FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: David Miller
AND HURRICANE PREDICTION PROJECTS
President Bush's Fiscal Year 2002 budget for the Commerce Department's National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration includes more than $11 million natural resource management and hurricane landfall prediction research in Florida.
U.S. Secretary of Commerce Donald L. Evans said, "These budget proposals represent this administration's commitment to ensuring that Florida's coastal natural resources continue to thrive. The Commerce Department and NOAA are placing a high priority on funding projects and programs that meet this goal by providing for additional investments in infrastructure, research and services." A sample of these critical budget initiatives and programs are:
$1.9 million to expand research and monitoring activities in South Florida. As a result of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers construction projects in the Florida Everglades, NOAA fisheries must monitor the impact of inland restoration efforts.
$3 million for a coastal storms initiative to better predict and reduce the watershed impacts of coastal storms. The St. John's River watershed has been identified as the pilot location for the project which will build on existing NOAA prediction capabilities.
6.5 million for the Dr. Nancy Foster Florida Keys Environmental Center located in Key West. This project entails the complete renovation and construction of a multi-agency (NOAA, National Park Service, and the National Fish & Wildlife Service) facility at the former U.S. Navy installation.
The center will stand as a tribute to the late Dr. Nancy Foster, NOAA's assistant administrator for the National Ocean Service. Plans call for an operations center for the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, laboratories, a maintenance facility for mooring buoys, boats and vehicles, dock space, a visitor center, and the consolidation of office space and docks that are currently scattered at multiple leased facilities in the Key West area.
$500,000 for research in coral reef ecology. The Atlantic Oceanographic & Meteorological Laboratory in Miami will manage this research effort in conjunction with the National Undersea Research Program at the Caribbean Marine Research center to better understand ecosystem response through coral bleaching episodes.
$3.7 million for the U.S. Weather Research Program, a cooperative effort between NOAA, the National Science Foundation, and the U.S. Navy. Funds will focus on extending hurricane track predictions up to five days, improving the accuracy for predictions of landfall location and hurricane intensity at landfall. Observations are planned during the upcoming hurricane season along the Florida coast, in the western Atlantic, Carribean and the Gulf of Mexico.
The President's FY 2002 budget request for NOAA is available on the Internet at http://www.noaa.gov