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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.

February 2024

A small commercial off-the-shelf drone flying above water next to a vessel.

FEB. 5, 2024 — On January 9-10, more than 30 OR&R researchers and users of remote sensing products met at NOAA’s Western Regional Center in Seattle to outline operational applications in support of OR&R’s mission spectrum and to chart a near-term research path on the topic of remote sensing and uncrewed aerial systems (UAS).

Amy V. Uhrin, Chief Scientist and Carlie Herring, Research Coordinator stand in front of a poster at Duke University's Workshop on the Social Cost of Plastic Pollution held in Washington DC.

FEB. 5, 2024 — The NOAA Marine Debris Program's (MDP) Chief Scientist, Amy V. Uhrin, and Research Coordinator, Carlie Herring, attended Duke University’s Workshop on the Social Cost of Plastic Pollution held January 26 in Washington D.C. The workshop brought together a small group of experts, with expertise in climate economics, the social cost of carbon, environmental justice, and plastic pollution to discuss the feasibility of measuring the social cost of plastic, and to propose a research agenda moving forward. 

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.

January 2024

A boat navigates the Lower Duwamish River with industrial development on the river banks with text overlaid, "The Lower Duwamish River - Restoring habitat for injured resources in an urban river."

JAN. 29, 2024 — A new storymap created by NOAA and the Elliott Bay Trustee Council provides a visual journey of the Lower Duwamish River in Washington and the restoration work that is underway in this important urban river.

Cover photo of a diver removing marine debris from a reef for the Marine Debris Program 2023 Accomplishments Report.

JAN. 29, 2024 — The NOAA Marine Debris Program is proud to present the 2023 Accomplishments Report, outlining our continued efforts to address marine debris through our program pillars – prevention, removal, research, monitoring and detection, response, and coordination.

A view of the Tug Powhatan oil slick in Starrigavan Bay, Alaska on April 23, 2017 (USCG).

JAN. 29, 2024 — On January 25, 2024, NOAA’s National Ocean Service (NOS) highlighted the Office of Response and Restoration’s coastal recovery and restoration successes in 2023. OR&R and partners recovered over $92.8 million in pollution settlements to restore seven waterways in six states following oil spill and industrial pollution incidents throughout fiscal year 2023.

Drawing of a vessel with text overlaid, "The Argo Merchant Reprise Exercise: Oil Spill Nantucket Shoals"

JAN. 29, 2024 — The Office of Response and Restoration conducted an internal preparedness exercise on January 18th, 2024. The exercise was loosely based on the historic Argo Merchant spill that happened off the coast of Massachusetts in December of 1976.

Four Pacific Region Juvenile Chinook salmon.

JAN. 22, 2024 — OR&R staff co-authored a new publication, "Dietary Exposure to Environmentally Relevant Levels of Chemical Contaminants Reduces Growth and Survival in Juvenile Chinook Salmon." This work supports injury determination for Pacific Northwest Superfund sites that have similar contaminants of concern; specifically, mixtures of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethanes (DDTs), and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs).

A ship surrounded by oil from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, attempting to collect oil in the Gulf of Mexico.

JAN. 22, 2024 — The NOAA Institutional Repository, a digital space curated by the NOAA Libraries to collect and disseminate materials published by NOAA authories, has a new collection: the Deepwater Horizon Collection.

Staff viewing the CAMEO software suite on a computer, which helps users understand and prepare for possible hazardous chemical incidents. Image credit: U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

JAN. 8, 2024  — Recently, NOAA and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) jointly released their annual updates for CAMEO Data Manager and Tier2 Submit™, two programs that aid users in meeting regulatory filing and emergency response planning efforts under the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA).

Drone overflight view of areas protected by boom during pipeline spill into the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway, April 28, 2023. Image credit: Louisiana Oil Spill Coordinator's Office.

JAN. 8, 2024 — In December of 2023, OR&R released its 2023 Accomplishments Report. The report highlights key accomplishments by OR&R during the fiscal year 2023, with a focus on the Office’s four mission focus areas: oil and chemical emergency response, natural resource restoration, marine debris, and disaster preparedness.

