of marine debris removed from five island locations within Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument.  Of this total, nearly 80,000 lbs consisted of derelict fishing nets and 15,000 lbs of plastics.  The success of this mission completely surpassed initial goals, exceeding expected debris removal estimates by 25,000 lbs, and making this PMDP’s most successful mission to date.  Way to go team!

The Imua has returned to Honolulu with a heavy load and a happy crew!

Photo Credit:  Andy Carre

A juvenile Hawaiian monk seal rests on top of a pile of ghost nets on the windward shores of Laysan Island in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands.

Photo Credit: Matthew Chauvin

Grant Award Win from NASA’s Research Opportunities in Space and Earth Sciences Program!

Lynker, along with collaborators from the Desert Research Institute (DRI) and the University of Nevada, Reno, was recently awarded a grant from NASA’s Research Opportunities in Space and Earth Sciences program to study the shift from snow to rain in the western United States. The change to greater amounts of rain, a key impact of climate warming, represents an important scientific challenge because rain and snow are notoriously difficult to monitor and model at air temperatures near freezing. To remedy this shortcoming the Lynker team will engage a network of citizen scientists to report rainfall and snowfall with an easy-to-use smartphone app. Lynker scientists will compare these crowdsourced observations to satellite products and model output in order to help advance NASA’s mission of better monitoring the changing hydrosphere.
This project builds on previous Lynker citizen science work with DRI on rain and snow patterns in the Lake Tahoe area of the Sierra Nevada. A peer-reviewed article can be found at the open-access Frontiers in Earth Science journal ( and a report is posted on the European Geophysical Union’s Cryospheric Sciences blog (
Photo courtesy of Meghan Collins

Lynker Promotes Dr. Chris Hawkins as New VP of Marine, Ocean and Coastal Sciences and Information (MOCSI) Group – West!

Chris Hawkins is newly promoted to lead the Marine, Ocean & Coastal Sciences and Information Group West (MOCSI West).  Chris most recently served as the Executive Director of Lynker’s Sustainable Pacific Program, where he helped establish a tremendous number of partnerships with non-profits and other capacity-challenged organizations to promote sustainable coastal and marine resources. In his new role, Chris will lead MOCSI’s efforts on the West Coast, Alaska and the U.S. Pacific Islands. Lynker has a broad environmental science, management, and technology portfolio supporting the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, other federal and state agencies, and various industry and non-profit partners. Chris has worked in the U.S. Pacific Islands since 2002 and is honored to continue to serve these needs of our coastal communities and Lynker’s great employees.


Celebrating the Exceptional Women at Lynker!

Close to 50% of the Lynker team are women.  We proudly honor these women who lead, innovate, and inspire us.  In the spirit of Women’s History Month, we are recognizing our exceptional female workforce for their valuable contributions, a few of whom are highlighted below.

Erica Towle, Ph.D.

National Coral Reef Monitoring Program Coordinator, Silver Spring, MD

Erica manages NOAA’s National Coral Reef Monitoring Program (NCRMP), which is a nationally and internationally recognized coral reef monitoring program covering all U.S. coral reef areas in both the Pacific and Atlantic.  The program is unique in that in addition to monitoring benthic, fisheries, and climate data on coral reefs, socioeconomic monitoring is also incorporated.  Conservation cannot be achieved without an informed and engaged public, so having a social science component to her work is key.  Erica’s job entails coordinating and budgeting field survey missions, liaising between the different NOAA labs and offices that execute different components of the monitoring, overseeing data stewardship, and leading the production of tools/products/reports using NCRMP data.

Erica grew up outside of New York City, but Cape Cod is her happy place.  She has two degrees from the University of Miami, and she serves on the board of the University of Miami Alumni Association Board of Directors for the D.C. area.  In her free time, she loves to do SoulCycle.


Eden Zang

Research Specialist, Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary, Maui, HI

Eden has worked in Hawaii for over ten years with private, state, and federal organizations.  Her professional experience includes expertise in passive acoustic monitoring, marine mammal research, scientific diving, animal husbandry, logistics coordination, and protected species management.  In her current role as Research Specialist at the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary, she leads the field operations and vessel transect efforts.  Additionally, she spends the majority of her time analyzing regional acoustic data for the national SanctSound project which aims to better understand underwater sound within national marine sanctuaries.  A highlight of her work was in 2019 when she was the Chief Scientist aboard the R/V Searcher to Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument.  She led an all female science team to deploy five acoustic recording packages throughout the monument.  While her focus is now on humpback whales, her prior work focused on additional cetacean species, pinnipeds, fish, marine invertebrates, and effects of anthropogenic noise in the marine environment.  In addition to her work, she loves all animals (especially her dog Jordan), coffee, travelling internationally, and experiencing different cultures.


Alexis Maxwell

Communications and Policy Specialist, NOAA National Ocean Service Office of Coast Survey, Silver Spring, MD

During a regular day, Alexis supports two programs within Coast Survey – the Communications Program and the International Program.  She spends much of her time participating in and running virtual meetings and coordinating with a variety of stakeholders within Coast Survey, U.S. interagency partners, and with international partners all over the world.  She regularly works on high level briefing documents, policy memos, and meeting agendas.  Additionally, she supports communications activities like the Coast Survey staff newsletter, the Coast Survey blog, assisting on press releases, and running all of Coast Survey’s social media accounts (follow us on Twitter and Facebook @noaacharts)!

