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

Facebook Feed

Office of Spill Prevention and Response - OSPR shared California Department of Fish and Wildlife's post. ...

CDFW's Law Enforcement Division is saddened by the loss of Warden K-9 Reno, who passed away unexpectedly at home on Friday. Lt. Dave McNair and K-9 Reno graduated from K-9 Academy 4 in July 2009 and were assigned to Orange and south Los Angeles counties. During their tour, Reno became known as the “Gun Dog,” as he was trained to locate recently-fired firearms and casings. Multiple agencies used Reno’s talents and some even began training their own gun dogs after seeing Reno’s value. Lt. McNair's proudest find was on an agency assist with the Anaheim Police Department. They had two robbery suspects in custody and knew there was a gun involved, but no gun was found on either suspect. Multiple police officers meticulously scoured the area with their own K-9, to no avail. The situation was urgent because there were schools in the area and children would soon be walking in the area of an outstanding loaded gun. Lt. McNair was contacted on his day off, and he and Reno suited up to help a fellow agency in need. They arrived on scene, were briefed and began to retrace the suspects' movements. Near the area where one of the suspects was apprehended, Reno located a small loaded pistol that matched the description given by the victim -- and a potentially dangerous situation was prevented. K-9 Reno also liked the limelight. Throughout his career, he participated in more than 400 public demonstrations showcasing his talents and connected with well over 100,000 people. Lt. McNair was planning to let Reno retire out at the end of the year. Rest in Peace, K-9 Reno. EOW 6/23/17.

View on Facebook

The map shows bird migration around the world and the spills that helped fund restoration projects! Natural resource damage assessment restoration projects can have an impact thousands of miles away from the original location of an oil spill. Birds do not recognize geopolitical boundaries when making intercontinental voyages, so ensuring habitat is available where these species frequent is vital to their success. The Sooty Shearwater migrates between California and New Zealand, restoration for this bird’s habitat in New Zealand was funded by OSPR and federal partner’s NRDA settlements from the SS Jacob Luckenbach and T/V Command oil spills. Click on this link to see the poster in detail at *You can also send us message to receive a high resolution downloadable copy* ...

View on Facebook

CDFW recently got a report of a juvenile Marbled Murrelet on the ground in San Mateo County. Why is this unusual? Marbled Murrelets are seabirds (in the puffin family), and shouldn’t normally be on land. In fact, when a juvenile Marbled Murrelet is “grounded” it usually can’t take off again—this happens sometimes during the breeding season (summer). These birds nest in old-growth coniferous forests, and when the chick is grown and ready to fledge from the nest, on its first flight it has to fly all the way to the ocean (up to 10 miles or more) without landing. Some murrelets just don’t make it.

OSPR scientist (and murrelet expert) Laird Henkel responded to this bird found on Gazos Creek Road. Based on a brief examination, the bird appeared to be in good health, and just needed to find its way to the ocean. Henkel collected the bird, and back in Santa Cruz, coordinated with Marine Region Lt. Brian Bailie, who was able to release the bird near Waddell Creek the same evening (it is preferred to release them back to the ocean at dusk, mimicking their natural voyage from the nest). The little murrelet successfully dove and flew out to sea.

View on Facebook

Officials say 19 rail cars derailed due to extreme heat buckling the track. CDFW-OSPR Warden responded to the derailment near Delano north of Bakersfield. One of the derailed cars was a refrigerated boxcar whose fuel tank was punctured, leaking an estimated 30 gallons onto the ground. Oil spill response crews are on scene conducting the cleanup. No oil reached the nearby canal and there are no reports of oiled wildlife. ...

View on Facebook