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cliffs at Llanos Costa, PR


In 2021, the U.S. IOOS® Office is announcing its third round of 5-year Regional Association cooperative agreements. The Regional Associations form a core part of implementing the U.S. Integrated Ocean Observing System by working with local stakeholders to determine what ocean, coastal, and Great Lakes data is in demand. They then work to support, maintain, and expand observing infrastructure, gather data and information, and provide access to that data through suites of information tools and dashboards. Through these agreements, they work directly with the national IOOS Office, incorporating their regional expertise into our national system. You can read the full press release here, and below are each of the selected Regional Associations along with their first year awards and focus for the next 5 years.

  • Over the next five years, the Alaska Ocean Observing System will continue to maintain and enhance their state of the art Ocean Data Explorer portal as the federally certified Alaska regional Data Assembly Center. AOOS will continue to collect and enhance the utility of observation data through the development of new products and models, and spearhead the development of data products and decision support tools using real-time data. AOOS maintains a long time series data collection, exploring marine debris, invasive species, ocean acidification, and harmful algal blooms issues in Alaska, and will continue to support sea ice detection, ecosystem observing buoys, and gliders throughout Alaska. AOOS will also bring together stakeholders by creating and maintaining networks like the Alaska Ocean Acidification Network, Alaska Harmful Algal Bloom Observing Network, and the Bering Sea Science Reports.
    • First year award: $4,176,512
  • Responding to stakeholder requests for essential coastal weather and ocean data and information for the U.S. Caribbean, the Caribbean Coastal Ocean Observing System efforts have focused on providing data and decision support to the local National Weather Service office, marine operators, and sectors exposed to diverse coastal hazards. Over the next five years, CARICOOS is committed to maintaining and enhancing existing capabilities while filling information gaps identified through need assessments. These include the enhancement and expansion of observational and forecasting efforts that support incident response, maritime operations, ecosystems and fisheries, post-hurricane restoration and reconstruction. CARICOOS also intends to develop new products and services to meet needs arising from emerging issues such as Sargasso inundation. All information will continue to be available through CARICOOS’ bilingual web portal, a boating app and a beach app.
  • The Central and Northern California Ocean Observing System utilizes a ‘systems approach’ to join real-time observations and model forecasts, data systems and information products to better support decision-making related to ocean processes and environmental changes, including those related to extreme weather, harmful algal blooms, ocean acidification and hypoxia. CeNCOOS data and products support readiness and resilience to climate change and coastal hazards by providing managers and stakeholders with state-of-the-art data, tools, training and expertise. In the next five years, CeNCOOS aims to integrate several advancing observing technologies to fill critical gaps in biological and ecosystem observing and continue to collaborate with regional, state, and federal partners to provide high-priority biological and ecosystem-level information, including animal movement and distribution, for managed spaces and sentinel species management.
  • The Gulf of Mexico Coastal Ocean Observing System’s mission is to provide timely, reliable, accurate and on-demand information on the ocean and coastal waters of the Gulf of Mexico to ensure a healthy, clean, productive ocean and resilient coastal zone. In addition to supporting ongoing efforts to provide data and products needed by stakeholders in the Gulf states, the award will also support: water quality monitoring for biological parameters, including harmful algal blooms; glider operations to enhance hurricane modeling and forecasting to protect communities; and enhance high-frequency radar coverage. GCOOS will add new data streams as they become available as well as data management and cyberinfrastructure systems that underpin the GCOOS data portal. GCOOS will also prioritize outreach and education across the Gulf so communities can make informed decisions about coastal and open-ocean activities — from recreation to emergency response.
    • First year award: $4,294,944
  • The Great Lakes Observing System continues to help maintain and expand the monitoring network of buoys, gliders, sensors, and more and to make high-quality Great Lakes data available to hundreds of thousands of people from Duluth, Minnesota to Burlington, Vermont, and beyond. Researchers, drinking water managers, recreational boaters, and many others rely on this data and information, sometimes hour-by-hour. As the effects of climate change come to bear on the entire watershed, GLOS is expanding their powerful, cloud-based Seagull platform to get lake information into the hands of more people than ever before. Seagull will be capable of visualizing data, sending alerts, and more from hundreds of connected devices. And at the same time, GLOS is helping to organize the bi-national, cross-sector Smart Great Lakes Initiative, to address pressing lake monitoring needs of today and to prepare for those of the next decade.
