Riverside collaborates with CSU on RiverTrak and eRams.

Fort Collins is a beautiful community in Northern Colorado, home to both the corporate headquarters of Riverside Technology, inc. and Colorado State University (CSU). Since Riverside began operation in 1985, CSU, an academic leader in water resources engineering, has been a strong partner and supporter. Two of our board members received their doctorate and master’s degrees from CSU and many of our Fort Collins-headquartered team also hold CSU degrees.

CSU and Riverside share a goal to observe and advance our community and the world around us. The College of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Riverside both share a vision to provide solutions to complex environmental challenges. We have lived those goals through our partnership on many projects, ranging from research and development to alumni collaborations. Riverside is currently working with CSU’s College of Civil and Environmental Engineering department on advanced processing and networking of flood and river data.

Riverside’s RiverTrak® modeling technology rapidly generates flood inundation maps using real-time river data. CSU’s eRAMS is a powerful platform to build simulation models and analytical tools that can be accessed via desktop or mobile devices. The combined technologies create a powerful system to expand regional flood data networks, create timely and accurate flood maps, and provide analysis and communication tools to help protect life and property around the world.

 

The Engineering Building at CSU.

The Engineering Building at CSU.

Riverside Awarded ProTech Satellite Domain Small Business Contract

Riverside Technology, inc., a recognized industry leader in the design and implementation of integrated scientific and engineering solutions, has been awarded a contract vehicle for the Professional and Technical (ProTech) Satellite Domain by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

NOAA is an agency that enriches life through science. Their reach goes from the surface of the sun to the depths of the ocean floor as they work to keep citizens informed of the changing environment around them. NOAA provides environmental intelligence for the nation. From daily weather forecasts, severe storm warnings, and climate monitoring to fisheries management, coastal restoration, and maintaining marine commerce, NOAA’s products and services support economic vitality and more than one-third of America’s gross domestic product. The people of NOAA use research and tools to provide citizens, planners, emergency managers, and other decision makers with reliable and timely environmental intelligence.

The mission and objectives of the primary users of the Satellite Domain are related to satellite and observation activities and the collection, preservation, and dissemination of information and services derived therefrom. The National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service (NESDIS) is dedicated to providing timely access to global environmental data from satellites and other sources to promote, protect, and enhance the Nation’s economy, security, environment, and quality of life.

Riverside continues their decades long relationship with NOAA to work towards achieving the ProTech objectives of obtaining high-quality professional and technical services, developing an industrial base of partners, developing and maintaining performance-based contracts, and contributing to the NOAA mission.

“We are honored to continue our work with NOAA through this ProTech Satellite Domain contract. Riverside is focused on providing exceptional quality service through a variety of NOAA support projects. Since 2010, Riverside has been supporting NOAA’s mission in the development of our nation’s next generation of environmental satellites said Brian Ashe, Riverside President and CEO. “We look forward to extending our relationship and the opportunities that lie ahead.”

Employee Spotlight: Angi Connolly

Angi started with Riverside in 2014 as a Proposal Development Specialist. Currently, she is the BD & Marketing Manager with a focus on proposal management and pricing, but has the mindset of being a “jack of all trades” – helping anywhere and everywhere she can. She has lived in Fort Collins since jumping the Wyoming border back in 1992 and loves it here. Angi enjoys the outdoors and appreciates the seasons that Colorado offers. Her 23-year-old son, Colton, is “adulting” in Dallas with his new fiancé, Gabrielle. He is her pride and joy, but many kiddos fill up Angi's life. She has 7 nieces, 1 nephew, a grand-nephew, a grand-niece, and her boyfriend Ko’s 2 grandsons that all live close by.

Angi and her boyfriend Ko, just days before her first day at Riverside.

Angi and her boyfriend Ko, just days before her first day at Riverside.

Colton, Angi's son, proposing to Gabrielle in Ireland in June.

Colton, Angi's son, proposing to Gabrielle in Ireland in June.

1. What three traits describe you?
I believe I am loyal, passionate, and direct (sometimes to a fault)

2. What are you most excited or passionate about in your career?
I love helping people, both internal and external customers. I take pride in getting to know who I'm working with and making our connections personal.

