NOAA 2007-R422
Contact: Ben Sherman
NOAA News Releases 2007
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Survey Designed to Assess Potential Threats to Ecology

NOAA’s Office of Response and Restoration, the U.S. Coast Guard, and the New York Department of Environmental Conservation, are partnering to produce an updated survey of Long Island's coastal shorelines to help officials develop hazardous spill response plans for areas at high risk.

NOAA will survey the shorelines of Long Island, focusing on shoreline types, natural resources, and historic structures most at risk for a hazardous spill. Long Island is at risk of oil releases due to the sheer volume of oil-related activities and shipping in its coastal waters that are associated with a large offshore oil platform, off-shore lightering operations, bulk fuel storage facilities, pipelines, and a commercial power plant.

"Protecting both the public and our marine natural resources from hazardous spills, while enhancing navigational safety is a major responsibility of NOAA," said John H. Dunnigan, director of NOAA's National Ocean Service. "This survey is a major effort by NOAA to be prepared should accidents or spills occur."

“This proactive survey is an update of an effort we undertook in the early 1980s and will be a gigantic leap forward with its ability to use digital technology,” said Ed Levine, NOAA's regional scientific support coordinator. “The survey establishes baseline conditions to aid in developing response strategies for shorelines at risk in the event of a release of oil or other hazardous materials.”

The survey data will be processed into a user-friendly format for use by USCG and other responders. The information also will assist NOAA in efforts to help USCG develop response plans and implement them in the event of a spill in Long Island waters.

"NOAA and the Coast Guard have forged a rock-solid partnership throughout the years while protecting our environment during responses to oil, chemical and biological releases into the waters surrounding Long Island," said Capt. Daniel Ronan, commander of Coast Guard Sector Long Island Sound and Captain of the Port. "Along with our partners at the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, we welcome and support this survey as another tool to help us better safeguard the waters we all use for boating, swimming, fishing, surfing and commerce in and around Long Island Sound."

The USCG National Response Center estimates that more than 30,000 oil and chemical spills occur annually in water and on land throughout the United States. These spills come from ships, pipelines and hazardous waste sites. NOAA serves as the lead federal trustee for coastal and marine resources including commercial and recreational fisheries, endangered and threatened marine mammals, coastal wetlands, coral reefs and other coastal habitats and the protected resources of the national marine sanctuaries and national estuarine research reserves.

"Developing new approaches to how one manages risk is an important part of NOAA's responsibilities as a federal trustee," said Capt. Ken Barton, acting director of NOAA’s Office of Response and Restoration. "Being prepared to respond to threats to coastal resources is a critical part of the NOAA mission. Development of this prototype survey is a significant step in doing so."

NOAA’s Office of Response and Restoration provides scientific expertise for successful incident response and restoration, helping to reduce harm to people, the environment and the economy. NOAA Ocean Service scientists are experts in oceanography, biology, economics, ocean modeling, chemistry and geology. Regional NOAA scientific support coordinators organize NOAA resources in support of federal and state response efforts, and work with scientists from other public agencies, academia, and the private sector to support operations when an oil or chemical spill occurs.

In 2007 the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, an agency of the U.S. Commerce Department, celebrates 200 years of science and service to the nation. From the establishment of the Survey of the Coast in 1807 by Thomas Jefferson to the formation of the Weather Bureau and the Bureau of Commercial Fisheries in the 1870s, much of America's scientific heritage is rooted in NOAA.

NOAA is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and information service delivery for transportation, and by 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, more than 60 countries and the European Commission to develop a global monitoring network that is as integrated as the planet it observes, predicts and protects.

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