By Ellen Ramirez, National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service, and Alyssa Gray, Office of Response and Restoration
OCT. 31, 2018 — Deep under the surface of U.S. waters, lying in wait to strike, is an environmental threat the size of an army. This army — while deadly and toxic in its own right — is not made up of soldiers and weapons, but rather of vessels from long ago, now derelict and forgotten.
By Megan Ewald, Office of Response and Restoration
It was a dark and stormy night. A salty wind blew like ice and waves thundered beneath the Golden Gate Bridge as a storm broke on San Francisco. As the city slept, something sinister rose from the depths of the Pacific Ocean. In the morning the sea calmed and people resumed their daily habits. For awhile it seemed as if nothing were amiss — until the dead started to wash up on shore.
By Alyssa Gray, 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 Assessment and Restoration Division Southeast Branch Manager Kevin Kirsch.
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.
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.
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.
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 ...
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.