Last updated: 25 September 2014

Terms of Reference

The Public Health & Safety Task Team has been created to recommend and oversee public health activities within the GCOOS-RA. The terms of reference are:

  • Increase capabilities to access available data used for public health decision making.
  • Identify pathogen indicators that could be developed and, possibly, deployed to provide more accurate and faster predictions of beach water and sand quality related to illness.
  • Initiate pilot projects to assess the use of beach water quality indicators at beaches in all five states.
  • Develop and promote monitoring plans for restoration projects in the five states.
  • Provide a readily accessible, web based, data tool that integrates pathogen indicators, HAB risks, rip current prediction, and weather conditions for Gulf of Mexico beach visitors and decision makers in all five states.
  • Work with education and outreach to promote the beach tool.
  • Promote use of metatdata standards for long term use to facilitate data exchange in the future
  • Review data product proposals using the GCOOS infrastructure and make recommendations for consideration by the Products and Services Council.
  • Work with national (Mexico/international?), state, and local representatives on needs and products related to Gulf of Mexico public health and safety
  • Expand observation and monitoring to enhance systems used for data collection and synthesis related to pathogens, illness from shellfish and finfish, HABs, rip currents, surf conditions, hazardous weather conditions, search and rescue, and climate change with sea level rise.

Public Health & Safety Task Team Members

Member Affiliation
Lorraine Backer Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Russell Beard NOAA National Coastal Data Development Center
Bruce Champion Louisiana Molluscan Shellfish Programs
Carol Dorsey (Co-chair) Alabama Public Health Laboratory
Lora Fleming University of Miami, RSMAS
Kelly Goodwin NOAA Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory
Crystal Johnson Gulf Coast Research Laboratory, University of Southern Mississippi
Barbara Kirkpatrick (Co-chair) Mote Marine Laboratory
Edward A. Laws School of the Coast and Environment, Louisiana State University
Hugh MacIntyre Dauphin Island Sea Lab
John H. Paul University of South Florida
Thomas M. Soniat University of New Orleans

Board Liaison

Barb Kirkpatrick
Nancy Rabalais