|To fulfill its mission of protecting and restoring NOAA Trust Resources, the Office of Response and Restoration (OR&R):
- provides scientific and technical support to prepare for and respond to oil and chemical releases;
- determines damage to natural resources from these releases;
- protects and restores marine and coastal ecosystems, including coral reefs; and
- works with communities to address critical local and regional coastal challenges.
OR&R activities include:
Emergency Response: OR&R supports oil and chemical spill response operations with the timely and relevant scientific recommendations required to reduce the environmental harm and economic cost of emergencies. OR&R responds to over 100 coastal emergencies each year--from oil and chemical spills to search and rescue missions. Recent responses include the Athos I on the Delaware River and the Selendang Ayu in the Aleutian Islands.
Assessment, Protection and Restoration: OR&R works with other NOAA programs and state, tribal, and federal co-trustees to assess risk and harm to coastal resources from oil and chemical releases, evaluates and recommends actions to prevent further harm, and restores degraded trust resources and the services they provide. To protect natural resources, OR&R recommends cleanups that address risk, restoration where appropriate, and monitoring to evaluate success. OR&R and its partners restore natural resources by determining what resources have been harmed and what and how much restoration is needed to compensate the public for the losses that result. By promoting cooperative settlements with willing responsible parties, OR&R restores resources more quickly and at lower cost than by resolving liability through the courts. Through our involvement, OR&R has restored thousands of acres of wetlands, streams that support anadromous fish, mangroves, and other vital habitat and the services they provide.
Pribilof Islands: OR&R has cleaned up about 90% of the contaminated sites on the Pribilof Islands for which NOAA is liable. Funding limitations in FY 2005 make it impossible to continue progress over the next year. Assuming Congress restores full funding in FY 2006, we estimate the cleanup effort will be complete in FY 2007, except for the long-term groundwater monitoring the state of Alaska is likely to require.
Technology Transfer and Capacity Building: OR&R conducts more than 30 specialized training courses and workshops each year and produces and maintains over 25 analytical tools and technical guidance publications for emergency response, remediation, and restoration practitioners. These products and services transfer OR&R technical expertise to other government agencies and the private sector to improve the nation's ability to respond to releases of oil, chemicals, and contaminants, and to restore degraded coastal resources.
OR&R participates in the NOAA Habitat, Emergency Response, and Coral Programs.