Now Available: Deepwater Horizon NRDA Marine Samples From NOAA

NOAA's Natural Resources Damage Assessment team and others check for oil in Louisiana marshes.  (Credit:  NOAA)

(Click to enlarge) NOAA’s Natural Resources Damage Assessment team and others check for oil in Louisiana marshes. (Credit: NOAA)

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) are making available to the scientific community Gulf of Mexico physical samples collected during and after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. 

NOAA has asked the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative and other science-based programs to distribute this information.

Natural resource trustee agencies collected thousands of samples to support the spill response and the Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA). NOAA is offering these samples to interested scientists now that the legal case is settled and the NRDA is complete.

Interested parties should send an email to NOAA (dwhsamples@noaa.gov) no later than June 10, 2016 to inquire about and request samples. 

The types of materials available from NOAA and USFWS storage include:

  • 36,000 tissue samples from biota, including oysters, fish, plants and invertebrates
  • 1,100 water samples (outside of hold time for chemical analysis)
  • 33,000 sediment samples (primarily frozen)
  • 2,800 samples of stranded oil and other oily materials such as oiled sediments and wipes
  • Large volumes of oil (from wellhead and slicks, some artificially weathered) and reference materials (Corexit dispersant and drilling muds)

Samples are expected to be available in July, depending on the number of requests and whether specific samples have sufficient residual material to be of use. Information about the available samples, including the results of prior analyses, may be explored and downloaded through the Deepwater Horizon DIVER data platform (https://dwhdiver.orr.noaa.gov/).  Recipients will be responsible for shipping costs and must comply with applicable permit requirements. Recipients will assume sole possession of samples, including responsibility for appropriate subsequent disposal of materials.

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The Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative (GoMRI) is a 10-year independent research program established to study the effect, and the potential associated impact, of hydrocarbon releases on the environment and public health, as well as to develop improved spill mitigation, oil detection, characterization and remediation technologies. An independent and academic 20-member Research Board makes the funding and research direction decisions to ensure the intellectual quality, effectiveness and academic independence of the GoMRI research. All research data, findings and publications will be made publicly available. The program was established through a $500 million financial commitment from BP. For more information, visit http://gulfresearchinitiative.org/.

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