3. What's the weirdest job you've ever had?
I've never really had a weird job, but maybe that's because I've had so few jobs. I've only worked for 2 companies during the past 17 years and had only 2 jobs prior to that.

4. Who currently lives in your house?
I currently live alone and really miss my son, Colton, who moved to Dallas after graduating from Tabor College. To help with empty nest syndrome during his first couple of years in college, I helped The Matthews House by participating in their HOST Home Program. The HOST (Housing Opportunities Supporting Transition) Program provides temporary housing to youth and families in crisis. I opened up my home to 4 different teenagers in need. Let me tell you, that certainly increased my fondness for my own son!

5. Tell us something that might surprise us about you.
I used to be a hard-core cowgirl! I rode horses, wore Ropers and Rockies, listened only to country music, and named my son after a bull-riding friend because it was a cool cowboy name. How was I to know he wouldn't be anything close to a cowboy!?

6. Tell us your most unique travel experience.
My dad and I drove 17 hours to Lewiston, ID when my son's team made it to the NAIA World Series his Sophomore year of college. We stayed in an Air-stream trailer for 6 days before making the long drive back.

7. If you could be on any TV game show, what would it be and why?
I've always had fun with and been good at word games. So, I would enjoy being on the Wheel of Fortune. In fact, some friends and I tried out for the show about 10 years ago.

8. Name a food item you wouldn't touch with a 10-foot pole.
So many options here. I couldn't eat bugs, or rotten food, or anything still alive. If you have ever watched Fear Factor, then you could pretty much lump anything they had to eat into a list of things I'll never eat. 

9. Tell us your favorite joke.
And the Lord said unto John "Come forth and you will receive eternal life". John came fifth, and won a toaster.

10. What's an ability you wish you had?
The ability to relax! I am horrible at relaxing. I feel guilty if I'm not accomplishing something, planning something, or organizing something. Ko and I have a lot of local family and we spend most of our free time with them instead of relaxing. Although I wish I could relax, I think I'd be lost without all the fun activities in my life.

11. Tell us about your best live performance experience.
I saw Reba McEntire in 1992 (a million years ago) and she was incredible. She changed outfits about a dozen times and yet it never felt like she was missing. She's a great singer and an amazing performer.

Riverside employees recognized as Team Members of the Year for 2016 by NOAA

Riverside Technology, inc. is proud to recognize our outstanding employees who have been nominated and awarded the NOAA Fisheries Team Member of the Year Awards. These individuals are honored for their outstanding contributions in advancing the NOAA Fisheries mission as recognized by their peers and supervisors. Ryan Caillouet, Alyssa Mathers, and Thomas Morrell were each awarded this prestigious honor. We also want to recognize Andy Millett, who was nominated but just missed the final cut for the award. As an organization, we pride ourselves on the valuable contributions that our employees provide to our partners in the pursuit of scientific advancement.

Ryan Caillouet is a Fisheries Biologist II. He has worked for Riverside since 2015 as a member of the Reef Fish Unit, assisting the Southeast Fisheries Science Center (SEFSC) at the Mississippi Laboratories (MS labs). Ryan was a huge asset to the team as they worked on an Advanced Science and Technology funded grant to build and test a full-spherical camera. He brought an extensive knowledge of design, fabrication, and use of stereo-camera technology. He went above and beyond to add skill sets that have magnified the value he has added to projects, such as computer aided design (CAD) and additive manufacturing (3D printing).  The spherical cameras that Ryan has been developing have been successful and are on the cutting edge of science and technology. The Reef Fish Unit is considered a leader nationwide in the application of optics on projects at various laboratories across the country and worldwide. In addition to Ryan’s invaluable work with his team, he has also used his skills to assist others in the MS lab on various projects.  In a letter from William B. Driggers III, a Ph.D. Research Fishery Biologist, he states “ I am extremely impressed with Ryan’s knowledge and abilities, and was not aware of what an asset he is beyond the Reef Fish Unit until he single-handedly and very quickly repaired two pieces of equipment (for us). Given Ryan’s expertise and our need for someone to repair and maintain environmental equipment and perhaps, more importantly, ensure we are collecting accurate and reliable environmental data, I am certain he would be a great candidate (for the NOAA Fisheries Team Member of the Year Award).”