    • First year award: $3,074,314
  • Building on the robust history of strong partnerships in the region, the Mid-Atlantic Regional Association Coastal Ocean Observing System will continue to power understanding of the Mid-Atlantic ocean, coasts, and estuaries over the next five years. Driven by stakeholders and their strategic plan, MARACOOS will continue to address coastal hazards, water quality, maritime commerce & safety, fisheries and natural resources, and energy including the rapidly changing offshore wind sector. Particular emphasis will be placed on increasing partnerships, expanding the delivery of user tools, investing in aging infrastructure, and expanding the observing network and platforms.
    • First year award: $4,984,041
  • Northwest Association of Networked Ocean Observing Systems will continue investment in observing and modeling in the coastal ocean, estuaries, and shorelines of Oregon and Washington, providing real-time information and integrated data products to answer questions such as: when the conditions are best for growing shellfish, where tuna will be likely found, how to plan boating activity most safely, where to find the best tsunami evacuation route, and to evaluate extreme and climate change effects. These funds allow NANOOS to continue to engage with the public and specific user groups, increasing the utility of the data for coastal resiliency and optimizing safety, economy, and sustainability. NANOOS will focus on increasing the equity and diversity of our engagement throughout our efforts. Specific enhancements will include observing biology and harmful algal blooms.
    • First year award: $3,932,271
  • The Northeastern Regional Association of Coastal Ocean Observing Systems will continue to sustain its data buoys, which are the heart of the NERACOOS network. In addition to being the primary asset relied upon by stakeholders to make operational decisions in real time, the 20 years’ worth of data generated by NERACOOS buoys are an invaluable resource for researchers. An increased investment in data delivery systems will improve users’ access to ocean observations, while greater support for modeling efforts will improve the quality of forecasts used by organizations and individuals. As always, NERACOOS is committed to providing tools that are responsive to the needs of those who depend on them.
    • First year award: $3,442,301
  • The Pacific Islands Ocean Observing System empowers ocean users and stakeholders throughout the Pacific Islands by providing accurate and reliable coastal and ocean information, tools, and services that are easy to access and use. Within the thematic areas of Marine Operations, Coastal Hazards, Water Quality, and Ecosystems and Living Marine Resources, PacIOOS collects near real-time data, generates forecasts, and develops user-friendly data products and visualizations. Guided by stakeholder needs, PacIOOS’ focus of the upcoming five years will be to sustain existing ocean observations and forecasts, support coastal resiliency and climate adaptation, and strive for a more balanced geographical coverage throughout the entire Pacific Islands region.
  • The Southern California Coastal Ocean Observing System mission is to produce, integrate, and communicate high-quality, science-based information to promote coastal ocean safety, resilience, and sustainability for all members of society. As the IOOS RA for southern California, SCCOOS has spent the last decade building infrastructure for ocean observing that establishes platforms for biophysical parameters in the areas of surface current measurements, continuous subsurface observing with autonomous underwater vehicles, nearshore real-time measurements, harmful algal bloom monitoring, and operational hydrodynamic and ecological forecasts. While SCCOOS is at the forefront of implementing ocean technology, observing, and interpreting data, an underpinning of the organization is to provide integrated, user-driven information and data products that are valuable to our stakeholders represented across many sectors - these include maritime transport at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach and wastewater discharge in southern California.
  • Over the next five years, the Southeast Coastal Ocean Observing Regional Association will continue to support 20 high frequency radars, 15 in-situ stations, glider missions in the South Atlantic Bight and the Gulf of Mexico, acoustic telemetry and soundscape observatories, biological data analysis tools, three operational forecast models, and integrated products for stakeholders. To support resiliency planning and emergency response, SECOORA is investing in a water level observatory that will include 200 water level sensors across the four-state region. Responding to long-standing needs in South Carolina and Florida, SECOORA is installing a meteorological buoy with a co-located wave buoy near Charleston harbor and two physical oceanographic and meteorological buoys off the east coast of Florida. Additionally, SECOORA is investing in a Sargassum forecast model to provide communities advanced warning of potential Sargassum and an Artificial Intelligence Annotation Data Portal to support regional marine applications.
    • First year award: $4,552,445


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