Minds Behind OR&R: Meet Scientist Amy Merten

Posted Mon, 03/26/2018 - 09:45
By Vicki Loe, Office of Response and Restoration

This is the sixth in a 12-part 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 profile is on Assessment and Restoration Division Northwest and Great Lakes Branch Chief Amy Merten.

All-Hazards Risk Assessment: Keeping Colorado Safe with NOAA’s Free Mapping Tool

Posted Fri, 03/23/2018 - 16:46
By Kristen Faiferlick, Office of Response and Restoration

When disaster strikes, it’s important to know what locations and infrastructure may be at risk and what resources are available. For times such as this, OR&R’s mapping tool, MARPLOT®, can help mitigate disaster.

With the ability to customize maps and their features, MARPLOT appeals to users like Greg Moser, emergency management coordinator for Westminster, Colorado, who use mapping tools to do all-hazards community risk assessment.

An Intertidal Study: Surveying California’s Farallon Islands

Posted Wed, 03/21/2018 - 12:39
By Greg Baker, Office of Response and Restoration

Our first day of surveying intertidal habitats on the Farallon Islands was cold and wet, with gusty winds practically blowing us over while we set out our sampling plots. The Farallones, 29 miles west of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, are a desolate cluster of seven small rocky outcrops sometimes dubbed the “Devil’s Teeth,” but other times referred to as “California’s Galapagos.” The jagged rocks are barely visible over the western horizon from the Golden Gate, but on a clear day can be seen from the more northerly Point Bonita lighthouse as gray spikes poking through an otherwise flat and expansive sea surface.

Coordination is Key: Moving toward restoration at the St. Louis River Interlake/Duluth Tar site
Annie Gibbs, NOAA Office of Response and Restoration
alyssa.dillon Thu, 03/15/2018 - 18:54

The St. Louis River/Interlake/Duluth Tar site was used for a variety of industrial purposes — including coking plants, tar and chemical companies, the production of pig iron, meat-packing, and as a rail to truck transfer point for bulk commodities — starting near the turn of the 19th century. In 1983, the St. Louis River Superfund site was added to the National Priorities List.  

In November of last year, a settlement was reached between the trustees for the site and the parties responsible for the contamination. The settlement includes funds for the following restoration projects ...

As Assessment Phase Comes to a Close, OR&R Scientist Looks Back on Nearly a Decade of Work on Sheboygan River and Harbor Superfund Site

Posted Tue, 03/13/2018 - 11:53
By Alyssa Dillon, NOAA's Office of Response and Restoration

The story behind the Sheboygan River and Harbor Superfund site began in the 1870s, when growing industrial activity along the river led to a release of contaminants, including polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), heavy metals, and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs).

In 1979, the State of Wisconsin began advising the public against eating any resident species from the Sheboygan River, and only limited consumption of fish species from Lake Michigan, where the Sheboygan empties.

Vessel Removal in Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands Nears a Close

Posted Thu, 03/08/2018 - 17:48
By Alyssa Dillon, NOAA's Office of Response and Restoration

After nearly six months of ongoing efforts to remove vessels and mitigate pollution in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, the end is in site for the Hurricane Maria Emergency Support Function #10 (ESF-10) team.

Although this last hurricane season had only a fifth the loss of life of past seasons — attributed to improved forecasts and warnings — the physical damage was twice that of previous years.

Incident Responses for February 2018

Posted Mon, 03/05/2018 - 17:47

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.