Alyssa Mathers is the Observer Coordinator with the Panama City Laboratory’s Gillnet Observer and Bottom Longline Observer Programs and has been in this position since 2013. She oversees and manages day-to-day operations of the observer program, including logistics, analysis, and reporting for Fisheries scientists. Her performance in 2016 was exceptional, showing positive work ethic, attention to detail, initiative, and problem-solving skills. She increased team productivity and data quality for the Panama City observer and Shark Team. Alyssa stepped into a vacated role, in addition to her other duties, to manage and maintain the intern program with the Shark Team at the Panama City Laboratory. Alyssa’s willingness to take on this additional role unprompted allowed this program to continue. Despite not having formal training, she not only successfully led this program but accepted a role in analysis and model development of the data they gathered. Even with the added responsibilities, she was able to maintain a high quality of work in her other job duties. She showed extreme initiative and resourcefulness, developing ways to make the entire team operate more efficiently under strategies that she devised.

Thomas Morell is the Observer Coordinator for the Pelagic Observer Program (POP). His duties range from talking to fishing vessel owners/captains, to training maritime safety to fisheries observers, to quality controlling observer data that is used for various fisheries management decisions. He is an exemplary member of the team in these everyday duties, but his Team Member of the Year recognition highlights an act of heroism. In March 2016 he was responsible for executing the maritime rescue of a sick and unresponsive observer aboard one of the POP vessels. His calm and swift assessment of the situation allowed for a seamless rescue of the observer by the Coast Guard helicopter. He was then vigilant in monitoring the status and providing updates to the program manager and family. Later the same year on Christmas Eve 2016, he was again put in an emergency situation and was able to rescue another ill observer off a vessel, calmly and effectively executing the POPs Emergency Notification Plan (ENP). It is not an exaggeration to state that his quick thinking and calm approach in assessing these situations saved the lives of these two team members by getting them medical attention as quickly as possible. Kenneth Keene, the Pelagic Observer Program Manager states “(This) is an extreme case of heroism and dedication not only to the job but to the people that work for him. I’m proud to have Thomas as a member of our team, and I am assured that if an emergency situation occurs he has the skills to act appropriately and effectively.”

Andy Millett is a Field Part Chief (FPC) of the Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) plankton survey aboard the NOAA Ship McArthur II. This is a job that involves collecting samples for determining damage caused to the Gulf of Mexico (GOM) planktonic ecosystem by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Andy has since served as FPC for all routine Southeast Area Monitoring and Assessment Program (SEAMAP) ichthyoplankton surveys conducted by the SEFSC/Mississippi Laboratories/Pascagoula Facility. Andy is recognized for the drive and expertise that he brings to all areas of his work, including developing more efficient ways to collect data and complete the surveys. Andy sought out training beyond the scope of his role in order to repair and perform maintenance during his time on the vessels. This training has prevented loss of data collection, reduced time lost on surveys, and assured continued accurate data collection needed to complete the goals of the SEAMAP surveys. The work that Andy has accomplished since his time as a graduate volunteer in 2008 has expanded the routine data collected during the standard SEAMAP ichthyoplankton surveys. As NOAA moves towards an ecosystem based management, this data will become essential in understanding the dynamics of the Gulf of Mexico. His drive to collect the best possible data while at sea, strong work ethic, and dedication to the goals of the Mississippi Labs SEAMAP Plankton Unit and NOAA Fisheries, makes Andy Millett an individual truly deserving of this special recognition.

Huge congratulations are in order for these individuals as well as the other nominees and recipients for this prestigious honor. We are proud to have so many hard-working members of the Riverside team recognized for the common theme of team work, maximizing efficiency, and taking the initiative to learn and utilize new skill sets for the betterment of the team. 

For additional information about the Southeast Fisheries Science Center, where Riverside's support of NOAA's Fisheries is located for this contract, please visit: SEFSC.

