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House Passes Legislation Championed by Reps. Bonamici, Young to Improve Ocean Data Collection and Information Sharing

Press Release

Date: Dec. 3, 2020
Location: Washington, DC

Today Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR-01) and Congressman Don Young (R-AK-At Large), Co-Chairs of the Bipartisan House Oceans Caucus, applauded passage of the Coordinated Ocean Observations and Research Act -- legislation they championed in the House to improve data collection and information sharing between the federal agencies and coastal observation partners dedicated to monitoring oceans, coasts, and the Great Lakes.

"The ocean covers more than 70 percent of the planet, but despite our intrinsic connection to our ocean we know very little about what is beneath its surface," said Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici. "Coastal communities rely on accurate ocean data and monitoring for information about ocean acidification, harmful algal blooms and hypoxia, sea level rise, flooding, navigation, and port security. In the Pacific Northwest, we are fortunate to have the Northwest Association of Networked Ocean Observing Systems leading the way. I was pleased to work with my House Oceans Caucus Co-Chair, Congressman Don Young, to support these important ocean observation efforts."

"This is a great day for our oceans and the health of our marine ecosystems for generations to come. This is not just an environmental issue, but an economic one too. Our integrated Ocean Observation System helps make maritime commerce possible," said Congressman Don Young. "Equipping our fishermen and ship captains with the best possible data is essential to making our waters safer and more navigable. Accurate data collection is also critical to maritime search and rescue operations, fisheries' health, and the mitigation of coastal hazards. I am very grateful to my Oceans Caucus Co-Chair, Suzanne Bonamici, for her continued partnership on this and countless other Caucus priorities. Our work is not done. In the 117th Congress and beyond, I look forward to continuing to move future Oceans Caucus priorities across the finish line. The health of our waters depends on it."

The bill, which includes the technical changes implemented by the U.S. Senate, would reauthorize the Integrated Coastal and Ocean Observation System Act through Fiscal Year 2024. The eleven regional association networks of the Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS) work with regional partners to develop, operate, and maintain more than 300 observing assets that collect oceanographic and coastal data, including information about rising sea levels, coastal flooding, harmful algal blooms, and hypoxia. It now heads to the President's desk to be signed into law.

The bipartisan House Oceans Caucus is committed to taking action to protect the health and future of our oceans. This Congress, the Caucus is focused on environmental stressors (including ocean acidification, harmful algal blooms, and hypoxia); marine debris; ocean data and monitoring; coastal resiliency; and illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing.