Ecosystem Services

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), United States


caption (Source: NOAA)

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is a federal agency within the United States Department of Commerce.  As a science-based operational agency tasked with monitoring climate and changes in the environment, NOAA is responsible for the study of the atmosphere and the oceans.  The agency issues daily weather forecasts and storm warnings, restores coastline, aids the flow of marine commerce, and manages fisheries.  NOAA's activities facilitate weather- and climate-sensitive economic activity that account for roughly one-third of the country's gross domestic product (GDP)[1]. The agency also responds to natural and man-made maritime disasters, operates a complex network of oceanographic, meteorological and atmospheric data-collecting products and services, and manages marine mammals, marine endangered species, highly migratory species, and anadromous fish species.

The Administrator of NOAA is the Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere—reporting to the Secretary of Commerce.  The Under Secretary is appointed by the President and must be confirmed by the Senate.  The current NOAA head is Under Secretary Jane Lubchenco.  Dr. Lubchenco was appointed by President Barack Obama and confirmed on March 19, 2010[2].  She is the first woman as well as the first marine ecologist to serve as the Administrator of NOAA[3].


NOAA operates through the following divisions:




NOAA formed in 1970 as a consolidation of a collection of scientific agencies and programs. Its creation was the culmination of a reorganization effort ". . .designed to unify the nation's widely scattered, piece-meal environmental activities and provide a rational and systematic approach to understanding, protecting, developing and enhancing the total environment"[4]

Agencies and Programs Merged into NOAA 

Agency/Program Previously part of/managed by:
United States Coast and Geodetic Survey Environmental Science Services Administration (ESSA), of the Department of Commerce
Weather Bureau ESSA, of the Department of Commerce
Central Radio Propagation Laboratory National Bureau of Standards
Bureau of Commercial Fisheries Department of the Interior
Marine Sport Fishery Program Bureau of Sport Fisheries and Wildlife, of the Department of the Interior
Office of Sea Grants National Science Foundation
United States Lake Survey U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
National Buoy Project U.S. Coast Guard
National Oceonographic Data Center Department of the Navy
National Oceanographic Instrumentation Center Department of the Navy
Marine Minerals Technology Center Department of the Interior



Until 1976, NOAA's involvement with the fishing industry was limited mainly to research and data collection functions[5].  However, the passage of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MFCMA) assigned NOAA responsibility for the implementation of a new system of fisheries management[6].  Today, NOAA, through the National Marine Fisheries Service, coordinates the management, conservation, and development of fisheries within the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone, within the migratory range of anadromous fish species, and of Continental Shelf fishery resources[7].  As part of its responsibilities and to fulfill the MFCMA goal of developing the economic value of fisheries[8] , NOAA has stimulated ". . .increased utilization of species not traditionally harvested by U.S. fishermen".[9]

NFMS duties include:

  • monitoring fishery compliance with federal regulations;
  • encouraging and assisting the adoption of sustainable fishery practices; and
  • assessing the status of fish stocks.


caption The Atlantic salmon is deemed federally endangered in certain regions. (Source: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, via Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife)

NMFS balances NOAA's mission of environmental stewardship with economic needs for productive, sustainable fishing operations[11]. For instance, NMFS's Office of Protected Resources manages wildlife conservation efforts that can be related only tangentially to the Service's broader fisheries management responsibilities and are authorized primarily under such statutes as the Endangered Species Act and the Marine Mammal Protection Act.  Other offices—for example, the Office of Habitat Conservation—promote the conservation and restoration of habitats that are valuable to the health (or condition) of protected species as well as to the nation's resource use and economic vitality[12].  The Office of Sustainable Fisheries (OSF) oversees the management of fisheries that are important for commercial, recreational, and subsistence purposes through the coordination and guidance of a network of Regional Offices and Regional Fishery Management Councils[13].  Also, OSF manages fisheries for NMFS's Atlantic Highly Migratory Species Division[14].  The NOAA Aquaculture Program is responsible for the development of a national aquaculture regulatory framework as well as for management and science-based improvement of the nation's fish farming enterprises through the coordination of regional Fisheries Science Centers[15].  The Aquaculture Program often helps enhance stock in fisheries through "restoration aquaculture"[16].

Food Safety

OSF operates the National Seafood Inspection Laboratory, which is among the "leading seafood chemical and microbiological testing and information transfer facilities in the United States"[17].

Annual Catch Limits

The Mangnuson-Stevens Conservation and Management Re-Authorization Act of 2006 mandated the imposition of annual catch limits to end overfishing in federally managed fisheries[18].  On Janurary 16, 2009, NMFS published final guidelines for compliance with the annual catch limit and for related accountability requirements[19].

International Cooperation

The Manguson-Stevens Conservation and Management Re-Authorization Act of 2006 placed an increased emphasis on international cooperation.  The Act mandated that, where the United States is a party an international fisheries agreement, NMFS and its offices must take into account traditional participation in the fishery of U.S. fishermen and fishing vessels[20].  Also, the Act engendered in the United States a responsiblility to promote U.S. fishery management strategies to relevant international fisheries agreements if those fisheries do not have sufficient plans to halt overfishing practices and effects[21].


Wildlife Conservation

Under the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) and the Endangered Species Act, NOAA has the specific responsibility to manage the conservation of most marine mammals as well as endangered marine species[22],[23].  About 1,850 marine species ar

caption The humpback whale, a marine mammal. (Source: NOAA)

e listed as threatened or endangered[24].  The Office of Protected Resources, a program office of NMFS, oversees the implementation of conservation measures[25], while the NOAA Office of Law Enforcement enforces statutory bans on the transportation of protected wildlife species.

Marine Mammal Protection Act


Under the Act, NOAA is responsible for issuing permits for the taking or importation of marine mammals and marine mammal products[26],[27].  Permits may be issued for incidental takings in the course of commercial fishing operations[28], for scientific research[29], for public display[30] (only for educational or conservation purposes[31]), educational purposes[32], to enhance a supply or stock[33], or at the discretion of the Secretary of Commerce with due regard for the requirements of the Act[34].


NOAA is responsible for instituting policies and regulations that govern the taking and importation of each species of marine mammal within its jurisdiction so that the takings do not work to the disadvantage of species and population stocks[35].  Such regulations could include yearly limits on the amount of animals that can be taken or imported[36]; restrictions on the age, size, or sex of animals that can be taken or imported[37], seasonal or other time period restrictions[38]; location restrictions[39]; restrictions on the manner in which species may be taken or imported, particularly on fishing techniques that cause undue fatalities in marine mammal fishery populations[40].


The NOAA Office of Law Enforcement (OLE) is responsible for enforcing adherence to the agency's policies and regulations under the Act[41],[42].

Dolphin Protection

Under the Dolphin Protection Consumer Information Act, part of the MMPA, the agency participates in the regulation and enforcement of the international ban on purse seine net fishing and drift net fishing for yellowfin tuna[43],[44].  The Act and International Dolphin Conservation Program, through the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission, work to reduce the frequency with which dolphins are killed in the course of tuna fishing operations[45],[46].

Reporting to Congress

The agency must make public the status of marine mammal species every twelve months in the Federal Register and must make yearly reports to Congress regarding such information[47].

caption Northern fur seal. (Source: NOAA)


The Marine Mammal Commission is authorized under Title II of the Act to review the activities of NOAA and other agencies with regards to marine mammals, as well as to provide continuing overview of those activities, coordinate agency efforts to fulfill the terms of the Act, and make recommendations to the Secretary for measures "deemed necessary or desirable" for the realization of the terms of the Act.

Endangered Species Act


NOAA is responsible under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) for listing marine species that the agency determines to be endangered or threatened by habitat changes, overutilization, disease, predators, inadequate regulations, or any other such factors (natural or manmade)[48],[49],[50].  Any listing determinations made by NOAA through the Secretary of Commerce must be submitted to the Secretary of the Interior for review before the species is placed on the endangered species list[51].


The Office of Protected Resources develops and implements recovery plans for wildlife on the endangered species list


OLE enforce

caption Approval status of states in the Coastal Nonpoint Pollution Control Program. (Source: NOAA)

s the Act's ban on the illicit importation, sale, capture, and transport of endangered species within the United States Exclusive Economic Zone[52].

