$4.55 M to Support Ocean and Coastal Observing in Southeast

These investments are in coordination with over 22 partner organizations in the Southeast from academia, the private sector, federal and state government partners.

October 8, 2021
A new initiative for SECOORA will deploy water level sensors in the Southeast. The project will provide much needed real-time water level data to local communities. Pictured above is Jennette’s Pier in North Carolina where a pilot sensors is already installed. Image credit: https://www.outerbanks.org/listing/jennettes-pier-mp-16-5/1180/

Charleston, SC. Friday, October 8, 2021SECOORA (Southeast Coastal Ocean Observing Regional Association) received $4.55 million in federal funding to monitor and interpret changes in coastal weather, sea-levels, and water quality, as well as observe marine life in the Southeast U.S. 

SECOORA invests in ocean observing to support the marine economy, increase ocean safety, and study the environment. This year is the first of a new five-year cooperative agreement with the U.S. Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS®).

If you listen to weather reports, boat, fish, swim, live or work along the coast, it’s likely you’ve made use of some of the data collected by SECOORA and our partners and funded by this grant through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Data from SECOORA are critical for operations like search and rescue, harmful algal bloom forecasting, maritime transportation, and severe weather forecasting. For example, meteorologists at the National Weather Service (NWS) use SECOORA data to create and verify weather forecasts. SECOORA is the eyes on the ocean off the coasts of Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina. 

Headquartered in Charleston, South Carolina, SECOORA’s observing system consists of buoys, biological sensors, water level stations, cameras, high-frequency radars, a glider observatory, models and other products. These investments are in coordination with over 22 partner organizations in the Southeast from academia, the private sector, federal and state government partners.

“SECOORA exists to provide credible information about the coastal ocean to residents, communities and businesses. This funding from Congress and U.S. IOOS enables us to continue that work and grow our observing system.” says Debra Hernandez, Executive Director of SECOORA. 

Expanding Observing

With the new funding, SECOORA will continue to fund and maintain a broad network of observing infrastructure and data tools. To address resiliency planning and emergency response, SECOORA funded scientists will be installing new water levels sensors in coastal communities and deploying met-ocean buoys with water and weather sensors. Additional investments include expanded biological data collection, support for improvements to sargassum forecasts and data management tools to increase usability of fisheries survey data. Below are a few featured projects SECOORA will be funding for the next year. 

Contributing to National Network

SECOORA is one of eleven regional associations of the U.S. Integrated Ocean Observing System. Over $41 million was awarded this year across the U.S. IOOS. Regional associations for coordinating local coastal and ocean observing and decision-support projects that address community needs and integrate into a comprehensive national system.

List of Institutions Being Supported

  • American Shore and Beach Preservation Association
  • Axiom Data Science
  • Coastal Carolina University 
  • East Carolina University – Coastal Studies Institute 
  • Fathom Science
  • Fisheries Data Solutions
  • Florida International University 
  • FWC Fish and Wildlife Research Institute
  • Georgia Department of Natural Resources 
  • Georgia Tech
  • Mote Marine Laboratory
  • North Carolina State University 
  • RDSea International
  • Renaissance Computing Institute at University of North Carolina
  • South Carolina Department of Natural Resources
  • University of Georgia Skidaway Institute of Oceanography
  • University of Miami
  • University of North Carolina Chapel Hill
  • University of North Carolina Wilmington
  • University of South Carolina
  • University of South Carolina Beaufort 
  • University of South Florida College of Marine Science


SECOORA – Southeast Coastal Ocean Observing Regional Association – is the coastal ocean observing system for the Southeast U.S. Our mission is to observe, understand, and increase awareness of our coastal ocean; promoting knowledge, economic and environmental health through strong regional partnerships.

SECOORA is one of 11 regional coastal observing systems that comprise the NOAA led United States Integrated Ocean Observing System (U.S. IOOS®). IOOS is essentially the weather service for the coastal oceans and Great Lakes, providing the ability to “see” what is happening both above and below the surface and making that information readily available. IOOS includes 17 Federal agencies and a national network of 11 regional observing systems.


Abbey Wakely
Director of Communications