Alexis grew up on University of Delaware’s campus and loves traveling home from DC regularly to see family.  She has two cats named Freya and Pacha, and in her free time she loves to hike and dance!


Tina Lee

Coastal Resource Specialist, NOAA Office for Coastal Management Pacific Islands Region, Honolulu, HI

Tina has a multifaceted position that facilitates coastal management and resilience in the U.S. Pacific Island region.  She coordinates the Pacific Risk Management ‘Ohana, an initiative to build strong partnerships that help us plan and prepare for natural hazards and disasters brought in the Pacific Islands.  She helps to host a yearly conference that brings together hundreds of people from Hawai’i, Guam, CNMI, American Samoa, and the greater international Pacific.  Another facet of her position is to serve as a liaison to the He’eia National Estuarine Research Reserve on the island of O’ahu, where she supports indigenous resource management and knowledge to build community, social, economic, and environmental resilience.  She is also a part of a team that guides the West Hawai’i Habitat Focus Area and the Hawaiian Islands Sentinel Sites Cooperative, two programs that connect local communities with the latest science and research on climate and environmental change to help communities better manage their coastal resources.


Jaci Crossman

Librarian/Archivist, NOAA Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center (PIFSC), Honolulu, HI

Jaci facilitates the use of the PIFSC Library by research scientists, providing scientific publications regarding the Pacific Islands and fisheries.  She searches various databases pertinent to fisheries, marine mammal protection, oceanography, and socioeconomics, just to name a few!  She collaborates with other librarians across NOAA’s network of libraries to share ideas and techniques in order to support the needs of their colleagues.  She conducts the final steps to process all PIFSC publications by ensuring all documents are assigned a DOI (digital object identifier), meets section 508 accessibility requirements under the Americans with Disabilities Act, and are submitted to the NOAA Institutional Repository (the organizations’ document archive) with the appropriate metadata.

Jaci grew up in Maine and later moved to coastal North Carolina.  In Maine, she participated in ski racing, soccer, and many outdoor activities.  In North Carolina, she received her undergraduate degree from East Carolina University and also obtained her master’s degree in Library and Information Science from the University of North Carolina Greensboro.  Living on the coast, she’s had the opportunity to participate in many marine debris removal projects, and observed several sea turtle nesting seasons.  She also volunteered at a local elementary school library and public library, which is where she found her passion for library sciences.  Jaci is an avid traveler and despite the odds and several delays due to COVID-19, married her husband last year in Edinburg, Scotland.


Amber Butler

Integrated Ocean and Coastal Mapping (IOCM) Executive Secretariat, NOAA, Silver Spring, MD

Amber supports the execution of coordination for the Integrated Ocean and Coastal Mapping team.  She manages the website and helps with development for communication, hosts meetings, and runs monthly seminars through OneNOAA science seminars.  She is also the Executive Secretariat for the Interagency Working Group – Ocean and Coastal Mapping.  She manages documents that go to the White House and congress, she runs national meetings during the week with 13 partner agencies, she hosts symposiums and summits for NOAA and partner, and she coordinates communication for interagency mapping with the IOCM team.  She works with the OCS front office and beyond.

Amber was Miss Earth Maryland and won the National interview award, Miss Congeniality, and was Top 15 at the national competition with her Ocean Sustainability platform!


Danielle Lyons

Human Resources Manager, Leesburg, VA

Danielle is a Certified Professional in Human Resources with the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM).  She works on talent acquisition, organizational development, workforce planning, compliance, training, benefits administration, compensation management, and performance management to name a few.  Her workday is different every day.  Danielle chose to work in HR because she’s passionate about making a difference.  She does this by serving Lynker and its employees.  She helps shape the culture of the organization by keeping compliant with ever-changing laws, offering new benefits, hosting employee events, and developing career paths for employees.  She recognizes it’s hard work, but she enjoys making Lynker one of the best places to work.  HR is a strategic partner in an organization.  She influences the future of the company based on employment decisions, whether that’s creating new policies, training & development programs, hiring & termination decisions, or guiding employees through their career.  In her position, Danielle is changing lives.  She’s helping the right person fill critical roles.  She helps employees provide benefits and financial security to their families.  She coaches and guides employees and managers through the performance management process.  She helps employees through some of the most pivotal events in their lives, marriage, divorce, adoption, birth of a child, disability, retirement, and even death.  It brings her satisfaction to help employees thrive in their careers and help Lynker fulfill its mission and vision, while creating long-lasting bonds through the process.  She always says, you can’t work in Human Resources without a love for people and the company you work for.  She loves what she does and she loves doing it for Lynker.


