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Shoreline Assessment Training Held in New Jersey

OCT. 10, 2023 — Three experienced groups—the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) Atlantic Strike Team (AST), Clean Harbors Co-Op, and OR&R’s Emergency Response Division—co-hosted a SCAT (Shoreline Clean-up Assessment Technique) Team Member Training course from September 26-28, 2023.

SCAT class participants observe the trainer measuring oil found in a trench. Image credit: NOAA/Frank Csulak.
SCAT class participants observe the trainer measuring oil found in a trench. Image credit: NOAA/Frank Csulak.

The training was held at Clean Harbors Co-Op, an oil spill response organization located in Carteret, New Jersey. Frank Csulak of OR&R's Emergency Response Division and Dr. Jacqui Michel and Christine Boring, both of Research Planning Inc., served as the primary course instructors of the three-day training. 

Through this course, students were provided with a basic understanding of the methods for conducting shoreline assessments and incorporating the results in the decision-making process for shoreline clean-up at oil spills. Upon completion of the training course, the students were certified as SCAT Team Members. Funding for the training course was provided by the AST. 

This course was unique in its location. Generally, SCAT courses take place on recreational shorelines, however, this course emphasized an urban environment, the New York Harbor, which is lined with oil refineries, heavy industry, landfills, abandoned and derelict vessels, warehouses, and where multiple chemical and oil spills have occurred over the past decades. 

The 40 students included members of the USCG’s AST, Sector Delaware Bay and Sector New York, New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Con Edison, Middlesex County, New Jersey Hazardous Materials Unit, and Clean Harbors Co-Op. 

Training topics included the Shoreline Assessment process, team roles, field methods and products, fate and behavior of different types of oil spills, identification of shoreline types, and selection of appropriate clean-up methods and end points.  The classroom training was supplemented by several field activities that took place on Pralls Island (a locally important heron rookery), Alvin P. Williams Memorial Waterfront Park located in Sewaren, New Jersey, and Conference House Park, Staten Island, New York. 

Overall, feedback from the class was positive, with participants providing comments such as: “An excellent experience,” “The field trips allowed great in-field educational moments,” “Very helpful, especially seeing real tar balls onsite,” and “Energy was very high; a good time overall.”

Last updated Friday, October 13, 2023 9:34am PDT