Bipartisan Infrastructure Law summary: "Shall be for established Regional Ocean Partnerships (ROPs) to coordinate the interstate and intertribal management of ocean and coastal resources and to implement their priority actions, including to enhance associated sharing and integration of Federal and non-Federal data ROPs, or their equivalent.”
Regional Ocean Partnerships (ROPs) are regional organizations voluntarily convened by governors and working in collaboration with federal and tribal governments, as well as other stakeholders, to address ocean and coastal issues of common concern in that region. Established ROPs include the Northeast Regional Ocean Council, the Mid-Atlantic Regional Council on the Ocean, the West Coast Ocean Alliance, and the Gulf of Mexico Alliance. These partnerships, along with IOOS Regional Associations in regions where a partnership does not exist, will also enhance sharing and integration of federal and non-federal data. NOAA will set aside $1 million per year to enable tribes to engage with the ROPs.
Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) funds to ROPs will enhance and support the priorities established through the partnerships’ shared goals, objectives, plans, and strategies. Seventy percent of the funds will enable these partnerships to conduct projects that support Administration priorities on tackling the climate crisis (Executive Order 14008) and the goals of the America the Beautiful initiative, as well as directing resources to underserved communities (Executive Order 13985). This work will focus on implementing regional ocean partnership priority activities based on the shared management challenges faced by that region.
ROPs have vetted work plans and strategies which reflect the management priorities of each region, including offshore energy, aquaculture, coastal resilience, education and engagement, data access, and tribal participation. Potential projects include:
- Identifying, integrating, and supplementing observations related to ocean acidification and pursuing strategies to tackle increased acidification of ocean waters;
- Convening government, industry and stakeholders to consider large-scale current and future uses of ocean areas; identify best practices for ocean co-use; and work with industry and agencies to augment data portal products for use in projects planning;
- Engaging tribes in discussions about ocean management, including effective tribal consultation and incorporation of traditional knowledge into data products;
- Identifying and preserving aquatic habitats (such as wetlands and mangroves) that provide protection from sea level rise and storm surge, and other benefits;
- Documenting the extent of marine debris in coastal waters and implementing strategies to reduce the sources and use of the debris; and
- Coordinating across jurisdictions and agencies to leverage data, services, and technical assistance to better serve disadvantaged communities in becoming more resilient as they work to adapt to coastal hazards and a changing climate.
The remaining 30 percent of these funds will support enhanced regional capacity to share and integrate federal and non-federal data in every region, including the development of information portals to increase access to data and products that support regional coastal, ocean, and Great Lakes management priorities. These improvements will be critical to inform increasing demand for ocean uses, such as offshore wind, supporting sustainability and tracking climate impacts on shifting ecosystems, and making data accessible to all, including the underserved.
$56M over 5 years