The shoreline assessment process is an integral component of oil spill response, providing assistance in decision-making and documentation for shoreline cleanup. The process consists of developing cleanup recommendations and target cleanup endpoints, providing standard methods for conducting field surveys and collecting data, designing reporting activities, and setting procedures for shoreline inspection and post-treatment sign-off. Both the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and Environment Canada have recently revised their guidance manuals and forms, making them more effective and consistent. New, third-generation, forms have been generated, including: (1) a standard shoreline assessment form, (2) a “short” form, (3) a tarball form, (4) a wetlands form, and (5) a revised sketch map base. Environment Canada has also generated a tidal flat form and variations of the basic forms for lakes, rivers, streams, arctic coasts, snow and ice, coral reefs, and mangroves. The changes have been made to remedy problems encountered with previous forms, particularly frequent failures by teams to properly record all of the required information; perceptions that the forms were too complex; the need for a good “short” form that meets immediate, operational demands in the face of extremely short time frames; and use of different forms by different groups.

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