G
OSRI: Final Report (1992-1995)

Submitted to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration March 1996

Summary

The Oil Pollution Act of 1990 authorized establishment of the Prince William Sound Oil Spill Recovery Institute to serve two primary functions:

  1. to identify and develop the best available techniques, equipment and materials for dealing with oil spills in the Arctic and Subarctic marine environment; and

  2. to complement damage assessment efforts of state and federal agencies and determine, document, assess, and understand the long-range effects of the Exxon Valdez oil spill on the natural resources of Prince William Sound and its adjacent waters.

The 19-member Advisory Board of the Oil Spill Recovery Institute (OSRI) was appointed by the Secretary of Commerce in 1992 and the first Board meeting was held in October 1992. This Advisory Board included six Federal agency representatives, four representatives from State of Alaska agencies, four citizens from Alaskan communities impacted by the Exxon Valdez oil spill, and three representatives from Native communities in the oil spill impacted region. Additionally, non-voting representatives served on the Board from the University of Alaska Fairbanks and from the Prince William Sound Science and Technology Institute (aka Prince William Sound Science Center or PWSSC).

Seven meetings of the Advisory Board and its Executive Committee were held between 1992 and 1995. A six-member Scientific and Technical



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The Oil Spill Recovery Institute: Past, Present, and Future Directions G OSRI: Final Report (1992-1995) Submitted to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration March 1996 Summary The Oil Pollution Act of 1990 authorized establishment of the Prince William Sound Oil Spill Recovery Institute to serve two primary functions: to identify and develop the best available techniques, equipment and materials for dealing with oil spills in the Arctic and Subarctic marine environment; and to complement damage assessment efforts of state and federal agencies and determine, document, assess, and understand the long-range effects of the Exxon Valdez oil spill on the natural resources of Prince William Sound and its adjacent waters. The 19-member Advisory Board of the Oil Spill Recovery Institute (OSRI) was appointed by the Secretary of Commerce in 1992 and the first Board meeting was held in October 1992. This Advisory Board included six Federal agency representatives, four representatives from State of Alaska agencies, four citizens from Alaskan communities impacted by the Exxon Valdez oil spill, and three representatives from Native communities in the oil spill impacted region. Additionally, non-voting representatives served on the Board from the University of Alaska Fairbanks and from the Prince William Sound Science and Technology Institute (aka Prince William Sound Science Center or PWSSC). Seven meetings of the Advisory Board and its Executive Committee were held between 1992 and 1995. A six-member Scientific and Technical

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The Oil Spill Recovery Institute: Past, Present, and Future Directions Committee was appointed in 1993 and met several times to review research plans and proposals. The PWSSC, a non-profit research and education organization based in Cordova, Alaska, was awarded a Federal grant totaling $480,000 to administer the OSRI and share its professional scientific and administrative staff. The PWSSC staff provide scientific expertise in the areas of oceanography, geographic information systems, fisheries ecology, remote sensing, advanced visualization and education. The PWSSC also provided administrative staff for the Alaska Hazardous Substance Spill Technology Review Council (HSSTRC) which was created to assist state agencies in the identification of containment and clean-up products and establishing optimum oil spill prevention and response techniques. These two state and federal organizations (HSSTRC and OSRI) collaborated in the preparation of a document identifying the most critical research necessary for oil spill prevention and response in Arctic and Subarctic waters. The Oil Pollution Research and Technology Plan for the Arctic and Subarctic was drafted in 1994. In 1995, it was submitted for peer review and was critiques by both the OSRI and HSSTRC Advisory Boards. A revised document was published in December of 1995. Accomplishments, 1992 - 1995 in relation to the OSRI’s two stated missions: To identify and develop the best available techniques, equipment and materials for dealing with oil spills in the Arctic and Subarctic marine environment. Published the Oil Pollution Research and Technology Plan for the Arctic and Subarctic. This plan established research priorities to attain the most efficient and effective technologies and methods for preventing and responding to oil spills in the Arctic and Subarctic. Assisted the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation in soliciting and reviewing proposals in 1994 and 1995 for oil pollution research projects to be funded by a grant from the Alaska Legislature. Over 100 proposals were received and approximately six were awarded funding. Established a library of reports, books and other resources on the subject of oil pollution prevention and response techniques in cold waters. Assisted in the distribution of a 10-minute videotape on the latest results from an in-situ burn of oil off the Newfoundland coast.

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The Oil Spill Recovery Institute: Past, Present, and Future Directions To complement damage assessment efforts of state and federal agencies and determine, document, assess, and understand the long-range effects of the Exxon Valdez oil spill on the natural resources of Prince William Sound and its adjacent waters. OSRI and PWSSC staff were leaders in the development of an ecosystem research program designed to identify the processes affecting the biomass, production and behavior of marine populations in the Prince William Sound and North Gulf of Alaska ecosystems. Called the Sound Ecosystem Assessment (SEA), the program is a multi- disciplinary study being carried out by scientists at the PWSSC, state and federal agencies and the University of Alaska Fairbanks. The results from this long-term (5-8 years) study will be used by the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Trustee Council to determine the long-range effects of the oil spill. The EVOS Trustee Council provides the majority of funding for the SEA project, but the OSRI budget provided geographic information system personnel who contributed to the program. In turn, the data collected by the SEA projects are increasing the database for the OSRI geographic information system of the region. Education staff of the PWSSC first published the Alaska Oil Spill Curriculum in 1990, prior to the establishment of the OSRI. This curriculum offers projects on oil pollution, prevention and conservation for ages pre-school through high school. It was widely distributed throughout Alaska in 1991 and also to school districts in other coastal areas of the United States; requests for the curriculum have come from teachers in New Zealand, Norway and several other foreign countries. In 1995, a revision of the curriculum was completed with support from the OSRI budget.