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Office of Response and Restoration Celebrates 25 Years

Welcome to the 25th anniversary celebration of the Office of Response and Restoration!

The beginnings of the Office of Response and Restoration, or OR&R for short, date back beyond its official inception with this name and organizational location in 1999. When the tanker Argo Merchant grounded off the coast of Nantucket Island, Massachusetts in 1976 — ultimately spilling nearly eight million gallons of oil — the U.S. Coast Guard turned to a NOAA research team to provide scientific expertise in support of operational decisions. That team evolved and grew into NOAA’s Office of Response and Restoration.

Since the sinking of the Argo Merchant — NOAA’s first time serving in an operational science coordination role for the response — OR&R has honed and expanded its role and responsibilities of planning for and responding to environmental threats from disasters and pollution by oil, chemicals, and marine debris.

Over 25 years, we’ve adaptively applied ocean and coastal scientific expertise and developed a sophisticated set of models and tools to ensure coastal communities and resources are resilient and protected from persistent and emerging threats for future generations.

Each year, our experts work to keep our coasts clean and safe by providing scientific and technical expertise and coordination to prepare and respond to marine pollution and disasters; applying science to understand and account for the effects of pollution; recovering funds from polluters for restoration of damages to environments and communities; investigating and preventing the adverse impacts of marine debris, and developing cutting-edge mapping and data management tools to support environmental response.

In the face of rapid coastal change, we continue to anticipate and adapt to the changing nature of coastal threats and hazards to meet new and evolving demands for our services.

This year is special; as we commemorate our past 25 years, we also chart OR&R’s course for the next five in our recently released Strategic Plan, which sets four goals for our office as we strive to meet the changing demands on our mission, deliver services in an equitable manner for the diverse populations we serve, approach our communications with cohesion that integrates our mandates to address these demands, and develop our skilled, diverse, and inclusive workforce to deliver our mission and sustain our core capabilities.

Our nation’s coasts and the global ocean are abundant providers—a primary source for the oxygen we breathe, a buffer for our climate, a habitat for biodiversity, a provider of sustenance, a channel for commerce, and a source of beauty and recreation. I continue to be amazed and inspired by the work that OR&R contributes to protecting and restoring ocean and coastal resources from the impacts of threats such as oil, chemicals, marine debris, and disasters to benefit the environment, public, and economy.

Throughout the year, I encourage you to revisit our 25th anniversary webpage as well as connect with us online to find out the latest.


Scott Lundgren Director,

Office of Response and Restoration

Last updated Wednesday, February 28, 2024 7:14am PST