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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.

September 2023

Ghost gear in Baja Sur (Credit: Edgar Lima and Ocean Conservancy).

SEPTEMBER 11, 2023 — On August 30, 2023, NOAA Marine Debris Program (MDP) Director, Nancy Wallace, participated in a Trilateral Government Roundtable on Ghost Gear, “Advancing Cooperation to Address Ghost Gear in North America.” Forty-three representatives from the governments of Canada, Mexico, and the United States attended this virtual roundtable. The Global Ghost Gear Initiative, an MDP partner and grantee through the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement funding, hosted the event.

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

SEPTEMBER 11, 2023 — On August 28th, the National Ocean Service (NOS) Incident Management Team (IMT) activated ahead of Hurricane Idalia. The NOS IMT, led by OR&R’s Disaster Preparedness Program (DPP) with representatives from across NOS program and staff offices, coordinated response efforts and collected situational awareness. Team members reported information pertaining to any impacts to mission and personnel as well as infrastructure damage.

 Balloons located on remote Channel Islands off the coast of California. (Image Credit: NOAA)

SEPTEMBER 5, 2023 — On August 30th, the NOAA Marine Debris Program (MDP) wrapped up a month of partner-led virtual workgroup meetings to discuss the California Ocean Litter Strategy (OLS). The meetings brought together over 75 partners from across the state and included a diverse set of sectors, including state agencies, nonprofits, private organizations, and academia.

August 2023

Gloucester Harbor in 2012. (Doug Kerr/Wikimedia Commons)

AUGUST 28, 2023 — On August 24, 2023, a $5.38 million settlement was finalized to restore natural resources impacted by contaminants discharged along the Gloucester, Massachusetts waterfront. The pollution came from a manufactured gas plant that operated along the Gloucester waterfront between 1854 and 1952. Manufactured gas plants often yielded by-products of the gas production process such as tars, sludges, and oils.

Vessels removed from the Dog River in Alabama (Photo: NOAA).

AUGUST 28, 2023 — On August 1, the NOAA Marine Debris Program announced two Fiscal Year 2024 NOAA Marine Debris notices of funding opportunity for both Marine Debris Removal and Interception Technologies under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

A convergence line of pelagic Sargassum and oil in the water during the Deepwater Horizon oil spill (Image credit: Georgia Department of Natural Resources).

AUGUST 21, 2023 — OR&R recently published a new report, Oil Spills and Pelagic Sargassum, to assist those who work in oil spill response and planning where pelagic (open ocean) Sargassum is at risk from, or may interact with, oil spills.

A pipefish collected during the 12th Annual Great Hudson River Estuary Fish Count (Image Credit: NOAA).

AUGUST 21, 2023 — Each year, for the past 12 years, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation hosts the Great Hudson River Estuary Fish Count. This year the event took place at nine sites, including Lemon Creek Park on Staten Island.

NOAA Marine Debris Program Education Specialist, Alexandria Gillen, working with NMEA educators around various tables to categorize debris and explore data during the presentation (Credit: NOAA).

August 14, 2023 – On July 24, 2023, NOAA Marine Debris Program Education Specialist Alexandria Gillen and Monitoring Coordinator Hillary Burgess led an impactful workshop for marine educators focused on the Marine Debris Monitoring and Assessment Project (MDMAP) at the National Marine Educators Association national conference.

A small team removing ghost nets from the shoreline of Kamole (Laysan island) (Credit: Andrew Sullivan-Haskins, Papahānaumokuākea Marine Debris Project).

August 14, 2023 – On August 2, 2023, the team from the Papahānaumokuākea Marine Debris Project, a Hawaiʻi-based nonprofit organization, returned to Honolulu, with 86,100 pounds of marine debris removed from shallow coral reefs and shorelines of the islands and atolls within Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument. Of the debris removed, 69,330 pounds were derelict fishing nets and 16,770 pounds were plastics and other debris.

