The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has released the final version of the science plan for the NOAA RESTORE Act Science Program. The plan establishes ten long-term research priorities which will guide how the program invests its funds and explains how prior needs assessments for the Gulf of Mexico region and earlier stakeholder input were used to determine these areas of investment. The plan also provides additional information on how the program is administered and how the program works with partners.
This final version of the plan incorporates many of the recommendations NOAA received during a public comment period on a draft version of the plan. In total, NOAA received 19 sets of comments from organizations and private citizens totaling 241 recommendations all together. An overview of the response to comments NOAA received can be found in the Federal Register notice announcing the plan’s release. The key changes in this final version include a clearer description of NOAA’s role in the program, additional information on the factors the program will consider in translating the long-term research priorities into future funding opportunities, and additional information on the geographic scope of the program.
The Science Program looks forward to continued dialogue with those who care about the Gulf of Mexico and the impact this program can have on the region. The Program will work closely with the research and resource management communities to address the priorities captured in the plan.