[Update August 2021: "Relocatable" sites are renamed "Gradient" sites.]
In mid-2015, the NSF announced its decision to rescope the NEON program.
While the NEON vision will remain unchanged, some components of the Construction project were reduced or removed.
NEON now slated to construct 81 total sites
NEON will construct a total of 81 sites. Previously, the total was 95 after the decommissioning of Mameyes, a terrestrial relocatable field site in Puerto Rico earlier this year. Moving forward, there will be 47 terrestrial sites (20 core and 27 relocatable sites) and 34 aquatic sites (20 core and 14 relocatable sites). Refer to the information below to learn more about specific changes.
NEON constructing 41 relocatable sites instead of 55
Construction of NEON’s relocatable sites was reduced in scope from 55 to 41 sites. NEON will retain infrastructure purchased for these sites and use it in the next planned deployment of relocatables under Operations. Future relocatable site selection will be made in consultation with NSF, the science community and permitting experts. Refer to NEON’s science design and interactive historical timeline for further context.
Two terrestrial relocatable sites in Hawaii descoped due to land use changes
Upper Waiakea Forest Reserve, the core site in Hawaii, will be constructed. However, both relocatable sites in Hawaii were removed from the scope of construction due to challenges with implementing the design, the cost of operations and changes to the plant community altering the ability to answer intended scientific questions.
Six urban relocatable sites descoped
In the original design of NEON, these sites were selected to collect ecological data on urban environments. They have been removed from the project’s scope due to design and permitting issues that prohibited construction.
Six additional relocatable sites descoped
Six additional terrestrial relocatable sites were removed from the construction scope due to permitting, logistical or fiscal issues. A full list of descoped sites can be found below.
List of descoped relocatable field sites
|Relocatable Site Name||Site Type||Domain Name|
|Bozeman Creek||Aquatic||D12, Northern Rockies|
|Bozeman, MT||Terrestrial||D12, Northern Rockies|
|Fraser Experimental Forest||Terrestrial||D13, Southern Rockies & Colorado Plateau|
|Paradise Valley, MT||Terrestrial||D12, Northern Rockies|
|Poker Flat||Terrestrial||D19, Taiga|
|Puu Waa Waa Forest||Terrestrial||D20, Pacific Tropical|
|Pu Waa Waa Grassland||Terrestrial||D20, Pacific Tropical|
|Red Butte Canyon Natural Research Area||Terrestrial||D15, Great Basin|
|Salt Lake City||Terrestrial||D15, Great Basin|
|Thayer||Terrestrial||D16, Pacific Northwest|
|Undecided site||Aquatic||D01, Northeast|
|Undecided site||Terrestrial||D14, Desert Southwest|
|Wichita Mountain Wildlife Refuge||Terrestrial||D11, Southern Plains|
Aquatic site deployments continue without STREON
Aquatic stream sites intended to be used as controls for the STream Experimental Observatory Netword (STREON) will continue to be constructed. However, STREON was removed from NEON’s construction scope and NSF BIO will engage with the research community to determine next steps. All NEON aquatic sites are still slated for construction, with the exception of the two urban relocatable sites listed above.
Flux towers and soil arrays impacted by construction descope
NEON will move forward with all aquatic and terrestrial observational sampling and aquatic instrument sampling. The Observatory will collect most of its planned atmospheric and soil measurements; however, measurements of NOx and O3 and deployment of mini-rhizotrons were omitted from construction due to lack of instrument maturity, financial constraints and ability to deploy sensor systems continentally.
Focus on Level 1 data products for user community
NEON will focus the majority of data product efforts on ensuring that high-quality, standardized Level 1 data products are streaming by the completion of the construction project. Development of most derived (Level 2 and above) data products was descoped from the Construction project. NSF BIO intends to engage the science community in developing the data products. Calibrated and quality-controlled Level 1 data may be integrated with other data sets or used to create derived data products. In addition, NEON will defer some low-level data products until the end of construction and seek additional community involvement in future data product development. Search available data on the Data Portal.
Reduced production of Mobile Deployment Platforms (MDPs) during construction
The construction goal was to outfit 10 MDPs as assets that could be requested for use during Operations of the Observatory. This number was scaled back by 50% due to unclear demand and an undefined operations model. Options for additional MDPs will be reconsidered during Operations. Learn more about our Assignable Assets program.
Accelerated transition to Operations of Construction components
The following components of the Construction project were identified as mature and ready to accelerate into Operations:
- NEON Domain support facilities and staff
- Phased and versioned cyberinfrastructure
- Education program
- Collections and laboratory analyses
- Systems engineering testing for the second and third remote sensing platforms