Fur Seal Act   

Under the Fur Seal Act (FSA), NOAA regulates the taking and transportation of the North Pacific Fur Seal and its parts.  The Act provides that the seal may be captured by Alaskan tribes for subsistence use[53], or as otherwise permitted by NOAA for educational, scientific, or exhibition purposes[54]

Coasts and Oceans

NOAA manages and studies the nation's coasts and oceans through a number of offices and programs, the majority of which are coordinated through the National Ocean Service (NOS).

Coastal Zone Management

NOS's Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management (OCRM) oversees the implementation of the Coastal Zone Management Act (CZMA) through partnerships with state governments and manages the National Estuarine Research Reserve System.  Also, OCRM manages the nation's Marine Protected Areas as well as the preservation and restoration of coral reefs[55].

National Coastal Zone Management Program

The National Coastal Zone Management Program is a "voluntary partnership between the federal government and U.S. coastal and Great Lake states and territories (states) authorized by the Coastal Zone Management Act of 1972 to address national coastal issues"[56].  Under the program, states submit coastal zone management (CZM) plans to the Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management.  If a plan is approved, the state may qualify for federal administrative funds as well certain grants under specific programs operated within the National Coastal Zone Management Program[57].

Coastal Resource Improvement Program

NOAA is responsible for issuing grants to state agencies for coastal resource improvement[58].  Grants may be issued for:[59]

  • preservation or restoration of areas with recreational, aesthetic, or ecological importance;
  • preservation or restoration of areas which contain resources of national significance;
  • restoration or enhancement of shellfish production;
  • the revitalization of urban waterfronts and ports;
  • provision of access to public beaches or coastal waters; and
  • the development of a state interagency process for permitting aquaculture facilities in the coastal zone.

Coastal Nonpoint Pollution Control Program
caption New Jersey's Jacques Costeau National Estuarine Research Reserve. (Source: NOAA)

The Coastal Nonpoint Pollution Control Program was established by Congress in 1990 through the Coastal Zone Act Reauthorization Amendments (CZARA)[60].  The program, jointly administered by NOAA and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Office of Wetlands, Oceans, and Watersheds [61],[62],[63], is designed to focus on pollution prevention rather than post-contamination cleanup[64]

The program addresses six main sources of runoff:[65]

  • agriculture;
  • urban areas;
  • marinas;
  • shoreline and stream channel modification (a.k.a. hydromodification);
  • forestry; and
  • riparian areas (wetlands and vegetated shorelines).

Participation in the program is required of all states that take part in the Coastal Resource Improvement Program[66].  States must submit a coastal nonpoint pollution management program[67], that NOAA and EPA review.  The federal agencies may also review the state's inland coastal zone boundaries and can assess the proper parameters of such boundaries[68].

If NOAA and EPA approve a state's nonpoint pollution management program, that state qualifies for federal grants to assist in the implementation of the program[69].  If, after later review, the programs do not comply with the terms of the CZARA, the federal agencies may withhold funds[70].

Also, under the program NOAA provides technical assistance to the states[71].  The agency may, for instance, share methods for assessing the water quality impacts of coastal land use or development, or provide assistance in developing and implementing pollution control measures[72].  In addition, NOAA, in conjunction with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service issues publications that provide guidance for specifying management measures for sources of nonpoint pollution [73].

Clean Marina Initiative

The Clean Marina Initiative is an incentive-based program that encourages boaters and marina operators to use environmentally responsible maintenance and operating practices[74].  The program is designed to achieve the goals of the Coastal Nonpoint Pollution Control Program, with respect to runoff from marinas[75].  NOAA contributes targeted funding to the marina program[76].

Coastal Zone Enhancement Program

The Coastal Zone Enhancement Program encourages states to enhance coastal zone management programs within nine high priority areas:[77]:

  • wetlands;
  • coastal hazards;
  • public access;
  • marine debris;
  • cumulative and secondary impacts;
  • special area management planning;
  • ocean or Great Lakes resources;
  • energy and government facility siting; and
  • aquaculture.


Under the program, OCRM works with state agencies to develop five-year strategies to enhance coastal management within those "key areas of national significance"[79].  States that properly conduct assessments of their high-priority management activities are eligible to receive federal assistance[80].  NOAA is responsible for regulating the criteria by which a state may qualify for such a grant[81].

