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NFRA and Pending Legislation Ann Jochens GCOOS Regional Coordinator GCOOS Committees Meetings New Orleans, LA 27 November 2007.

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Presentation on theme: "NFRA and Pending Legislation Ann Jochens GCOOS Regional Coordinator GCOOS Committees Meetings New Orleans, LA 27 November 2007."— Presentation transcript:

1 NFRA and Pending Legislation Ann Jochens GCOOS Regional Coordinator GCOOS Committees Meetings New Orleans, LA 27 November 2007

2 11 Regional Associations All at various stages of maturity PacIOOS CaRA

3 The 11 Regions came together to form the National Federation of Regional Associations (NFRA) Founded in February, 2005 A non-profit association dedicated to: –Representing the needs of the 11 Regional Association to IOOS partners and others –Developing “one voice” for the regional perspective –Education through communication of lessons learned, success stories

4 2 nd Annual Regional Workshop held in Florida in October 2007 1)T emplates for regional conceptual designs drafted and subsequently refined, approved and sent to Ras. Zdenka Willis of NOAA's IOOS Office asked for the first version of these plans by Dec 20 to assist with the Senate report and planning efforts. 2)Worked on development of consistent terms for common elements and components to make synthesis of programs easier. 3)Discussed how the various plans being developed by the RAs (conceptual designs, business plans, strategic plans, DMAC plan) relate to each other and directions to RAs on what planning documents are required by whom and when. 4) NFRA will prepare a white paper for the IWGOO outlining how RAs are interacting with federal agencies and providing suggestions for how these relationships can be improved and enhanced. 5)Regional DMAC plan guidance document will be revised following RA review and comment. DMAC plans will be part of RAs business plans. 6)NOAA needs performance metrics to include in future RCOOS contract requirements. NFRA formed a small working group to start developing these.

5 The Critical Issue: Funding FY07 -- Transition from earmarks to competitive funding –IOOS BAA -- $14.9 m awarded to 23 regional programs, including 11 RCOOS development awards (5 multi year awards and 6 single year awards). –IOOS RA awards -- $4.4 m being competed now. All 11 RAs have submitted proposals. FY 08 – possible amounts include: –Senate mark =$29m –House and Pres. Budget = $11.5m –Possible compromise = $17.5 (could be any number) –No one knows when Congress will enact a budget but rumors are it could be late this year and may end up as a omnibus or mini-bus bill. NOAA needs ~ $11 m to fulfill out year obligations of existing grants. Bottom line - Need at least the Senate mark to keep IOOS moving forward. RAs should prepare contingency plans for different scenarios

6 IOOS Legislation House passes IOOS legislation! The House Energy Bill, HR 3221 “New Direction for Energy Independence, National Security, and Consumer Protection Act” includes the Allen IOOS legislation as Section 7473 of the bill, “Enhancing Climate Change Predictions. ” –House Bill differs from the Senate version but retains many of the key elements sought by NFRA and others as key to moving IOOS forward: NORLC will establish an Interagency Working Group (IWG), responsible for overseeing IOOS. An interagency program office is housed in NOAA, reports to the IWG NOAA is the lead federal agency Tort liability for dissemination of data by certified regions Allows federal employees to participate in RAs Renames RAs to “Regional Information Coordination Entities” (doesn’t change purpose -- and, no, we can’t explain why they insisted on this term) Senate – S950 introduce early this fall. It has been reported out of committee but with several holds. Similar language has been adopted by the Senate twice before so it is expected to pass.

7 Comparison of IOOS Bills S 950HR 2337 OversightNORLC IWGNot requiredYes IPOIn NOAA NOAA LeadYes RegionsRAs and RCOOSRICEs Adv PanelNoYes LiabilityYes Fed Participation on RA Yes Interagency Fin.Yes Authorization amountUp to $150,000No

8 What are “Regional Information Coordination Entities”? “an organization that is certified or established by the lead Federal agency and coordinating State, Federal, local and private interests at a regional level with the responsibility of engaging the private and public sectors in designing, operating, and improving regional coastal and ocean observing system in order to ensure the provision of data and information that meet needs of user groups from the respective regions” Such term includes Regional Association as described by the System Plan”

9 Critical Issues for IOOS RAs FUNDING! Key to sustain existing capacity in all regions to build a national system. Transition to contracts – NOAA wants to shift from grants to contracts to fund regional operations. Contracts require deliverables on a specified schedule while grants tend to be open-ended and are traditionally used for research projects. Key issues: –Merge funding for RAs and RCOOS into one funding vehicle –Multi-year awards (3-5 years) –Regional competition of awards (regions conduct bids for operation of system) RA Certification –NOAA is interested in exploring other vehicles to accomplishing goals of certification rather than a lengthy formal certification process. For example, an eligibility requirement for competing for a contract would be the completion of a business plan and governance structure. Certification for DMAC compliance would also be part of the contracting arrangement Conceptual Designs –Conceptual designs needed for RA business plans and to articulate the regional contribution to IOOS.

10 Summary FY08 is a critical time for IOOS. Many of the elements of the program are coming together at the federal and regional level but funding is needed to ensure we don’t lose what has been developed to date.

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