As the nation's leading scientific resource for oil spills, NOAA was on the scene of the Deepwater Horizon incident from the start, providing coordinated scientific services to federal, state, and local organizations. At the center of these efforts has been the Office of Response and Restoration, NOAA’s primary office charged with responding to oil spills, hazardous material releases, and marine debris.
When oil and chemicals are released into the environment, they are not only unsightly – they are also harmful to us and to other living things. Within NOAA, the Office of Response and Restoration (OR&R) is tasked with providing the science and information needed to support the U.S. Coast Guard during spills and in coordinating with federal, state, and tribal natural resource trustees to restore coastal resources damaged by those spills.
To meet its mission, OR&R maintains an interdisciplinary team to respond to oil and chemical spills and other hazards threatening coastal environments and communities. Among its specialized skills, the office forecasts the movement and behavior of spilled oil and chemicals, evaluates the risk to resources, and recommends protective and cleanup actions. OR&R also provides training, prepares and tests spill response contingency plans, and conducts research to improve response capabilities.
The Marine Debris Program is also part of OR&R. This program is a joint effort across several NOAA offices to support national and international efforts to prevent, identify, and reduce the occurrence of marine debris to protect and conserve our nation's natural resources, oceans, and coastal waterways.