A warning sign on the side of the road due to high street flooding (Credit: New Hampshire Sea Grant).

August 14, 2023 – OR&R’s Disaster Preparedness Program (DPP) is partnering with NOAA Sea Grant for the second time to help coastal communities prepare for, respond to, and recover from disasters, such as hurricanes, flooding, tsunami, earthquake, and climate hazards. On August 8, 2023, DPP announced the four new projects, which total to $634,936 in FY23 federal funds, will take place in New Jersey, North Carolina, Oregon, and South Carolina. 

Team of drone pilots and representatives and leads from NOAA and the U.S. Coast Guard on the USCG Cutter Blackfin (Credit: NOAA).

August 14, 2023 – In late July, OR&R partnered with the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) and the Coastal Response Research Center to provide on-land and on-water training to USCG’s Uncrewed Aircraft Systems (UAS) pilots to strengthen oil spill response. 

A view of the presentation screen of the Hawai'i Marine Debris Action Plan purpose statement, stating "Reduce ecological, health and safety, and economic impacts of marine debris in Hawai'i by 2031." The Action Plan encompasses work that will be undertaken in the next ten years (2021-2031) and establishes a comprehensive framework for strategic action to help reduce the impacts of marine debris on Hawai‘i and its coasts, people, and wildlife (Credit: NOAA).

August 14, 2023 – On August 2, the NOAA Marine Debris Program coordinated a workshop to discuss updates to the Hawai‘i Marine Debris Action Plan (Action Plan). 

AUGUST 7, 2023 — On July 25, 2023, the NOAA Marine Debris Program attended and presented at a Making Sense of Microfibers & Microplastics Policy session at the American Apparel & Footwear Association’s (AAFA) Environmental Committee Meeting, held in Boston, MA.

July 2023

GeoColor Imagery of Tropical Storm Calvin on July 18 as it approaches Hawaii. Image credit: CIRA/NOAA

JULY 31, 2023 — The National Ocean Service (NOS) Incident Management Team (IMT) conducted its first activation in the 2023 hurricane season for Tropical Storm Calvin, which impacted the Pacific. 

A group photo of participants and instructors in the Science of Oil Spills (SOS) class held the week of July 10, 2023 in Portland, Oregon. Image credit: NOAA.

JULY 24, 2023 — During the week of July 10, spill specialists from OR&R’s Emergency Response Division conducted a Science of Oil Spills (SOS) class for the Pacific Northwest region in Portland, Oregon. The class was jointly hosted by OR&R and the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ).

NOAA Science Camp poster (Credit: NOAA).

JULY 24, 2023 — From July 10-14, students from Rainier Prep and Showalter Middle Schools spent the week as NOAA Science Campers at the Western Regional Center in Seattle, Washington. NOAA Science Camp is a program of Washington Sea Grant and offers hands-on science learning opportunities, as well as exposure to NOAA’s mission areas and science careers.

JULY 24, 2023 — On July 18, Nancy Wallace, Director of the NOAA Marine Debris Program, participated in a virtual workshop organized by Internews’ Earth Journalism Network as part of its Ocean Media Initiative.

A speaker provides remarks to a classroom for the launch of the Marine Debris Leadership Academy in San Diego (Credit: NOAA).

JULY 24, 2023 — On July 13th, the Marine Debris Leadership Academy (MDLA) was launched at the Tijuana National Estuarine Research Reserve in San Diego, California. The MDLA was founded as an opportunity to empower leaders to continue to cultivate change in communities, systems, and themselves.

A group of responders on a beach in Guyana in 2022 undergoing SCAT training. Image credit: Guyana Civil Defense Commission

JULY 24, 2023 — On July 11-13, 2023, staff from OR&R’s Emergency Response Division provided a three-day, virtual training in Shoreline Cleanup Assessment Technique (SCAT) for the country of Guyana.

