OR&R scientist conducting an overflight following Hurricane Katrina in 2005. (NOAA)


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 three divisions: Emergency Response, Assessment and Restoration, and Marine Debris. Collectively, the Office of Response and Restoration provides comprehensive solutions to environmental hazards caused by oil, chemicals, and marine debris.

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 oceanservicepress @noaa.gov. You can view a list of our most recent press releases and stories here and find a variety of photos, videos, and podcasts on our Multimedia 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.

OR&R Strategic Plan | Fiscal Years 2017-2021

OR&R Vision: The Nation’s oceans and coasts are healthy for future generations, protected and restored from pollution and other environmental threats.

Contact Us

Find various ways to contact our office and specific email addresses to use to ask us about our software, products, and publications.

OR&R Field Staff Locations and Contact Information

Here is information that will help you locate and contact the field staff for OR&R's three divisions.

Emergency Response Division

OR&R's Emergency Response Division offers scientific expertise on oil and chemical spills in U.S. marine and coastal waters. Its efforts facilitate spill prevention, preparedness, response, and restoration at national and local levels.

Assessment and Restoration Division

OR&R's Assessment and Restoration Division is responsible for evaluating and restoring coastal habitats damaged by hazardous waste releases, oil spills, and vessel groundings. The division manages this with other federal partners in the Damage Assessment, Remediation and Restoration Program (DARRP).

Marine Debris Division

The NOAA Marine Debris Program undertakes national and international efforts focused on researching, reducing, and preventing debris in the marine environment.

Gulf of Mexico Disaster Response Center

NOAA's Disaster Response Center establishes a unique presence in the Gulf of Mexico region, expanding federal capacity to plan for and respond to all hazards.

Accomplishment Reports

Read a few highlights about our efforts in past years.

Office of Response and Restoration Social Media

NOAA's Office of Response and Restoration uses social networking platforms to connect and interact with different audiences.


Learn about internship opportunities with the Office of Response and Restoration. Gain valuable resume-building experience and an insider's perspective from the nation's scientific leader in oil spill response, restoration, and marine debris.

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