Oregon State University

US Department of Commerce Makes an Impact


Oregon State University researchers are successfully using Department of Commerce support to promote economic development, environmental stewardship and technological advancement. DOC support for OSU research during Fiscal Years 2008-2012 totaled almost $62 million, with over $14 million in FY12 alone. more data

OSU is the only university that hosts two NOAA Cooperative Institutes.

Here are examples of how DOC funds make a difference

Environmental Stewardship



Monitoring Ocean Conditions


Crashing ocean wave

Bill Peterson, NOAA biologist at OSU's Hatfield Marine Science Center and OSU courtesy professor, analyzes distribution of juvenile salmon, plus does biweekly monitoring of ocean conditins, enabling him and other NOAA-OSU scientists to produce forecasts of the returns of salmon to rivers. The findings help explain why the Columbia River can have a robust salmon runthe same year the Sacramento and Willamette Rivers have low returns.  Read more

Another outcome of the cruises is the monitoring of hypoxia ("dead zones") in continental shelf waters off Washington and Oregon. This NOAA-funded work has led to greater understanding of the complex intersection between physical processes and biological responses and a realization of the potential negative consequences on ecosystem structure in continental shelf water of the Pacific Northwest. More

Ocean Acidification

OSU oceanographer Burke Hales of OSU was on an international team that found indications that water upwelling seasonally within 20 miles of the shoreline along North America’s West Coast is growing increasingly acidic,  raising concern for marine ecosystems from Canada to Mexico. NOAA provided funding for the project, which used the OSU research vessel Wecoma. Read more

 machines, logs, mud, man, landscape

Conservation and Restoration of Ecosystems

Dikes and tide gates can block salmon and trout migration plus degrade quality and connectivity of habitats. A unique NOAA-funded project, led by OSU’s Sea Grant Fisheries Specialist Guillermo Giannico tagged hundreds of fish for movement tracking and showed negative impacts that water diversion structures and irrigation ditches can have. Among results already: local stakeholder groups and state agencies have plans to replace  or modify fish-passage structures with a “fish-friendly” design; land owners are changing grazing and farming practices to improve habitats.





people talking on dock

Health, Collaboration, Leveraging Funds

Infection of salmon in the Pacific Northwest by a virulent parasite has been an annual problem since the 1990s, and in a recent year led to losses to communities and the troll industry of $28 million. Through Oregon Sea Grant, NOAA funded Jerri Bartholomew's research on the complex life cycle of C. Shasta. The resulting water-filtration assay has become a useful tool in larger river monitoring efforts to minimize effects. Monitoring data is in use by the US Fish and Wildlife Service and NOAA Fisheries. This research opened collaborations from tribes and leveraged $3.7 million in federal, state, and private investments. More




Habitat Protection, Estuarine Restoration

The Salmon River research project, led by Dan Bottom and others, funded by NOAA, has made a lasting mark on the science of habitat protection and estuarine restoration. Studying landscape and habitat factors affecting salmon survival and estuary resilience, the project sparked research, outreach and education throughout the Northwest in interdisciplinary fields on various species. Students, stakeholders, watershed councils, and agencies participate in restoration and monitoring. Read more


Broader Impact


Research, Education, Cooperation

Cooperative Institute for Marine Resources Studies - CIMRS - bridge, ship, water.
The OSU/NOAA Cooperative Institute for Marine Resources Studies (CIMRS) represents a strong, long-term partnership dedicated to research, graduate and public education and cooperation with regional industries and communities. An integral part of OSU’s Hatfield Marine Science Center (HMSC), with co-location with three regional NOAA laboratories representing two Line Offices, CIMRS brings together research partners from a variety of disciplines, addressing complex issues relating to the living and non-living components of the marine environment.

Satellite Sensing, Youth Impact

The College of Oceanic and Atmospheric Sciences Cooperative Institute for Oceanographic Satellite Studies (CIOSS), an academic-federal center of excellence, develops, improves and uses satellite remote sensing methods. Through the NOAA/CIOSS partnership with the Science & Math Investigative Learning Experiences Program, underserved youth in after-school clubs participate in scenario-based problem-solving, helping prepare them for higher education and careers.

tsunami wave basin

Tsunami Research and Outreach to Save Lives

Dan Cox, director of the O.H. Hinsdale Wave Lab, Sea Grant Extension's Patrick Corcoran, and other OSU experts have been addressing needs of communities at risk of tsunamis. Their research is helping both in understanding the effects on existing structures and evaluation of potential for evacuation. In one NOAA-funded project, scientists repeatedly sent miniature crashes into a scale physical model of an Oregon coastal town. Outreach efforts included education for city officials, emergency-response teams, and local residents, with strategies for both preparedness and survival.

Research and Response

OSU is home to a NOAA National Sea Grant College Program that focuses on ocean and coastal use and conservation. Oregon Sea Grant supports research driven by state and regional priorities and extends engagement and education to industry, government agencies and the public. Among Sea Grant’s strengths is quick and effective response to pressing issues, including tsunami preparedness and coastal resilience to climate change


Economic Development

Value-Added Sustainability

crab pot being lifted from sea

Lost fishing gear is costly to replace and creates hazards for navigation and marine life. Oregon Sea Grant and the Oregon Fishermen’s Cable Committee, with NOAA funding, collected derelict crab pots, and agent Steve Theberge monitored for organisms and coordinated finding gear owners. Success helped bring $700,000 federal stimulus for larger scale retrieval. In year one, 67 metric tons of crab gear and other debris were removed from the ocean. Fostering trust among fishers, scientists, and managers, the effort employed fishers and helped fisheries become more economically and environmentally sustainable.



OSU marine ecologist Jane Lubchenco is the second OSU scientist to head NOAA. Former OSU president John Byrne served as NOAA Administrator 1981-84.



Funding to OSU

Department of Commerce

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Contact Info

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