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July 26, 2007

Contact: Kim Couranz
(410) 267-5673

NOAA Deploys Third "Smart Buoy" As Part of Interpretive Buoy System on the Chesapeake Bay

The NOAA Chesapeake Bay Office today deployed its third “smart buoy” as part of the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail — the nation’s first water-based National Historic Trail. The buoy is positioned at the mouth of the Patapsco River, near Baltimore, Md., and is the third observation platform to be launched this summer as part of the Chesapeake Bay Interpretive Buoy System.

“The Chesapeake Bay is a national treasure. This smart buoy uses innovative science and technology to help us learn more about the health of the bay through time,” said U.S. Senator Barbara Mikulski. “I’m so proud of the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail for working to preserve the bay for future generations. I will continue to fight for new technologies to protect and restore the bay.”

The buoys collect meteorological and water-quality data as well as information on waves and currents, via a system of sensors, which then transmits the information to the Web in real time via a high-speed data network. These measurements, as well as historical and cultural information about the bay, can be accessed over the internet at and by phone at (877) BUOY-BAY (286-9229).

To interpret the data available from the buoys, the NOAA Chesapeake Bay Office is developing educational and interpretive components including a Web-based classroom curriculum that uses data to teach students about the bay and its resources. Working with partners, the NOAA Chesapeake Bay Office is creating multidisciplinary lessons that weave science and math together with history and culture.

“The Chesapeake Bay Interpretive Buoy System is a wonderful marriage of the past and the present. New technologies afford us the opportunity to relate current-day conditions with those observed by Captain John Smith,” said Peyton Robertson, acting director of the NOAA Chesapeake Bay Office.  “By understanding what once was, as compared to what is, we hope citizens will be inspired to be good stewards of the bay and its valuable resources.”

Two such “smart buoys” were launched earlier this year. The first is located in the James River off Jamestown, Va., and the second where the Potomac River meets the Bay. The data from these buoys, displayed with information from other observation platforms around the Bay including the Chesapeake Bay Observing System, also will be available at

NOAA partnered with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' Baltimore District, who used their debris removal vessel Reynolds to position the buoy on the Patapsco River. NOAA then extensively tested the buoy to ensure the data flows smoothly from the sensors on the buoy via wireless technology to the Internet.

The Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail, administered by the National Park Service, includes a network of water routes that covers 3,000 miles that extend along parts of the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries in Virginia, Maryland, Delaware and Washington, D.C., along routes taken by Captain John Smith in 1607 and 1608 to chart the land and waterways of the Chesapeake Bay. In addition to tracking the routes Captain Smith explored by boat, the trail will highlight the natural history of the Bay and provide new opportunities for recreation, education and tourism in the Chesapeake Bay region, and will encourage stewardship of this national treasure.

NOAA provides science, service, and stewardship to advance NOAA’s mission in the mid-Atlantic region, and to protect and restore the Chesapeake Bay through its programs in fisheries management, habitat restoration, coastal observations and education and collaboration with the Chesapeake Bay Program. The NOAA Chesapeake Bay Office was established in 1992 to provide a focus for NOAA’s multiple capabilities and activities in the Chesapeake Bay.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, an agency of the U.S. Commerce Department, is celebrating 200 years of science and service to the nation. From the establishment of the Survey of the Coast in 1807 by Thomas Jefferson to the formation of the Weather Bureau and the Commission of Fish and Fisheries in the 1870s, much of America's scientific heritage is rooted in NOAA.

NOAA 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.

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On the Web:


NOAA Chesapeake Bay Office:

Chesapeake Bay Interpretive Buoy System:

Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail:  


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