NOAA's damage assessment and recovery efforts in the wake of Hurricane Katrina

Friday September 02, 2005

Message from the NOAA Fisheries Service Assistant Administrator, Bill Hogarth

Hurricane Katrina taken on Aug. 28, 2005, at 11:45 a.m. EDT when the storm was a Category Five hurricane. Click here for high resolution version. Please credit "NOAA".

Everyone has seen the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina. NOAA has a large employee and contractor presence in the Gulf of Mexico, and we are working to determine their whereabouts and well being. This is our number one priority. Specifically for NOAA Fisheries Service, we have made contact with 112 of 132 employees and contractors in the affected area. We are working to determine the whereabouts of those who have not yet reported in, and the well being of all affected employees and their families. Our thoughts are with all those who have been affected by this disaster.

NOAA Fisheries Service

Our Pascagoula, Mississippi facilities have sustained significant damage and photographs of the site are available. The two NOAA research vessels based there are providing support for NOAA and other Federal agencies. Many of our personnel have suffered significant damage to their homes. We are working with our employees to help them recover from this tragedy, and we are also assessing our priorities in fisheries science and management for the days and weeks ahead.

We will continue to provide for the management of living marine resources in the Gulf of Mexico, including special actions in response to the hurricane. The Gulf Fishery Management Council meeting that was scheduled for September 12-16 in New Orleans has been postponed until October and moved to St. Petersburg, Florida. Other public hearings and reporting procedures have also been modified.

Hurricane damage at NOAA's Pascagoula Facility - Broken Pier by 02

NOAA Fisheries Service is working with its partners to begin assessing the impact of Hurricane Katrina on the fishing industries of the Southeast Region. Fishery Reporting Specialists are assessing the impact of the hurricane on fish processing and distribution facilities, commercial and recreational marinas, and other forms of infrastructure such as ice houses, bait shops, gear manufacturers, etc. We are also collecting data on the economic impact of Katrina to the recreational fishing industry located in the affected areas of the Gulf. NOAA Fisheries Enforcement will work with the Gulf States to provide assistance through Joint Enforcement Agreements.


NOAA Actions

NOAA has mobilized a wide range of resources in response to Hurricane Katrina. NOAA ships, planes and many experts are helping to assess the damage caused by the powerful storm.

NOAA positioned Navigational Response Teams, which are mobile emergency response units equipped and trained to survey ports and nearby shore waterways, immediately following the hurricane. Navigational Response Teams use multibeam, sidescan sonars and diving operations to check the port, river or sea bottom for submerged obstructions that could cause hazards to shipping. The NOAA Office of Coast Survey, working in partnership with the Coast Guard, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and local port management, will be coordinating the response.

The NOAA Office of Response and Restoration and Damage Assessment Center is deploying NOAA scientists and other specialists—in coordination with federal, state and local emergency centers—to assist in evaluating the flood damage. The NOAA National Geodetic Survey is using a NOAA plane to take aerial surveys of the impacted areas. These images will assist in recovery operations, and long-term restoration and rebuilding decisions. NOAA has posted online more than 350 aerial images of the U.S. Gulf Coast areas that were decimated by Hurricane Katrina. These aerial photograph missions were conducted by the NOAA Remote Sensing Division. NOAA will be flying more missions in the days ahead that will yield hundreds of additional aerial digital images. (FishNews, September 2, 2005)

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