Since 1978, RPI has been under contract with NOAA to provide technical expertise to NOAA in support of its mission to provide scientific support during oil spills. We maintain 24-hour response readiness for oil/chemical spills within the USA and its territories. We often provide analysis of the resources at risk within the first hour of notification of a spill, and respond to 50-100 spills per year.
We also provide on-scene technical support during spills in the areas such as oil fate and effect, environmental risk, shoreline assessment, selection and evaluation of cleanup measures, cleanup endpoints, and dispersant use. As part of maintaining a national corps of qualified responders, RPI conducts 3 to 6 training courses each year to Federal and State resource agency staff in spill response, shoreline assessment, and spill countermeasures.


Lastly, we provide contingency planning support across a wide variety of spill and emergency response themes. RPI has prepared a wide range of manuals and job-aids for guidance in oil spill planning and response, including:

  • Shoreline Assessment Manual (Version 3.0) and Job-Aid
  • Guidelines for Assessing Seafood Safety during Oil Spills
  • A Resource Guide for Reporters:  Environmental Aspects of Oil Spills
  • Marine Manual Spill Response Guide
  • Characteristics Coastal Habitats: Shoreline Protection Planning
  • Gravel Beaches:  A Spill Response Primer
  • Oiling and Cleanup Issues in Wetlands, M/T Julie N spill, Portland, Maine
  • The Reach Sensitivity Index (RSI) for mapping rivers and streams
  • Environmental Sensitivity Index Guidelines, Version 3.0