April 2015

Community, University and Nonprofits Rally to Raise Money for Replacement Buoy

Community effort raises $15,000 of $16,000 needed to replace offshore buoy.

“We are almost there,” said Jennifer Dorton, University of North Carolina Wilmington Coastal Ocean Research and Monitoring Program (UNCW CORMP) Program Manager, when asked about progress on the fund raising campaign to replace buoy 41036 in Onslow Bay, NC.

When buoy 41036 was decommissioned by NOAA because of lack of funding, UNC Wilmington personnel, who operate other buoys off North Carolina and South Carolina, were inundated with questions from community members about what could be done to get a buoy back out in Onslow Bay.  UNCW CORMP teamed with the community and SECOORA to start the campaign, Buoy for a Cause, to help raise the funds needed to re-deploy a marine weather buoy in place of decommissioned buoy 41036.

The Southeast Coastal and Ocean Observing Regional Association (SECOORA), a 501(c) (3) nonprofit, coordinates funding for nonfederal coastal and ocean monitoring activities in the southeast.  SECOORA receives most of its funding from NOAA, and uses the money to fund institutions like UNCW to operate ocean observing systems.  “Unfortunately, there is just not enough money to meet all the needs that are out there,” said Debra Hernandez, SECOORA Executive Director. She went on to say, “That’s why this fundraising campaign is so exciting. It demonstrates not only how important these buoys are to communities, but also proves that crowd-sourcing can work for us to raise money.”  

In less than two months, more than 93% of the funds needed have been raised.  SECOORA and UNCW CORMP would like to extend a special thank you to the William H. Donner Foundation for donating $14,000, the Wrightson Ramsing Foundation for contributing $1,000, and the many individuals that generously donated to Buoy for a Cause.  Additionally, NOAA and the US Integrated Ocean Observing System Office are key partners.  “Without the ongoing federal funding for our Coastal Ocean Research and Monitoring Program, there is no way we could deploy and maintain a replacement buoy for only $16,000.  This effort is heavily leveraged by all our other work,” said Lynn Leonard, Principle Investigator for UNCW CORMP.

For almost a decade, buoy 41036 provided meteorological support for the Onslow Bay, NC marine community.  In January 2015, the federally owned buoy was pulled from the water when the funding was no longer available. "We are overwhelmed with the community support. With over 25 donations so far, our community is rallying together to show real-time data are necessary for the maritime community to know if it is safe to go out on the water,” stated Jennifer Dorton, UNCW CORMP Program Manager.

The goal is to raise $16,000 by May 15, 2015. Once the fundraising goal is met it will take approximately 2 months for a UNCW CORMP buoy to be deployed off the coast of Onslow Bay. Any additional funds raised will be used to fund next year’s maintenance costs.

If you are interested in contributing to Buoy for a Cause, please visit www.secoora.org/buoy, or contact Jennifer Dorton, UNCW CORMP Program Manger, at dortonj@uncw.edu, 910-962-2777. SECOORA is a 501(c)(3); all donations are tax deductible.

Media Contact
Jennifer Dorton, UNCW CORMP Program Manger
E: dortonj@uncw.edu | PH: 910-962-2777

UM Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science adds Helicopter to Research Resources

On April 13, 2015 the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School added a commercial helicopter (Airbus Helicopter H125) to its research fleet. The helicopter observation platform (HOP) is equipped with advanced technology for studying critical physical, chemical and biological processes near the Earth’s surface.

With the capability to hover just above the surface, HOP is ideal for conducting different types of remote sensing observations, such as airborne sea-surface measurements. Fully fueled and with both pilot and co-pilot on board, the HOP can carry a scientific payload of up to about 1,000 lbs internally (about 3,000 lbs externally) and fly for nearly 4 hours without refueling at an airspeed of 65 knots, which is ideal for in-situ observations.

The airborne research laboratory is a unique tool that will fill critical gaps in chemical and biological observations of the environment. Read more here.




SECOORA funds Dr. Nick Shay (UM Rosenstiel School) to support four WERA radar arrays along the coast of Miami, Florida.  High frequency (HF) radar systems measure the speed and direction of ocean surface currents in near real-time. Ocean surface currents are fundamental for spill response and search and rescue operations. UM Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science is a member of SECOORA. Become a member today!


Story adapted from University of Miami press release, “UM Rosenstiel School Unveils New Helicopter Observation Platform”

Topic Area 2 of the FY 2016 US IOOS FFO

SECOORA is planning to develop a proposal in response to Topic Area 2: “Verification and Validation of observing technologies for studying and monitoring coastal ocean environments of the FY 2016 US IOOS funding opportunity based on the interest and response from SECOORA members.  Details on the Topic Area 2 of the US IOOS FFO can be found at http://secoora.org/webfm_send/1265. SECOORA will be following its Proposal Development Policies outlined here at http://secoora.org/webfm_send/1022

The full proposal needs to be submitted by August 31, 2015. If you are interested in collaborating on a response, please submit a Letter of Intent in relation to the FFO Topic Area 2 following the template below by Wednesday April 15, 2015.

LOI Responses should be sent to Vembu Subramanian (vembu@secoora.org) by 5PM ET, Wednesday April 15, 2015.The responses should not exceed 5 pages, with one-inch margins and 12 point text in PDF format and shall provide the following information:

  1. Key organizations/personnel involved
  2. Project Description
  3. Methodology/Technical details
  4. Deliverables and Timeline
  5. Brief budget summary and justification

CVs of key personnel should be attached as an appendix.

Questions regarding LOI 

SECOORA's interest/capabilities in collaborating on a Topic Area 2 proposal are in providing data management, outreach and education, networking and/or fiscal management services.  Please contact us if you are interested in utilizing the SECOORA network and capabilities to collaborate on a proposal. 

For any questions related to this solicitation, please contact Vembu Subramanian, RCOOS Manager, SECOORA via either email (vembu@secoora.org) or telephone (727.641.5258).