U.S. House appropriations includes funding for ShakeAlert

The FY2024 House Appropriations Full Committee has recommended funding ShakeAlert at the requested level of $32.6 million and it will be marked up by the Senate Appropriations Full Committee on July 27. The recommendation includes $32 million for continued development and expansion of the ShakeAlert West Coast earthquake early warning system as well as capital costs associated with the system’s buildout.

The ShakeAlert West Coast earthquake early warning system uses sensors to detect significant earthquakes when destructive shaking travels across the region. Depending on how far away someone is from the epicenter, seconds to minutes of warning would allow people to take cover and protect critical infrastructure. ShakeAlert is an important tool for keeping communities safe and allowing researchers to learn more about seismic activity.

This additional investment from Congress is critical to Oregon's ongoing efforts to advance the region's coverage and provide real time information and alerts to communities in the Cascadia subduction zone and the greater west coast region.

ShakeAlert is a collaborative effort led in Oregon by the University of Oregon by the Oregon Hazards Lab, which has a mission of using science, technology, and community engagement to understand, monitor, and mitigate multi-hazards within the Pacific Northwest. UO partners on ShakeAlert with the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network, cooperatively operated by the UO, University of Washington, and the U.S. Geological Survey. Partners UC Berkeley and CalTech operate the ShakeAlert network in California.

The UO also partners on ShakeAlert with dozens of local entities, including cities, counties, utilities, school districts, councils of governments (COGs), universities, state and federal agencies, and private industry. Partners are integrating early warning capabilities into their operations, either through automated responses in infrastructure or internal alerting notifications. Congressional funding allows the program to continue to expand and develop, offering protection and information to vulnerable regions throughout the west coast.