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 Gary Shigenaka, a marine biologist in OR&R’s Emergency Response Division.
On July 3, while visiting in the Philadelphia area, I was invited to join the staff of Gloucester City Sail on the North Wind schooner as a photographer for the day. The nonprofit provides students from local summer programs the opportunity to learn about the waterfronts of Camden, New Jersey, and Philadelphia while on board the schooner, sailing on the Delaware River. They learn about the water quality, the history, and the industries that run along the river, which includes a major port. The 57-foot schooner they use as a classroom was built in 1995 and features five sails.
The government can’t stop working just because of an emergency. This means that federal agencies need to be prepared, with plans that account for every situation, to ensure our jobs always get done. This is called comprehensive continuity planning.
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 17 incidents, including oil discharges, sunken vessels, and a blue whale carcass.
This blog was written by Kavya Varkey, a high school student from the Seattle area who interned with OR&R in the summer of 2018. Kavya was instrumental in developing the new story map on the Lower Duwamish River Superfund site. An urban river with a history of industrial pollution that began in the 1900s, the Lower Duwamish River continues to undergo both cleanup and restoration efforts. To learn more, view the new story map here.