Scope change directives designed to ensure overall success of NEON’s construction

August 06, 2015

In mid-2015, the NSF announced its decision to rescope the NEON project. 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
Burlington Terrestrial D01, Northeast
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
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