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NOAA Team Supports U.S. Coast Guard Field Exercise in Rogers City, Michigan

AUG. 1, 2022 — The U.S. Coast Guard Sector Sault Sainte Marie and U.S. Oil (a division of U.S. Venture) held a successful field exercise in Rogers City, Michigan on July 19, 2022.

An aerial image of a bright green waterway.
Aerial view of exercise in Rogers City, MI on July 19, 2022, after the green dye was deployed within the 'frog pond'. Five different aerial uncrewed systems were deployed to record video and pictures. The vessel in this photo is NOAA's Thunder Bay Sanctuary small boat STORM. Image Credit: U.S. Coast Guard.

Federal, state, and local emergency managers, industry leaders, and academia came together to witness the use of uncrewed aerial systems as an observational system in the event of an oil spill. With the approval by Michigan’s Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy department, a biodegradable green dye was used to simulate spilled oil, and drones were deployed to capture the movement of the product in real time. This event allowed drone operators and responders to discuss flight plans and procedures to share data efficiently between field teams and responders. Supporting agencies rely on the field information for trajectory modeling, spill recovery equipment deployment, and wildlife observations. 

NOAA's scientific support coordinator, LCDR Rachel Pryor coordinated a NOAA team to attend and present at the exercise. Physical scientist James Kessler from the Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory provided detailed information about the hydrographic models used to forecast water movement in the lakes. This information is a critical input for the General NOAA Operational Modeling Environment (GNOME) software used to forecast oil movement during a response. Stephanie Gandulla, with Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary, informed U.S. Oil of the NOAA marine sanctuary boundary and what regulatory authority NOAA has on response measures taken within the sanctuary. Pat Bak, with the Gaylord, Michigan office of the National Weather Service, provided detailed weather information leading up to and during the event. 

This event was a fantastic opportunity to showcase NOAA collaboration in the Great Lakes! 

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Last updated Tuesday, November 8, 2022 1:40pm PST