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.

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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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California Department of Fish and WildlifeThe Memorial Day holiday is approaching and there will be a significant increase in public use along California’s coast. Federally threatened western snowy plovers can be found along many of our popular beaches in Los Angeles, Orange and San Diego counties, and they are currently in nesting season.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which works in partnership with CDFW and other conservation agencies, is asking for the public’s help in protecting these native shorebirds. If you are visiting or working in western snowy plover habitat, please be thoughtful about your actions.

- Follow directions on signs, keep dogs leashed and don’t drive on beaches unless you absolutely must.

- When walking on the beach, stay on the wet, hard-packed sand where the last high tide has reached. Plovers use these areas less frequently than the upper, dry part of the beach.

- Keep your distance from resting plovers. Adults sometimes pretend to be injured to distract predators from nests or chicks. If you observe what appears to be an injured adult, or chicks lying on the ground, do not attempt to capture the adult or pick up the chicks. Back away and let the adults return to their chicks.

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Update: Salvage contractors were able to secure and raise the vessel that sank yesterday in the Long Beach Channel. The vessel will be stored at the Port of Long Beach pending an investigation into potential criminal scuttling. No oiled wildlife have been observed. ...

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The Suisun City Marina received an oil spill response trailer courtesy of an OSPR grant. It’s the 61st trailer granted by the program, which provides local government agencies up to $35,000 for the purchase of a mobile oil spill response trailer.
The trailer was supplied today by Global Diving & Salvage, Inc. of Vallejo, and includes 1,000 feet of containment boom, as well as personal protective equipment, absorbent materials, decontamination gear and other miscellaneous items needed for the initial response to an oil spill.

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OSPR crew on-scene of sunken vessel in the Long Beach Channel near the Queen Mary. Vessel remains intact but a fuel sheen was observed. Divers from Long Beach Fire Department and Long Beach Lifeguard Association concluded no one was onboard at time of sinking. Cleanup contractor has been hired to remove fuel and salvage the vessel. No oiled wildlife have been observed. The U.S. Coast Guard is also responding. The cause of sinking remains under investigation. ...

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