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OR&R Weekly Report

The Office of Response and Restoration publishes this weekly round-up of news and information of interest to our partners, stakeholders, and team members. Click to subscribe

A small group of trainees poses together for a group photo aboard a boat.

JULY 22, 2024 — The commonly held belief that good things come in threes was evident this year when NOAA’s Office of Response and Restoration (OR&R) followed up on the success of last year’s inaugural safety training by providing not one, but three Safety Academy training opportunities. Geared toward the continuous improvement and maturation of OR&R’s safety culture, this year took a more inclusive approach by offering safety training relevant to both field and office staff.

Discarded balloons littering a beach.

JULY 22, 2024 — On July 10, the NOAA Marine Debris Program (MDP) and the California Ocean Protection Council hosted an Ocean Litter Strategy webinar. Bringing together over 50 partners from across the state, the webinar reached a diverse set of sectors including state agencies, nonprofits, private organizations, and academia.

March 2024

Instructor teaching NOAA Specific ICS 300 Class.

MARCH 25, 2024 — During the week of March 11, OR&R’s Disaster Preparedness Program (DPP) held a three-day NOAA-specific Incident Command System 300 (ICS 300) Level Training at NOAA’s Inouye Regional Center in Honolulu, Hawaii. This training was the first in-person NOAA ICS 300 class since the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. During the interim, the class has been held virtually to ensure NOAA staff are trained in ICS 300.

Timor Leste oil spill response workshop participants visit a sea turtle egg and hatchling protection facility, operated by the Timor Port, March 21, 2024.

MARCH 25, 2024 — OR&R’s Ruth Yender, the NOAA Scientific Support Coordinator for Oceania, assisted with an oil spill response workshop sponsored by U.S. Indo-Pacific Command (USINDOPACOM), held in Dili, Timor-Leste from March 18–22. The workshop was intended to assist Timor-Leste agencies as they develop national level emergency response plans. 

A view of flooded streets in Florida.

MARCH 18, 2024 — On March 13, several offices from NOAA’s National Ocean Service (NOS) participated in the Florida Floodplain Managers Association’s (FFMA) virtual “Hot Topics” class focused on hurricane preparation. Participants from various organizations in Florida, including local governments and private industries, joined NOS representatives to learn more about our organization’s capabilities for hurricane preparation, response, and recovery.

View of current conditions at General Recycling property from shoreline of the Lower Duwamish River, Washington.

MARCH 18, 2024 — In March of 2024, the U.S. Department of Justice announced two proposed settlements to compensate for natural resource injuries resulting from hazardous substances released in the Lower Duwamish River in Washington state.

A view of a presenter and students studying case studies on screen during the March 2024 Science of Chemical Releases Class in Mobile, AL.

MARCH 18, 2024 — OR&R’s Science of Chemical Releases (SOCR) classes are back at the NOAA Disaster Response Center (DRC) in Mobile, Alabama. After being held virtually for several years after the COVID-19 pandemic, SOCR classes returned to in-person in 2023 with a class at USCG Sector Jacksonville in Jacksonville, Florida.

A view of the Panama Canal.

MARCH 11, 2024 — OR&R staff conducted a five-day Hazardous Materials Contingency Planning Workshop at the Panama Canal in support of the Panama Canal Authority (ACP). 

Newtown Creek in New York as it enters the East River.

MARCH 11, 2024 — The Newtown Creek Trustees are announcing to the public the Draft Natural Resource Damage Assessment Plan outlining potential injuries to natural resources related to releases of contamination at this Superfund site. Public participation, review, and input are an important part of the process of assessing and restoring natural resources.

A trash capture device installed on Bear Creek in Pasco County.

MARCH 11, 2024 — On March 4, officials from the NOAA Marine Debris Program, the University of Florida, Florida Sea Grant, and Pasco County, Florida gathered with partner organizations and members of the media to celebrate the installation of a trash capture device on Bear Creek in Pasco County. 

Marine Debris Leadership Academy participants visit a trash hotspot in Tijuana, Mexico to discuss its implications throughout the watershed.

