January 2021 IOOS Association News Updates

ICOOS Act Reauthorization

On December 31, 2020, the Coordinated Ocean Observations and Research Act of 2020 (S. 914, PL 116-271) was signed into law, reauthorizing the IOOS program through fiscal year (FY) 2025. The bill passed both chambers of Congress unanimously, and each chamber passed it twice due to technical amendments - a strong signal of congressional support of the program. We want to thank all who helped make this happen.

“Unanimous consent is a great endorsement of the Program and demonstrates broad support for the innovative framework of IOOS as a federal and regional partnership that is the foundation of IOOS. Our nation's need for timely and meaningful information about our ocean, coasts, and Great Lakes is growing, and having the ICOOS Act reauthorized will help us meet that need,” noted Carl Gouldman, Director of the IOOS Office in NOAA.
Among other key provisions, the act:
  • Allows employees of federal agencies to be members of the regional coastal observing systems, which is important for the design and implementation of integrated system at the regional level.
  • Renames “Regional Information Coordinating Entities” from the original bill to “Regional Coastal Observing Systems.”
  • Reauthorizes the Integrated Coastal and Ocean Observation System through FY 2025, starting at $48 million and increasing by $2 million annually.
  • Expands the responsibilities of the IOOS Program Office to work with the Regional Associations (RA) and users to develop products for decision makers with respect to weather, search and rescue, water quality monitoring, and harmful algal blooms.
  • Establishes staggered terms for advisory committee members.
  • Adds "a product development system to transform observations into products in a format that may be readily used and understood” to the system elements.
  • Clarifies language regarding the disbursement of funds under cooperative agreements by allowing NOAA to execute agreements on a reimbursable or non-reimbursable basis.
  • Requires reporting to Congress on existing gaps in observation infrastructure, an economic vulnerability report, a monitoring prioritization plan, and a strategic research plan.

For more information and for a copy of the Act, click here.

National HAB Observing Network Implementation Strategy

The economic, environmental, and health impacts of harmful algal blooms (HABs) are increasing. The impacts vary depending on the species of HAB; the toxins that are produced; the hydrographic drivers; and the state of public health, local economies, and the ecosystem. Many regions are now experiencing multiple HAB problems, posing a significant challenge to managers.

One promising approach for monitoring HABs is the use of autonomous sensors capable of detecting HAB cells and toxins. The National HAB Observing Network Implementation Strategy builds on the NOAA’s Framework for a National HAB Observing Network (NHABON) and describes a cost-effective approach for rapid, early warning of HABs tailored to the needs of each region while taking advantage of leveraging, economies of scale, and coordination. Five pilot projects are currently implementing parts of that NHABON Framework and demonstrating how such a system might work. Ongoing regional research projects funded through other programs are also demonstrating the power of HAB observing capabilities. The system would be scalable and could be implemented incrementally as need and resources dictate.

For more information, see NHABON Framework and NHABON Implementation Strategy.


NAS Releases Sustaining Ocean Observations: Proceedings of a Workshop - in Brief

The National Academies Workshop on Sustaining Ocean Observations examined the challenge of funding long-term, uninterrupted observations needed to understand Earth systems through short-term government funding cycles. The workshop explored options for coordination and partnership among research institutions, federal agencies,private industry, and others, and addressed how the community could overcome barriers through communication, governance, and funding. Published in December, the report summarizes the discussions that took place, as well as recommendations made by community members. Read the full report here.

GCOOS HABScope Project Highlighted in NOAA’s Citizen Science Strategy

The Gulf of Mexico Coastal Ocean Observing System (GCOOS) HABscope is featured in NOAA’s Citizen Science Strategy. The HABscope is an innovative tool that allows citizen scientists to facilitate early warning of respiratory irritation caused by Karenia brevis (red tide). HABscope makes it possible to increase red tide monitoring over a wider geographic area and expand the red tide monitoring network throughout the Gulf states in a cost-effective fashion. Click here to learn more about NOAA's Citizen Science Strategy.

Nominations Open for NOAA HSRP Federal Advisory Committee

The NOAA Hydrographic Services Review Panel (HSRP) has announced the 2022 call for nominations of very well-qualified candidates to serve on the HSRP, a federal advisory committee that advises the NOAA Administrator. Nominations are due via email no later than April 26, 2021, and should include a cover letter, resume, and biography. More information about the call for nominations can be found here. To learn more on the NOAA HSRP, click here.








Left: the HABScope system in the field. Right: the AI program identifying Karenia brevis with the green squares. Image Credit: Mote Marine Laboratory and Robert Currier. 

Upcoming Events

February 3 - 4: Ocean Decade U.S. Launch Meeting

March 2, 5, & 9: IOOS Association March Meeting

March 9 - 11: NOAA 2021 Hurricane Center Mariner's Workshop (Virtual)

April 28 - 30: International Conference on Ocean Energy (ICOE 2021) (Virtual)

June 8 - 10: Capital Hill Ocean Week


Funding Opportunities - 
NOAA’s National Sea Grant Office and Ocean Acidification Program announced a new funding opportunity in October 2020. Between two to six projects are expected to be funded for one to three years at a level of $100,000 – 300,000. Proposals must be submitted by March 16, 2021. Click here for more details.
Job Opportunities -