State Representative David Gomberg praised Oregon State University in moving forward quickly to implement the ocean-going research vessel program funded in the recent legislative session. Gomberg was the chief-sponsor of the bill, which was supported by the bi-partisan, bi-cameral Legislative Coastal Caucus.
“Research – quality research – is critical to our local industries and also our coastal quality of life. Research vessels provide invaluable scientific information necessary to better understand the changes occurring along the Pacific Coast – changes that affect the safety, environmental quality, and productivity well beyond the territorial sea,” said Gomberg.
At last week’s Coastal Caucus Economic Summit in Lincoln City, OSU President Ed Ray outlined the steps OSU is taking to form a research vessel council and oversee the research to be conducted by the Oceanus, a 175-foot research vessel operated by the university and funded by the National Science Foundation.
During the 2013 session, the Legislature approved Gomberg’s HB 3451, which provides $300,000 in state funding for the 2013-15 biennium to support research projects to be conducted on the Oceanus by scientists, students and state agencies who submit qualified research proposals. In order to ensure that vessel time can be scheduled during the 2014 calendar year, OSU is moving quickly to appoint a research vessel council to solicit, review, and award research proposals. The Research Council will include representatives of state natural resource agencies, as well as faculty from OSU, the University of Oregon Institute for Marine Biology, and Clatsop Community College. Jack Barth, OSU’s Associate Dean for Research in OSU’s College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences, will lead the vessel research program.
“Given the fiscal environment in Salem this session, securing funding for this project was a real and meaningful success. The research hub that continues to expand around Yaquina Bay will create sustainable jobs and serve the entire Pacific Coast,” said Gomberg.
Research could begin as early as February 2014. The Research Council will report its progress to the legislature in November 2014.