Hansje Gold-Krueck

Graphics and Web Analytics Specialist, NOAA Office for Coastal Management, Charleston, SC

Hansje’s job focuses on web statistics, usability, and graphics.  She helps process data from multiple sources for the many web pages that are hosted at the NOAA Office for Coastal Management and creates both visual and written reports to help content owners gauge performance and identify areas of improvement.  The information is part of what is used to help determine project priorities.  Web maintenance is another area of focus. In addition to the statistics, she checks pages for broken links and other issues that might impact the quality of the user experience and the overall search engine ranking.  When products are due to be updated or new ideas need to be tested, Hansje helps coordinate both internal and external usability tests.  This involves “testing” websites to determine if they are intuitive, and making modifications where needed.  Making sure our content can be accessed by all is an important aspect of her job.  She makes sure all PDFs and videos posted to the web meet or exceed the federal criteria for accessibility.  In addition to the technical aspects of her work, there is also a creative side.  Photography, video, drawing, graphic design, and video production are all skills that she uses in her job.

As the daughter of a diplomat, Hansje grew up all over the world before settling in South Carolina for grad school and her job.  Prior to her position at Lynker, she taught languages and SCUBA diving.  She has since become a kayak instructor and 4th degree black belt.  She takes pictures to help foster children get adopted.  Her family spends every Sunday at the beach with their two dogs.  The ocean will always be her happy place!


Caitlyn McCrary

Senior Communications Specialist, NOAA Office for Coastal Management, Charleston, SC

Every day Caitlyn’s specific task might change, but her goal is the same: to share the data, tools, training, and resources from NOAA’s Office for Coastal Management with local managers working to mitigate the impacts of climate change in their communities.  Working with project teams, she uses social media, newsletters, and other forms of communication to spread the word about these helpful (and free!) resources.  Caitlyn also works with the National Coastal Zone Management Program and within the regions to share the amazing work and impacts they’re contributing to their communities with leaders in Congress, NOAA, and the National Ocean Service.

While Cailyn grew up in the Great Lakes state of Ohio, she’s lived in Charleston since graduating from her masters program in 2012.  In her free time, she enjoys running marathons and instilling a love for the coast and ocean in her almost 4 year old son.

American Shoreline Podcast Highlights Lynker Staff and NOAA Coastal Management Fellowship

NOAA’s Coastal Management Fellowship provides on-the-job education and training opportunities in coastal resource management for postgraduate students. Each fellow is matched with a state coastal management program to work on projects proposed by the state and selected by NOAA’s Office for Coastal Management. The fellowship has had over 120 fellows since 1996. Lynker staff manage the applications from potential fellows and the state coastal management programs, work to connect candidates with the state programs, and manage the program during the fellow’s two-year position. The American Shoreline Podcast interviewed Lynker staff during the 2020 Social Coast Forum in February to learn more about the history of the fellowship and the value it provides in preparing the next generation of coastal managers.


Over 82,000 Pounds of Trash Removed to Protect Vulnerable Hawaiian Wildlife

Papahanaumokuakea Marine Debris Project’s (PMDP) Lynker staff, in partnership with USFWS, removed 82,000 pounds of hurricane debris from Lalo (the French Frigate Shoal), a remote atoll within Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument, that provides essential habitat for nesting seabirds, threatened green sea turtles, and endangered Hawaiian monk seals. For 16 days they collected derelict fishing nets, plastics and hurricane debris including lumber, roofing, steel cable, scrap metal, boat hulls, tires, and fiberglass.

“Papahanaumokuakea is the most amazing landscape on earth, both ecologically and culturally, and one that sustains our most vulnerable Hawaiian wildlife species,” said Lynker’s Kevin O’Brien. “Picture tiny sandy islands where nearly every square foot of land is used by seabirds, turtles and seals for critical nesting, burrowing, basking and pupping. So it’s a good feeling when we come away from one of these cleanups with a massive pile of rubbish, because each pound of debris removed from this landscape directly translates into square footage of new, safe, available space for wildlife to use. This type of tangible positive action is what our organization works to provide for the wildlife of Papahanaumokuakea.”

The Cost of Climate Change Inaction

Lynker’s Water Resources Scientist, Ryan Spies, gave a presentation on “The cost of climate-inaction” at the TEDx 2020 Climate Countdown. TED Countdown is a worldwide movement to find ways to shift, more rapidly, to a world with net zero greenhouse emissions and tackle the climate crisis. Click here for the full presentation.  The Cost of Climate Inaction

Climate change will continue to increase our risks to extreme weather events. Businesses and communities are looking to understand what to expect in terms of damages, added expenses, and lost revenues in the coming decades. What is the cost of doing nothing in the face of climate change? We have the resources to explore this question – check out the State of Colorado’s Future Avoided Cost Explorer (FACE:Hazards). By understanding the dollar value price tag of future extreme weather events, we can make the financial case for investing in our resilience. This information will help us make data-driven decisions that will ultimately save money and help prevent hardships for our communities and economies.


CEO Joe Linza Invited as Speaker for Loudoun Video Shoot

Lynker’s Founder & CEO, Joe Linza, was invited by Loudoun County Economic Development to be part of their promotional video shoot for Loudoun 2020 Inc. 5000 business awardees to highlight the success and growth happening right here in Loudoun.  The video, due out early next year, will spotlight Lynker’s work along with other awardees and how we’ve benefited as Inc. 5000 recipients.