Reply Fri 9 Nov, 2007 09:20 am
A long history of saving oiled wildlife
A long history of saving oiled wildlife

Since 1971, IBRRC has been one of the leading authorities in oil spill response

An oiled scoter became the poster bird for IBRRC. The scoter was oiled during 1971 Oregon Standard spill in San Francisco Bay. See larger version of poster (IBRRC poster)

When two Standard Oil tankers collided in 1971 beneath the Golden Gate Bridge spilling 900,000 gallons of crude oil. Little was known about oiled bird care at that time and despite the courageous, attempts of hundreds of volunteers, only 300 birds survived from the 7,000 birds collected.

After the February 1971 spill a small group of volunteers formed the International Bird Rescue Research Center (IBRRC) It's primary goals were developing oiled wildlife cleaning and rehabilitation techniques, promoting ongoing research in this field and providing oiled wildlife response capabilities. In 1975, IBRRC moved to permanent quarters at Aquatic Park in Berkeley, California.

As IBRRC began to grow, it responded to an increasing number of oil spills including spills outside of California, rapidly expanding its body of knowledge. IBRRC has cared for over 140 species of wild birds, mammals, reptiles and amphibians.

Oiled grebe during 1971 Oregon Standard spill
in San Francisco. (IBRRC file photo)


In 1994, IBRRC joined California's Oiled Wildlife Care Network (OWCN). This network has 24 participating organizations, permanent facilities and trained volunteers within the state. IBRRC acts as OWCN's primary bird response organization in California.

Beginning in 2001, IBRRC opened two new centers in California. In February, IBRRC moved from Berkeley to a new 12,000 square foot facility in Cordelia (the east bay area of San Francisco) and in March we opened a second facility of that size in San Pedro (near Los Angeles Harbor). Both are new additions to the Oiled Wildlife Care Network, for which we manage oil spill response within California.

With staff and the help of volunteers, we operate wildlife hospitals at both locations 365 days a year, where we continue to develop new and better treatments and protocols for aquatic birds and waterfowl. Both facilities have education programs for both students and volunteers wanting to be trained in oil spill response. IBRRC maintains a library in Fairfield that contains a plethora of literature on all subjects related to the field of oiled wildlife response and rehabilitation and the field of aquatic bird rehabilitation.

With an oil spill response team of more than 25 wildlife experts , IBRRC has managed the oiled bird rehabilitation efforts in nearly 150 oil spills in 11 states, including the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska. Our international work has taken us to seven different countries and two U.S. territories.

IBRRC provides training and consultation to the petroleum industry, local, state, and federal Fish and Wildlife agencies, wildlife rehabilitators and researchers. Federal and state permits grant IBRRC permission to work with wild birds in captivity. IBRRC is a non-profit 501-C3 organization that relies on the petroleum industry, fees for services, state generated response contracts, research grants, foundation grants, and individual contributions for financial support.
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Reply Fri 9 Nov, 2007 10:07 am
More info here --

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Reply Sat 10 Nov, 2007 12:13 pm
and more -

LA Times article HERE

photo from the article

Alcatraz is surrounded by oil slicks that leaked from a cargo ship after it bumped the San Francisco -Oakland Bay Bridge.
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Reply Sat 10 Nov, 2007 12:43 pm
More of a look at what could have gone wrong -

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Reply Mon 12 Nov, 2007 11:03 am
Outrage at Delayed Response to Oil Spill Grows
Around Bay Area, Outrage at Delayed Response to Oil Spill Grows
By Kevin Fagan, Zachary Coile and Peter Fimrite
The San Francisco Chronicle
Saturday 10 November 2007

San Francisco - High-ranking California politicians and Bay Area residents angry about their oil-splattered beaches demanded answers Friday to why the Coast Guard took so long to notify the public of this week's huge ship-fuel spill and how the sludgy mess was allowed to spread so far.

Coast Guard officials acknowledged they had erred in waiting more than four hours on Wednesday to issue an advisory that 58,000 gallons - not just 140 - had spewed into the water after a ship rammed the base of a Bay Bridge tower, but they insisted their response was appropriate.

California's two U.S. senators, San Francisco's congresswoman, a host of state legislators and residents up and down the damaged coastline were not buying it.

"Something went terribly wrong," Sen. Barbara Boxer told The Chronicle when asked what she thought of the disaster response. "It was not handled the way it has to be handled.

"You are talking about the most pristine part of the country here. We value this ecosystem. This is what makes the Bay Area special. It's just unacceptable," said Boxer, chairwoman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works.

The delay in notifying the public about the magnitude of the spill was highlighted by the Coast Guard's log of events Wednesday, when the container ship Cosco Busan slammed into the base of a Bay Bridge tower at 8:30 a.m.

