On Monday, June 25, MARACOOS invited staff from the House and Senate offices covering the Mid-Atlantic states and congressional districts to attend an informal luncheon in the Rayburn House Office Building on Capitol Hill. The session drew 28 participants, including 17 congressional staffers from 12 personal and committee offices. Federal agency partners from the U.S. IOOS Program Office, NOAA’s National Ocean Service, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers also participated in the event.
Following a welcome by Dr. Gerhard Kuska, MARACOOS Executive Director, the one-hour session included a panel discussion, composed of constituents and experts speaking on the benefits that MARACOOS partners bring to the stakeholders in each of the user-identified theme areas: Maritime Safety and Resiliency, Ecological Decision Support, Water Quality, Coastal Inundation, and Offshore Wind Energy. Following the formal panel discussion, audience participants posed questions to the panel.
The panel, moderated by Tony Macdonald of Monmouth University’s Urban Coast Institute, included:
- Dr. Scott Glenn, Professor, Rutgers University, and MARACOOS Board Member, Managing Director and Principal Investigator (speaking on Search and Rescue / Vessel Monitoring)
- Mr. Mike Theiler, Commercial Fishermen from Connecticut (speaking on Ecological Decision Support as it applies to Fisheries)
- Dr. Larry Atkinson, Professor, Old Dominion University, MARACOOS Board Secretary and Principal Investigator (speaking on Coastal Inundation and Offshore Wind Energy)
- Mr. Ed Kelly, Executive Director of the Maritime Association for the Port of NY and NJ, and MARACOOS Board Vice Chair (speaking on Maritime Commerce and Transportation)
- Dr. Bill Boicourt, Professor, University of Maryland, MARACOOS Board Member and Principal Investigator (speaking on Water Quality).
The event was a success for MARACOOS and for U.S. IOOS by increasing further awareness of the activities and benefits of integrated ocean observing and forecasting in the Mid-Atlantic and along the eastern seaboard through the collaboration between MARACOOS, NERACOOS and SECOORA.