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Collaboration between Riverside Technology and Iowa Flood Center

When two organizations can come together and unite under a common goal, the whole is sometimes more than the sum of the parts. Such is the case in a recent partnership between Riverside Technology and the Iowa Flood Center (IFC), a state-funded entity within the IIHR Hydroscience & Engineering research unit of the University of Iowa College of Engineering.

The parts coming together include:

·         The 32-year history of Riverside providing innovative solutions to address the increasing demand for environmental decision support technologies in an ever-changing world.

·         IIHR, a world-renowned center for education, research, and public service focusing on hydraulic engineering and fluid mechanics.

·          IFC, which develops hydrologic models for physically-based flood frequency estimation and real-time forecasting of floods, including hydraulic models of flood plain inundation mapping, and assists in the development of a workforce in Iowa knowledgeable regarding flood research, prediction, and mitigation strategies.

Riverside, IIHR Hydroscience & Engineering, and the IFC have agreed to move forward in a relationship where hydrologic and hydraulic science/engineering will be supported by IIHR and IFC, and Riverside will reach out to customers of this information to support critical planning (strategic) and real-time (tactical) decisions.  IIHR and IFC bring more than a century of hydrologic/hydraulic/water resource expertise in the computerized collection and analysis of data by numerical modeling techniques, which has set the stage for a great diversity of capabilities ranging from model studies of specific hydraulic structures to computational fluid dynamics investigations of complex flow mechanisms.

The Riverside team traveled to Iowa in late May to work toward common goals in the future of flood mapping. (From left to right: Witold Krajewski, Director of IFC, Larry Weber, Director of IIHR, Brian Ashe, CEO Riverside Technology, George Smith, Director of NCEI & SEFSC Programs.

The Riverside team traveled to Iowa in late May to work toward common goals in the future of flood mapping. (From left to right: Witold Krajewski, Director of IFC, Larry Weber, Director of IIHR, Brian Ashe, CEO Riverside Technology, George Smith, Director of NCEI & SEFSC Programs.

Riverside and IIHR/IFC are collaborating on a pilot project for RiverTrak flood inundation maps on the Turkey River basin in northeastern Iowa.  RiverTrak rapidly produces dynamic maps of depths and extents of flooding and is customized to regional watersheds.  Maps are created and distributed based on the latest available observed and forecast river stage values from the NWS or private networks.  RiverTrak provides historical, real-time, and scenario maps that integrate with existing hazard mitigation efforts and systems.

To enhance the RiverTrak mapping capability, Riverside and Iowa are also working together to enhance and expand the application work done at the IFC for Monitoring Iowa’s Rivers and Streams in real-time. Iowa’s severe flooding in 2008 demonstrated the need for more extensive monitoring of the state’s rivers and streams in real time. To address this, the IFC developed and maintains a statewide network of stream stage sensors designed to measure stream height and transmit data automatically and frequently to the Iowa Flood Information System (IFIS), where one can view the sensor locations and data in real-time.  The sensors provide an affordable, effective way to measure stream and river heights. The sensors are solar powered and attached to the side of bridges. A sonar signal is used to measure the distance from the water surface to the sensor and data is transmitted via a cell modem to IFIS where the data are publicly available.  The IFC currently maintains a network of over 200 stream stage sensors across the state.

Riverside is looking to expand the use/coverage of these stream sensors to provide additional river information in locations currently under-served by other national or local networks.  A test implementation is being conducted in Larimer County and the City of Fort Collins in Colorado.  Riverside and IFC are partnering to provide a full set of marketing, enhancements, and maintenance capabilities for and additional stream sensor users.

The Riverside/IIHR Hydroscience & Engineering/IFC collaboration provides a full-service team based in innovative water science and proven customer service to expand and support planning and real-time water resource decision needs.

Additional information about the Iowa Flood Center can be found at their website: http://iowafloodcenter.org/.

Additional information about RiverTrak flood inundation maps: https://www.rivertrak.com/.