MARCH 11, 2024 — On March 5, the NOAA Marine Debris Program’s Preparedness and Response Specialist Jessica Conway and California Regional Coordinator, Christy Kehoe, presented at the Binational Emergency Response Guide (BERG): Coordinating to Address Land-Based Marine Debris Workshop. This one-day workshop, hosted by the Tijuana River National Estuarine Research Reserve (NERR), brought together agencies and organizations involved in preparedness and response from the United States and Mexico. This hybrid virtual and in-person event was located in San Diego, California. 

OR&R’s Director, Scott Lundgren, and USCG Director of Emergency Management, Dana Tulis, shake hands following the signing of the ERMA Interagency Agreement.

MARCH 11, 2024 — On February 15, the Office of Response and Restoration met with the U.S. Coast Guard to commemorate the signing of the Environmental Response Management Application (ERMA®) Interagency Agreement. This milestone agreement sets forth standardized protocols for employing ERMA in U.S.

A view of the Gowanus Canal in New York as it flows under the Gowanus Expressway.

MARCH 11, 2024 — The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, on behalf of the Gowanus Canal Natural Resource Damage Assessment and Restoration (NRDAR) Trustees, invites public comment on a Draft Damage Assessment Plan, which details the Trustees’ proposed approach to conducting a natural resource damage assessment for the Gowanus Canal. We encourage the public to review the draft plan and share comments through April 15, 2024.

Participants gathered in a large classroom at the Small Boat Summit.

MARCH 11, 2024 — On March 5-6, the NOAA Gulf of Mexico Disaster Response Center in Mobile, Alabama hosted the 2024 NOAA Small Boat Program Summit.  Organization for the summit was a collaborative effort by the Small Boat Safety Board, Small Boat Program Office, and others within the NOAA vessel community. The Disaster Response Center, managed by OR&R, served as the host. 

Sediment sampling near an oil slick in 1993 in front of the Metal Bank site.

MARCH 11, 2024 — On February 27, the Trustee Council for the Metal Bank Superfund Site in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania released a Draft Restoration Plan and Environmental Assessment. The Restoration Plan recommends one habitat restoration project to compensate the public for natural resource injuries that were the result of contaminant releases at the site.

MARCH 4, 2024 — The NOAA Marine Debris Program, on behalf of the Interagency Marine Debris Coordinating Committee (IMDCC), is soliciting public comments regarding draft recommendations to address marine debris.

Tsunami Danger sign in California Beach.

MARCH 4, 2024 — On February 22, OR&R’s Emergency Response Division’s Scientific Support Coordinator Jordan Stout and Marine Debris Program’s California Regional Coordinator Christy Kehoe participated in a United States Coast Guard (USCG) Pacific Area’s tsunami preparation workshop in California. 

MARCH 4, 2024 — On February 16, the NOAA Marine Debris Program hosted a virtual briefing for congressional staff with speakers from the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation (NMSF) and Port of Neah Bay to discuss upcoming debris removal work. The briefing was attended by nine staff from six congressional offices and committees.

 Response vessels demonstrating how to clean up spilled oil in water in Vancouver, B.C.

MARCH 4, 2024 — On February 28, 2024, the Office of Response and Restoration turned 25! NOAA’s National Ocean Service (NOS) commemorated this anniversary by reflecting back to pivotal moments in OR&R’s history that established the office’s foundation.

The cover of the Southern New England Marine Debris Action Plan including a pile of rope and other debris.

MARCH 4, 2024 — On February 20, the NOAA Marine Debris Program (MDP) released the new Southern New England Marine Debris Action Plan. This document is the result of a collaborative effort between the MDP and partners across Rhode Island and Southern Massachusetts, including federal, state, and nongovernmental organizations, industry, and academia.

February 2024

Front of the NOAA Gulf of Mexico Disaster Response Center, located in Mobile, AL.

