Prince William Sound: Our Changing Perspective on Recovery
NOAA's Long-Term Monitoring Program
The Exxon Valdez. Those words and their associated images resonate through the American environmental consciousness. NOAA's Emergency Response Division (ERD), formerly the Hazardous Materials Response Division (HAZMAT), has been a part of the Exxon Valdez story from the very beginning. Through a long-term monitoring program, NOAA ERD continues to study the aftermath of the spill in Prince William Sound so that we can improve the way we respond to oil spills.
To learn how Prince William Sound is recovering from the Exxon Valdez oil spill, we have been conducting our monitoring study since 1990. With several years of results in hand, it is now reasonable to ask some questions about the spill, its effects, and what we have learned. For example:
- Is the oil gone?
- Has Prince William Sound recovered from the spill?
- What did the Exxon Valdez teach us about spill response?
We can now begin to answer those questions--although it is also abundantly clear that we have much to learn.