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NOAA's Office of Response and Restoration (OR&R) is a center of expertise in preparing for, evaluating, and responding to threats to coastal environments, including oil and chemical spills, releases from hazardous waste sites, and marine debris.

Our Mission

Our mission is to develop scientific solutions to keep the coasts clean from threats of oil, chemicals, and marine debris. To fulfill our mission of protecting and restoring NOAA trust resources, we:

  • Provide scientific and technical support to prepare for and respond to oil and chemical releases.
  • Determine damage to natural resources from these releases.
  • Protect and restore marine and coastal ecosystems, including coral reefs.
  • Work with communities to address critical local and regional coastal challenges.

OR&R is comprised of four divisions: Emergency Response, Assessment and Restoration, Marine Debris, and the Disaster Preparedness Program. Collectively, the Office of Response and Restoration provides comprehensive solutions to marine pollution.

Learn more about our work from past years through our accomplishment reports.

If you're a journalist with a question about the Office of Response and Restoration and its activities, please contact NOAA National Ocean Service Public Affairs, at 301.713.3066 or

You can view a variety of photos, videos, and more on our Resources page.

The history of the Office of Response and Restoration began in 1976 with grounding of the tanker Argo Merchant near Nantucket Shoals in Massachusetts. Lessons learned from that incident led to the development of oil and chemical spill emergency response as we know it today.