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As of January 31, 2023, there are 4840 open recommendations that still need to be addressed. 471 of these are priority recommendations, those that we believe warrant priority attention. Learn more about our priority designation on our Recommendations page.

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National School Lunch Program: USDA Could Enhance Assistance to States and Schools in Providing Seafood to Students

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1 Open Recommendations
Agency Recommendation Status
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration The Administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration should work with the Secretary of Agriculture to develop a collaborative mechanism, such as a memorandum of understanding that establishes the sharing of NOAA's list of domestic seafood vendors with USDA. (Recommendation 2)
Open

When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

Water Quality: Agencies Should Take More Actions to Manage Risks from Harmful Algal Blooms and Hypoxia

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4 Open Recommendations
Agency Recommendation Status
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration The Administrator of NOAA and the Administrator of EPA, in collaboration with the members of the working group, should document and define what a national HAB and hypoxia program would entail, including identifying the program's resource needs. (Recommendation 1)
Open

NOAA and EPA agreed with this recommendation. In addition, the agencies stated that they will work together to realize a more defined national program, including by defining the scope of the program and its resource needs.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration The Administrator of NOAA and the Administrator of EPA, in collaboration with the members of the working group, should develop performance measures to assess the working group's efforts, including the extent to which the recommended goals from the Research Plan and Action Strategy have been achieved. (Recommendation 2)
Open

NOAA and EPA agreed with this recommendation and stated that they will work together, in collaboration with the working group members, to develop formal performance measures.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration The Administrator of NOAA and the Administrator of EPA, in collaboration with the members of the working group, should develop a national goal for the group focused on efforts to prevent HABs and hypoxia. (Recommendation 5)
Open

NOAA and EPA agreed with this recommendation and stated that they will work together, in collaboration with the working group members, to develop a national goal focused on prevention.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration The Administrator of NOAA and the Administrator of EPA, in collaboration with the members of the working group, should coordinate the development of a more comprehensive body of information on the costs and benefits of mitigation, control, and prevention actions for use by state, local, and tribal governments. (Recommendation 6)
Open

NOAA and EPA agreed with this recommendation. In addition, the agencies stated that they will work together and in collaboration with the working group members to identify the resources and information needed to determine the costs and benefits of mitigation, control, and prevention actions.

Alaska Native Issues: Federal Agencies Could Enhance Support for Native Village Efforts to Address Environmental Threats

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1 Open Recommendations
Agency Recommendation Status
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration The Administrator of NOAA should review NOAA's programs identified in this report and, where the agency determines it feasible and appropriate, implement relevant changes to address program characteristics that are not established in statute that pose obstacles to Alaska Native villages' obtaining assistance, including characteristics we identified and others that NOAA may identify. NOAA should also document its review, any related consultation with tribes, and any changes made to its programs. (Recommendation 7)
Open

In comments on our draft report, the Department of Commerce stated that NOAA will conduct a policy and legal review to identify what flexibilities may exist to adjust program characteristics in response to our recommendation. We will continue to monitor NOAA's actions in response to this recommendation and evaluate them when complete.

Sexual Assault and Harassment: NOAA Has Made Substantial Progress in Prevention and Response but Could Further Improve Its Processes

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6 Open Recommendations
Agency Recommendation Status
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration The administrator of NOAA should ensure that future updates to the agency's sexual harassment and sexual assault prevention and response policy are consistent with all relevant legal requirements in the 2017 NDAA. (Recommendation 1)
Open

As of February 2022, , the agency stated that it is actively collaborating with stakeholders to modify its Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment (SASH) policy to incorporate all relevant legal requirements, including implementing a process that will ensure future updates are consistent with legal requirements. NOAA anticipates the updated policy will be finalized in the first half of 2022.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration The administrator of NOAA should implement a mechanism requiring oversight by senior agency leaders of all disciplinary actions involving misconduct related to sexual assault and sexual harassment before such actions are finalized. (Recommendation 2)
Open

As of February 2022, the agency stated that it is collaborating with stakeholders to modify its SASH policy to include oversight of disciplinary matters. It also stated it will conduct training for managers and decisionmakers on roles and responsibilities related to SASH. NOAA anticipates all actions to address this recommendation will be completed by December 2022.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration The administrator of NOAA should ensure that the agency provides specific and readily accessible information on its website, through frequently asked questions (FAQ) and in staff training. The information should describe and explain the differences among complaint systems and what to expect from each when reporting allegations of sexual harassment or assault. (Recommendation 3)
Open

