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Scientific Support for Environmental Emergency Response (SSEER)

Scientific Support for Environmental Emergency Response (SSEER) is a response resource created by a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) and the University of Rhode Island (URI) Coastal Institute. The MOU offers a streamlined approach towards collaboration in which both parties are tasked with oversight, direction, review and approval of the agreement’s implementation. Under this agreement DEM identifies, approves of and secures funding for potential university resources, while the Coastal Institute manages a personnel roster, serves as a point of contact during environmental emergencies, and provides various scientific, research and management services as requested by DEM. This agreement enables DEM to swiftly engage resources, primarily from URI or other Rhode Island universities, when responding to environmental emergencies. These resources include experts whose specialized knowledge ranges across a wide array of environmental-related interests. This expansive, diverse roster ensures that DEM emergency responders can be informed with the best available science to optimize efficiency and outcomes.

SSEER assists in the assessment, reduction and remediation of threats to public and environmental health and safety. Whether it be determining how a coastal oil spill will affect marine life, identifying vulnerable ecosystems impacted by environmental emergencies, or assessing the economic cost benefit analysis of potential response actions, SSEER provides crucial expertise applicable for a multitude of scenarios. Additionally, SSEER plays a pivotal role in collecting evidence of environmental injury for Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA), as well as assembling accurate and reliable data about spills and response efforts. This partnership helps improve environmental preparedness, response and recovery in our beautiful Ocean State.

Per the agreement, the Coastal Institute maintains a robust, ever-growing roster of university and statewide resources prepared for deployment during environmental emergencies. For questions regarding the SSEER team and its roster overview, contact the DEM Emergency Response coordinator at:

(401) 222-1360, ext. 77129

View the SSEER webpage at the Coastal Institute website HERE.

View SSEER resources and documents HERE.