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Office of Response and Restoration



Construction Started on Gulf of Mexico Disaster Response Center

Drawing of the new center

An artist's rendition of what the completed Gulf of Mexico Disaster Response Center will look like. The Center will open in 2011.

On January 22, 2010, NOAA marked the start of construction of the Gulf of Mexico Disaster Response Center in Mobile, Alabama.

The facility, which will open in 2011, will be the regional home to a multi-functional collection of NOAA’s emergency preparedness, response, restoration, and recovery assets and personnel in the Gulf of Mexico. The 15,000-square foot facility will house up to 29 personnel and be constructed to withstand a major hurricane. The center will also be devoted to conserving energy, water, and natural resources while reducing impacts on human health and the environment.

Drawing of the ICC

An artist's rendition of how the Incident Command Center of the completed facility will look.

Following Hurricane Katrina, the Office of Response and Restoration (OR&R) assisted the U.S. Coast Guard by evaluating nearly 400 reported pollution releases, numerous sunken vessels, and an unknown number of unreported hazardous material releases. The response team also surveyed damaged vessels in Mississippi and Alabama for fuel and oil leaks and conducted flights to identify and document offshore sources of spilled oil. Information collected during these flights, when combined with weather and hydrologic data in computer models, helped to predict spill movement and to determine pollution threats. The office also led an interagency effort to survey, map, and use Global Positioning System data to track the location of hazardous submerged marine debris blocking critical waterways and vital fishing areas.  

The completion of the Disaster Response Center will allow NOAA to consolidate its Gulf Region disaster efforts under one roof and better address the needs of affected communities—from Brownsville, Texas, to Key West, Florida—following disasters of all scales, from regional catastrophes such as Hurricane Katrina to chronic problems such as red tides and sea level rise. The center will support disaster planning, response, and recovery efforts, providing services that will enhance the resilience of coastal communities and protect lives, property, and the environment.