dated by the Act, the Subcommittee on Ocean Science and Technology (SOST) established the Interagency Working Group on Ocean Acidification (IWGOA), which includes representatives from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), National Science Foundation (NSF), Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), Department of State (DOS), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), and the U.S. Navy. The group has been meeting regularly and has drafted the Strategic Plan for Federal Research and Monitoring of Ocean Acidification (from here on referred to as the Strategic Plan). As described in the FOARAM Act, the goals of the Strategic Plan are to “advance the understanding of ocean acidification and its physical, chemical, and biological impact;” and to “improve the ability to assess the socioeconomic impacts of ocean acidification; and provide information for the development of adaptation and mitigation strategies.” The Strategic Plan is to include five program elements: (1) monitoring of ocean chemistry and biological impacts associated with ocean acidification; (2) research to understand impacts on marine organisms and food webs and to track marine ecosystem responses; (3) modeling to predict changes in biogeochemical cycles and ecosystems; (4) technology development; and (5) assessment of socioeconomic impacts of ocean acidification and development of adaptation and mitigation strategies. The FOARAM Act also directs NOAA to request a review by the NRC of the Strategic Plan. Our report is the response to this charge (see committee’s task below).
The draft Strategic Plan was submitted to the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) for review in the summer of 2011 and was approved by OSTP in May 2012. The draft Strategic Plan was published for public comment in June of 2012. The creation of the Strategic Plan for Federal Research and Monitoring of Ocean Acidification, following the mandates of the FOARAM Act, represents an important next step forward in the development of a comprehensive, integrated, and cost-effective program for examining the diverse facets of ocean acidification.
As indicated in the previous section, our committee was asked to review the IWGOA Strategic Plan for Federal Research and Monitoring on Ocean Acidification based on the Program Elements described in the FOARAM Act of 2009 and the advice provided to the IWGOA through the 2010 NRC report, Ocean Acidification: A National Strategy to Meet the Challenges of a Changing Ocean. More specifically, the review is to consider the following elements: goals and objectives; metrics for evaluation; mechanisms for coordination, integration, and evaluation; means to transition