Gray Whale Deaths on the Rise: How OR&R Provides Support During an Unusual Mortality Event

Posted Wed, 06/26/2019 - 18:56

When the phone rings at OR&R’s Emergency Response Division, it’s usually for an oil spill — but not always. OR&R supports incident responses in a number of ways, one of which is to provide trajectories and model where the oil will go. But what about for something other than oil? What happens when one of the ocean’s largest inhabitants washes up on shore? OR&R’s modeling capabilities are again called upon to help decide what to do next. 

Minds Behind OR&R: Meet Physical Scientist Ben Shorr

Posted Tue, 06/18/2019 - 18:16
By Megan Ewald, Office of Response and Restoration

This feature is part of a monthly series profiling scientists and technicians who provide exemplary contributions to the mission of NOAA’s Office of Response and Restoration (OR&R). This month’s featured scientist is Ben Shorr, a physical scientist in OR&R’s Assessment and Restoration Division.

Threats to Sea Turtles from Oil Spills: Lessons Learned During a Disaster

Posted Tue, 06/11/2019 - 18:16
By Megan Ewald, Office of Response and Restoration

Few animals capture the human imagination like sea turtles. Sea turtles are living fossils, they have glided through the Earth’s oceans for over 110 million years. But today, sea turtles face new, human-caused threats that put all seven species at risk of extinction. One of these threats is oil spills.

The Anacostia River: Challenges and Opportunities for Outdoor Recreation in the Heart of Washington, DC

Posted Thu, 06/06/2019 - 14:34
By Erin Garnass-Holmes, ambassador to the Anacostia Watershed Urban Waters Partnership

The Anacostia River in Washington, D.C., was a poster child for America’s degraded urban waterways. Years of industrial land use on the waterfront and floating trash scared many people away from recreating on or by the river. However, in recent years local advocates, government agencies, and water utilities have made great strides in restoring this urban river

Incident Responses for May 2019

Posted Thu, 06/06/2019 - 11:14

Every month our Emergency Response Division provides scientific expertise and services to the U.S. Coast Guard on everything from running oil spill trajectories to model where the spill may spread, to possible effects on wildlife and fisheries and estimates on how long the oil may stay in the environment.

This month OR&R responded to 15 incidents, including oil discharges, sunken vessels, and three gray whale carcasses. 

A Case of Mistaken Identity: Can You Spot the False Oil Positives?

Posted Fri, 05/31/2019 - 12:39

When asked what oil looks like, most people would probably describe it similar to molasses — black, and somewhat viscous in appearance. But did you know, crude oils can come in a range of colors? From black to red to yellow, oil can appear in a number of different colors and consistencies. This can make it especially hard to find and identify oil from the air.

Abandoned and Derelict Vessels: A Side Effect of Natural Disasters

Posted Thu, 05/23/2019 - 17:26
By Vicki Loe, Office of Response and Restoration

As a NOAA scientific support coordinator for Alaska with OR&R’s Emergency Response Division, Catherine Berg is used to the pollution removal process following an oil or chemical spill. But soon after Hurricane Maria struck Puerto Rico on Sept. 20, 2017, Catherine learned that her response skills would soon be needed to address the thousands of abandoned and derelict vessels scattered on or near the coast, many a potential source of marine pollution, as fuel and other chemicals made their way into the marine environment.

Assessing and Restoring the Damage Left Behind by Abandoned and Derelict Vessels

Posted Wed, 05/22/2019 - 20:24

During National Safe Boating Week (May 18-24), NOAA’s Office of Response and Restoration is taking a closer look at the anatomy of abandoned and derelict vessels.

An abandoned or derelict vessel (ADV) can be a pollution risk, and depending on the size of the vessel, could result in a pretty massive spill of oil, chemicals, or other hazardous materials. But even without a spill, the vessel itself can damage the environment.