A graphical abstract summarizing the results from article "Examining influences on detection during shoreline surveys of marine debris." (Image Credit: Burgess et al. 2024)

JAN. 8, 2024 — In early January, a new NOAA publication, How we count counts: Examining influences on detection during shoreline surveys of marine debris, was published in the journal Marine Pollution Bulletin.

Maui Wildfire Lahaina Harbor Mission Assignment response staff from USCG, NOAA, and Global Diving and Salvage at the NOAA Hawaiian Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary facility in Kihei, Maui. USCG Mission Incident Commander, Capt. Melanie Burnham, front right; NOAA ERD Scientific Support Coordinator for the Pacific Islands, Ruth Yender, front row, third from right (Image credit: USCG).

JAN. 8, 2024 — When declared disasters and other emergencies occur, Emergency Support Functions (ESFs) provide the structure for coordinating federal interagency support for a federal response to an incident. Following the devastating August 8, 2023 wildfires on the Hawaiian island of Maui, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) issued the United States Coast Guard (USCG) a Mission Assignment under an ESF 10 to assess and remove incident-generated pollution, hazardous materials, damaged and sunken vessels, and associated debris in and around Lahaina Harbor.

December 2023

Marine debris caused by demolition of a home destroyed by Hurricane Sandy being removed from entering further into Barnegat Bay (Photo: Federal Emergency Management Agency).

DEC. 18, 2023 — The NOAA Marine Debris Program, within OR&R, is pleased to release the United States Marine Debris Emergency Response Guide (Guide). The Guide is a product of a collaborative process with federal agencies. The Guide aims to improve preparedness for responding to marine debris after hurricanes and other disasters in coastal areas of the United States and the Great Lakes.

NOAA GOES-16 GeoColor Satellite Imagery of Hurricane Idalia on August 29, 2023 Image Credit: CIRA/NOAA

DEC. 18, 2023 —  The 2023 hurricane season had an above average amount of storms, with 20 storms in the Atlantic and 16 in the Pacific compared to the average of 14. Now, OR&R is taking a look back at its accomplishments from this past hurricane season.

The NOAA Marine Debris Program table at the Summit, showcasing materials and outreach activities related to the prevention, research, and removal of marine debris. The table also included funding opportunity information from both the Marine Debris Program and National Sea Grant Office related to marine debris opportunities (Credit: NOAA).

DEC. 18, 2023 — On December 6th and 7th, Mid-Atlantic Regional Coordinator Katie Morgan participated in the Mid-Atlantic Regional Council on the Ocean’s (MARCO) Marine Debris Summit, held in Ocean City, Maryland. This two-day summit is typically held every two years.

A shoreline view of the Raritan River.

DEC. 11, 2023 — On December 7, 2023, the US Department of Justice (DOJ) released a proposed legal settlement to compensate for natural resource injuries resulting from hazardous substance releases from the American Cyanamid Superfund Site in Bridgewater, New Jersey.

A group of workshop attendees participate in a waterfowl cleaning demonstration.

DEC. 11, 2023 — On December 1, OR&R’s Texas-based scientific support coordinator, Paige Doelling, Ph.D., participated in an Oiled Wildlife Response Training Workshop held in Corpus Christi, Texas, along with a diverse group of oil spill and wildlife response professionals.

Present day photo at the entrance of the Golden Gate looking westward with Fort Point at the far left where the SS City of Rio de Janeiro struck the rocks and foundered on February 22, 1901. (Photo: Robert V. Schwemmer NOAA)

DEC. 4, 2023 — From November 13-17, global leaders met to attend the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Forum in San Francisco, California. The NOAA Marine Debris Program California Regional Coordinator, Christy Kehoe, attended sustainability and business roundtables facilitated by the Department of Commerce (DOC) U.S. Commercial Service Northern California District of Export Council. The meetings were hosted by the Commonwealth of Australia and the Republic of the Philippines.

Cover of the 2024 Marine Debris Art Calendar.

DEC. 4, 2023 — On November 30, the NOAA Marine Debris Program announced that our 2024 Marine Debris Calendar is now available for download!

OR&R ARD staff at the SETAC North America annual meeting in Louisville, KY.

DEC. 4, 2023 — The Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC) North America annual conference was held in Louisville, Kentucky in November 2023. Staff from OR&R’s Assessment and Restoration Division (ARD) participated in the conference and contributed to a successful and engaging meeting.