NOAA SEFSC Spherical Camera

If you want to look for fish, you better look all around. What better way to do that than with a spherical camera? To address this task, Riverside's Southeast Fisheries Science Center (SEFSC) personnel helped design and construct a camera which views 360-degree areas around the camera array. Use of this new camera along with a 3D printer has resulted in more thorough and cost effective surveys. The team has done an amazing job meeting their goal to assemble full-spherical cameras to assist in evaluating the distribution of fishes around the cameras and to make comparisons to single axis view type cameras.

The Reeffish crew from left to right: Andre DeBose, James Johnson, Joey Salibury, Ryan Cailouet, and Matt Campbell.

The Reeffish crew from left to right: Andre DeBose, James Johnson, Joey Salibury, Ryan Cailouet, and Matt Campbell.

Part of what the Reeffish Unit does is work with a drop camera system. The objective of the reef fish survey is to sample reef fish populations in the Gulf of Mexico using nondestructive techniques of video technology. This type of sampling is used to develop an abundant index of specifically important reef fish species for NMFS management for estimating species populations for regulatory and management purposes. Team members use digital video technologies and visualization methods to support imagery analysis, simulation, and data record requirements. In the past, a four-camera rig or trap/digital video system was deployed from a NOAA vessel to various hard bottom sites in the Gulf of Mexico. The four cameras took video from each axis of the camera array – like a compass, north/south/east/west axis. Now, the spherical camera views 360-degree areas around the camera array. The video is stitched together at the lab using special software so the video reader can view the video in 360 degrees. A 3D printer was purchased to help in the development of the spherical camera. Ryan Caillouet has used it to generate prototypes of different pieces of the camera system, jigs for sizing parts, and in the camera development. For extra credit – he even used it to help develop a new biopsy tip for the Marine Mammal Unit.

Ryan Caillouet explains the use of the spherical camera and 3D printer during a visit from Brian Ashe, Riverside CEO, and George Smith, Riverside Director of Client-Site Operations.

Ryan Caillouet explains the use of the spherical camera and 3D printer during a visit from Brian Ashe, Riverside CEO, and George Smith, Riverside Director of Client-Site Operations.

The biggest issue recent surveys faced was the cost of the cameras, and the size and weight of the array. This was directly impacting the number of samples and where they were getting them spatially. Riverside's SEFSC personnel cut the cost of the camera build by 75%. Previously, one stereo camera cost $20k, and an entire array would be $80k. With the new camera, this build will deliver full spherical, stereo-vision, and the entire array will cost ~$20k.

NOAA R/V Pisces departing the Pascagoula dock for the 1st leg of the Reeffish Survey where the spherical cameras will be used in a production phase for the 1st time.

NOAA R/V Pisces departing the Pascagoula dock for the 1st leg of the Reeffish Survey where the spherical cameras will be used in a production phase for the 1st time.

Congratulations to the inventive Riverside SEFSC personnel that turned a challenge into an opportunity!

Employee Spotlight: Sean McFeely

Sean has been a Product Manager at Riverside for a year and a half.  His current duties are to guide the development of a sustainable and profitable product based on flood inundation mapping technology.  He does things like market research, define functionality, document requirements and use cases, contribute to user interface design and generally work closely with engineering, marketing and development.   When not at work, he plays music, hikes, camps, fly fishes, work in the yard and hangs out with his family.

Sean McFeely Fly-fishing on the Cache La Poudre River in Colorado

Sean McFeely Fly-fishing on the Cache La Poudre River in Colorado

What three traits describe you?

Patient, persistent, creative.

What’s the weirdest job you’ve ever had?

In sixth grade, I walked the stadium stairs and sold Cokes at Colorado University home football games (Cokes here!). 

What would you do (for a career) if you weren’t doing this?

I would be a musician. I play guitar at establishments around Fort Collins.

What kind of music do you listen to?

I’ll listen to anything that is creative and dynamic, but I mostly listen to indie, alternative and progressive rock music.  I like to turn on KCSU and take my chances.

Tell us about your most unique travel experience.

