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Regional Coastal Ocean Observing System – Strategic Operational Plan

Below is an outline of the SECOORA Regional Coastal Ocean Observing System – Strategic Operational Plan for 2020-2025. The SECOORA Board adopted the plan in December 2019.  It will serve as a guide for future investments in SECOORA’s regional coastal ocean observing system (RCOOS). 

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  1. SECOORA staff and Board of Directors, to establish priorities for funding decisions;
  2. The IOOS Program Office, to inform and meet certification requirements;
  3. SECOORA members, to articulate priorities and provide guideposts for future activities;
  4. Regional stakeholders and potential members, to demonstrate capabilities and describe connections to regional needs and priorities.


An Investment Opportunity Matrix provides a high-level overview of the document and is broken down by RCOOS subcomponent and cross referenced against the focus areas in which SECOORA has already invested or could invest in the future. The matrix is meant to be a quick reference guide to the RCOOS Plan.

Overview provides regional and national context for SECOORA’s work.

Focus Areas describe the focus areas that guide our work: Ecosystems, including Water Quality and Living Marine Resources; Marine Operations; Coastal Hazards and Climate Variability.  For each sub-topic listed within the focus area, the following information is provided:

  • Challenges: defines key management challenges in the region
  •  Priority Geographic Area(s): identifies the most critical geographic areas
  • Partner Activities: examples of related efforts by state, federal, and NGO partners
  •  Core Variables Required: core variables as defined by IOOS with other data identified as needed
  •  Current SECOORA Investments: funded RCOOS components
  • Additional SECOORA Investment Opportunities: needs defined by stakeholder engagement, subject matter expert discussion, and previous observing platform gap analyses.

RCOOS Subcomponents identifies current investments and previously identified stakeholder needs for observing platforms, modeling, data management and communications, products, and outreach and education efforts. 

Additional plans that expand on individual focus area topics and RCOOS subcomponents will be developed over time and serve as addendums to the RCOOS plan.  Examples follow:


The plan covers the 5-year period, 2020 – 2025 and goes into effect in fiscal year 2021, aligning with the SECOORA federal funding period. This plan will be reviewed and updated annually by the SECOORA Science Committee. A comprehensive review and revision, with input from the Board of Directors, Members, and stakeholders will occur every 5 years.