Coastal and Estuarine Land Conservation Program

The Coastal and Estuarine Land Conservation Program, established in 2002, provides state governments with matching funds for coastal and estuarine land acquisition.  The program encourages states to purchase and protect lands considered important for recreational, ecological, historical, or aesthetic values[82].

National Estuarine Research Reserve System

The CZMA established a National Estuarine Research Reserve System[83], that is maintained by OCRM. Currently, twenty-seven reserves are maintained under the program for "long-term research, education, and coastal stewardship"[84].  NOAA provides funding for the system by issuing grant

caption Water level gage operated by NOAA CO-OPS. (Source: NOAA)

s to state agencies for maintenance of the reserves as well as for acquisition of any lands or waters whose management is necessary to the health of a reserve[85].  Also, the agency awards grants to public or private individuals for research within the reserves[86].

A state (usually represented by that state's governor) may submit a letter of interest for any land that may meet the criteria for ecological significance under the act[87].  NOAA may then allow the state to formally nominate the area as a national estuarine reserve and can fund the pre-designation process for up to $100,000 [88].  If NOAA approves the designation of the area as a national estuarine reserve[89], the state, with the agency's assistance, must prepare a draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) and a draft management plan (DMP) and will be eligible at this stage for matching federal funds on a 50/50 basis[90].   

NOAA helps the state respond to comments on the DEIS and DMP before the final Environmental Impact Statement and management plan are submitted to NOAA for review.  If the EIS and management plan are approved, a thirty-day waiting period follows before the agency submits designation findings to the Administrator.  Once the Administrator signs on the designation findings and on a completed memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the state and NOAA, the designation is complete[91].

Aside from funding and designating the estuarine reserve system, NOAA promulgates guidelines for research within the system[92], evaluates the performance of each reserve[93], and provides technical assistance to the states lead management organizations[94],[95].

Walter B. Jones Excellence in Coastal Zone Management Awards

Under the authority of the CZMA, NOAA, through the NOS and OCRM, selects the annual recipients of the Walter B. Jones Excellence in Coastal Management Awards[96].  Each year, the Coastal Steward of the Year award is bestowed upon one individual, not employed by the federal government, who has made a significant contribution to the field of coastal zone management[97],[98]. The Excellence in Local Government award is given to five local governments who have made the most progress in implementing coastal zone management principles[99],[100]. Ten graduate students whose academic study will contribute to the field of coastal zone management are selected to receive the award for Excellence in Coastal and Marine Graduate Study[101],[102].

NOAA Coastal Services Center

NOAA's Coastal Services Center provides state and local coastal management organizations with current technologies and management assistance[103].

Oceanographic Research

As the nation's "premier science-based agency for oceans and coasts"[104], NOS monitors oceanic and coastal phenomena, distributes oceanographic predictions, assesses the effects of human activities in marine ecosystems, and interprets scientific data for public consumption[105].  

The Center for Operational Oceanographic Products and Servies (CO-OPS) collects and disseminates data and predictions on tidal activities, water level changes, currents, and other oceanographic processes[106].  Its research contributes to efficient navigation and hazard preparedness as well as to scientific knowledge on climate change effects[107],[108]

caption Star coral in the Florida Keys. (Photo credit: George Cathcart/NOAA)

The National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science (NCCOS) serves as NOS's "focal point for ocean science"[109].  It comprises five centers, each with a specific research expertise:

  • Center for Sponsored Coastal Ocean Research;
  • Center for Coastal Monitoring and Assessment;
  • Center for Coastal Fisheries and Habitat Research;
  • Center for Coastal Environmental Health and Biomolecular Research; and
  • Center for Human Health Risk.


Together, the NCCOS conduct research and monitoring activities focused on five primary ecosystem stressors: climate change, extreme natural events, pollution, invasive species, and land and resource use[111].  Primarily, they address how these stressors affect coral reef and estuarine ecosystems, coastal ocean regions, and National Marine Sanctuaries[112].  In addition, the NCCOS issue Ecological Assessments that predict how various management strategies would affect future environmental conditions and are intended to give guidance to ecosystem managers[113].