I lived in England for a year when I was in junior high and I travelled to the former Soviet Union with a friend and his family for two weeks.  It was very strange.  We were required to stay in a designated hotel for western tourists.  My friend and I stood outside the hotel on the street and ‘illegally’ traded western items like jeans and tapes for soviet trinkets and flags, just for fun.  At one point, we saw two police officers on the sidewalk walking towards us with rifles strapped to their shoulders, but they just ignored the obvious activity and walked on by.

What’s on or in your nightstand?

Guitar picks, topo maps, books, pocket knives.

Name a food item you wouldn’t touch with a 10-foot pole.

Miracle Whip.

What movie could you watch over and over? Why?

‘8 ½’.  It just has so many interesting layers: the story, the acting, the actors, the music, the cinematography; it is honest, original, light hearted, mysterious, deep, very personal and highly relatable.  I could go on.  It is a classic.  

If you could choose one amenity to add to the workplace, what would it be?

A Chef.

The Southern Journey

In late 2014, two Riverside employees: David Saksa and Keith Bates captained a boat from Northern Michigan down the Mississippi to the Southeast Fisheries Science Center of the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) in an impressive feat of technical skill and ingenuity. Their ability to modify the boat during their journey to fit under bridges and eventually become a scientific research vessel saved the government more than 7 million dollars.

As a part of their work with the Southeast Fisheries Science Center (SEFSC), Riverside provides captains and crew for small boats (20-80ft), as well as providing scientific support to federal fisheries management and federally-listed protected species conservation for the geographic area encompassed by the coastal states from North Carolina through Texas, as well as Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands in the U.S. Caribbean.

The SEFSC was experiencing challenges in completing mission critical surveys, including programs that Riverside offered support on, such as gear development and research. This program involves design, construction, and maintenance of survey sampling gear used on fisheries-independent resource surveys such as trawls, longlines, bandit reels, etc. The program also conducts gear modification research to reduce bycatch of fish, sea turtles, and other protected species in a variety of Southeast Region fisheries. Increasing demand and competition within and across NOAA line offices for research time aboard NOAA Fisheries research vessels put pressure to find a vessel that could replace the SRV  Gandy, a buoy tender with limited space and function for fisheries work.

In the summer of 2014, the SEFSC staff located a potential replacement vessel available for transfer to the SEFSC by the U.S. Geological survey in northern Michigan. SEFSC staff traveled to Michigan to inspect the vessel with assistance from David Saksa. Mr. Saksa’s estimation of the condition of the vessel based on his expertise with the operation and maintenance of marine vessels and systems was very important to the SEFSC’s decision to acquire the vessel.

In December 2014, David Saksa and Keith Bates helped coordinate and execute a challenging inland journey serving as captain and crew along with other SEFSC staff during a 2-week transit of the vessel from Michigan to Mississippi. They worked skillfully under pressure to modify the vessel in route to reduce height for safe passage under bridges. Upon arriving in Pascagoula, David and Keith immediately went to work to thoroughly clean and refurbish the vessel. During the spring and summer of 2015 they completely remodeled and upgraded the vessel’s bridge, rewiring and installing new navigation and sounding electronics. Vessel captain (Saksa) and first mate (Bates) diligently performed numerous tasks to prepare the vessel for a planned September 2015 research cruise including oversight of the installation of deck steering, throttle controls, and high-efficiency heating/cooling units in labs and staterooms. The refurbished and newly named R/V Southern Journey conducted its maiden NOAA Fisheries survey in September 2015 and was formally christened in February 2016.

Since the maiden voyage, additional modifications to the vessel have included outriggers, a second deck winch platform and hydraulic winch systems. Contributing to this work was Riverside employee Warren Brown, who in addition to vessel crew support, provided welding and pipefitting expertise.

