Friends in High Places: How NOAA’s Satellite Analysis Branch Supports Oil Spill Response

Posted Thu, 10/18/2018 - 13:58
By Ellen Ramirez, National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service

When responding to an oil spill, it’s important to get a look at the spill from every possible angle — both from land, from sea, and even, from space. Oil spill response teams in federal and state governments face challenges in offshore surveillance, simply due to the lack of observations over open water (compared to land).

Deepwater Horizon is arguably the most high profile oil spill to have occurred in the U.S., but what’s little known is that dozens of small, human-caused oil discharges happen in U.S. waters every single day – and there are likely many more that go undetected and unreported. 

Minds Behind OR&R: Meet Oceanographer Amy MacFadyen

Posted Mon, 10/15/2018 - 12:44
By Donna L. Roberts, 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 scientist is Amy MacFadyen, an oceanographer in OR&R’s oil spill response program. She responds to oil and chemical spills across the country, and leads the development of the GNOME™ suite for oil spill modeling.

Hurricane Response: An Overview of OR&R’s On-the-Ground Efforts during Florence

Posted Wed, 10/10/2018 - 16:42
By Katie Krushinski and Frank Csulak, Office of Response and Restoration

During the first week of September, Hurricane Florence, a Category 4 hurricane still located hundreds of miles offshore, was setting its sights to make landfall somewhere along the North Carolina-South Carolina coast. While some residents waited to see exactly where its path would lead, others decided to heed warnings issued by the governor of North Carolina to evacuate their low-lying coastal homes. As impact became imminent, NOAA’s Office of Response and Restoration (OR&R) began tracking the storm’s path and intensity. 

September 2018 Incidents: Fiscal Year Ends with Over 200 Spill Responses

Posted Thu, 10/04/2018 - 18:13

This month OR&R responded to 15 incidents, including oil discharges, sunken vessels, and hazardous material releases. During the 2018 fiscal year, OR&R responded to 201 spills — the second highest total in our team’s history and the second year in a row we’ve had more than 200 incidents.

Here are some of September’s notable incidents ...

Blowing up Bloede Dam: Patapsco River Resumes Natural Course for First Time in 112 Years

Posted Tue, 10/02/2018 - 12:34
By Megan Ewald, Office of Response and Restoration Assessment and Restoration Division

On Sept. 14, 2018 NOAA and project partners took an explosive step in the Bloede Dam project. Following 10 years of planning, and three weeks after partners celebrated, the explosives were detonated. Immediately the dam was breached. Water and sediment began pouring over the giant structure. Any lingering concrete will be manually removed. The Bloede Dam removal was the largest and most complicated in NOAA’s history, and a major victory for communities along the Patapsco River.

Department of Commerce Awards Highest Honor to OR&R for Leadership in the Aftermath of the 2017 Atlantic Hurricanes

Posted Fri, 09/28/2018 - 17:36

WASHINGTON — On Tuesday, Sept. 25, Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross presented NOAA’s Office of Response and Restoration with the Department of Commerce Gold Medal for leadership in the aftermath of the 2017 Atlantic hurricanes during a ceremony in the District of Columbia.

The Department of Commerce recognized OR&R for its ““innovative leadership in responding to coastal threats resulting from three Category 4 hurricanes in under 27 days during the 2017 hurricane season.”

Coastal Resiliency: SET Up for the Future

Posted Fri, 09/21/2018 - 12:22
By Taryn Sudol, Maryland Sea Grant

Phillips Creek Marsh lies on the eastern seaside stretch of the Delmarva Peninsula in Virginia. The marsh is a swath of wetland grasses with patches of reeds and warped remnants of a boardwalk. Pines fringe the marsh, and a flock of seabirds socialize on a distant mudflat to the southeast.

NOAA Summer Intern Produces Story Map on Hazardous Waste Site Near Seattle

Posted Wed, 09/12/2018 - 13:44
By Vicki Loe, NOAA’s Office of Response and Restoration

Washington resident Kavya Varkey joined NOAA’s Office of Response and Restoration for an internship this summer at the NOAA Western Regional Center in Seattle. A senior this year at Sammamish High School in Bellevue, Washington, Kavya says she’s always been drawn to science. Her interest has continued to develop and come into focus, and she plans to pursue an education that will lead to a career in environmental science.