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. To fulfill its mission of protecting and restoring NOAA trust resources, the Office of Response and Restoration:
- Provides scientific and technical support to prepare for and respond to oil and chemical releases.
- Determines damage to natural resources from these releases.
- Protects and restores marine and coastal ecosystems, including coral reefs.
- Works 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.
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.