Operational Science Advisory Team Report III
The Operational Science Advisory Team III (OSAT III) evaluated changes in shoreline profiles for Alabama, Florida and Mississippi. The team also evaluated re-oiling trends, along with the frequency and rate of weathered residual oil remobilization from the Deepwater Horizon MC252 Spill of National Significance.
The resulting OSAT III report identified actions to be taken for reducing potential recurrence of oil along the north eastern shores of the Gulf of Mexico. In addition, the report evaluated the feasibility of each action taken to recover or remove MC252 oil and the net environmental benefit (NEBA) of employing each recovery technique recommended. This scientific support was provided to the Federal On-Scene Coordinator (FOSC) with shoreline segment specific information to facilitate the operational decision-making process to recover residual MC252 oil.
The OSAT III report was produced by a team of scientific experts and participants from the U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, the National Park Service, the U.S. Geological Survey, the National Oceanographic & Atmospheric Administration, the Gulf States and their local governments, and the responsible party, BP.
Q1: Will BP oil continue to wash ashore? A1: Small amounts of weathered oil, roughly the size of a quarter and down to the size of a pea, will probably continue to persist for some time. In most cases, this weathered oil is not associated with large actionable oil sources. Because this will be infrequent, the stakeholders agreed that the best way to protect the environment and respond to this weathered oil washing ashore was National Response Center (NRC) reporting. Q2: Why did the response not continue to dig for oil? A2: It was decided that the best course forward would be Coast Guard personnel responding to NRC reports. This approach facilitates cleanup while reducing any potential harm from continued response traffic along the Gulf Coast’s sensitive shoreline. Q3: Who else was involved in OSAT besides USCG, NOAA and BP? A3: The study was carried out at the direction of the federal on-scene coordinator and under the oversight of the U.S. Coast Guard and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association. The data was gathered from a variety of sources including scientific experts from the U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, the National Park Service, the U.S. Geological Survey, the National Oceanographic & Atmospheric Administration, the Gulf States, local governments and the Responsible Party; produced by independent scientists then peer reviewed. Selecting and prioritizing targets was a proactive and collaborative effort carried out with the appropriate stakeholders. Q4: What is the National Response Center and how is that different from current Coast Guard cleanup activities? A4: The National Response Center is the federal government's national communications center, which is staffed 24 hours a day by the U.S. Coast Guard. The NRC is the sole federal point of contact for reporting all hazardous substances and oil spills. The NRC receives all reports of releases involving hazardous substances and oil that trigger the federal notification requirements. Reports to the NRC activate the National Contingency Plan and the federal government's response capabilities. It is the responsibility of the NRC staff to notify the pre-designated On-Scene Coordinator assigned to the area of the incident and to collect available information on the size and nature of the release, the facility or vessel involved, and the party(ies) responsible for the release. The NRC maintains reports of all releases and spills in a national database. For the Deepwater Horizon response, once a segment (an oiled portion of shoreline) has been removed from response, it returns to the traditional way the Coast Guard responds to hazardous substances and oil spills via the NRC (1-800-424-8802; www.nrc.uscg.mil) where the information will be gathered and appropriate actions will be taken.