California

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

OSPR’s enhanced inland presence has led to more Oiled Wildlife Care Network member organizations up and down the state. The California Living Museum, or CALM Zoo, in Bakersfield recently joined OWCN and will serve as primary rehab center for oiled animals in and around Kern County.
Curator Sharon Adams said the zoo has cared for oiled wildlife in the past, and looks forward to learning best practices from OWCN’s internationally-renowned experts.
...

View on Facebook

OSPR staff met with local government and industry representatives in Kern County today, as part of an inland spill workshop to discuss new statewide regulations. The event also proved to be a great networking opportunity for local responders.
Click here for information on upcoming public hearings for proposed regulations:
wildlife.ca.gov/OSPR/Legal/Proposed-Regulations
...

View on Facebook

CDFW-OSPR, the U.S. Coast Guard and local response agencies today are responding to multiple instances of stranded vessels and vehicles in Montecito as a result of recent rainstorms, which have caused catastrophic mudslides in southern California. Response crews are in the process of removing two stranded vehicles, and have removed the engines and onboard fuel/oil from three beached sailboats, which will be relocated entirely in the future. Work is currently underway to access and remove additional stranded vehicles and vessels in the area. ...

View on Facebook

An oiled lizard was discovered recently in Kern County, during response to a small crude oil release in October. The Western side-blotched lizard was rehabilitated at California Living Museum, or CALM, in Bakersfield. This particular lizard was the first reptile successfully cleaned and rehabilitated by a member organization of the Oiled Wildlife Care Network since OSPR’s inland expansion in 2014. CALM recently joined OWCN, which is recognized as a world leader in oil spill response, rescue, rehabilitation and research for wildlife.

The rehab process helps scientists better understand care for reptiles affected by spills. There are several federally-listed threatened and endangered lizards in California, which include the Blunt-nosed leopard lizard and the Coachella Valley fringe-toed lizard.

The video shows scientists releasing the lizard where it was rescued.
...

View on Facebook

OSPR Public Affairs spent a day with Oil Spill Prevention Specialist Bob Chedsey in the San Francisco Bay this week. Chedsey's primary role during a spill response is to quantify the amount spilled, but his day to day job includes boarding large ships to make sure they are compliant with CA regulations, and to monitor bunkering operations (vessels taking on fuel). Chedsey often does his job in cooperation with OSPR's Law Enforcement Division (LED). On this day, we used the LED patrol boat to board vessels in and around the Port of Oakland. ...

View on Facebook