In August NOAA’s Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS) awarded a total of $21 million for this year, split among 11 regional observers, with a goal of each regional observing system to maintain and enhance ocean and coastal observations in the area, making data easier to access and giving planners and policymakers the information needed to improve safety, enhance the economy, and protect the environment.
Data from each region will also be available to researchers throughout the country via the national IOOS.
The regions receiving grant funding are:
- Alaska ($1.39M): The grant was made to the Seward Association for the Advancement of Marine Science for the Alaska Ocean Observing System, led by director Molly McCammon. Funding will be used to better manage regional ocean and coastal data, and continue development of a comprehensive ocean observing system in Alaska using Prince William Sound as a test bed.
- Caribbean ($0.9M): The grants will go to the University of Puerto Rico for the Caribbean Regional Association. It will continue to support and operate the Caribbean Regional Integrated Coastal Ocean Observing Systemwhich provides observation products for the Caribbean region. The project will be directed through marine science professor Julio Morell at the School of Marine Sciences in Mayaguez.
- Mid Atlantic ($2.7M): to the Mid-Atlantic Coastal Ocean Observing Regional Association, coordinated through the University of Delaware, in support of continued development of a comprehensive ocean observing system for the Mid-Atlantic region. Over half of the funding will go to Rutgers University’s Institute of Marine and Coastal Sciences, which will receive $1.7 million for continued development of the observing system components. Rutgers will focus on efforts to better coordinate and use data collected by underwater vehicles, buoys and other tools. This will help to monitor environmental conditions so decision-makers can minimize the impact of severe weather, natural hazards and other emergencies. Scott Glenn, Ph.D., of Rutgers Coastal Ocean Observation Lab will oversee the effort.
- Northeast ($2.46M): Administered by the Northeastern Regional Association of Coastal Ocean Observing Systems, the grants support ocean observing activities from Long Island Sound to the Canadian Maritimes, as well as other projects funded through the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. The funds also support a variety of projects to improve ocean and coastal data and support fisheries and ecosystem management.
- Great Lakes ($0.75M): The grants will go to the Great Lakes Observing System, run by Executive Director Jennifer Read. The Observing System will continue to make real-time data easier to access and use as well as identify and prioritize future regional needs for ocean information. Existing and new monitoring efforts will evaluate environmental conditions so decision-makers can minimize the impact of severe weather, natural hazards, and other emergencies.
- Southeast ($2.8M): The funds will be distributed in four related grant awards.
- The Southeastern Coastal Ocean Observing Regional Association will receive $500,000 in grant funding. Debra Hernandez, Executive Director, and Harvey Seim, chairman of the SECOORA board of directors and associate professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, will oversee the continued development of the Association and related activities, including data management.
- The Carolinas Regional Coastal Ocean Observing System will receive an award of $1.2 million to oversee coordination of observing efforts in North and South Carolina. Lynn Leonard, Ph.D., geology professor at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington’s Center for Marine Science, will lead efforts.
- Rick Luettich of the University of North Carolinaat Chapel Hill will coordinate a $371,950 grant to develop a prototype operational modeling system for waves, coastal currents, inundation and hydrologic flooding for eastern North Carolina.
- In addition, the University of Floridawill receive a $372,000 grant to be coordinated by Peter Shang, Ph.D., for continued support of a regional storm surge and inundation model.
- Gulf Coast ($0.94): Three grants awarded to the Gulf of Mexico Coastal Ocean Observing Systemwill be managed by regional coordinator Ann Jochens, Ph.D., of Texas A&M University.
- One project will continue the operations of the GCOOS Regional Association, which governs development of the system and determines the needs for data and products of many stakeholders.
- A second grant will maintain and enhance the GCOOS web data portal to enable easier access and use of available ocean data as a first step toward a regional operations center.
- The third grant will be used to standardize the near real-time marine data delivery systems of ten major non-federal data providers of the Gulf of Mexico.
- Northern California ($1.6M): The grants will go to the Central and Northern California Ocean Observing System through the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute. Steve Ramp of MBARI will coordinate the grant for conducting long-term monitoring of environmental conditions in support of protecting marine life and habitat. Funding will also help maintain and enhance ocean and coastal observations in the region by providing easier access to regional real-time data. Collaborations between the Central, Northern, and Southern California systems exist to ensure that ocean observing benefits like harmful algal bloom predictions and ecosystem health assessments are available. They also coordinate with California state agencies like the State Coastal Conservancy.
- Pacific Northwest ($1.9M): The NOAA grant award will go to the Applied Physics Laboratory of the University of Washington, where it will be used by several academic, government, and industry partners to support the continued development of the Northwest Association of Networked Ocean Observing Systems and associated management efforts. David Martin, Ph.D., associate director of the Applied Physics Laboratory, will serve as the project’s lead investigator.
- Pacific Islands ($2.09M): The grants support the Pacific Islands Ocean Observing System and will be administered by the University of Hawaiiat Manoa under the direction of Brian Taylor, dean of the School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology. Funding will continue support and development of the Hawaii-Pacific Ocean Observing and Information System which measures and predicts ocean and coastal conditions. The system also develops products aimed at enhancing the safe and productive use of the ocean, such as coastal inundation and erosion alerts, fishing and marine mammal forecasts, channel and nearshore circulation prediction, and automated water quality detection.
- Alliance for Coastal Technologies ($1.2M), a NOAA-funded partnership of research institutions, resource managers, and private sector companies. The ACT grant will be coordinated through the Chesapeake Biological Laboratory at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science. The funding will support demonstrations of ocean acidification sensors and systems for detecting harmful algal blooms and their toxins.
Zdenka Willis, NOAA IOOS program director said:
“This award represents NOAA’s commitment to implementing the Integrated Coastal and Ocean Observation Act of 2009 which recognizes the IOOS regional systems as key components of the national effort. These projects are crafted to meet local customer needs while also contributing to the success of the national effort.”