Nuka Research and Planning Group Working with Agencies, Industry, and Stakeholders to Develop Oil Spill Response Plans for North Shore Communities

The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) has contracted with Nuka Research and Planning Group, LLC to facilitate a project designed to protect sensitive shoreline areas from oil spill impacts.  The North Shore Geographic Response Plan (GRP) project is being funded by MassDEP through the Oil Spill Act Fund.  A project working group is being led by MassDEP, the U.S. Coast Guard, NOAA, and Massachusetts Coastal Zone Management, with participation from other state and federal agencies as well as the oil transportation and storage industry, local communities, and stakeholders.  A kick-off planning meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, April 29, 2009 from 1:00 to 3:00 pm at the NOAA Fisheries Service, Northeast Regional Office in Gloucester.

GRP are oil spill response plans tailored to protect a specific sensitive area from impacts following a spill. These response plans are map-based strategies that can save time during the critical first few hours of an oil spill response. They show responders where sensitive areas are located and where to place oil spill protection resources.

Nuka Research has already completed projects to develop GRP for the Cape and Island region, and to revise and update GRP in Buzzards Bay (project was conducted in collaboration with the Coalition for Buzzards Bay).  The North Shore GRP project will build on this earlier work and will contribute to the overall level of oil spill preparedness planning in Massachusetts.  The GRP complement ongoing efforts by MassDEP to purchase and position oil spill response trailers in coastal communities.  The GRP show local responders how they may deploy the oil spill boom and other equipment in the MassDEP equipment trailers.

The GRP development process involves selecting sites based on their environmental sensitivity, vulnerability to oil spill impacts, and feasibility of being protected using available resources.  The sites are they surveyed by boat, and tactics are developed based on the site specifics and the protection priority.  The draft GRP are reviewed by the working group, and once finalized are incorporated into the State/Federal Area Plan for Oil Spill and Hazardous Materials Response.  The process of developing GRP brings together diverse groups in a non-emergency setting to discuss environmental sensitivities, protection priorities, response strategies, and response constraints.  GRP development fosters local buy-in and creates realistic expectations for protecting sensitive areas from oil spill impacts.

For more information about the North Shore GRP project and the upcoming kick-off meeting, visit the project website at

About Nuka Research and Planning Group, LLC

Nuka Research is an environmental consulting firm specializing in oil spill preparedness and response, all hazards emergency management, marine environmental policy analysis, port and harbor management, and marine transportation.  Nuka Research has developed GRP for over 800 sites in Alaska, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island.  We have offices in Massachusetts and Alaska, and our talented staff in both places strives to provide customized, innovative, and cost-effective solutions to marine environmental planning projects.  (Our home office in Seldovia, Alaska is a bit dusty from the ashfall from recent Mt. Redoubt eruptions.)

We take our name and our inspiration from Nuka Bay, a remote inlet in the Northern Gulf of Alaska filled with crystal glaciers, pristine shorelines, abundant wildlife, and grand scenic views.