Weather Scuttles Interpretive Buoy's Launch Party


ANNAPOLIS (Nov. 12, 2009) - A new buoy about to be set at the mouth of the Severn River off the coast of Annapolis will be the seventh in a series of high-tech buoys able to transmit real-time water and weather condition data to scientists.

The information gathered by the buoy, which is part of the Chesapeake Bay Interpretive Buoy system, and whose launch was delayed Wednesday by poor weather conditions, will also be available to the public over the phone or online. The data is transmitted from the buoys using technology designed by Verizon.

"These buoys are giving us information that will be critical in restoring the bay," said Maryland Democratic Sen. Ben Cardin at Wednesday's launch ceremony. "These buoys will give us the information real-time to increase accountability."

Cardin has requested $500,000 in additional funding for five more of the buoys, which he said increase tourism, promote education and provide data for scientists working to preserve the bay.

The buoys are placed and maintained by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. NOAA depends on the help of organizations like the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary to monitor the buoys.

"Each of the locations for the buoys is really unique. Some are close to shore some are far away," said Kim Couranz, spokeswoman for the NOAA Chesapeake Bay office. "We really try to build local community support to help us out."

In addition to their scientific importance, each buoy is stationed at a place of historical significance to the journey of Captain John Smith, who explored the bay 400 years ago. Information about Smith's voyage through the Chesapeake is also available through the Web site and phone line.

The data is transmitted from the buoys using technology designed by Verizon.

Rep. John Sarbanes, D-Towson, also attended the buoy launch ceremony. He agreed with Cardin that the real-time information from the buoys will help scientists monitor the effectiveness of bay cleanup initiatives.

"When you think about these buoys, there's a phrase, 'What gets measured gets done,'" said Sarbanes. "If we are going to clean up the Chesapeake Bay this is going to help get it done."

Capital News Service contributed to this report.

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