The remnants of Hurricane Ida blew plans off course for placing NOAA's latest "smart buoy" in the mouth of the Severn River near Annapolis on Veterans Day.
Re-scheduled to deploy in late November, the high-tech buoy will become the seventh in the Chesapeake Bay Interpretive Buoy System.
Mariners, tourists and teachers are fans of the bright yellow buoys, which collect and transmit information wirelessly about weather and water quality, and share stories about the Bay's cultural heritage.
The information can be accessed on-line at www.buoybay.org or by calling 877-BUOY-BAY (877-286-9229).
Driving rain and strong currents delayed the launch of the latest buoy because conditions made precise placement difficult. Once deployed, the tall solar-powered device will gather information on wind, temperature, salinity, dissolved oxygen, chlorophyll and turbidity every 10 minutes.
"From our perspective, this buoy could not be more optimally placed," said Capt. Robert Brennan of the U.S. Naval Academy. "We will use it every day."
Brennan said the data will shape decisions about maritime activity and emergency response during storms. His oceanography students will also use the data for classwork.
The Severn buoy, like others in the system, will mark a portion of the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail. Boaters and teachers can tap into the buoy for a recorded narrative of the sights and events that Smith encountered at each location four centuries ago.
David O'Neill, president of the Friends of the John Smith Chesapeake Trail, said the buoys are "essential for making the trail a reality and bringing it to life."
Buoy data will also support the renewed restoration strategy that federal agencies are crafting for the Chesapeake Bay. "These buoys will serve as a backbone of monitoring up and down the Bay," said Peyton Robertson, director of the NOAA Chesapeake Bay office.
NOAA has placed six other buoys in the Bay since 2007. They are located in the James and Elizabeth rivers, and at the mouths of the Susquehanna, Patapsco, Potomac and Rappahannock rivers. Each buoy weighs roughly 1,200 pounds and costs approximately $120,000.
Maryland Sen. Benjamin Cardin has requested $500,000 from fiscal year 2010 appropriations for five additional buoys.