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2021 Year in Review


NOAA's National Ocean Service (NOS) provides science-based solutions through collaborative partnerships to address the evolving economic, environmental, and social pressures on our ocean and coasts.

In Fiscal Year 2021, we increased navigation safety, strengthened coastal resilience efforts, improved the monitoring and detection of harmful algal blooms, and facilitated the advancement of coral restoration efforts. These are just some of the many accomplishments from this fiscal year that NOS is pleased to share in this report.

We also provided a wide variety of emergency services in response to nine severe storm events and four tropical cyclone events, while continuing to respond to additional challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Visit the “Browse by Hurricane,” “Browse by Office,” and “NOS by the Numbers: 2021” sections of this report for the many actions we have taken, challenges we have overcome, and scientific endeavors we have embarked upon to advance safe and efficient transportation and commerce; preparedness and risk reduction; and stewardship, recreation, and tourism for the American people.

NOS by the Numbers: 2021

A buoy in the water


The number of new non-contact microwave sensors used in the National Water Level Observation Network. The sensors deliver more accurate measurements and reduce maintenance costs.

Divers doing scientific work on a coral reef


The number of corals in the Caribbean treated using money provided by the Coral Emergency Response Fund.

Map depicting areas surveyed and those areas still needing surveys


The number in square kilometers (equal to 77,992 square miles) that NGS surveyed in Alaska’s remote Aleutian Islands — an area the size of the state of Nebraska.

Pillar coral fragments in a laboratory aquarium.


The number of harmful algal bloom respiratory forecasts that NOAA provides for Florida Gulf Coast beaches.

Economic Contributions of Marine-Dependent Businesses

$665.7 billion

The amount of money the nation’s marine economy produced in direct sales in 2019 — a 5.1% increase over 2018.

A map showing areas of U.S. waters that have not yet been surveyed


The approximate number, in square nautical miles, of new bathymetric data published.

A photo from the designation ceremony for Wisconsin Shipwreck Coast National Marine Sanctuary


The number of square kilometers (equal to 962 square miles) that encompass Wisconsin Shipwreck Coast National Marine Sanctuary, which was designated August 2021.

A disabled tank barge vessel in the Gulf of Mexico, showing a discharge of oil.

$131.9 million

The amount of money NOAA and partners recovered from 10 contaminated waterways in six coastal states in 2021.

An aerial view of Lake Okeechobee in Florida shows an algal bloom.

$2.5 million

The amount of money allocated by IOOS for projects to enhance the monitoring and detection of harmful algal blooms.

Networking hardware and cables


The number of phones that NOS’s Information Management Office replaced with a modern phone and voice system.

A photo of plastic bags and other debris along a shoreline


The number of new projects funded through grants from NOAA's Marine Debris Program.

Students pose on a beach with the marine debris they collected during a beach cleanup


The number of cigarette butts that students involved in NOAA Planet Stewards projects removed from beaches.