Wicker: Ocean Monitoring Bill Cleared by Senate

Legislation Includes Priorities for Gulf Coast, Local Universities

September 26, 2016

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Roger Wicker, R-Miss., today announced that the Senate has passed his legislation to reauthorize the U.S. Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS). The bill, S.1886, was approved by the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation in December 2015. It is cosponsored by Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash.

“I am pleased that the Senate took action on this proposal, working to improve weather forecasting, energy siting and production, and marine navigation safety,” Wicker said. “This program not only benefits Mississippi’s Gulf Coast, but it also plays a role in our national defense, search-and-rescue operations, and marine commerce – impacting efforts to conduct critical scientific studies.”

IOOS was first authorized in 2009 by the “Integrated Coastal Ocean Observing Act.” The program is made up of a partnership of 17 federal agencies and 11 regional associations. It provides scientists and researchers with vital information about the nation’s coasts and oceans, as well as the Great Lakes.

Over half of the marine data now assembled and disseminated by the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Data Buoy Center – located in Bay Saint Louis, Mississippi, and part of IOOS – is from non-federal sources.

Ocean modeling teams based at Stennis – made up of the Navy, the GCOOS-RA, University of Southern Mississippi, Mississippi State University, NOAA, and others – coordinate to develop the best physical and ecosystem models on the Gulf. The NOAA National Weather Service uses the Navy model results for their public safety hurricane forecasts.