Congressional Staff Visit NOAA’s Western Regional Center
AUG. 22, 2022 — OR&R staff met with congressional committee staffers from the U.S. House Space, Science, and Technology Committee, as well as a staff member from the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee – Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Subcommittee at the NOAA Western Regional Center on Aug. 8, 2022.
As the delegation was returning from a trip to Utqiagvik and Anchorage, Alaska, the briefing was intentionally held outdoors and lasted 30 minutes. Lake Washington provided the natural backdrop to describe how the Office of Response and Restoration carries out its many and diverse missions in such locales, as well as on distant shores, the Great Lakes, and Western Rivers.
Peter Murphy of the Marine Debris Program and Mark Dix of the Emergency Response Division both shared the duties of the briefing. The discussion covered a general overview of each OR&R division, its roles, and focus areas. The survey of OR&R divisions and their missions started with the Business Operations Division as the supporting structure for all the divisions, and then further descriptions of the Disaster Preparedness Program, Emergency Response Division, Assessment and Restoration Division, and concluding with the Marine Debris Program.
Questions from the congressional committee staffers ranged from the geographical operating areas of OR&R to details on the amount and source of debris that washes up on U.S. shorelines.
The brief walk back to the offices included sighting some local osprey, sampling the abundant (and ripe!) blackberries of the campus shoreline, viewing two of the public art installations on the campus, and answering remaining questions on interagency and international collaboration in an informal discussion.