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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.

June 2023

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.

A U.S. Coast Guard team removing the floating fishing nets from the fishing vessel Aleutian Isle on August 24, 2022. Image credit: U.S. Coast Guard

JUNE 12, 2023 — Six members of OR&R were recognized on May 2, 2023 as part of an Outstanding Group Award presented by the Seattle Federal Executive Board (SFEB). Recognized OR&R staff included: CDR Faith Knighton, LTJG Kyle Vincent, Chris Barker, and Andrew Mason. Two OR&R contractors, Dylan Righi with Genwest and Megan Ewald with CSS, also contributed to this accomplishment.

A photo of the NOAA delegation to INC-2 (L-R: Sammi Dowdell and Elizabeth McLanahan, NOAA/OIA; Nancy Wallace, NOS/ORR/MDP) (Credit: NOAA).

JUNE 12, 2023 — From May 29 - June 2, representatives from around the world met in Paris, France, for the Second Session of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC-2) to develop an international legally binding instrument on plastic pollution, including in the marine environment.

Map of current geographic response strategies for Pomponesset Bay, where Mashpee-Wampanoag aquaculture sites are located.

JUNE 12, 2023 — On May 16-17, William Whitmore, OR&R’s Northeast Scientific Support and Regional Preparedness Coordinator, participated in a two-day oil spill planning workshop with MIT Sea Grant and the Mashpee-Wampanoag Tribe. The workshop, which was funded through OR&R’s Disaster Preparedness Program and the National Sea Grant Office, was the first step in a collaborative effort to help the Mashpee-Wampanoag tribe create an oil spill response plan for its aquaculture sites along the south coast of Cape Cod, Massachusetts. 

Map of the Mississippi Canyon Block 209 incident (Image Credit: BSEE).

JUNE 12, 2023 — On June 6, 2023, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana entered the consent decree finalizing settlement between NOAA and LLOG Exploration Offshore, LLC. The settlement, valued at $3.1 million, resolves LLOG Exploration Offshore, LLC of their liability for natural resource injuries resulting from a pipeline spill that discharged oil into the deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico, approximately 70 miles southeast of Venice, Louisiana. 

June 5, 2023 — On May 22, the NOAA Marine Debris Program's Chief Scientist, Amy V. Uhrin, gave a presentation during a virtual public webinar hosted by the National Nanotechnology Initiative. Seven speakers across as many federal agencies each provided a broad overview of their key research activities addressing micro- and nanoplastic pollution. Each of the speakers are members of the informal U.S. government nanoplastics interagency interest group that coordinates activities on this subject across federal agencies.

A group photo of 36 students from the SOCR Jacksonville class in front of a training facility. Photo credit: NOAA

June 5, 2023 — After teaching Science of Chemical Releases (SOCR) classes virtually since 2020, the OR&R training team, comprised of Kim Albins, Bob Bradley, Adam Davis, Charlie Henry, Dalina Thrift-Viveros, Savannah Turner, and Al Valeriotti, offered the class in person again. This class was held at the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) Sector Jacksonville, Florida facility from May 22- 25, 2023. There were 36 students representing the USCG, U.S.

May 2023

MAY 30, 2023 — On May 15 - 16, the NOAA Marine Debris Program’s Northeast Regional Coordinator, Demi Fox, attended the 2023 URI Global Plastics Forum, in Kingston, Rhode Island. The forum brought together representatives from local, state, national, and international organizations and agencies to exchange knowledge and share plans for upcoming efforts.

A view of the Raritan River from the American Cyanamid site (Credit: US Environmental Protection Agency)

MAY 30, 2023 — NOAA and co-trustees are seeking public comment on a Draft Restoration Plan/Environmental Assessment (RP/EA) for the American Cyanamid Superfund site in Bridgewater, New Jersey.

MAY 30, 2023 — Findings and recommendations from a project funded by the NOAA Uncrewed Systems Research Transition Office, and conducted collaboratively by NOAA’s National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science, the NOAA Marine Debris Program, Oregon State University, and ORBTL AI, were recently published as a NOAA Technical Memorandum.

A photo of a participant carrying trash during a community marine debris cleanup in Humpy Cove, Unalaska, AK.

MAY 30, 2023 — In early May, Harmony Wayner, Alaska Sea Grant Fellow with the NOAA Marine Debris Program, traveled to Dutch Harbor, Alaska, to support its city-hosted annual cleanup. The yearly cleanup happens the first two weeks of May, with people picking up marine debris and litter around town. Nichel Kernin, the Recreation Program Coordinator for the city of Unalaska, organized the cleanup. Ocean Conservancy was a generous partner, donating gloves and snacks. The Qawalangin tribe of Unalaska also hosts beach cleanup events alongside this city effort.

Oil sheen, containment boom, and deflection boom in Starrigavan Bay on April 23, 2017 (Photo provided by the US Coast Guard).

MAY 22, 2023 — NOAA recently accepted a settlement for damage assessment and restoration for the Tug Powhatan oil spill. The $1.3 million dollar settlement will fund two restoration projects in Sitka, Alaska that will benefit Pacific herring spawning habitat, as well as local Tribes and communities. It will also reimburse costs incurred during the assessment.

Artwork by Clara G. (Grade 8, California), winner of the Annual NOAA Marine Debris Program Art Contest.

MAY 22, 2023 — We are pleased to announce the winners of the Annual NOAA Marine Debris Program Art Contest! We received many colorful, creative, and informative entries from around the country, and although we wish we could showcase them all, we are excited to share the winners of this year’s contest with you.

Panel speaker presents on "OR&R's Emergency Response Division and the NOAA Scientific Support Team" to a room of training attendees.

