Resending press release sent by J. Ogden 10/24/95

Sandy Vargo svargo at
Wed Oct 25 09:47:38 EDT 1995

Due to the usual e-mail glitches some of you were unable to read the  
press release concerning the dismantling of the Sand Key station sent by  
J. Ogden yesterday.  I am resending it is what I hope is  a more readable  
format.  Please let me know if you still get a garbled message. 
                      University of South Florida 
                            St. Petersburg 


October 25, 1995 


The NOAA National Data Buoy Center (NDBC), a branch of the National Weather Service, will 
dismantle the weather and oceanographic monitoring station at Sand Key south of Key West 
before the end of November.  This action is the first in a series of cost-cutting measures that will 
compromise the capabilities of the remaining 5 similar stations purchased by the Florida Institute 
of Oceanography (FIO) and installed under a cooperative agreement with NDBC to monitor 
Florida's reefs.  The other stations are located at Fowey Rocks, Molasses Reef, Sombrero Reef, 
the Dry Tortugas and Florida Bay.  The stations cost approximately $85,000 each for installation 
and are maintained and operated by two technicians located at the Keys Marine Laboratory in 
Long Key and the NDBC.  The total annual budget for maintenance of both the oceanographic 
and meteorological portions of the stations is $300,000.  

The FIO, a consortium of the State University System, installed the stations as part of its 
Macarthur Foundation-funded SEAKEYS monitoring program in 1989.  The SEAKEYS Program 
scientists at cooperating universities documented the decline of Keys coral reefs, the impact of 
sewage on nearshore waters, and the connection between Florida Bay and the coral reef tract.  
In addition to supporting this effort, the stations provide useful information on weather and ocean 
conditions to the general public, Sanctuary personnel, the Department of Environmental 
Protection (DEP), the Marine Patrol, dive operators, fishing guides, and federal and state 
agencies.  The solar-powered and satellite-linked stations provided a unique regional profile of 
Hurricane Andrew in 1992 and the Great Winter Storm of 1993 and documented annual winter 
cold fronts and summer calms leading to high water temperatures which are implicated in coral 
bleaching.  They also recorded dramatically lowered salinity in the Keys from the 1993 summer 
floods along the Mississippi River.   

Recognizing the need for the information, the National Weather Service has funded the 
continuation of the meteorological component of the stations at Fowey, Molasses, Sombrero and 
the Dry Tortugas.  NOAA through the Sanctuary and the DEP have provided interim funding 
until March 1996 for the oceanographic sensors at these same stations.  However, there are no 
further funds available for Sand Key and the fate of the remaining Florida Bay station will be 
decided in the coming months.   

PAGE 2/2 

The loss of the Sand Key station will compromise the Keys-wide oceanographic observations 
coordinated by the FIO and will damage the development of oceanographic observational 
capabilities basic to adaptive management.  Should permanent funding not become available for 
maintenance of both the meteorological and oceanographic portions of the remaining stations, the 
investment of well over $1 million will be lost at the very time when the data are most needed 
for the complex monitoring, management, and research plans now being implemented in Florida 
Bay and in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. 


John C. Ogden, Director 
Dr. Sandra Vargo, Assistant Director 
Florida Institute of Oceanography 
830 First Street South 
St. Petersburg  Florida 33701 

813-893-9109 (fax)  

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