NOAA Deploys “Smart Buoy” in the Potomac River near Washington, D.C.

Buoy Provides Key Information to Strengthen Bay Restoration Efforts

May 14, 2010

The NOAA Chesapeake Bay Office deployed a “smart buoy” today in the Potomac River, just south of the Woodrow Wilson Bridge. This buoy—closest to our nation’s capital—is the newest in NOAA's Chesapeake Bay Interpretive Buoy System (CBIBS), a network that provides scientists, boaters, and educators with real-time data about the Bay.

“At NOAA, we are committed to strengthening science to ensure the best decisions for restoring the Chesapeake,” said Jane Lubchenco, Ph.D., under secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator. “This buoy and the data it relays are one way that NOAA is providing timely and relevant information that resource managers and citizens can use to make better decisions.”

“The Chesapeake Bay is in crisis and we have a responsibility to provide the tools and the resources our scientists need to protect the Bay and the livelihoods that depend on it,” said Senator Mikulski, Chairwoman of the Commerce, Justice and Science Appropriations Subcommittee that funds NOAA. “This smart buoy and others like it will be an invaluable asset to those working to restore our Chesapeake Bay.”

CBIBS buoys collect weather, oceanographic and water-quality observations and transmit this data wirelessly in near-real time. These measurements, along with historical information, can be accessed at ( for mobile devices) and by phone at 877-BUOY-BAY (877-286-9229). CBIBS uses new technology to make information available for a broad range of measurements, including bay restoration progress. Online educational resources are also available.

Buoys in the system also mark points along the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail, which highlights the natural history of the Bay.  The trail also provides opportunities for recreation, education, and tourism in the Chesapeake Bay region, and encourages stewardship of the bay.

“We are pleased that NOAA and the National Park Service continue to expand their innovative approach to combining scientific research support for the Chesapeake Bay with interpretive services for the public,” said John Maounis, superintendent of the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail. “With this eighth smart buoy on the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail, boaters and paddlers through this treasured landscape can learn more about Captain Smith's visit here to the upper Potomac.”

This is the eighth buoy in the CBIBS system. Buoys deployed earlier are located at the mouths of the Susquehanna, Patapsco, Severn, Potomac, and Rappahannock Rivers, in the James River near Jamestown, and the Elizabeth River off Norfolk.

The crew of the U.S. Coast Guard buoy tender Sledge will partner with NOAA to transport the upper Potomac buoy from the dock at National Harbor to its final location.

The NOAA Chesapeake Bay Office focuses NOAA’s capabilities in science, service, and stewardship to protect and restore the Chesapeake Bay.

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