Riverside employees work to conserve tuna population

Riverside employee Ashley Pacicco recently presented a poster at the Florida Region of the American Fisheries Society (AFS) conference, which was held in Haines City, FL in early March. The American Fisheries Society (AFS) is the world’s oldest and largest organization dedicated to strengthening the fisheries profession, advancing fisheries science, and conserving fisheries resources.

Ashley’s poster explained how Riverside employees, through a contract with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), process and age Atlantic Bluefin Tuna at our facilities in Panama City. They received samples from a variety of sampling programs, including the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) Miami Pelagic Observer Program, Quantech Inc., North Carolina of Marine Fisheries, and the NOAA Regional Office (NER). These samples are crucial pieced of data in protecting and learning about the Bluefin, which is a frequently overfished population.

The data Ashley and others collect is used toward the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) assessment. The ICCAT is an inter-governmental organization responsible for the conservation of tunas and tuna-like species in the Atlantic Ocean and its adjacent seas. Our program’s oldest aged Bluefin is 33, while the youngest is two years old.

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Fort Collins featured in the Smithsonian’s “Places of Invention”

Invention and innovation: two key elements for any progressive community, much less for an information technology company with a focus on environmental support systems, like Riverside Technology. So of course we were thrilled, although maybe not surprised, when our headquarters of Fort Collins, Colorado was chosen as one of six featured “Places of Invention” for a new exhibit at the Smithsonian’s American History Museum in Washington D.C.

The curator of the Fort Collins exhibit, Joyce Bedi, recently gave an interview to Colorado Public Radio. Click here for more of the story or to hear the full audio: http://www.cpr.org/news/story/fort-collins-dubbed-place-invention-smithsonian

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Riverside Awarded New SciTech Task Order to Support NOAA’s TPIO Program

Riverside Technology, inc., a recognized industry leader in the design and implementation of integrated scientific, engineering, and IT solutions, announced it was awarded a contract task order by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) for the Technology Planning and Integration for Observation (TPIO) program. This work, awarded to Riverside under their Scientific, Technical Support Services (Sci-Tech) contract, will be led by Riverside in partnership with Integrity Applications Incorporated (IAI).

NOAA’s mission is to understand and predict changes in climate, weather, oceans, and coasts and then share that knowledge with others. The TPIO program plays a key part in executing that mission by providing observing requirements data, observing system portfolio/architecture analysis, and analytical support to NOAA senior leadership, in particular, the NOAA Observing Systems Council (NOSC). TPIO is part of the Office of Projects, Planning, and Analysis (OPPA) Office in the NOAA Environmental Satellite Data and Information Service (NESDIS) line office in Silver Spring, Maryland.

Our work will further TPIO’s goal of helping NOAA provide the highest caliber environmental intelligence to citizens, planners, emergency managers, and other decision makers. Riverside and IAI have been successfully providing scientific, technical, and management support to OPPA and the TPIO program since 2007.

“We are honored to have the opportunity to build on our 25 years of support of NOAA through this project providing technical services to facilitate TPIO’s analysis and support functions,” said Larry Brazil, President and CEO of Riverside. “And we are delighted to be teaming with IAI, a key partner to Riverside. We look forward to providing management, IT, analysis and visualization, and technical expertise for this mission-critical project.”

Because of the critical nature of the TPIO work, NOAA required a rapid personnel transition directly following contract award, and Riverside was able to execute their low-risk transition plan over the course of a weekend, achieving 100% incumbent staff retention. The contract is expected to run through 2017. Riverside is fully committed to providing excellent support with high caliber, innovative staff and looks forward to supporting TPIO on this important work.

Customer Focus: Tennessee Valley Authority

Riverside first began working with the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) in 2002, helping them in their mission to improve the lives of the people of the valley by providing affordable electricity along with environmental stewardship. TVA manages more than 40 dams and three nuclear power facilities in the Tennessee Valley, and they are responsible for maintaining the dams and ensuring nuclear facilities can be protected from flooding. Among other projects, Riverside provides essential support and analyses to improve TVA’s emergency management tools and risk mitigation.

