As funding for spill research and development (R&D) has declined in recent years, partnerships among relevant federal and state agencies, industry and academia have increased in importance. In order to encourage thinking about spill R&D, develop agreement on research needs and foster these partnerships, the Coastal Response Research Center (CRRC), a cooperative program between the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the University of New Hampshire (UNH), hosted a three day workshop in November 2003 to identify applied science needs that could improve decision making across the continuum of oil spill preparedness, response and recovery. The emphasis was on research that could decrease the impact of spills on NOAA trust resources or enhance the recovery of the impacted resources.

More than 30 experts in the areas of spill processes, response techniques and habitat restoration participated in the three day workshop. The group included scientists from federal and state agencies, industry and academia. The goals of the workshop were to identify knowledge gaps in the area of spill response and restoration and determine the best approach for addressing these gaps.

Starting with six categories: Fate and Transport of Released Materials; Effects of Spills and Spill Response on Organisms; Effects of Spills and Spill Response on Habitats; Social and Economic Concerns and Needs; Quantitative Metrics for Use in Injury Determination and Restoration; and Restoration Methods, the participants identified over 80 areas of need, including a broad category of communication, and evaluated them with respect to their technical feasibility and potential impact on resource recovery.

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