NOAA 2005-R530
Contact: Jana Goldman
NOAA News Releases 2005
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In the wake of two of the worst natural disasters in our Nation’s history, NOAA Sea Grant is providing critical information to residents and business owners in communities affected by the storms.

“NOAA’s Sea Grant network will help us get needed information and assistance to an important segment of those affected by hurricanes Katrina and Rita,” said retired Navy Vice Adm. Conrad C. Lautenbacher, Jr., Ph.D., undersecretary for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator. “Their local expertise and knowledge will greatly benefit hurricane victims and help to restore the area’s marine economy.”

The Louisiana Sea Grant College Program has launched a Recovery Resources website at The site offers information on wetlands, seafood and water quality to ports, economic impacts and rebuilding concerns. Experts in a variety of fields provide the best current information, and updates are made as new data become available.

Sea Grant and the National Marine Fisheries Service are collaborating to place a Vietnamese-speaking Sea Grant extension agent in Mississippi to work on recovery efforts with the fishing industry. The agent will assist the Asian communities in the affected areas in understanding hurricane relief programs, including NOAA Fisheries disaster programs that may be implemented. The agent will also collaborate with NOAA Fisheries, Pascagoula Laboratory to communicate with Asian fishers in the Gulf Region.

In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, vibrio vulnificus, a naturally occurring marine bacterium that can cause serious infections in humans, could become an even greater danger. California and Georgia Sea Grant have developed a vibrio informational website at The site includes information about how the disease impacts shellfish and its threat to humans through skin wounds. Vibrio infection can occur from exposing open wounds or sores to seawater containing the bacterium (60% of U.S. cases) or by eating raw or undercooked shellfish (40% of U.S. cases), especially oysters.

Sea Grant is also helping in a variety of other ways, including:

  • NOAA's National Sea Grant Office will provide rapid response funding to address critical, short term needs in the programs affected (e.g. shrimp and oyster monitoring - the oyster industry is currently closed from Apalachicola, Fla., to Galveston, Texas). Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant is coordinating this effort.
  • The National Sea Grant Law Center is collecting extra book bags, backpacks, message bags, pens, etc. left from past conferences. The Law Center will load the bags full of supplies and distribute them to displaced students and school districts throughout Louisiana in the coming weeks and months. Contact the Law Center at (662) 915-7775.
  • NOAA’s National Sea Grant Office has taken the lead, along with the Gulf and South Atlantic Coast Sea Grant programs, to develop a strategy for Sea Grant's participation in coastal community recovery.
  • The National Sea Grant Library, based at the University of Rhode Island, has an online Coastal Hazards Digital Library available at, that includes documents from around the country on hurricane preparedness, impacts, and reconstruction, as well as provide a good summary of Sea Grant capabilities.
  • More than 500 million tons of cargo a year—nearly 20 percent of the total cargo tonnage in the United States, both foreign and domestic—moves through ports in Louisiana and Mississippi, which now have been seriously damaged by the hurricane. James Corbett, a University of Delaware marine transportation specialist and graduate student Chengfeng Wang, are analyzing how the hurricane's damages to New Orleans and several other major Gulf ports will affect the movement and cost of consumer goods on regional to national scales.
  • A group of landscape architecture students at Louisiana State University are creating a development plan and design for a new New Orleans. The students’ goal is to create designs that will provide a range of attractive economic alternatives, with the aim of bringing back relocated residents to more livable, more attractive neighborhoods. The Louisiana Sea Grant College Program is providing funding support for the project.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, an agency of the U.S. Commerce Department, is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and providing environmental stewardship of our nation’s coastal and marine resources.

Through the emerging Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS), NOAA is working with its federal partners and nearly 60 countries to develop a global monitoring network that is as integrated as the planet it observes.

To learn more about NOAA Sea Grant’s Gulf Relief Efforts, please visit:

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