Mission Statement

Logo: California Department of Fish & Game

The mission of the Office of Spill Prevention and Response is to provide best achievable protection of California’s state surface waters and natural resources by preventing, preparing for and responding to spills of oil and other deleterious materials, and through restoring and enhancing affected resources.

Oil Spill Program Overview

Office of Spill Prevention and Response (OSPR), a division of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, is the lead state agency for spill response in California. OSPR was established by the Lempert-Keene-Seastrand Oil Spill Prevention and Response Act of 1990 (Act). The Act provides the OSPR Administrator with authority to direct spill response and cleanup, as well as natural resource damage assessment and restoration.

Refugio Incident, Santa Barbara, 2015 (photo: Lara Cooper / Noozhawk)

Refugio Incident, Santa Barbara, 2015 (photo: Lara Cooper / Noozhawk)

When a significant spill occurs, OSPR deploys a field response team of wardens, environmental scientists and oil spill prevention specialists to evaluate the incident and direct response efforts. OSPR uses a standardized emergency management system commonly referred to as the Incident Command System (ICS). Such a structure incorporates personnel from the U.S. Coast Guard during marine spills and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency during inland oil-related incidents, as well as other federal, state, and local government representatives.

In California certain large vessels and facilities are required to develop oil spill contingency plans, each focused on providing best achievable resource protection in the event of an oil spill. OSPR also conducts drills and exercises (some unannounced), in an effort to promote readiness in the event of a spill. Participants include OSPR staff, representatives from the oil industry, and federal, state, and local governments.

Harbor Safety Committees and Port Area Committees (jointly led by OSPR and the U.S. Coast Guard) meet regularly at the state’s five busiest ports to collect feedback from industry, recreational users, environmental groups, city/state/federal government, and labor organizations to improve safety and practices within the harbors.

Organizational Structure

As both a preparedness and response organization, the Office of Spill Prevention and Response has the California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s public trustee and custodial responsibilities for protecting, managing, and restoring the State’s wildlife and habitat. It is one of the few State agencies in the nation that has both major pollution response authority and public trustee authority.

Key Web Links

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Office of Spill Prevention and Response - OSPR added a cover video. ...

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July is “Wild About Wildlife” month, which honors organizations like OSPR that are dedicated to helping and protecting animals before, during and after an oil spill. As part of the celebration, we’ll be showcasing various wildlife native to CA. This female #kingfisher was spotted at @CaliforniaDFW Point Edith Wildlife Area in Contra Costa County, near the City of Martinez. Get “wild” about one of our wildlife areas by visiting one near you ...

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CDFW field team responded to a mineral oil release after an explosion at the DWP Receiving Station that left many w/out power last Saturday night in the San Fernando Valley. The mineral oil, which acts as a coolant for the power plant’s transformers, released into a nearby storm drain and entered Aliso Creek Wash and the Los Angeles River. CDFW oversaw the containment and cleanup of the release to protect the nearby habitat and wildlife. ...

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Wildlife Officer Ryan Hanson has an update on cleanup operations at Dry Creek in Auburn. ...

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