Steve Lehmann and Ken Finkelstein participated in the Watch Hill U.S. Coast Guard Preparedness for Response Exercise Program (PREP) in Waverly, Rhode Island on May 30, 2018. This was a full-scale, multi-agency exercise, which included both emergency response/cleanup strategies and natural resource damage assessment (NRDA) planning.
As the scientific support coordinator, Steve worked closely with the Incident Command and the environmental team to address all aspects of protecting the environment and human health in the spill response. Ken led the planning of the injury assessment so as to address compensation to the public for the lost natural and recreational resources. Interaction with partner federal, state, and local stakeholders was successful and educational for all parties.
Of note were the contributions from the University of Rhode Island academicians who provided valuable knowledge of the local ecosystems. NOAA’s Environmental Response Management Application (ERMA) — a web-based geographic information system tool that assists both emergency responders and environmental resource managers — was used by both response and NRDA planning and very well received by partner participants. Thanks to Robb Wright of the OR&R Spatial Data Team for providing ERMA maps that included modeled trajectories of the oil that was released along the Atlantic shoreline of Rhode Island.
For more information, please contact Ken.Finkelstein@noaa.gov.