Continued input from stakeholders is important to the success of the Program, and stakeholders were encouraged to provide feedback on a draft version of the science plan over a 45 day comment period which ended on December 15, 2014.
NOAA received 19 sets of comments from organizations and private citizens (241 total recommendations). Many of the comments were supportive of the science plan as a whole while only offering minor editorial suggestions or requesting clarification on elements of the plan.
The breakdown of the 19 submissions was:
- 7 individuals,
- 6 non-governmental organizations or groups (representing 9 organizations),
- 2 federal agencies,
- 1 state agency,
- 1 academic institution,
- 1 regional ocean observing partnership, and
- 1 fishery management organization.
Of the comments addressing core components of the plan, the topics most frequently raised were NOAA’s role in the Program; the process for translating the long-term research priorities into future funding opportunities; prioritization of data synthesis; integration, communication, and coordination with other programs; and a process for measuring the success of the program and the research it will support. From the draft version to the final version of the plan, the key changes are a clearer description of NOAA’s role in the Program, additional information on the factors the Program will consider in translating the long-term research priorities into future funding opportunities, and additional information on the geographic scope of the Program.
Addressing the recommendations provided during the public comment process has resulted in a much stronger science plan.
A more detailed review of the comments received and NOAA’s response to them can be found in the Federal Register notice announcing the release of the final version of the science plan.