Chellie Pingree

From the office of:

Chellie Pingree

Sending Office: Honorable Chellie Pingree
Sent By:

Support Our Oceans and Great Lakes

Support the IOOS Program

Deadline: March 11, 2020

Dear Colleague:

Please join us in signing the attached letter urging the Commerce, Justice, and Science Appropriations Subcommittee to sustain funding for the national network of regional systems under the Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS) within the National Oceanic
and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Ocean Service in the FY21 appropriations bill. The letter specifically requests $45.25 million for the U.S. IOOS Program Office, including for the development of integrated data management systems, coordination
of the federal and regional systems, and system innovation. The FY2020 enacted level was $39 million.

As you may know, IOOS is a coordinated network of national and regional technologies, including satellites, buoys, tide gauges, and underwater vehicles, that work together to generate and deliver continuous data on our coastal waters, Great Lakes, and oceans
so decision makers can improve safety, enhance the economy, and protect the environment. It is a partnership of 17 federal agencies and 11 regional associations that are responsible for engaging the private and public sectors in designing, operating, and improving
regional coastal ocean observing systems.

This year’s requested $6.25 million increase over FY20 levels would continue the work to fill critical gaps in the national observing network. About half of the requested funding will be used to deploy or refurbish High Frequency (HF) radars that detect
the speed and direction of surface currents in real-time. The Coast Guard states that the HF radar data can reduce their search area by two-thirds, thereby shrinking their search area and increasing the likelihood of a successful rescue. This data is also
used by NOAA in preparing and responding to emergencies such as oil spills. The other portion of this funding will be used to purchase, refurbish, and fly underwater profiling gliders. These gliders are a cost-effective and flexible platform for gathering
information on changes happening below the surface of the water. In fact, the Navy estimates that gliders can collect the same data for 1/110th of the cost of ship observations.  

We hope you will join us in supporting competitive funding for the national network of regional systems under IOOS for FY21 at $45.25 million.

If you would like to add your name to the letter, please contact Lisa Pahel at (Rep. Pingree),  Johanna Montiel at (Rep. Carbajal) or Valentina Valenta at (Rep. Posey) by COB on March 11, 2020.


Chellie Pingree                   Bill Posey                    Salud Carbajal

Member of Congress        Member of Congress          Member of Congress


The Honorable Jose Serrano


Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice and Science

H-310 Capitol Building

Washington, DC 20515

The Honorable Robert Aderholt

 Ranking Member

Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice and Science

H-310 Capitol Building

Washington, DC 20515

Dear Chairman Serrano and Ranking Member Aderholt:

We write to thank you for your past support of the Integrated Ocean Observing System (U.S. IOOS) and to request that you provide $45.25 million for the Regional IOOS line and $7.3 million for the national system under the National Oceanic and Atmospheric
Administration’s (NOAA) National Ocean Service in the Fiscal Year 2021 Appropriations bill. IOOS is the nation’s premier coastal and Great Lakes observing program that provides information that helps protect lives, economies, and our environment. The requested
appropriations will sustain funding for the national network of 11 regional coastal observing systems, allow for the deployment of much-needed technology to underserved areas, and provide ensure that the information is reaching people in a timely fashion and
in accessible formats. This request supports critical program management and system development across the 17 federal agencies that comprise IOOS.  

Our priority is to fully fund for the national network of regional coastal observing systems that generates and delivers reliable information about the nation’s oceans, coasts, and Great Lakes. This request ensures the continued and uninterrupted operation
of the 11 regional associations that work with regional partners to improve our understanding of the unique characteristics of the nation’s diverse regions and integrate data from federal and non-federal sources, including the private sector. The regional
associations deploy, operate, and maintain over 300 observing assets that collect oceanographic and coastal data to improve safety, enhance the economy, and protect the environment. IOOS increases economic efficiency and minimizes redundancy by leveraging
non-federal investments. In fact, over fifty percent of the marine data used by the National Weather Service comes from non-federal sources.  IOOS Regional Observations also include the Marine Sensor Innovation Program, which supports research, development,
testing, and evaluation of new sensor technology, observing strategies, and modeling.  

The Regional IOOS funding will support critical gaps in the national monitoring system.   Nearly half of this funding will be used to deploy High Frequency (HF) radars in areas that do not have surface current data available or rely on outdated and inadequate
systems to gather this information. The Coast Guard has stated that the surface current information can reduce their search areas in an emergency by up to two-thirds. A smaller search area means shorter and more effective searches and more successful rescues.
HF radar data also provides benefits to weather forecasting, oil spill tracking and mitigation, and navigation safety. 

This request will provide much-needed funding to purchase, deploy, and maintain underwater profiling gliders that provide essential data on the coastal ocean and Great Lakes environments at a fraction of the cost of other data collection methods. In fact,
the Navy estimates that these gliders are able to collect the same data for 1/100th of the cost of ship observations.  Glider data is integral to improving hurricane warnings, ensuring safe ship navigation, detecting harmful algal blooms, and supporting fishery
management. Funding this glider program is a cost-saving investment that will ensure we have the information necessary for safe and effective use of our oceans and Great Lakes.

Finally, this funding will support providing streamlined and accessible access to the data and information as well as program development at the national level. Translating the raw observations into useful information in a timely manner and in an accessible
format ensures that fishermen, mariners, property owners, businesses, emergency managers, and others have the information they need to make decisions that affect safety, businesses, and the environment. 

We appreciate the support for IOOS included in the Committee’s FY20 appropriations bill and want to emphasize the need to fully fund the national network of regional observing systems. The gaps in our nation’s observing systems expose our constituents to
unnecessary risk and inhibit our ability to fully understand and use our waterways. The availability of real-time data on coastal dynamics can be a matter of life and death for mariners, fishermen, and coastal residents. For that reason, we respectfully request
that the Committee provide the necessary funding of $45.25 million to the Regional IOOS within NOAA’s National Ocean Service.



Related Legislative Issues

Selected legislative information: Appropriations, Natural Resources, Science

icon eDC logo e-Dear Colleague version 2.0
e-Dear Colleagues are intended for internal House use only.