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January 19, 2024

White House Announces $9.6 Million for Regional Ocean Partnerships

© willyam / Adobe Stock

© willyam / Adobe Stock

The Department of Commerce and NOAA on Friday announced $9.6 million in funding is available through four established Regional Ocean Partnerships and five Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS) Regional Associations. The funding supports cross-jurisdictional priorities and data sharing that address the most pressing ocean and coastal management issues within each region. This investment is part of President Biden’s Investing in America agenda and funded by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Act.

Regional Ocean Partnerships are organizations that are voluntarily convened by coastal states working in collaboration with tribal governments, federal agencies and local stakeholders to address ocean and coastal issues of common concern. These partnerships, along with IOOS Regional Associations, serve to enhance associated sharing and integration of federal and non-federal ocean data.

“Access to coastal and ocean data is a pivotal first step for communities to be able to prepare for and tackle local climate change, such as sea level rise and coastal flooding,” said Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo. “These funding opportunities, made possible thanks to President Biden’s Investing in America agenda, will help NOAA increase access to data and products that support regionally driven coastal, ocean and Great Lakes management priorities and help address the climate crisis.”

This funding, provided by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, will allow NOAA to increase the ability of Regional Ocean Partnerships to address priorities specific to their regions, such as offshore wind planning, monitoring ocean conditions to coordinate management regionally and advancing shared tribal priorities. The majority of this funding will be invested in Regional Ocean Partnerships. The remaining funds will enhance the ability of Regional Ocean Partnerships and Regional Associations to manage and share ocean and coastal data. This knowledge sharing will allow coastal communities to better plan for future challenges, such as climate change. It will also facilitate the incorporation of information and perspectives from the public, including underserved communities and tribes.

The resulting work will be critical to planning for a range of ocean uses and issues, such as offshore wind, climate impacts on shifting ecosystems and expanding the accessibility of ocean and coastal data for informed decisions. This work also advances the Biden-Harris Administration’s goal of environmental justice for all, including communities that rely on the ocean and Great Lakes for economic, cultural, spiritual, recreational and food security, as discussed in the recently released U.S. Ocean Justice Strategy.

“NOAA and our partners are focused on ensuring our science, data, products and services benefit communities across the nation,” said Nicole LeBoeuf, director of NOAA’s National Ocean Service. “The activities funded through Regional Ocean Partnerships and IOOS Regional Associations will help bring vital ocean data to those who depend on it to help keep coastal communities safe.”

Applications for established Regional Ocean Partnerships are due April 12, 2024, and applications for Regional Associations will be due this summer. A separate funding opportunity to support tribal engagement in Regional Ocean Partnerships will also be announced later in 2024.

The February 2024 edition of Marine Technology Reporter is focused on Oceanographic topics and technologies.
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