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April 16, 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, or contact Jennifer Dorton, UNCW CORMP Program Manger, at, 910-962-2777. SECOORA is a 501(c)(3); all donations are tax deductible.

Media Contact
Jennifer Dorton, UNCW CORMP Program Manger
E: | PH: 910-962-2777