Another project, the Integrated Ocean Observing System, is an effort to coordinate multiple sources of potentially incompatible data from among different agencies, organizations, and research institutions[114].  Also, the system serves as the U.S. contribution to the Global Ocean Observing System (GOOS), a component of the Global Earth Observing System of Systems (GEOSS)[115].

Oceanographic Survey

NOAA's Geodetic Survey, a component of NOS, is responsible for defining and maintaining the National Spatial Reference System, a coordinate system which facilitates navigation, transportation, and mapping of the nation's oceans and coasts[116].  In addition, the Survey sets federal standards for geodetic surveys[117].

The Office of Coast Survey (OCS) is the modern incarnation of the Survey of the Coast—established during the administration of President Thomas Jefferson[118].  OCS maintains nautical charts for safe navigation, surveys the ocean floor, dispatches response teams to survey damage to ports following maritime disasters, and provides expertise and tools for marine spatial planning and coastal projects[119].

Marine Protected Areas Center

The National Marine Protected Areas Center—managed jointly with the Department of the Interior—is a program of the Office of Ocean and Coastal Resources Management.  It was established in 2000 under the authority of the Marine Protected Areas Executive Order (Executive Order 13158)[120] and oversees the science-based management of a system of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs)[121], ". . .area[s] of the marine environment that [have] been reserved by federal, state, territorial, tribal, or local laws or regulations to provide lasting protection for part or all of the natural and cultural resources therein".[122]  The Center develops and implements the framework for the MPA system, collects data for the marine protected areas inventory and other planning needs, and supports the MPA Federal Advisory Committee[123].

The Center and the MPA system were established to "protect the significant natural and cultural resources within the marine environment for the benefit of present and future generations"[124].  The Center's MPA framework puts forth three overarching goals of the program:

  • to preserve the natural heritage of the nation's oceanic ecosystems, habitats, and biological communities;
  • to preserve the cultural heritage of the nation's maritime history and "traditional cultural connections to the sea"; and
  • to encourage the sustainable production of the nation's renewable living resources.


Nominations submitted to the Center must demonstrate that the protection of a specific site would contribute to at least one of these priority conservation objectives[126].

Coral Reef Conservation Program

NOAA's Coral Reef Conservation Program (CRCP) is a cooperative effort among the agency's offices that work on coral reef issues, mainly the National Ocean Service, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), the Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research (OAR), and the National Environmental Satellite, Data and Information Service (NESDIS)[127].  National Ocean Service, as the coordinating office[128], handles planning and budgetary activities and project implementation, while also contributing to coral reef mapping and monitoring efforts[129]NMFS, as part of the duties assigned to NOAA by the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, researches the effects of fishing activities on coral reef ecosystems and works to prevent overfishing[130].  OAR conducts coral reef ecosystem research, and NESDIS coordinates the remote sensing system through which coral reef indices are monitored[131].

caption Infrared satellite image from the National Weather Service. (Source: NOAA)

CRCP was established following the passage of the Coral Reef Conservation Act of 2000[132].  It serves as the Secretariat for the U.S. Coral Reef Task Force, an interagency and multiple state partnership established by Presidential Executive Order in 1998[133],[134]

CRCP coordinates two grant programs that were established under the Coral Reef Conservation Act. The NOAA Coral Reef Conservation Grants Program awards matching grants to government agencies, non-government organizations, and academic institutions[135].  The Coral Reef Conservation Fund—managed jointly with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation—functions as a funding source for public-private partnerships that seek to prevent coral reef degradation[136].

Disaster Response and Environmental Remediation

NOAA responds to environmental hazards primarily through the NOS Office of Response and Restoration (OR&R)[137].  OR&R works to reduce threats to coastal and ocean ecosystems and attempts to mitigate harm from environmental hazards[138].  While OR&R is the chief office for hazard response, other offices also play a role following natural or man-made disaster.  For instance, the Office of Coast Survey (OCS) examines the coasts and sea floor after disasters to determine if ports may be safely operated[139].  The Center for Operational Oceanographic Products and Services (CO-OPS) collects data on currents and tides in the oceans and Great Lakes, including any post-disaster changes to these patterns[140].

