The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), New England District, and the Rhode Island Coastal Resources Management Council (CRMC) have partnered to perform an extensive study of the shoreline in southern Rhode Island. This study, known as the Rhode Island Regional Sediment Management (RSM) Plan, is a multi-year program focused on developing a plan for managing sand as a resource rather than as a waste product. The foundation of this study is numerical modeling which is highly dependent on site specific wave data.
As part of this study, a significant level of data collection, surveying and numerical modeling will be performed. Currently deployed wave buoys do not provide the wave data that is necessary to conduct this study. Therefore, it was decided to acquire and deploy a new directional wave buoy. The buoy measures both wave height and direction. The New England District and the Corps' Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC) have partnered with Scripps Oceanographic Institute Coastal Data Information Program (CDIP) to facilitate the buoy purchase, deployment and data processing. The New England District will be primarily responsible for buoy maintenance and retrieval should it be necessary. Ship time for buoy placement is provided by Dr. John King of the University of Rhode Island Graduate School of Oceanography.
The buoy is scheduled to be deployed on Thursday, Sept. 17, 2009 about 10 miles southeast of Block Island, RI. Funding for the $150,000 buoy comes from the RSM Plan.
The location of the buoy was chosen based on input from a variety of coastal experts, fishermen, local interests, and researchers as well as coordination between state and federal agencies. Of particular concern was avoiding entanglement in fishing gear by not placing the buoy in popular fishing grounds. Another component to buoy location was avoiding areas of heavy ship traffic.
The buoy has some direct benefits to researchers and the general public by making all data generated publicly available and 'real time'. The data will be primarily hosted by the CDIP program. It is anticipated that the data can be used for a variety of applications beyond the RSM program including fishing, diving and other research which depends on wave data. Ideally, interested parties can check the wave conditions before they leave the dock.