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.

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Los Angeles first responders practiced deploying boom at Marina del Rey today. The training covered best practices for using the oil spill equipment granted by OSPR, which along with the USCG provided the training. Local responders included the County of Los Angeles Department of Beaches and Harbors, and the Los Angeles Fire Department. ...

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OSPR wildlife officers are on the front lines of the Kincade fire, providing overall support for the Incident Command, which includes traffic control, assisting with human and animal evacuations, patrolling for looters, and in some instances, actual firefighting.
In this photo, a helicopter refills its tanks for a nearby drop.
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California Department of Fish and Wildlife
We frequently hear about the number of structures lost to wildfires, but not about the number of structures saved. As the Kincade Fire has burned through the heart of the Sonoma’s Alexander Valley wine country, CDFW wildlife officers have provided support from the start. On Monday, two wildlife officers noticed a flare-up immediately adjacent to the Stuhlmuller Vineyards, off of Soda Rock Lane in Healdsburg. One of the officers, Lt. Josh Nicholas, then noticed a Long Beach Fire Department crew passing by, and he flagged them down to direct their attention to it. The group walked up a steep section of the vineyard and saw the flames burning toward the vines. They called in support from two of California’s most powerful firefighting helicopters, CalFire’s Sikorsky Sky Cranes, who went to work and kept the fire from consuming the vineyard property.

In this video, Lt. Nicholas watches the last water drop while standing among the vines of the Stuhlmuller Vineyards.
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