Shown on Success Stories Page

Lynker Scientists Working with State of Colorado on First-of-its-Kind Climate Risk Analysis Project

Lynker scientists are currently working with the State of Colorado on a first-of-its-kind climate risk analysis project – Future Avoided Cost Explorer (FACE: Colorado Hazards). This statewide study estimates dollar-value damages from future floods, droughts, wildfires across select sectors of Colorado’s economy. The State of Colorado has recognized that these hazards are likely to worsen as the impacts of climate change intensify the severity of the hazards and as population growth increases the number of people at risk.

By helping Coloradans better understand their current and future economic risks from flood, drought, and wildfire, this tool can help stimulate the implementation of smart adaptation strategies and policy frameworks that can improve the prospects for sustainable prosperity in a rapidly changing environment.

View and explore the FACE: Hazards dashboards to understand how changes in global climate patterns can lead to more frequent and intense hazards in Colorado.

Future Avoided Cost Explorer: Colorado Hazards (FACE:Hazards)

 

 

 

 

NOAA Fisheries’ ESA & MMPA Programs Receives Award

The US Secretary of Commerce recognized NOAA Fisheries’ ESA and MMPA programs with a Gold Medal Award for their contribution to regulatory efficiencies and effectiveness in protecting and sustaining at-risk marine and ocean living resources. The Department of Commerce Gold Medal is the highest honor award of the United States Department of Commerce.  Since 1949, the Gold Medal is presented by the Secretary of Commerce for distinguished performance. Particularly noted, Lynker’s Dean-Lorenz Szumylo spearheaded the implementation of the ESA Section 7 Mapper, an interactive, GIS-driven visualization tool NOAA scientists, federal action agencies, and the general public use to help identify ESA-listed species and critical habitats along the East Coast.  Dean was previously awarded NMFS Team Member of the Year for his efforts regarding this tool.

The innovative Mapper tool provides a dynamic web interface used to locate areas where Section 7 Consultations are recommended due to the presence of ESA-listed fish, marine mammals, or sea turtles at various life stages, exhibiting specific behaviors (such as migrating, foraging, spawning, rearing, or calving). The Mapper currently covers consultation areas along major waterways and marine zones of the Greater Atlantic Region and is expanding to include the South Atlantic and Eastern Gulf of Mexico later this year. The tool allows users to draw a project site on a map, determine which consultation areas overlap, and generate a detailed report of ESA species found there. In addition to greatly expediting the process of determining whether further consultation with NOAA Fisheries is necessary, the tool has reduced the number of unnecessary consultation requests received and has improved the quality, accuracy, and reliability of data needed to support regulatory compliance.

Version 2 is now out and represents a major update to the underlying Section 7 Consultation Area data. In the new version of the mapper, users now have increased control over the map display.  They can toggle individual data layers on and off, rearrange the drawing order of data layers, and use a new tool that easily allows them to “swipe” away the data to view the underlying basemap.

Lynker Visualizes Colorado’s Drought Plan: A Story Map

Lynker, as part of a project for the Colorado Water Conservation Board, a division of the state’s Department of Natural Resources, has launched an interactive dashboard that displays drought vulnerability at the state and county level based on Colorado’s 2018 Drought Plan. To more easily visualize drought vulnerability throughout the state, Lynker created an Esri Story Map. The platform takes users through visual summaries of Colorado drought risk by sectors, using images and graphs to provide an interactive and engaging experience.

The complete interactive Story Map can be viewed here.

The opening screen of the Story Map provides an overview of County Drought Risk Scores across Colorado as well as a snapshot of drought vulnerability risk by sector. Similar to the 2018 updated Plan, the Story Map also drills down into content specific to different sectors: agriculture, recreation, socioeconomic, environment, energy, and state assets. State assets include state buildings and critical infrastructure (dams), land board revenue, state-based recreation and park visitation, aquatic species and habitat (fisheries), and protected state-owned areas.

Further information on Colorado’s 2018 Drought Plan is available at drought.gov.

West Coast Region Marine Mammal Health and Stranding Response Program

Lynker works with NOAA’s Marine Mammal Health and Stranding Response Program to coordinate emergency responses to sick, injured, distressed, or dead marine mammals throughout an area covering over 3,700 statute miles (4,306 nautical miles) of shoreline in Washington, Oregon and California.  Member groups include cooperating scientific investigators and institutions, wildlife and fisheries agencies, state and federal law enforcement, volunteer networks and individuals.  In this high profile role, we ensure timely and professional response to hotline calls, and collect and assess data on entanglements, ship strikes, and other human interactions.  Affected by human impacts, fisheries and environmental changes, each marine mammal stranding event is handled on a case-by-case basis and is dependent on local capability, available resources, personnel, and logistics.

Mukilteo Research Station: Understanding the Life Cycle of Marine Species

Lynker serves as lead scientist for the Environmental Fisheries Sciences Division (EFS), Ecotoxicology Program in conducting studies on oil spill and urban stormwater impacts on the health of marine forage fish in Puget Sound (Pacific herring, sand lance, and surf smelt) and other nearshore species (e.g., juvenile flatfish).  We maintain the water intake and filtration system at the field station, have built and managed systems that grow herring, surf smelt, rockfish, salmon and lamprey and have developed methods and materials to raise surf smelt larvae in captivity using enriched live feeds and green water techniques. Preparing, operating and maintaining the facility and water systems for culture of larval fish food and organisms, our work directly contributes to NOAA’s understanding of the effects of oil and petroleum-based pollutants on marine fish at various life stages, informing environmental policy to limit exposure to toxins across the Puget Sound.

