NOAA Announces Funding to Support Ocean Observing in New England

May 28, 2008

NOAA's Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS) is awarding $1.6 million in fiscal year 2008 competitive funding to Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution for support of ocean observing efforts in New England. Approximately $1.2 million will support the operation of the Northeastern Regional Coastal Ocean Observing System (RCOOS) and be distributed by Woods Hole to seven regional academic institutions. The remaining $400,000 distribution will support activities of the Regional Association (RA), principally including long-range planning.

Nine different organizations are working together in support of the Northeastern Regional Coastal Observing System, with seven receiving funding support from the RCOOS grant, including the Gulf of Maine Ocean Observing System ($90,000); the University of Connecticut ($274,787); the University of New Hampshire ($115,000); the University of Maine ($560,000); the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth ($80,000); and the University of Rhode Island ($50,000). Also receiving funding from the RCOOS grant as part of the consortium is the Bedford Institute of Oceanography ($30,000) in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and the Northeast Fisheries Science Center are participating in the observing system operational grant at no cost. 

The complementary planning grant will be directed by the Board of Directors of the Northeastern Regional Association of Coastal Ocean Observing Systems (NERACOOS).  Woods Hole senior scientist John Trowbridge will coordinate the overall New England efforts.

“Regional partnerships are critical to the success of a national Integrated Ocean Observing System,” said Zdenka Willis, NOAA IOOS program director. “With increased understanding of our oceans and coasts comes an increased ability to keep our nation safe, our economy secure, and our environment healthy and productive.” 

“This agreement represents another big step forward for the Integrated Coastal and Ocean Observing System, as called for in the President’s Ocean Action Plan,” said retired Navy Vice Admiral Conrad C. Lautenbacher, Ph.D., Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere and NOAA Administrator. “This year’s award is a great example of NOAA’s dedication to our ocean and coastal observing capacity, as well as our commitment to work with our regional partners.”

The aims are to maintain and enhance regional ocean and coastal observations; make regional ocean data universally available for access and use; identify and prioritize future regional needs for ocean information; and monitor, understand and predict environmental conditions so decision-makers can protect the ocean environment, promote its wise use and minimize impacts of severe weather and other natural hazards.

The Northeastern United States consortium is one recipient in an anticipated series of IOOS grants across the nation this year, totaling $20.4 million. These grants will support the continuation of 17 multi-year projects awarded in 2007, as well as new efforts in 2008.

This money supports NOAA’s efforts to develop a national IOOS, a vital tool for tracking, predicting, managing, and adapting to changes in our coastal and ocean environments. This network of people and technology is pulling coastal and ocean data and information together, so that it is easily accessible from one source and can be used by scientists and decision-makers to get a ‘bigger picture’ view of environmental change.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, an agency of the U.S. Commerce Department, is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and information service delivery for transportation, and by providing environmental stewardship of our nation's coastal and marine resources. Through the emerging Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS), NOAA is working with its federal partners, more than 70 countries and the European Commission to develop a global monitoring network that is as integrated as the planet it observes, predicts and protects.