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October 22, 2007

Contact:  Ben Sherman, NOAA Public Affairs
(301) 713-3066 ext. 178 

NOAA Announces Funding Long Beach, Los Angeles Harbor Integrated Ocean Observing System Maritime Operation Effort

The University of California's Scripps Institution of Oceanography has been awarded $99,000 from NOAA's Integrated Ocean Observing Program (IOOS) for first-year activities as part of a three-year demonstration project that will aid in safe and efficient harbor navigation for the Long Beach-Los Angeles Harbor. The funding is part of a series of 26 competitively awarded funding grants totaling $17.2 million that NOAA is making as the lead federal agency of the IOOS program.

"The awarding of these competitive grants is another significant milestone in establishing 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.

"It is important that NOAA work with our other federal partners to select projects that represent the best regional ideas and capabilities needed to fully develop the U.S.IOOS," continued Lautenbacher. "I believe we have a sound process in place that will serve us well as we continue to build this national program.”

The harbor navigational project will be guided by Scripps Institution of Oceanography who will work closely with officials at the Port of Long Beach-Los Angeles.  The near-real-time navigational website will integrate wave data and nearshore wave models with remotely sensed ocean-surface currents, winds and sea surface temperatures collected by the Southern California Ocean Observing System. It will make these measurements available to navigational pilots. The site will also incorporate tide data from NOAA's National Ocean Service into the product.

Second and third year project plans include field testing of the site and potentially its technology being transferred to other major United States ports for use. Climatic data can significantly impact shipping navigation as well as cargo tonnage levels representing millions of dollars in economic impacts.

This is the first year of competitive funding for regional IOOS projects.  NOAA received 40 proposals seeking more than $32 million in single-year funding.  A peer review panel comprised of professionals evaluated and ranked the proposals. The panel consisted of professionals with expertise in ocean observation, applications and data.  Seven federal agencies, a state agency representative and Ocean.US participated in the peer review.

The projects span the coastal United States including Alaska and Hawaii, and represent a strong mix of regionally relevant product development and data network and delivery applications.  The U.S. IOOS depends on the regional integration of observing system assets, and this focus area was a top priority for NOAA in its leadership charged with developing the operational system.  

“Integrated regional coastal ocean observing system development is a critical element of the fully envisioned U.S. IOOS program,” said Zdenka Willis, NOAA IOOS program director.  “This year’s competitive grants are a positive first step in demonstrating NOAA’s commitment to work in partnership with regional, state and local agencies and institutions."

Activities under the awards will support NOAA’s efforts to develop IOOS which will expand and improve the ability to collect, deliver, and use information from coastal waters, Great Lakes, and the ocean by  providing information in the right format at the right time to scientists, managers, businesses, governments and the public.  

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 60 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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