Weather and Climate

National Weather Service

The National Weather Service (NWS) is the chief federal organization for weather observation and data collections and predictions.  The Service maintains field offices in nearly all fifty states (excluding Connecticut, Rhode Island, Delaware, and New Hampshire), as well as in Puerto Rico, Guam, and American Samoa.  Also, NWS comprises six regional headquarters (Alaskan, Central, Eastern, Pacific, Southern, and Western Regions) and thirteen River Forecast Centers (Alaska/Pacific, Arkansas-Red Basin, California-Nevada, Colorado, Lower Mississippi, Middle Atlantic, Missouri River Basin, Northcentral, Northeast, Northwest, Ohio, Southeast, and West Gulf)[141].

caption Infrared satellite image from the National Weather Service. (Source: NOAA)

The National Data Buoy Center maintains a network of buoys and Coastal Marine Automated Network (C-MAN) stations to collect oceanographic and atmospheric data, including wind speed and direction, wave height, barometric pressure, conductivity, air temparature, and water current[142].The Office of Science and Technology is responsible for formulating NWS's science and technology plans and coordinating scientific development and implementation[143].  The Office of Climate, Water, and Weather Services manages the transmission of hydrometeorological data[144].

National Centers for Environmental Prediction

The Service includes the National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP), collectively managed by the NCEP Office of the Director, that issue water, weather, and climate warnings and predictions to NCEP users and partners[145]. Centers include:

  • the Aviation Weather Center;
  • the Climate Prediction Center;
  • the Environmental Modeling Center;
  • the Hydrometeorological Prediction Center;
  • the Ocean Prediction Center;
  • the Space Weather Prediction Center;
  • the Storm Prediction Center; and
  • the Tropical Prediction Center.


Hydrologic Data and Predictions

The Hydrologic Information Center disseminates information about river observations, drought predictions, water supply, and flooding[147], while the National Operational Hydrologic Remote Sensing Data Center collects data and issues predictions on snow and snowpack[148].  The Office of Hydrologic Development (OHD) conducts hydrologic research, develops new hydrologic products, and offers guidance to field offices in instituting new products and services[149].  OHD includes the Hydrology Laboratory, the principal venue for scientific research and investigation of new hydrologic forecasting products[150].

Specialized Centers

The Service operates a number of additional specialized centers, including:

  • the Alaskan Aviation Weather Unit;
  • the Central Pacific Hurricane Center;
  • the Internatonal Tsunami Information Center;
  • thr Pacific Tsunami Warning Center;
  • the Spaceflight Meteorology Group; and
  • the West Coast and Alaska Tsunami Warning Center.


Outside of the National Weather Service

Certain offices and centers outside of the National Weather Service also contribute to the federal meteorological and hydrologic research and predictions.  Within the Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research (OAR), the Physical Sciences Division of the Earth Systems Research Laboratory operates a Climate Analysis branch[152]. In addition, OAR runs the National Severe Storms Laboratory[153]

The National Satellite and Information Service runs the National Climatic Data Center, which is the world's largest archive of climate data[154].

National Weather Center

The National Weather Center is a joint effort between NWS, OAR, and the University of Oklahoma.  The Center satisfies the research and data collection needs of a number of NOAA programs, specifically the:

  • National Severe Storms Laboratory;
  • NWS Weather Forecast Office;
  • Storm Prediction Center (part of NCEP);
  • Radar Operations Center; and
  • Warning Decision Training Branch.


Proposed Climate Service

In February of 2010, NOAA and the Department of Commerce proposed the establishment of a NOAA Climate Service to allow the agency to increase its focus on climate change observation and predictions.  As of June 2010, the National Academy of Public Administration is engaged in a Congressionally-commissioned study to determine the viability of NOAA's proposed organizational restructuring[156], [157].

Laws Administered by NOAA

Federal Laws

International Conventions/Treaties

Response to the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill

See: Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill

NOAA continues to play a major role in the federal response to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.  Its offices, services, and centers have been engaged in a number of different areas:

Response Activities Active NOAA Divisions
Oceanographic modeling National Ocean Service (NOS); Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research (OAR, or NOAA Research)
Spill trajectory forecasting Office of Response and Restoration (OR&R); National Environmental Satellite, Data and Information Services (NESDIS)
Contaminant monitoring NOS
Fishery closures National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS)
National Estuarine Reserve System support NOS
Management of marine mammals, fish, and sea turtles NMFS
Coast Guard liaison Office of Marine and Aviation Operations
Planning future technical strategies for cleanup, resource restoration, and community assistance OR&R (Emergency Response Division); OR&R (Assessment and Restoration Division); OAR (through the Gulf of Mexico Sea Grant Programs)
Sampling OR&R (Assessment and Restoration Division)


