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Post Storm Sandy – A multi-tiered approach to surveying and coordinating

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By: Ron Ohrel

Following Post Tropical Storm Sandy, NOAA invested significant resources toward charting the impacted coastline, identifying potential hazards to navigation, and helping partners remove marine debris that threatened to harm sensitive ecosystems. NOAA accomplished this through a combination of aerial, underwater, and shoreline surveys.

Due to differences in response activities across the states impacted by this storm, it was important to coordinate marine debris survey and response efforts at all levels of government. NOAA managed hydrographic survey operations in more than 800 square miles of Sandy-impacted waterways along the Eastern seaboard. The data acquired through those efforts is being used to update nautical charts, model flood events, and identify marine debris for potential removal.

NOAA data shows general locations of underwater obstructions along the New York and northern New Jersey coastlines. These data are helping to inform decisions on nautical charts, coastal resiliency planning, and marine debris recovery efforts.

NOAA data shows general locations of underwater obstructions along the New York and northern New Jersey coastlines. These data are helping to inform decisions on nautical charts, coastal resiliency planning, and marine debris recovery efforts.

The hydrographic survey work revealed nearly 10,000 possible underwater obstructions in Sandy-affected areas between Delaware and Connecticut. In addition, to assess Sandy debris conditions in wetlands, marshes, and other sensitive areas, NOAA compared pre- and post-Sandy aerial imagery of the mid-Atlantic coastline. Comparing post-Sandy data with information collected prior to the storm gives an indication of Sandy’s marine debris impacts in shallow water and shoreline areas.

NOAA aerial imagery helped the state of Connecticut identify debris hotspots caused by Sandy. Those locations are shown here. Through a formal agreement between NOAA and the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, the state received $752,822 to assist its efforts to remove debris from sensitive wetlands. The work will begin this autumn.

NOAA aerial imagery helped the state of Connecticut identify debris hotspots caused by Sandy. Those locations are shown here. Through a formal agreement between NOAA and the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, the state received $752,822 to assist its efforts to remove debris from sensitive wetlands. The work will begin this autumn.

NOAA has entered its survey data into a centralized database and shared much of that data with state partners. The data outputs helped the states prioritize some of their marine debris removal efforts. The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, for example, used NOAA data to target debris clusters in eight different coastal wetlands for removal this autumn. The work will allow the state to restore natural tidal marshes along its coastline.

Using survey data for multiple purposes is an efficient use of NOAA’s survey data collection and mapping resources, and assists a variety of stakeholders in many different ways.

Author: NOAA Marine Debris Program

The NOAA Marine Debris Program envisions the global ocean and its coasts, users, and inhabitants free from the impacts of marine debris. Our mission is to investigate and solve the problems that stem from marine debris, in order to protect and conserve our nation's marine environment, natural resources, industries, economy, and people.

One thought on “Post Storm Sandy – A multi-tiered approach to surveying and coordinating

  1. Pingback: Post Storm Sandy – A multi-tiered approach to surveying and coordinating | OEOO Knowledgebase

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