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Implementation of California's Coastal Ocean Currents Monitoring Program (COCMP: http://cocmp.org) requires technical, organizational and institutional milestones to provide products useful for managing coastal resources in a state with an 1800 km coastline. COCMP is the first large-scale, integrated, high frequency radar system and, as such, a candidate component for the proposed national Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS: http://www.ocean.us/). HF radar is an efficient and economically viable initial step in creation of an observing technology capable of providing a range of products. Its applications include water quality management, oil spill response, marine protected area development, marine and anadromous fisheries management, and search and rescue operations. Developing a functional surface currents monitoring program in a state as large, environmentally diverse, and politically fragmented as California is a test of creating institutional linkages and communications where none exist. Creating timely and useful products to serve resource management agency, NGO, and industry constituencies requires dedicated outreach and educational tools, a challenge that is as important as the technical design. The authors review COCMP technical design, outreach, integration, and applications.