This is the time of year when ocean researchers come to the mouth of the Columbia River. Edward Stratton’s front-page article describes a research endeavor of a different sort. Stratton reports that Tongue Point students replaced a research buoy belonging to the Scripps Institute of Oceanography in San Diego. The buoy transmits wave height information every 30 seconds.

This rescue mission describes the rich scientific environment in our region. The partnership with Scripps Institute is a boon for the Tongue Point Job Corps Center. Its students gain experience by dropping the research buoy. The job training site’s seamanship program is one of its most appealing avenues to jobs.

During the course of a year, it is common for us to see research vessels from the Woods Hole Institute as well as information-gathering ships from other eminent institutions including some from abroad.

Tracking the ocean at the Columbia’s mouth has benefits that are both immediate and long term. Stratton notes that the Columbia River Bar Pilots secured a Connect Oregon III grant for replacement buoys. Bar pilots as well as the U.S. Coast Guard rely upon these research buoys for marine safety.

Other research buoys relate to data concerning the ocean as habitat for fish and other marine organisms. In an era of climate change, this research off the Columbia’s mouth will be especially valuable.

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