[Coral-List] Aquarius Reef Base Loses Funding

Curtis Kruer kruer at 3rivers.net
Sat Sep 15 18:12:28 EDT 2012

Maybe an explanation of the practical value of Aquarius (other than as an "educational" tool) would be useful in your fundraising efforts, in a time of so many competing needs.

Just a thought. Thanks.

Curtis Kruer

-----Original Message-----
From: coral-list-bounces at coral.aoml.noaa.gov [mailto:coral-list-bounces at coral.aoml.noaa.gov] On Behalf Of Gino Sabatini
Sent: Saturday, September 15, 2012 1:20 PM
To: coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
Subject: [Coral-List] Aquarius Reef Base Loses Funding

-from Sea Technology (Sept 2012) news section:

Aquarius Reef Base Loses Funding. The federal government has eliminated funding for NOAAs Undersea Research Program, which includes the Aquarius Reef Base, the worlds only undersea research station. The last federally funded mission to Aquarius, its 117th, occurred in July. Funding for the undersea research program fell from $7.4 million in fscal year 2011 to $3.98 million in fscal 2012, before being cut altogether in fscal year 2013, while NOAA has asked for a $163 million increase to more than $2 billion to fund its weather satellite program in 2013, The Washington Post reported. Aquarius, operated by the University of North Carolina Wilmington, which will no longer host it after December, is adjacent to deep coral reefs in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary at a depth of 63 feet. The 81-ton structure houses six bunks, a shower and toilet, and computers with wireless telemetry. It has been used as a base for saturation-diving research expeditions and for simulation training for astronauts. Sylvia Earle, who co-led Aquarius last mission, said people should not be canceled out completely from ocean feldwork in favor of technology. You cant surprise a machine, she told NPR, but you certainly can surprise a human being, and a human being can react with a body of knowledge. Thats the joy of exploration.. If you knew what you were going to fnd, you wouldnt have to go.. But its the unexpected you have to prepare for, which is what humans do. A continuing resolution is planned to be introduced in the U.S. Congress to possibly fund Aquarius for six months at $100,000 per month. The Aquarius Foundation, an independent group in Key Largo, Florida, is trying to raise money to fund the labs $3 million annual budget. A fundraiser on www.indiegogo.com/SaveARBseeks to raise $100,000 by November 16.
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