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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4 days ago

Office of Spill Prevention and Response - OSPR

OSPR crew responded to a sunken commercial fishing boat at Ventura Harbor yesterday. The 45-foot vessel had just been fueled and was holding 300 gallons of diesel, but divers were able to plug all vents once it was stabilized and just less than 10 gallons were released. The boat was raised and hauled out just before midnight last night; no observed impacts to wildlife. ...

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4 weeks ago

Office of Spill Prevention and Response - OSPR

Madera County Sheriff's Office’s new oil spill equipment trailer already proved useful for a sunken vessel response yesterday at Bass Lake.
Containment boom and absorbent pads from the trailer were used to surround the boat in the event of a fuel release. Less than a gallon of sheen (and no oiled wildlife) observed. The trailer was provided to the department last month through an OSPR grant.

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California Department of Fish and WildlifeToday is World Oceans Day! A day to come together to acknowledge the beauty and resources the oceans contribute to our everyday lives, as well as the importance of taking care of our global ocean.

For Californians, the spirit of World Oceans Day is already a big part of our state identity. Whether you want to hang ten while surfing in southern California, go whale watching in Monterey Bay, or grab a rod and license and catch a salmon in northern California, with around 1,100 miles of coastline, California is an ocean destination for residents and visitors alike!

The theme for this year’s World Oceans Day is “Innovation for a Sustainable Ocean”. The CDFW’s Marine Region is among the global leaders in innovative research and ocean resource management, which contributes to some of the most sustainable marine life populations in the world.

The Marine Region also recently unveiled the new Ocean Sportfishing Interactive Web Map, which provides a quick reference to California recreational sport fishing regulations that can be used with mobile devices.

Another great way to celebrate World Oceans Day in California is by visiting one of your local marine protected areas, or MPAs. Uniquely designed through a public planning process led by the Marine Region that involved stakeholders, scientists, and decision makers, each of the state’s 124 MPAs are a vital part of a statewide MPA Network.

Make sure to observe local ordinances regarding coastal access and follow physical distancing rules during the COVID-19 pandemic. Please celebrate the ocean responsibly!

Link to Sportfishing Interactive Web Map:

Link to list of MPAs:

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A quail was released Monday after being cared for by Pacific Wildlife Care in Morro Bay. The quail had been found oiled at the site of a flow line leak in McKittrick. The bird suffered skin burns but following rehabilitation, it recovered and was released by OSPR Scientist Roy Kim. ...

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