Further Reading

NOAA - National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

NOAA's National Marine Fisheries Service

NOAA's National Ocean Service

NOAA's National Weather Service

NOAA's Office of Marine and Aviation Operations

NOAA's Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research

NOAA's Environmental Satellite, Data and Information Service

Current oil spill trajectory maps from NOAA Office of Response and Restoration


  1. ^ Accessed June 3, 2010.
  2. ^ Accessed June 3, 2010.
  3. ^See 16 U.S.C. § 1362(12)(A)(i).
  4. ^16 U.S.C. § 1533(4)(a)(2)
  5. ^16 U.S.C. § 1374
  6. ^16 U.S.C. § 1371
  7. ^ 16 U.S.C. § 1371(a)(5)
  8. ^ 16 U.S.C. § 1373(a)(1)
  9. ^ 16 U.S.C. § 1374(c)(2)(A)(i)
  10. ^ 16 U.S.C. § 1374(c)(5)
  11. ^ 16 U.S.C. § 1371(a)(3)(A)
  12. ^ 16 U.S.C. § 1373(a)
  13. ^ 16 U.S.C. § 1373(c)
  14. ^ Accessed June 4, 2010.
  15. ^ 16 U.S.C. § 1373(f)
  16. ^ Accessed June 4, 2010.
  17. ^ 16 U.S.C. § 1377
  18. ^ 16 U.S.C. § 1385
  19. ^ Accessed June 4, 2010.
  20. ^ Accessed June 4, 2010.
  21. ^ 16 U.S.C. § 1533(a)(1)
  22. ^ 16 U.S.C. § 1533(a)(2)
  23. ^ 84 Stat. 2090-93 (1970)
  24. ^ 16 U.S.C. § 1533(a)(2)(A)
  25. ^ 16 U.S.C. § 1153
  26. ^ 16 U.S.C. § 1154
  27. ^ Accessed June 7, 2010.
  28. ^ Accessed June 7, 2010.
  29. ^ 16 U.S.C. § 1455
  30. ^ 16 U.S.C. § 1455a
  31. ^ Accessed June 7, 2010.
  32. ^ 16 U.S.C. § 1455b
  33. ^ 33 U.S.C. § 1329
  34. ^ 16 U.S.C. § 1455b(c)(3)-(4)
  35. [159] 16 U.S.C. §  1455b(d)
  36. [160] 16 U.S.C. § 1455b(g)
  37. [161] Accessed June 7, 2010.
  38. [162] Accessed June 7, 2010.
  39. ^ Accessed June 7, 2010.
  40. ^ 16 U.S.C. § 1456b
  41. ^ 16 U.S.C. § 1456b(d)
  42. ^ Accessed June 7, 2010.
  43. ^ 16 U.S.C. § 1461
  44. ^ Accessed June 7, 2010.
  45. [163] 16 U.S.C. § 1461(e)
  46. [164] 16 U.S.C. § 1461(e)(1)
  47. [165] 16 U.S.C. § 1461(b)
  48. [166] Accessed June 7, 2010.
  49. ^ 16 U.S.C. § 1461(c)
  50. ^ 16 U.S.C. § 1461(f)
  51. ^ Accessed June 8, 2010.
  52. ^ 16 U.S.C. § 1456c(b)
  53. ^ 16 U.S.C. § 1460
  54. ^ 16 U.S.C. § 1460(b)
  55. ^ Accessed June 8, 2010.
  56. ^ Accessed June 8, 2010.
  57. ^ Accessed June 8, 2010.
  58. ^ Exec. Order No. 13,158, 65 FR 34909 (May 31, 2000).
  59. ^ Accessed June 9, 2010.
  60. ^ Accessed June 9, 2010.
  61. ^ Accessed June 9, 2010.
  62. ^ Accessed June 9, 2010.
  63. ^ Accessed June 9, 2010.
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Yanefski, J. (2014). National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), United States. Retrieved from