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2021 Accomplishments: The Year in Review

Over the next two weeks, we're taking a look back at some of the highlights from fiscal year 2021, and major accomplishments we made in our work to keep the coasts clean from threats of oil, chemicals, and marine debris. Stay tuned as we cover some of the incidents we responded to, disasters we prepared for, restoration work we facilitated, grants we funded, and research we conducted.

A screenshot of a map.
An Esri ocean map in ERMA.

NOAA’s Office of Response and Restoration works to minimize environmental damages and prepare coastal communities to better deal with the impacts of marine debris, oil spills, and hazardous materials. 

In fiscal year 2021: we provided scientific support for 177 pollution-related incidents; we provided incident coordination to four hurricane and tropical storms during the 2021 hurricane season through the Disaster Preparedness Program; we removed 1,924 metric tons of marine debris; we recovered over $130 million from polluters for restoration; and we made significant, publicly available improvements to our data management and mapping capabilities. These accomplishments show our dedication to science-based solutions for protecting and restoring natural resources from coastal hazards.

“I’m incredibly proud of the entire OR&R team for these extraordinary results. These numbers are an indicator of the scope of the outstanding services that OR&R delivered this past fiscal year. Pandemic challenges were no match for the team’s creativity and drive to protect and restore ocean and coastal resources from the impacts of pollution—oil, chemical, marine debris—and other coastal hazards.”  —Scott Lundgren, OR&R Director

Explore our 2021 Annual Accomplishments Report to learn more about the work we did last year, and stay tuned over the next two weeks as we take a more in-depth look at some of the accomplishments featured.

Over $130 Million to Restore 10 Polluted Waterways Across the Country

When pollution harms American waterways, it’s not enough to simply clean up the contamination. Restoring the environment means implementing projects that help habitats, wildlife, and coastal communities recover quickly and completely. In fiscal year 2021, NOAA helped to recover over $130 million to restore 10 polluted waterways after oil spills and industrial pollution. Read more about the settlements and how the money will be used here. 

A Dozen Ways NOAA Advanced Marine Pollution Science in 2021

To answer the question “How does pollution impact the ocean and what can we do about it?” NOAA experts often need to conduct research that advances our knowledge of marine pollution science. This blog highlights 12 scientific articles about research advancing pollution response and assessment published in Fiscal Year 2021. Read the full blog here.

The First Cross-NOAA Disaster Recovery Support Workshop

In FY21, The Office of Response and Restoration’s Disaster Preparedness Program and the University of New Hampshire’s Coastal Response Research Center (CRRC) recently hosted the first cross-NOAA workshop on Disaster Recovery Support. Read more about the workshop here.

A Mission to Mālama Through Marine Debris Removal

On Wednesday, Sept. 22, the NOAA Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center’s Marine Debris Project team, joined by the non-profit Papahānaumokuākea Marine Debris Project, marked the completion of their marine debris removal mission in the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument (monument). The team arrived at Pearl Harbor aboard the charter vessel IMUA along with the nearly 124,000 pounds of marine debris removed during the 30-day mission. Read more about the removal here.

Last updated Monday, December 6, 2021 2:22pm PST