A family fishes on the Anacostia River near Washington, D.C. (NOAA)

JULY 24, 2023 — The Anacostia River, which runs through Maryland and the District of Columbia, has suffered from many decades of pollution, from multiple sources including hazardous waste sites, runoff, and combined sewers. Communities along the Anacostia have been disproportionately impacted by this pollution.

Gloucester Harbor in 2012. (Doug Kerr/Wikimedia Commons)

JULY 17, 2023 — On July 12, 2023, a $5.38 million settlement was proposed in Federal District Court to restore natural resources impacted by contaminants discharged along the Gloucester, Massachusetts waterfront.

A poster of the NOAA OR&R 101 Series.

JULY 17, 2023 — On Thursday of this week, July 20th, the You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know lecture series begins its second annual OR&R 101 series! 

Collage of Mearns Rock photos, each showing different stages of biological cover. Image credit: NOAA.

JULY 17, 2023 — NOAA scientists, aided in recent years by citizen scientists, have been photographing a boulder in Prince William Sound for 33 years. Why? The rock was coated in oil in 1989 when the Exxon Valdez supertanker ran aground on Bligh Reef, dumping more than ten million gallons of crude oil into the Sound. Today, the boulder is known as Mearns Rock, nicknamed after Dr. Alan Mearns, a scientist emeritus in NOAA’s Office of Response and Restoration.

JULY 10, 2023 — The NOAA Marine Debris Program is developing a national shoreline marine debris monitoring plan in partnership with Western EcoSystems Technology Inc. Several national-international scale initiatives call for tools to document and report on the status and trends of marine debris. These include Regional Marine Debris Action Plans, United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, and momentum toward a global agreement on marine litter.

An educational display of the Marine Debris Monitoring and Assessment Project (MDMAP) for partners during the Tools Cafe (Credit: NOAA).

JULY 10, 2023 — From June 26-30,  the Gulf of Mexico Alliance’s Marine Debris Cross-Team Initiative, co-led by the NOAA Marine Debris Program’s Gulf of Mexico Regional Coordinator Caitlin Wessel and US Fish and Wildlife’s Adriana Levia, held its annual half day meeting during the larger Gulf of Mexico Alliance All Hands.

June 2023

A sculpture of an Atlantic White Shark made out of marine debris collected from Seashore beaches.

JUNE 26, 2023 —  On June 8, the NOAA Marine Debris Program unveiled a new sculpture made entirely of plastic marine debris items during a World Ocean Day event at the Cape Cod National Seashore

A discarded balloon on a beach in the Channel Islands.

JUNE 26, 2023 —  On June 13, the NOAA Marine Debris Program (MDP) coordinated and presented at the bi-annual California Ocean Litter Prevention Strategy webinar. The webinar brought together over 60 partners across the state and included a diverse set of sectors including state agencies, nonprofits, policy-makers, and academia.

Participants of the Response Roadshow gathered around tables at the U.S. Coast Guard Atlantic Strike Team in Ft. Dix, New Jersey.

JUNE 20, 2023 — The NOAA Office of Response and Restoration participated in a three-day Response Roadshow hosted by the U.S. Coast Guard Atlantic Strike Team in Fort Dix, New Jersey on June 6-8, 2023. The purpose of the meeting was to build relationships as a response community to better understand how federal, state, and local governments, as well as private industry work together to prevent, mitigate, and respond to human-made and natural disasters.

A NOAA Marine Debris Program Education Specialist shared tips for preventing marine debris, including turning it into art, with museum visitors of all ages (Credit: NOAA).

JUNE 20, 2023 — On June 8, the NOAA Marine Debris Program joined artists and scientists from around the Washington, DC, area at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History World Ocean Day celebration. 

A trained oil-detecting canine searches for subsurface oil on a beach. Photo: NOAA

JUNE 20, 2023 — On May 19, 2023, the U.S. Coast Guard Sector Delaware Bay hosted a demonstration of using trained canines to detect subsurface shoreline oiling at Slaughter Beach in Milford, Delaware.

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