FEB. 26, 2024 — The NOAA Gulf of Mexico Disaster Response Center (DRC) received a much-needed facelift in February. The DRC has updated its outdated heating/ventilation/air conditioning (HVAC) system with a new cooling tower.

A group photo of OR&R staff at GOMCON 2024.

FEB. 26, 2024 — The Gulf of Mexico Conference (GOMCON), led by the Gulf of Mexico Alliance, brings together coastal scientists and stakeholders in state and federal government, academia, non-profit, and private sectors to discuss current Gulf research and collaborate on new opportunities. This year, GOMCON took place in Tampa, Florida from February 19-22. Emphasizing the intersection of science, policy, and management, GOMCON included sessions on themes that are important to ecosystem and community resilience as well as restoration and natural resource management.

Conceptual model of Pacific herring egg/larvae oil exposure and injury in shallow shoreline spawning habitat.

FEB. 26, 2024 — Published in early February, a new publication, “Potential population-level impacts of future oil spills on Pacific herring stocks in Puget Sound,” reports on research carried out by OR&R’s Assessment and Restoration Division and the Northwest Fisheries Science Center to model the responses of Puget Sound Pacific herring stocks to simulated oil spills.

Students gathered around One Cool Earth Educator to learn about pollution in the local San Luis Obispo watershed and Morro Bay.

FEB. 26, 2024 — On February 13, the NOAA Marine Debris Program participated in One Cool Earth Watershed Week at Santa Rosa Academic Academy. Students, educators, and a staff member from the office of United States Representative Jimmy Panetta (CA-19) joined to celebrate. This week-long event was a cross-school campaign to promote watershed messaging and display the connection between Central California watersheds and the Pacific Ocean.

A snapshot of ERMA.

FEB. 20, 2024 — NOAA’s Office of Response and Restoration released a new version of the Environmental Response Management Application (ERMA). ERMA is a web-based mapping application used by environmental responders and natural resource decision-makers. It serves as the Common Operational Picture (COP) for NOAA and the U.S. Coast Guard, as well as other state and federal agencies, during environmental disaster response and cleanup.

OR&R staff gathered at booth at the St. Petersburg Science Festival School Day.

FEB. 20, 2024 — On February 9-10, NOAA’s Office of Response and Restoration participated in the two-day St. Petersburg Science Festival in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Photo of a staff member holding a net in water for OR&R’s 2024-2028 Strategic Plan cover photo.

FEB. 20, 2024 — On February 16, the Office of Response and Restoration (OR&R) released its Strategic Plan for 2024-2028.

OR&R staff in front of NOAA's Marine Debris Program's booth.

FEB. 20, 2024 — The Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary held its twelfth annual International Film Festival, showcasing ocean and Great Lakes films from around the world. On January 26-27, NOAA’s Marine Debris Program’s Great Lakes Regional Coordinator, Haley Dalian, exhibited at the festival to engage with the public and filmmakers about marine debris in the region. 

Satellite Image of Hurricane Hilary.

FEB. 12, 2024 — OR&R’s Disaster Preparedness Program (DPP) is expanding west. Kyla Breland, the former Southeastern and Caribbean Regional Preparedness Coordinator, is now our first West Coast and Pacific Island Regional Preparedness Coordinator (RPC).

Four OR&R staff presenting at the Caribbean Regional Response Team (CRRT) meeting.

FEB. 5, 2024 — On January 23-25, the Caribbean Regional Response Team (CRRT) meeting took place in Puerto Rico. The CRRT serves as the regional body for planning and preparedness activities before a response to an oil or hazardous substance incident is taken, and for coordination and advice during response actions. Participants include the Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Coast Guard, NOAA, Federal Emergency Management Agency, and agencies from Puerto Rico and the U.S.

FEB. 5, 2024 — On January 17-19, the NOAA Marine Debris Program, within the Office of Response and Restoration, coordinated an annual meeting to discuss the progress of the actions related to the 2023-2028 Puerto Rico Strategic Plan to Reduce Aquatic Debris (Strategic Plan), and to establish the 2024 actions.

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