As of February 2022, the agency stated that it is actively collaborating with stakeholders and affiliates on streamlining access to information and updating its websites to include FAQs, contact mechanisms, and cross-posting resources. In addition, the agency stated that each office that received SASH allegations will include information on their respective public facing sites and also include a link to the NOAA Workplace Violence Prevention and Response office. NOAA anticipated actions to address the recommendation will be completed in the first half of 2022.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration The administrator of NOAA should require that training for supervisors and managers include critical NOAA-specific information, such as how to report allegations up the chain of command, how to identify and minimize potential risk factors, explanations of NOAA's confidentiality rules, and the consequences for failing to fulfill this staff's supervisory responsibilities. (Recommendation 4)
Open

As of February 2022, the agency stated that it is actively collaborating with stakeholders on modifying its SASH policy to clarify managerial requirements relating to SASH incidents. They also stated that NOAA has hired a contractor that is creating evidence-based training that highlights existing programs and processes and provides tools to address risk factors and bystander intervention methods. NOAA will mandate that all supervisors and managers take this training, which it anticipated will be completed by the end of June 2022.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration The administrator of NOAA should ensure the agency provides more information to specific individuals and the larger NOAA workforce about how the agency is responding to allegations of sexual assault and sexual harassment, as appropriate, such as by regularly updating individuals on the status of their cases and by annually developing summary-level information for the workforce about the number, type, and resolution of cases. (Recommendation 5)
Open

As of February 2022, the agency stated that it holds a monthly SASH Council where stakeholders may share data and trends tied to SASH. In addition, the agency stated that it is training its volunteer assistance advocates on trauma-informed care and response, clarifying expectations on transparency and ongoing communication. NOAA also stated it will provide an annual report to the NOAA workforce that includes aggregate data, such as the total number of open and closed SASH cases and types of corrective actions implemented. According to agency officials, this report will not include specific

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration The administrator of NOAA should ensure that the central tracking system being developed will collect consistent data and appropriately document the number and type of incidents of sexual assault and harassment across complaint systems. (Recommendation 6)
Open

As of February 2022, the agency stated that it is currently developing a database that will streamline case data for reporting to Congress, as well as provide consistent trend data to NOAA leadership and employees. The agency stated that this data will also allow NOAA to engage in meaningful prevention and response efforts. The agency stated that it anticipates the database will be operational by the end of June 2022.

Spectrum Management: Agencies Should Strengthen Collaborative Mechanisms and Processes to Address Potential Interference

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1 Open Recommendations
Agency Recommendation Status
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration The NOAA Administrator should clarify and document NOAA's internal processes for identifying and raising concerns about potential interference to NOAA satellite instruments. (Recommendation 11)
Open – Partially Addressed

In October 2022, NOAA completed the first of two planned actions to address this recommendation. Specifically, NOAA created a Domestic Spectrum Management Process guidance document which, among other things, identifies the processes NOAA uses to identify and raise concerns about potential spectrum interference issues in domestic fora. NOAA indicated that it intends to clarify and document its internal processes for international fora as well, with an anticipated completion date of September 2023 (subject to resource availability). We will continue to monitor NOAA's efforts to implement this

Federal Research: Additional Actions Needed to Improve Public Access to Research Results

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2 Open Recommendations
Agency Recommendation Status
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Administrator should fully develop and implement a mechanism to ensure researcher compliance with the public access plan and associated requirements. (Recommendation 27)
Open

The Department of Commerce agreed with this recommendation and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration indicated it was pursuing multiple mechanisms to implement it. According to information NOAA provided in January and June 2021, the agency continues to pursue a multi-pronged approach to better understand the extent of compliance issues with its public access plan and to address them. For instance, in May 2021, NOAA's Acting Chief Scientist communicated the importance of complying with the public access plan agency-wide. NOAA's June 2021 update also indicated that the agency's

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration As the Subcommittee on Open Science moves forward, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration co-chair, in coordination with other co-chairs and participating agencies, should take steps to fully implement leading practices that enhance and sustain collaboration. (Recommendation 36)
Open – Partially Addressed

NOAA concurred with GAO's November 2019 recommendation, noting that NOAA would work with the subcommittee to identify more opportunities for collaboration to promote access to research results. NOAA provided information in August 2020 and June 2021 on efforts to implement the recommendation. The information NOAA provided generally described steps taken to work with other agencies to address issues associated with public access to federally funded research results, including certain areas GAO identified as presenting challenges to public access plan implementation in the November 2019 report

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For questions about a specific recommendation, contact the person or office listed with the recommendation. For general information about recommendations, contact GAO's Audit Policy and Quality Assurance office at (202) 512-6100 or apqa@gao.gov.