Monthly Archives June 2020

Essential Functions: What Makes Them Essential?

Posted Tue, 06/30/2020 - 20:59
By Alyson Finn, Office of Response and Restoration Disaster Preparedness Program

Everyday, organizations, communities, and government institutions provide critical services that are essential to our everyday life. But what would happen if we didn’t have access to these services? What would life be like? Hospitals, banks and grocery stores all provide essential services that we, the American people, depend on. The ability to continually perform such services is an important component of resilience and requires extensive continuity planning.

Clean up spilled oil at all costs? Not always

Posted Fri, 06/26/2020 - 03:57

This week, NOAA’s Office of Response and Restoration is looking at some common myths and misconceptions surrounding oil spills, chemical releases, and marine debris.

The images of an oil spill—brown water, blackened beaches, wildlife slicked and sticky—can create such an emotional response that it  leads to the myth that oil is so hazardous it’s worth any and all environmental trade-offs to get it cleaned up.

Minds Behind OR&R: Meet Environmental Scientist Laurie Sullivan

Posted Tue, 06/23/2020 - 17:57
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). In our latest "Minds Behind OR&R," meet environmental scientist Laurie Sullivan.

How to Test for Toxicity

Posted Fri, 06/19/2020 - 07:11
By Alan Mearns

What is toxicity? Most definitions would explain it as the degree to which a substance is poisonous.

Knowing a substance’s toxic levels is particularly important to federal agencies that use the information to test potential risks posed to people’s health and to the environment.

So how do scientists know how toxic something is and whether or not that substance—be it oil, chemical treating agents or toxic metals—will be toxic when introduced into marine or coastal waters?

On Sea Turtles, Seaweed, and Oil Spills

Posted Tue, 06/16/2020 - 12:22

The young loggerhead sea turtle, its ridged shell only a few inches across, perches calmly among a floating island of brown seaweed called sargassum. Suddenly, a shadow passes overhead. A hungry seabird? Taking no chances, the small sea turtle dips beneath the ocean surface. It dives through the sargassum's tangle of branches and bladders filled with air, which keep everything afloat. Open ocean stretches for miles around the free-floating sargassum mats — which provide critical refuge to juvenile sea turtles in the Gulf of Mexico — as they drift slowly with the currents. Unfortunately, these currents can just as easily push floating oil. This puts sargassum and all the creatures it supports in the path of oil spills.

Exercises Play a Vital Role in Disaster Preparedness

Posted Thu, 06/11/2020 - 11:46
By Katie Krushinski, Office of Response and Restoration Disaster Preparedness Program

A core pillar of the Disaster Preparedness Program (DPP) is designing and implementing exercises. Exercises play a vital role in preparedness by enabling NOAA and the National Ocean Service (NOS) to test and validate plans and capabilities, and identify and address gaps and areas for improvement. The DPP leads exercise programs to improve NOS’s preparedness posture and emphasize the value of the exercise cycle. 

Incident Responses for May 2020

Posted Tue, 06/09/2020 - 12:49

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. Here are some of May's notable incidents ...

Point vs. Non-Point Water Pollution: What’s the Difference?

Posted Fri, 06/05/2020 - 14:00

Water pollution comes in many forms, from toxic chemicals to trash. The sources of water pollution are also varied, from factories to drain pipes. In general, NOAA’s Office of Response and Restoration (OR&R) classifies water pollution into two categories; point source and non-point source pollution.

Using Human-Centered Design to Save Lives
By Kristen Faiferlick, Office of Response and Restoration
alyssa.dillon Thu, 06/04/2020 - 14:00

NOAA’s Office of Response and Restoration is known for its scientific support for oil spill response, but did you know about the other ways we work to keep the public safe, the environment clean, and the economy moving? One of our strategies is to partner with other government agencies to produce tools such as the CAMEO® software suite, a collection of tools to help emergency responders plan for and respond to hazardous chemical spills.