All images are in the public domain and free to use, except for the very few photos credited to other organizations. We appreciate our images being credited to NOAA's Office of Response and Restoration.
More photos, pre-dating 2001, are available on a web site that is no longer maintained.
Hurricanes can cause extensive damage when they strike coastal areas, and OR&R’s focus is on pollution from oil and chemicals that may be released into the environment during such a weather event. OR&R also assesses and coordinates the removal of marine debris which may include vessels that block vital waterways, as well as other derelict vessels in and around coastal areas. This image collection includes recent photos from hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria, as well as those from hurricanes Katrina/Rita, Isaac, and Sandy.
From Superfund sites to oil spills, OR&R is responsible for evaluating and restoring damaged coastal and estuarine habitats. Through NOAA's Damage Assessment, Remediation and Restoration Program, OR&R provides permanent expertise to assess and restore natural resources injured by releases of oil and hazardous substances, as well as by physical impacts, such as ship groundings in National Marine Sanctuaries.
Each year, OR&R scientists and staff use their technical expertise to respond to 150-200 incidents in U.S. coastal waters, the majority of which are oil spills and vessel collisions or groundings. However, other incidents can result from hurricanes or drilling well blowouts, as in the case of the Deepwater Horizon/BP oil spill.
Explore this sampling of photos from OR&R response efforts.
Unfortunately, birds, fish, wildlife, and their habitats often suffer from the effects of human activity. See some graphic examples of these injuries, which can be caused by sources as varied as abandoned fishing gear, spilled oil, and past industrial facilities. OR&R works to measure these damages and protect and restore NOAA trust natural resources.
Marine debris comes in many forms, from a cigarette butt tossed on the beach to a 4,000-pound tangle of derelict fishing nets caught on a coral reef. Take a look at some examples of the marine debris polluting U.S. coasts and learn more at www.marinedebris.noaa.gov.
All oil spill cleanup methods have some kind of environmental impact, so selection of a cleanup method inherently forces us to make a tradeoff of the effects of the oil versus the effects of the cleanup. Clean-up techniques range from physical removal (such as skimming boats) to chemical and biological treatment methods (for example, dispersants and oil-eating bacteria). View photos of some commonly used techniques for oil spill response and shoreline cleanup.