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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3 days ago

Office of Spill Prevention and Response - OSPR

Cuyama River Incident - Unified Command update: Cleanup crews remain committed to removing crude oil from the Cuyama River and shoreline in Santa Barbara County. With much of the oil removed from the water, the focus has been on rocks, cobble and vegetation in the area surrounding the March 21 tanker truck accident.

Rock and cobble are being cleaned by hand, and vegetation is cleaned when possible or otherwise removed.

The impacted area has been split up into five divisions as part of the Incident Action Plan developed by the multi-agency Unified Command. The Plan also includes considerations to protect responders from COVID-19. No illnesses have been reported.

Crews are continually monitoring the area downstream of the containment zone and have not observed oil past that point.

To date, oiled wildlife collected include one belted kingfisher (died at care facility), three mallard ducks (two collected dead and one died at care facility), nine Western pond turtles, two California red-legged frogs (a federally-threatened species), one Western toad, 2 Baja CA tree frogs and two additional tree frogs of species yet to be determined. There was also a non-steelhead fish collected dead. All of the turtles and amphibians survived after being cared for by the Oiled Wildlife Care Network (OWCN). The toad and one of the frogs were released a safe distance upstream from the incident. The last two frogs have been washed and will be released tonight.

Based on the cleanup status, the Wildlife Branch has determined that the incident and the response no longer pose an imminent threat to wildlife and the wildlife field operations are demobilizing. The turtles in care of Pacific Wildlife Care in Morro Bay will continue to be cared for in accordance with the OWCN protocols for release back to where captured when ready.

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Oiled Wildlife Care NetworkToday our field teams recovered one oiled federally threatened California Red-Legged Frog and one oiled Baja California Tree Frog. All previously recovered and washed frogs and toad (pictured) have been released in suitable habitat a safe distance upstream of the spill location.

The complete animal recovery summary is available at


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OSPR responded to a sunken 98-foot wooden vessel called the Pilgrim at Dana Point Harbor on Sunday. The Orange County Harbor Patrol reported early Sunday morning that the vessel had released diesel fuel and motor oil into the harbor. Responders deployed boom and removed the released product. The response is ongoing. The Pilgrim has been used for educational purposes for school-age children, their families and educators, to learn about life on the high seas. ...

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Oiled Wildlife Care Network2 live frogs and 1 deceased mallard were recovered by our field teams yesterday. All recovered herptiles have been washed and remain under the care of the Oiled Wildlife Care Network (4 frogs & 1 Western Toad, pictured) and Pacific Wildlife Care (9 turtles).

Wildlife collection activities will be reduced starting today; care for recovered wildlife will continue.

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Oiled Wildlife Care NetworkToday our field teams operating at the Cuyama River Incident in Santa Maria recovered a tiny Baja California Tree Frog. it will be washed and cared for by our specialists. Wildlife recovery and care activities will continue tomorrow.

Animal numbers updated daily at

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