Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

Shown Here:
Passed Senate amended (10/31/2003)

Ocean and Coastal Observation Systems Act - (Sec. 3) Directs the President, through the National Ocean Research Leadership Council (NORLC), to establish and maintain a national integrated ocean and coastal observing system (system) of marine monitoring, data communication and management, data analysis, and research to provide data and information for rapid and timely detection and prediction of changes occurring in the marine environment that impact the Nation's social, economic, and ecological systems.

Establishes an Interagency Planning Office (IPO) within NORLC with various functions. Directs the Administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to operate and maintain a Joint Operations Center (JOC) which reports to NORLC and which has specified authority. Directs NOAA, with respect to JOC operations, to consult with specified officers of departments and agencies represented on the NORLC.

Sets forth system elements and requires subsystem linkages. Requires the system to integrate the capabilities of the Coast Services Center and the National Coastal Data Development Center of NOAA, and other appropriate centers. Requires the research and development program for the system to be conducted under the National Oceanographic Partnership Program (NOPP) and consist of specified elements.

Directs NOAA Administrator, through JOC, to work with representatives of entities in each region that provide ocean data and information to users to form regional associations to develop and operate observing systems in the coastal regions extending to the seaward boundary of the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone, including the Great Lakes. Directs NOAA, through IPO, to initiate pilot projects, including infrastructure capital projects, through NOPP.

(Sec. 4) Authorizes the departments and agencies represented on the NORLC to participate in interagency financing, allowing them to share, transfer, receive, and spend funds appropriated to other members of the NORLC to carry out projects or activities under this Act or under the NOPP.

(Sec. 5) Authorizes appropriations for FY 2004 through 2008, to develop and implement the system, to the following departments and agencies represented on the NORLC: (1) NOAA; (2) the National Science Foundation; (3) the National Aeronautics and Space Administration; (4) the U.S. Coast Guard; (5) the Office of Naval Research; (6) the Office of the Oceanographer of the Navy; and (7) other Federal agencies engaged in ocean and coastal-related activities. Requires a reservation of at least 51 percent of the NOAA funds for grants to develop and implement regional coastal observing systems. Authorizes NOAA to make available a specified amount in FY 2004 to demonstrate the capabilities of shore-based high-frequency surface wave radar.