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OR&R Strategic Plan | 2017-2022

OR&R Vision: The Nation’s oceans and coasts are healthy for future generations, protected and restored from pollution and other environmental threats.
OR&R Mission: To protect and restore ocean and coastal resources from the impacts of oil, chemicals, marine debris, and other hazards. We provide expert leadership, training, and time-critical services that benefit the environment, public, and economy.
Core Values: Integrity, Service, and Respect
Operating Principles: Safety, Collaboration, National Leadership, Stewardship, Always Ready

Wave breaking on rocks.
Message from the Director

Science, Service, Stewardship. The three words describing NOAA’s broad mission set are each embodied in OR&R’s work in protecting and restoring ocean and coastal resources from the impacts of oil, chemicals, marine debris, and coastal disasters. The environment, public, and economy all benefit from the leadership and services provided by OR&R experts when facing the challenges of marine pollution and disasters. 

OR&R’s mission is based upon a set of strong mandates contained in the Clean Water Act as amended by the Oil Pollution Act; the Comprehensive Environmental Restoration, Compensation, and Liability Act; the Marine Debris Act and reauthorizations; and the Stafford Act and amending laws. Our mission work is guided by four goals: preparing and preventing, responding, restoring, and building our workforce and organization. Each of our organizational divisions support multiple goals, and incorporate these goals within divisional annual operating plans. 

We are in a time of extraordinary demand for coastal services in OR&R and NOAA. The compounding impacts of marine debris in our ocean is a global priority, and OR&R’s work galvanizes extraordinary coordinated work across a motivated community to prevent, understand, and remove marine debris. The frequency and impacts of coastal disasters have increased the demands for work within OR&R programs and for preparedness and coordination across National Ocean Service offices. Natural resource injury settlements make the public whole for impacted natural resources and lost human use of these public goods, and frequently providing important secondary benefits for more resilient coasts and more equitable natural resource access to underserved communities. New technology and cleaner environments continually increase expectations for rapid, effective, and scientifically-based oil and chemical spill response, with extraordinary new scientific insights still emerging from post-Deepwater Horizon research. Our work continues to grow, and has increasing interconnectedness in OR&R and NOAA.

The OR&R Goals reflected in this plan represent a continuation of OR&R’s strategic goals through calendar year 2022. This continuation affords the office the opportunity to build our next strategic plan upon a foundation of reinforced connections between the organizational divisions of OR&R and improved internal processes. OR&R implemented a Strategic Visioning process that generated a series of specific actions guided by extensive internal and external input from 56 key partners and 47% of the OR&R staff that volunteered their time and input. The strengthened cross-office relationships are rooted in action plans on topics including OR&R science, communications, preparedness/response, and regional coordination. This foundation will serve as an important basis for the subsequent OR&R strategic plan.

I am grateful to the entire OR&R team for their efforts during our Strategic Visioning effort and within the resulting cross-office teams. The stronger relationships across the OR&R mission will serve us well as we continue our efforts under the four goals of this plan, and as we work together in 2022 on the future strategic plan and goals.


Scott Lundgren, Director, Office of Response and Restoration

Two men looking at and pointing to a computer screen.
OR&R GIS specialists Robb Wright and Michael Greer. (NOAA)
OR&R Strategic Plan Goals and Objectives

GOAL 1: PREPARE AND PREVENT Goal statement: OR&R and partners are optimally equipped and trained to prevent, assess, and respond to environmental threats.

  • Objective 1: External outreach and training Increase public knowledge and stakeholder capacity to prepare for, prevent, and respond to environmental threats through external outreach and training.
  • Objective 2: Data management, access, and sharing Increase the accessibility, integration, and use of data to enhance prevention, assessment, and response efforts.
  • Objective 3: Science and methods Improve environmental stewardship decisions by advancing relevant science, tools, and approaches.
  • Objective 4: Planning, exercises, and other collaborative forums Enhance OR&R, NOAA, and partner capabilities and readiness through interactive planning, relationship building, and partner exercises.

GOAL 2: RESPOND Goal statement: Impacts from acute events to the environment, economy, and public are reduced through rapid response and assessment.

  • Objective 5: Peak readiness Ensure peak readiness by developing rigorous OR&R-wide processes to effectively and rapidly deliver scientific leadership and expertise.
  • Objective 6: Communication and partner engagement Improve incident coordination and decision-making through comprehensive notification and engagement with internal and external partners.
  • Objective 7: Timely response Improve ability to promptly deploy complete teams able to meet operational deadlines on response efforts, by addressing key gaps.
  • Objective 8: Increased response capacity Safely and effectively staff one or more sustained incidents by identifying and expanding our team of response-ready experts and mission support personnel.

GOAL 3: RESTORE Goal statement: The public’s natural resources recover faster through improved restoration and protection efforts.

  • Objective 9: Evaluation of impacts to natural resources Improve efforts to assess harm to natural resources and the value of the ecosystems they support.
  • Objective 10: Restoration Implement high value, regionally appropriate restoration processes and projects that are more inclusive of and transparent to stakeholders.
  • Objective 11: Monitoring and learning Systematically capture and utilize monitoring information to improve future response and removal actions, as well as assessment, restoration planning, and implementation.

GOAL 4: WORKFORCE AND ORGANIZATION BUILDING Goal Statement: Organization, workforce, and work environment are effectively shaped to achieve the OR&R vision, mission, and diversity objectives.

  • Objective 12: Succession planning and workforce shaping for critical positions Develop and implement a comprehensive succession strategy that addresses recruitment, development, retention, knowledge transfer, and replacement for critical workforce positions.
  • Objective 13: Professional development and internal training Increase staff expertise and capacity through professional development and training activities.
  • Objective 14: Diversity Build a diverse, high-performing workforce that includes and empowers all staff, and better reflects the composition of the U.S. civilian labor force.
  • Objective 15: Safety Promote a culture of safety, health, and wellness that creates a safe and productive work environment with zero reportable incidents annually.
  • Objective 16: Cross-divisional collaboration Increase cross-divisional communications and efforts to integrate staff expertise, better leverage resources, enhance staff development, and promote partnerships.

Download a printable pdf of the OR&R Strategic Plan | 2017 - 2022 here.

Last updated Tuesday, November 8, 2022 1:42pm PST