Shoreline of the Tennessee River in Knoxville
Shoreline of the Tennesse River in Knoxville

Risk Assessment Improvements

TVA wants to focus on capital improvements to their facilities that will yield the greatest benefit and reduce the greatest overall risks of catastrophic events. To support this, Riverside is leading two major efforts at TVA to provide better risk quantification: (1) the calculation of consequences for hypothetical failures and (2) the quantification of hydrologic hazards (i.e., flood exceedance probabilities) throughout the TVA system. The results of these analyses will provide fundamental inputs into DAMRAE, an event tree model used to calculate risk due to various probable failure modes. In a system as large as TVA’s, the combination of failure modes and interaction of risks are challenging to accurately represent in event trees. Riverside will be working with RAC Engineers and Economists to address these challenges. By calculating finer resolution and more accurate risk information, TVA will have valuable tools to make decisions related to major capital improvement projects, the sufficiency of their current operating policy, and allocation of resources.

Hydrologic Hazards Analysis

Riverside is midway through a project to establish hydrologic hazard curves for a range of variables based on a thorough stochastic analysis of the TVA system. Riverside has teamed with MGS Engineering, MetStat, and Applied Climate Services to develop precipitation-frequency relationships for critical watersheds in the TVA system based on a regional frequency analysis. The precipitation-frequency relationships will be used in combination with historical storm templates to stochastically generate a large number of feasible precipitation scenarios. We will stochastically sample soil moisture and reservoir levels to set initial conditions for each scenario. Riverside is developing a system to then run each of these precipitation events through the set of hydrologic soil moisture and routing models, RiverWare reservoir operation models, and hydraulic models to simulate the system response to the precipitation scenarios and starting conditions. We will then compute statistics for each scenario to determine critical variables such as peak reservoir levels or duration above critical thresholds, and frequency curves can be generated for each variable. We will also quantify uncertainties associated with different aspects of the analysis.

Watts Bar
Watts Bar was the last nuclear plant to come online in the 20th century.

Consequences Analysis

Since 2014, Riverside has performed consequences assessments for eight TVA dams, with plans for ongoing analysis at multiple additional dams. For locations where we have already completed the assessments, we executed a range of failure and non-failure scenarios using the HEC-RAS hydraulic model. We then used HEC’s Flood Impact Assessment (HEC-FIA) model to estimate life loss and economic consequences under each scenario, making improvements to the life loss methodology along the way, which included the most recent tools developed by USACE HEC. In addition, Riverside has developed expertise in creating scenarios that directly support TVA’s risk analysis and provide input into the existing DAMRAE models. Finally, Riverside produced a variety of mapping products to effectively portray areas at risk under different failure scenarios. Riverside is currently working with TVA to update the Standard Operating Procedure for Consequence Analysis that will be used for ongoing consequence assessments.

The combination of the results of the Hydrologic Hazards project and the Consequences Analyses will provide improved inputs into TVA’s risk analyses, allowing them to make more informed decisions about capital improvement investments to mitigate the identified risks in their system.

Employee Focus: Ian Hageman

Ian Hageman is one of Riverside’s illustrious GIS technicians, specializing in database management, map production, data acquisition and integration, remote sensing, GPS systems, quality assessment/quality control, and natural resource management. Ian got his degree in Geology from Colorado State University (GO RAMS!), and he recently got married. He’s been at Riverside since 2013.

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Before coming to Riverside, one of Ian’s jobs paid him in candy.
  1. What three traits describe you?

I would say motivated, happy, and realistic.

  1. What are you most excited or passionate about in your career?

I enjoy helping people, learning new things, and solving problems with technology in order to make a difference in the world.

  1. What do you find most challenging about your job?

Having to think of how to do things on the spot. Many times people come to me and ask, “What’s the best way to do this?” but sometimes the first way that comes into mind isn’t the best way.

  1. What are your favorite things to do when you’re not at work?

I like to play drums, watch movies, golf, ski, hike, fish, boat – basically most of the things a Native Coloradan (like me) enjoys doing.

  1. Tell us your guilty pleasure.

Random midnight snacks.

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

Picking weeds in the summer heat for my aunt and uncle around the outside of their house when I was young for minimal pay. And by pay, I mean gummy bears and candy.

  1. Did you have a nickname growing up? If so, what was it, and how did you get it?

It’s a little embarrassing, but my nickname around the house growing up was “Peein’ Ian,” because I used to always accidentally wet the bed when I was little.

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

Teaching. I really enjoy sharing my knowledge with others, helping people learn new things, and being a role model for people.

  1. What is your favorite movie, book, and TV show?

There are so many good movies out there but I would have to say that my favorite movie is No Country For Old Men. And if you know me, then you know I really don’t like to read, so asking me what my favorite book is like asking a diver what his favorite shark is. I would say my favorite TV show is Broncos football or “The Amazing Race.” I love to travel, so this show is right up my alley!