The significance of the efforts expended by David and Keith toward the creation of a highly effective research vessel for the SEFSC cannot be overstated. Their expertise with the repair and maintenance of marine vessel systems coupled with “hands-on” hard work and a mission-oriented attitude has resulted in a valuable asset for the SEFSC. The acquisition of the R/V Southern Journey promotes the continuity of long-term fisheries data time series, and enhances NOAA’s ability to conduct quality and timely stock assessments for commercially important species. The vessel will provide access to sensitive areas which are inaccessible by larger ships, offering a lower-cost option and offsetting lost sea days on NOAA ships due to repairs and the greater need to share vessels as ships are retired. Additionally, the repurposing of a government asset has resulted in a major cost savings for NOAA. The cost for a new scientific research vehicle (SRV) was estimated at $8,000,000. Acquisition, transport, and re-fitting of the R/V Southern Journey to meet NOAA small boat safety and NMFS mission requirements cost only $344,000, resulting in a $7,600,000 cost savings to the government.

Balcones National Wildlife Refuge

By Keith Hamilton, Biological Technician on Riverside’s U.S Fish and Wildlife Contract

Over a two-week period in late March, I traveled to the Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) to train two Student Conservation Association (SCA) personnel on how to monitor for monarch butterflies/eggs/larva, nectar plants, milkweeds, and Red Imported Fire Ants (RIFA). The NWR is in Region 2 of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

The first week of the training was primarily classroom-based and folks from different Texas agencies attended that session of the training. The second week consisted of myself, two other trainers, and the two SCAs being in the field. The SCAs received some hands-on training that week.

Pictures were taken during the two-week trip in March to Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge (NWR).

My primary roles were training the SCAs on the proper way to record, enter, review, and edit data; training the SCAs on how to select sites for monitoring; training the SCAs on how to use the iPads for navigation and monitoring activities; making sure folks were where they were supposed to be; scheduling the day’s activities; acting as the go-between/communications link for the office and people in the field; testing out the apps/computer programs, gear, and new monitoring methods in the field.

Riverside Continues its Support to the NOAA/NESDIS Independent Review Team

Under subcontract to Infinity Technology Inc., Riverside Technology inc. continued its support to NOAA/NESDIS Independent Review Team (IRT) activities.  Chaired by Mr. A. Thomas Young, former Director of the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center and President/COO of Martin Marietta, the IRT completed its third independent evaluation of the NESDIS mission since 2012, providing expert analysis of how NESDIS is addressing its challenges and opportunities.  Riverside’s Director of Federal Programs, Mr. Brian Mischel, supported the IRT as Executive Secretary providing organizational and logistics support to the IRT’s activities while Ms. Meredith Wagner from our TPIO team provided Secretariat support.

The Appropriations Hearing Room

The Appropriations Hearing Room

The IRT final report has been submitted to NESDIS and successfully briefed to NOAA and NASA senior leadership, the Department of Commerce, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), and the House and Senate staffs of the appropriate appropriations and authorization committees.  The report addressed a wide range of topics and produced the following summary findings:

Continued Progress – The IRT believes that the NESDIS path forward is positively established and that NESDIS is capable of embarking on that path.

A Vital National Mission – The IRT believes that NESDIS’ critical national mission to provide weather, severe storm and environmental intelligence is critically important to our lives and property, national security, economy, and quality of life.  Acknowledgement of the importance and ensuring the implementation of the enabling capabilities consistent with the criticality of the mission, at all leadership levels, is mandatory.

Revitalizing Partnerships – NASA is an important part of the Nation’s weather and severe storm mission.  The relationship between NOAA and NASA needs to be better defined and strengthened.

Weather Observation System Robustness and Gap Mitigation –  The JPSS governance, robustness, and potential gap mitigation are continuing significant concerns.  Future space and associated ground systems must be robust with “two failures to a gap” criterion and provide “equal or better” weather forecasting and severe storm monitoring performance.  JPSS and GOES-R follow-on (beyond the current four each) decisions are imminent and require attention.  Given the time available, additional GOES and JPSS satellite systems should be acquired, unless new technology and/or commercial solutions can be demonstrated to be robust and “equal or better” to the existing performance baseline.

Weather Observation is a System of Systems – Weather forecasting and severe storm monitoring are influenced by a multitude of interacting factors: satellite system performance; ground system; weather models; algorithms; etc.  This suggests that an end-to-end system analysis is necessary to properly balance these contributors.

A copy of the IRT Final Report can be accessed here.