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Twenty five years of response and restoration

28 February 2024

In this video message, NOS Assistant Administrator Nicole LeBoeuf celebrates the 25th anniversary of NOAA's Office of Response and Restoration. (Video Transcript)

Nicole R. LeBoeuf
Assistant Administrator
Ocean Services and Coastal Zone Management,
National Ocean Service

Video Transcript

NOAA’s Office of Response and Restoration recently celebrated twenty-five years of service to coastal environments and communities. Better known as OR&R, the office’s origins date back to 1976 when the U.S. Coast Guard asked NOAA scientists to support operational decisions during an oil spill that resulted from a tanker grounding near Nantucket Shoals, Massachusetts. In 1999, OR&R was officially created to optimize NOAA's pollution response and restoration activities.

Over the decades, OR&R has evolved and grown its mission as threats to coastal environments and communities have changed. Today, OR&R’s primary role is to protect and restore ocean and coastal resources from the impacts of oil, chemicals, marine debris, and related effects from natural and manmade disasters to benefit the public, environment, and economy. OR&R provides critical scientific support, such as tools and predictive models for use within NOAA and by our partners to protect coastal communities following incidents that result in marine pollution. In this way, OR&R helps to ensure that commerce, communities, and natural resources can recover as quickly as possible.

Each year, experts across OR&R respond to more than 100 oil and chemical spills in U.S. waters. OR&R analyzes the impacts of these environmental threats to coastal and estuarine habitats, and they hold polluters accountable for oil and chemical injury to natural resources. OR&R and its partners in NOAA’s Damage Assessment, Remediation, and Restoration Program have helped recover over $10 Billion to restore impacted resources and their public benefits. In addition, within OR&R, the work of the NOAA Marine Debris Program helps to prevent and reduce marine debris impacts on the coastal environment, the economy and, importantly, on navigation safety.

I am grateful for OR&R’s expertise and its dedication to helping reduce negative impacts from oil, chemical, and other related environmental threats. OR&R and programs across the National Ocean Service exemplify how agencies like NOAA can help ensure that our coastal communities are resilient and protected for future generations.