  1. Tell us something that might surprise us about you.

I know how to fly small, single-engine airplanes and am only a few hours away from obtaining my private pilot’s license.

  1. If you could have a dinner party and invite any four people, dead or alive, who makes the guest list?

Great question! I would invite Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, Martin Luther King Jr., and Steven Avery.

  1. What was your favorite subject in school and why?

Geography. I have always really liked learning what has shaped the world as we know it today, from human interaction to natural physical processes.

  1. What kind of music do you listen to?

I like all kinds of music, but I would have to say that my favorites are Country and Rock.

  1. What is the greatest achievement you’ve accomplished in your life so far?

Making it to 25 years old. Some people don’t make it that far so I would say that’s a pretty good accomplishment J

  1. You can only eat the same three foods for the rest of your life. What are they?

Kale, broccoli, and tofu. Just kidding…chicken wings, pizza, and burgers.

  1. Tell us your favorite joke.

The Dallas Cowboys.

Riverside selected to staff prominent science and technical support task for NOAA

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COSMIC-2 is an essential part of meeting our nation’s goal of improving weather prediction worldwide and monitoring climate change.

Fort Collins, Colorado, March 3, 2016 – Riverside Technology, inc. is pleased to announce our selection by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to provide scientific and technical support to the COSMIC-2 mission. The goal of this international partnership between NOAA, the U.S. Air Force, and the Taiwanese National Space Organization (NSPO) is to develop a constellation of 12 small satellites to collect atmospheric data and Global Navigation Satellite System-Radio Occultation (GPSS-RO) measurements of the Earth’s atmosphere. The data collected from these satellites will aid NOAA in global weather prediction, including severe weather forecasts, as well as further research into Earth’s climate and gravity systems. The first six satellites are scheduled to launch into low inclination Earth orbits in 2017 with the next six into high inclination Earth orbits in 2019.

For this mission, Riverside is providing key personnel to support NOAA’s National Environmental Satellite Data Information Service (NESDIS) Office of Projects, Planning, and Analysis (OPPA). The NESDIS mission is to provide access to global environmental data from satellites and other sources to promote, protect, and enhance our nation’s economy, security, environment, and quality of life. Riverside has more than a decade of experience providing independent, unbiased scientific, technical, and engineering support to NESDIS missions, and we have successfully supported OPPA since 2007 and the COSMIC-2 program since its inception in 2013.

COSMIC-2 will expand the successful performance of the original COSMIC program by advancing the capabilities of regional and global weather prediction (including severe weather prediction). It will significantly increase the number of atmospheric observations (8,000+ daily versus 2,000 on COSMIC), which will produce higher spatial and temporal density of profiles and be more useful for operational weather prediction models, severe weather forecasting including typhoons and hurricanes, and related research in the fields of meteorology and climatology.

“Riverside is always honored to be able to work with NOAA and its many important missions, and this project with OPPA is no exception,” said Larry Brazil, Riverside’s President and CEO. “We are looking forward to continuing our support of NOAA with strong contributions from key members of our scientific and technical staff.”

Riverside has already begun working with NOAA/NESDIS/OPPA on this critical mission to improve our global weather prediction models.

Information Contact: 
Riverside Technology, inc.
Brian Ashe, Director of Business Development 
Phone: 970-484-7573
E-mail: brian.ashe@riverside.com

Under the Sea

Riverside employees get to work in some of the world’s most fascinating places, and the bottom of the ocean is one of them. Katharine Woodard, a Riverside subcontracted employee based out of the Stennis Space Center in Mississippi, took part in last year’s remotely operated underwater vehicle (ROV) missions aboard the Okeanos Explorer, where she was on the team that extracted their first biological sample from deep ocean (see picture below).

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Riverside subcontractor Katharine Woodard and the extracted deep ocean sample were featured in NOAA’s official presentation at the recent Ocean Sciences Conference in New Orleans.

Katharine is currently on board the Okeanos Explorer for a 3,000-mile trip from Pearl Harbor to Kwajalein, which is the largest island in the Republic of the Marshall Islands. She’ll again be supporting ROV operations enroute. The ship is underway and conducted their first ROV dives of the season this past weekend. Dives have been suspended from Sunday through today due to heavy weather (actually, terrible weather, with seas up to 20 feet!).  They hope to resume ROV dives again tomorrow.

Follow the adventures of the Okeanos Explorer live at the following url: http://oceanexplorer.noaa.gov/okeanos/media/exstream/exstream.html