Alaska Fisheries Science Center Groundfish Assessment Program

For the Alaska Fisheries Science Center‘s Resource Assessment and Conservation and Engineering (RACE) Division, Lynker’s senior scientists assess deep-sea coral and sponge communities via at-sea investigations, image analysis and taxonomic research and their role in providing Essential Fish Habitat to groundfish and invertebrates. Our scientists also investigate species interactions and associations, the types of impacts fishing gear can have on benthic habitats and habitat related factors that influence fisheries productivity. In collaboration with our colleagues at NOAA, Lynker helps RACE measure the distribution and abundance of commercially important fish and crab stocks in the eastern Bering Sea, Aleutian Island and Gulf of Alaska, resources estimated at nearly $4.5 billion a year.

Office of National Marine Sanctuaries Comprehensive Support

Lynker provides comprehensive scientific, technical, and programmatic support to the Office of National Marine Sanctuaries (ONMS) Pacific Islands Region (PIR). Our team supports the management, administrative, education and outreach, scientific research, information technology, and facilities maintenance requirements for the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary (HIHWNMS), headquartered in the Inouye Regional Center in Honolulu, HI, with key locations (including a visitors’ center) in Kihei, Maui, HI and Lihue, Kauai, HI.  Our team also provides such support services to the National Marine Sanctuary of American Samoa (NMSAS), headquartered in Pago Pago, American Samoa with seven sites spread over three

 islands and two atolls, the Tauese P.F. Sunia Ocean Center; the Papahānaumokuākea National Marine Sanctuary and Monument (PNMS/PMNM)headquartered in the Inouye Regional Center in Honolulu, HI with an office in Lihue, Kauai, HI and the Mokupāpapa Discovery Center in Hilo, Hawai‘i Island, HI; and the ONMS International MPA Capacity Building Program (IMPACBP), located in Silver Spring, MD.

Vessel Maintenance Program Development

Lynker developed a web-based application Vessel Maintenance Program (VMP) to manage National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) vessel maintenance related information, enforce the maintenance workflow, and provide communication tools for the boat operation/maintenance team within regional boat operation teams as well as across the NMFS. The VMP was developed in Oracle Application Express (APEX), a web application platform with the Oracle database management system and is hosted from the NOAA headquarter office.

The VMP system features were created to support 5 main objectives:

  1. Effective and efficient communication
  2. Automated notifications
  3. Management tool for resource managers and maintenance managers
  4. Standardized data and workflow
  5. User-friendly design

The development of VMP at the national level is motivated by an effort to provide boat operation management teams with tools to keep track of maintenance information, offer easily accessible communicative tools, and to create standardized workflow, protocols and reporting systems for resource managers.

Pacific Islands Region Observer Program Support

Lynker provides the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), Pacific Islands Region, full operational support services for the Pacific Islands Region Observer Program (PIROP), including the recruitment, selection, supervision, and outfitting of all sea-going personnel needed to fulfill federal fisheries obligations of the program. The PIROP currently includes the Hawaii deep-set tuna and shallow-set swordfish longline fleets, and the longline fleets of American Samoa. We support NMFS’ obligation to monitor and to obtain estimates of the incidental take of sea turtles, sea birds, marine mammals, other protected species, and other by-catch in the pelagic, groundfish and other fisheries that fall under federal jurisdiction. We provide observer coverage aboard vessels with federal fishing permits as required by the “reasonable and prudent measures” (RPMs) and terms and conditions of the Incidental Take Statement (ITS) of the NMFS biological opinion on the effects on federally-listed threatened and endangered species of pelagic fisheries managed under the Fishery Management Plan (FMP) for the Pelagic Fisheries of the Western Pacific Region. 

 

GIS Support for Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary

Lynker provides outstanding program, outreach and education, and operational support for the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary (MBNMS). Our GIS Specialists manage thousands of data layers representing physical and biological data for the ocean. We use data compiled by local, state and federal agencies as well as stakeholders and ensure that the data has the necessary metadata so that we can track the origin and data caveats. We validate the data by overlaying it on other data to ensure management decisions are based on the right spatial and temporal scales. When outliers are identified, we contact the creator of the GIS data to ensure that it is correct.

Often, we receive data that is not GIS ready and we create GIS data layers and corresponding metadata so that the data can be viewed with other GIS data. When large novel products are completed, we present the GIS processing aspect of the project at international meetings and/or develop peer-reviewed articles with ESRI story maps which are important communication and outreach tools engaging our stakeholders. We have also created ArcGIS online data projects for staff to use which provides them with power to look at spatial data.

Within the Sanctuary system, all other permit coordinators have to rely on GIS specialists for spatial analyses and mapping but we have staff that can quickly create a wide variety of GIS products in support of permits, which makes it much more time efficient and correct. As part of the team that conducted a deep sea lost fishing gear removal project, and in addition to successfully identifying locations where the gear could be found by incorporating GIS data created from database data received from partners, we were able to utilize the ROV navigating system within a few hours, making Lynker a valuable team member ONMS.