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Working for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

Have you ever dreamed of forecasting the weather, studying and surveying the geography of our coasts or exploring the oceans, or coral reefs? If so, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is the agency for you.  NOAA is part of the Department of Commerce, and was formed in 1970. There are 6,773 NOAA scientists and engineers. NOAA has a total of 12,000 personnel worldwide.

NOAA’s mission is Science, Service, Stewardship. To understand and predict changes in climate, weather, oceans and coasts. To share that knowledge and information with others and to conserve coastal and marine ecosystems and resources.



History of NOAA

NOAA’s history dates back over 200 years and it is one of the oldest federal agencies. In 1807 President Thomas Jefferson formed the United States Coast and Geodetic Survey (as the Survey of the Coast) to provide nautical charts to the maritime community for safe passage into American ports and along our extensive coastline.  The Weather Bureau was formed in 1870 and one year later the U.S. Commission of Fish and Fisheries was created.

In 1970 to better handle the growing responsibility of predicting changes to both the ocean and atmospheric environments and living marine resources NOAA was formed. Today NOAA is in every state and is considered an international leader on scientific and environmental matters. It is considered America’s environmental intelligence agency.

For more NOAA history visit their site at http://celebrating200years.noaa.gov/.

Programs under NOAA

National Status and Trends Program

In 1984 The National Status and Trends Program was started.  It is one of the largest and most comprehensive monitoring programs of costal marine environmental quality in the United States.  The objective of the program is to determine the existing status and the long term trends of the environmental quality of coastal areas throughout the United States.  Additionally, this program measures the levels of toxic chemicals in bottom-feeding fish, mussels and oysters, and sediments.

NOAA Seafood Inspection Program

NOAA oversees fisheries management in the United States.  Under authority in the 1946 Agricultural Marketing Act, the NOAA Seafood Inspection Program provides inspection services for fish, shellfish, and fishery products to the industry.

The NOAA Seafood Inspection Program offers a variety of professional inspection services on a fee-for-service basis which assures compliance with all applicable food regulations.  The program offers sanitation inspection as well as system and process auditing in facilities, on vessels, or other processing establishments in order to be designated as participating establishments.

The National Coastal Zone Management Program

The National Coastal Zone Management Program works with coastal states and territories to addresses coastal issues, that includes climate change.

This program is a voluntary partnership between the federal government and United States coastal and Great Lakes states and territories authorized by the Coastal Zone Management Act (CZMA) of 1972 to address national coastal issues.

National Weather Service

In our next article we be featuring two employees that work for the National Weather Service (NWS).  The NWS was established in 1870. It was originally called the Weather Bureau and was part of the War Department. Twenty years later it became a civilian agency, under the Department of Agriculture, and in 1940 was switched to the Commerce Department.

NWS Mission

Provide weather, water, and climate data, forecasts and warnings for the protection of life and property and enhancement of the national economy.

NWS Vision

A weather-ready nation: society is prepared to respond to weather-dependent events.

NWS Organization

The headquarters of the NWS is located in Silver Spring, Maryland, with regional headquarters located in Kansas City, Missouri; Bohemia, New York; Fort Worth, Texas; Salt Lake City, Utah; Anchorage, Alaska; and Honolulu, Hawaii. The NWS has 5,000 employees in 122 weather forecast offices, 13 river forecast centers, 9 national centers, and other support offices around the country, and provides a national infrastructure to gather and process data worldwide.  Every year, the NWS collects some 76 billion observations and issues approximately 1.5 million forecasts and 50,000 warnings. For more information about the NWS you can view their website at Weather.gov.

The two employees that will be featured in our next article are Mary Beth Gerhardt, meteorologist (GS-1340) and Phillip Manuel, meteorologist (senior forecaster), GS-1340.


  • Maureen O’Leary, NOAA Communications and External Affairs at the National Weather Service.
  • Photos from NOAA website: Learn more about our work

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About The Author

A Pennsylvania native, Betty Boyd moved to the Tennessee Valley in 1994. She retired in early 2012 after 30 years of Government service. Boyd was an Acquisition Manager/IT Manager/ Project Manager during her 30-year career. Boyd also served as a supervisor and team leader during her career. In 2012 Boyd founded a consulting firm, Boyd Consulting Services, which offers writing services to clients and companies. For more information about these writing services see the following website: http://www.BettyBoydWriting.com/. Betty attended Athens State University, Athens, AL and received a B.B.A. in Management of Technology in 2000. She received her Masters of Science degree from Syracuse University with a concentration in Information Management in 2007. Boyd is a certified Level III contracting professional and she received a Masters level certificate in Project Management from the National Defense University in 2008.