DEC. 4, 2023 — From November 13-19, 2023, over 1,900 participants—representing 161 governments as well as stakeholders from nongovernment organizations, academia, the private sector, the UN, and other international organizations—met in Nairobi, Kenya, for the third session of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC3) to continue negotiations towards a new international legally binding instrument on plastic pollution.

Figure detailing the study on the growth of Pacific staghorn sculpin at contaminated sites in the Lower Duwamish River, Washington.

DEC. 4, 2023 — OR&R staff co-authored a new publication in Science of the Total Environment which documents impacts to resident fish due to industrial contamination released into the Lower Duwamish River, Washington.

An aerial view of spotted crude oil during an overflight near Main Pass, Louisiana on November 16, 2023.

DEC. 4, 2023 — On November 16, 2023, OR&R and U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) response teams activated as reports came in regarding a leak in a pipeline in the Gulf of Mexico, off the coast of Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana. The source of the leak was reported to be at least 19 miles offshore of the Mississippi River Delta, near the pipeline system of Main Pass Oil Gathering, LLC (MPOG). 

Figure from the publication showing heart morphology in control and oil exposed Pacific herring hatching-stage larvae.

DEC. 4, 2023 — OR&R has a long-term partnership with the NOAA Northwest Fisheries Science Center (NWFSC) to develop science for natural resource damage assessment and restoration. One area of collaborative research has focused on understanding the impacts of oil exposure on forage fish, such as Pacific herring, which are keystone species in coastal ecosystems.

November 2023

The Lake Erie shoreline where workshop participants took part in a Marine Debris Monitoring and Assessment Project survey (Credit: NOAA).

NOV. 20, 2023 — On November 7th, the Great Lakes Regional Coordinator for NOAA’s Marine Debris Program, Haley Dalian, presented at the Plastic Reduction Strategies Workshop for Lake Erie Businesses and Communities. Hosted at Old Woman Creek National Estuarine Research Reserve (NERR) and State Nature Preserve in Huron, Ohio, the workshop gathered participants from diverse perspectives to connect and learn about the ever-present type of marine debris: plastic.

OR&R science team members at the 2023 Clean Gulf conference, held November 7-9, 2023 in San Antonio, Texas. Image credit: NOAA.

NOV. 20, 2023 — Last week, over a dozen members of  OR&R’s science team attended the annual Clean Gulf conference in San Antonio, Texas. Altogether, OR&R staff participated as presenters and panelists in eight different sessions, covering an A-to-Z range of response topics: dispersants, estimation of oil slick thickness, hurricane pollution targets, in situ burns, natural resource damage assessment, chemistry of unconventional oils, data sharing, and wildlife response.

Derelict fishing gear found on the coast of Santa Rosa Island in the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary (Credit: NOAA).

NOV. 20, 2023 — On November 7th,  the NOAA Marine Debris Program California Regional Coordinator, Christy Kehoe, presented at the 10th California Islands Symposium. This multi-day event included the latest research in all disciplines of natural, environmental, and cultural science on the California Islands. This unique area includes all of the islets, rocks, and islands off the Pacific coast of California and Baja California, Mexico.

Representatives from CRRC and OR&R honoring Nancy Kinner at the University of New Hampshire’s Evening of Distinction celebration. Image credit: Coastal Response Research Center

NOV. 20, 2023 — Nancy Kinner, Ph.D. the University of New Hampshire co-director of the joint OR&R-University of New Hampshire (UNH)Coastal Response Research Center (CRRC), received the prestigious Profile of Service Award from the University at an Evening of Distinction celebration on October 12, 2023.

As NOAA SSC, Catherine Berg’s primary area of responsibility was Alaska, but like all SSCs, she served wherever needed around the country. In this photo, she is performing field work in Puerto Rico following Hurricane Maria. Image credit: NOAA.

NOV. 20, 2023 — Catherine Berg, retired NOAA Scientific Support Coordinator (SSC) for Alaska, was recently selected as one of four recipients of the 2023 Legacy Awards bestowed by the British Columbia/Pacific States Oil Spill Task Force. Berg was presented with the award at the Annual Meeting of the Oil Spill Task Force on November 16, 2023 in Sacramento, California.