MAY 22, 2023 — Last week a team of experts from across the National Ocean Service (NOS) delivered a training session at the 37th Annual Governor’s Hurricane Conference. The training team, led by the OR&R’s Disaster Preparedness Program, was made up of representatives from five program offices.

MAY 22, 2023 — On May 11, 2023, the OR&R Scientific Support Coordinator for the Pacific Islands, Ruth Yender, hosted U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) Rear Admiral (RDML) Jo-Ann Burdian at the Inouye Regional Center (IRC) on Oahu's Ford Island. RDML Burdian toured space at the IRC that will soon be occupied by a new USCG Indo-Pacific Regional Activities Center (IndoPAC RAC). The mission of the six-person IndoPAC RAC is to build response capacity in the region and to help partner nations implement International Maritime Organization Conventions on marine pollution.

A team of ARD staff on a shoreline.

MAY 15, 2023 — From May 2-4, OR&R’s Assessment & Restoration Division (ARD), in partnership with NOAA’s National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science’s (NCCOS) Ecotoxicology Branch, held its Field Assessment and Support Techniques (FAST) training at and around the Hollings Marine Laboratory in Charleston, South Carolina.

A team of NOAA staff outside a construction zone.

MAY 15, 2023 — The EPA, Elliott Bay Trustees, and stakeholders attended an open house for the recently constructed Vigor restoration project on Harbor Island on the Lower Duwamish River in Seattle. Trustees finalized a Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) settlement in May 2021 with Vigor Industrial and Exxon Mobil.

Two OR&R staff at a NOAA informational booth at the Hurricane Awareness Tour.

MAY 15, 2023 — On Tuesday, May 2, the Hurricane Awareness Tour for 2023 made a stop in New Orleans, Louisiana.  NOAA’s Office of Response and Restoration (OR&R) participated and shared information on hurricane preparedness and recovery supported by National Ocean Service (NOS) products and services.  A demonstration of the Environmental Response Management Application (ERMA®) was on display to show how the public and responders can utilize the available

The cover of the New York Marine Debris Emergency Response Guide.

MAY 15, 2023 — On May 10, the NOAA Marine Debris Program (MDP) released the “New York Marine Debris Emergency Response Guide” (Guide). The Guide is a product of a collaborative process with state and federal agencies. This work aims to improve preparedness for responding to marine debris after disasters in New York’s coastal areas, including the Great Lakes region.

A scientist in front of a poster board at a conference.

MAY 15, 2023 — The NOAA Marine Debris Program's (MDP) Chief Scientist, Amy V. Uhrin, and Research Coordinator, Carlie Herring, presented posters at the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC) 33rd Annual European Meeting held April 30 - May 4 in Dublin, Ireland. 

MAY 15, 2023 — On May 11, NOAA signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the International Group of Protection and Indemnity Clubs to promote the expeditious and cost-effective resolution of natural resource damages resulting from ship-source oil spills and from response actions under the Oil Pollution Act. 

Two NOAA staff and one U.S. Coast Guard staff give a panel presentation to a classroom.

MAY 15, 2023 — During the first week of May, the NOAA Marine Debris Program (MDP), in collaboration with the U.S. EPA’s Trash Free Waters Program and The Nature Conservancy, supported two initiatives to improve preparedness and response to marine debris incidents in Puerto Rico. 

MAY 15, 2023 — From May 9-11, scientists from multiple agencies, industry, and academia met in Seattle, Washington, to help prioritize the next generation of research related to shoreline effects from spilled oil. 

MAY 8, 2023 — NOAA’s Southeast and Caribbean Regional Collaboration Team (SECART) recently partnered with the Office of Response and Restoration’s (OR&R) Disaster Preparedness Program (DPP) to hold a two-day all-hazards workshop in the Charleston, South Carolina area.

A scientist and two students in front of a poster at the Duke Conservation Tech's 2023 Blueprint Conference on Disasters + Resilience.

MAY 8, 2023 — Gary Shigenaka, Scientist Emeritus with the NOAA Office of Response and Restoration (OR&R), gave the keynote address at the 2023 Blueprint Conference on Disasters + Resilience, hosted by Duke University Conservation Technology. He also served as a mentor and judge for the sustainable tech ideation competition as part of the conference. 

Rocky intertidal shoreline habitat covered in oil in Massachusetts.

MAY 8, 2023 — Twenty years ago, disaster struck along the picturesque coastline of Buzzards Bay, Rhode Island, where the barge Bouchard 120 ran aground on a ledge of bedrock on April 27, 2003. A gash in its hull released 98,000 gallons of fuel oil, polluting nearly 100 miles of Massachusetts and Rhode Island shorelines. The spill damaged many salt marshes and other coastal habitats, killed and injured fish, shellfish, terns, loons, and other bird species, and closed shellfishing and other public uses of coastal resources.

April 2023

A person at a podium.

MAY 1, 2023 — On April 21, the Office of Response and Restoration participated in the "From Single-use to Reuse: Earth Day Event to Highlight the Growing Reuse Movement" at The Anthem in Washington, D.C. Hosted by Upstream and the World Wildlife Fund, the event brought together stakeholders for a discussion about the importance of reuse to curb plastic pollution and to showcase reuse systems that reduce single-use plastic waste.

MAY 1, 2023 — Recently, NOAA gave a presentation on the CAMEO® software suite—as well as a sneak peek at an upcoming software program redesign—to emergency planners from across the country at the annual National Association of SARA Title III Program Officials (NASTTPO) conference.

MAY 1, 2023 — On April 20, the NOAA Marine Debris Program’s education specialist, Alexandria Gillen, presented at the National Science Teaching Association Science Update webinar series.

MAY 1, 2023 — This month, the Assessment and Restoration Division's Bryand Duke and his co-authors published their work on PAH (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons) uptake by talitrids via habitat (sand) and food (kelp) exposure.