That log, which The Chronicle obtained, showed that Coast Guard investigators realized at 4:49 p.m. Wednesday that 58,000 gallons of heavy bunker fuel oil were in the water - not 140 gallons, as they had been reporting all day. But the agency did not say anything publicly until 8:58 p.m., when it issued a news advisory.

"That is unacceptable," Coast Guard Adm. Craig Bone conceded Friday.

The Coast Guard log also says it dispatched vessels at 9:03 a.m. - but the agency also says it only took 20 minutes to half an hour for all 58,000 gallons to belch from the damaged ship, which means the spill likely was complete by the time its vessels chugged toward the scene.

Compounding the finger-pointing on Friday was a statement by the bar pilot's attorney that shortly before the ship hit the base of the tower, the Coast Guard warned the pilot about his course - but the pilot radioed back that his instruments showed he was proceeding correctly.

All parties agreed that there was plenty of confusion.

"We needed to be better at communicating," said Bone of the Coast Guard. But he added that he thought there was nothing more that should have been done to contain the bunker fuel's spread.

Bone, whose agency is investigating the spill along with the state Department of Fish and Game, said there will be a rigorous hunt for wrongdoing by his agency or anyone else involved in the incident.

"Responsible parties will be held accountable," he said.

A host of politicians also are eager for that to happen. Boxer and her fellow senator, Dianne Feinstein, are considering Senate hearings on the spill. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco, plans to tour the disaster site Monday, and said "it may also be necessary to conduct an independent investigation."

California legislators plan to hold investigative hearings next week, and San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom promised to seek legal action against whoever is responsible for the damage.

Kathleen O'Leary, who lives in Fairfax, was so disconcerted by the response in her area that her voice shook.

"The rangers are doing their best, but the people who have all the major equipment just didn't show up," she lamented. "I'm really upset at the response of the Coast Guard. It's a very disjointed effort. Abysmal."

She said she has seen oil in Stinson Beach, Bolinas Lagoon and the adjacent Audubon Canyon Ranch area - but no wildlife rescue crews and only two cleanup workers.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger refused to lay blame as he declared a state of emergency for the area Friday morning, preferring to stick to dispatching resources.

"We want to clean this mess up as quickly as possible because there has been tremendous damage to the environment, tremendous damage to the wildlife and birds and so on," the governor said at Crissy Field as he surveyed the devastation.

As of Friday evening, 20,546 gallons of oil had been mopped up on the beaches and waterways by at least 15 crews on foot and 11 boats rigged up to "skim" the gunk into tanks. Lt. Rob Roberts of the state Fish and Game Department said the cleanup is "going to be awhile. We could be out here weeks, we could be out here months.

"This is a process that may go for years."

He said much of the muck will have dissolved into the water by the end of the weekend and will be beyond containment. The last big oil spill in the bay, a 40,000-gallon mess in 1996, took at least two years to mop up.

The company that owns the ship, mindful of the potential legal storm gathering around it, announced that it is not focusing on blame - for the moment.

"We have stepped up to the plate ... the main concern right now is to get this cleaned up and cooperate with the authorities while they conduct their investigation," said Darrell Wilson, spokesman for Regal Stone Ltd. of Hong Kong.

Meanwhile, the 810-foot-long Cosco Busan remained moored near Candlestick Point, reeking of oil. The crew was sequestered on board, and nobody was allowed near the vessel. The yawning, 100-foot-long gash in the left side of the ship was so fresh that barbed wire and wooden splinters from the bridge footing it had hit stuck out of the hole.

The ship was given permission Friday by the Coast Guard to dock at the Hanjin company port site in Oakland.

On the bay, ocean and more than 19 beaches throughout the Bay Area - from Hunters Point to Tomales Bay, 40 miles north - rescue workers and volunteers have now collected 94 oil-soaked birds and taken them to recovery centers. At least 28 birds have been found dead. The total number of injured birds is expected to rise into the hundreds.

Globs of oil have been seen as far west as the Farallon Islands, and sticky sheets of fuel are slopping onto the hulls of boats docked in harbors in San Francisco Bay. The swimming portion of the popular San Francisco Triathlon at Treasure Island, which begins today, has been canceled.

Bone said cleanup agencies welcome volunteers, but cautioned that people should call a wildlife rescue organization instead of rushing to the beach.

At Point Isabel Regional Shoreline in Richmond, dog-walkers gaped at splotches of oil floating in the water and splayed across the rocks.

"There are too many people on the Earth," mused Chris York, 42, of Oakland, who was forced to tell his 5-year-old Picardy shepherd, Kyle, "No" to prevent the dog from frolicking in the water as it usually does.

Throughout the day, the strong tides that race out of the Golden Gate tortured Marin County's beaches with coating after coating of oily sludge.

Along Rodeo Beach, two dozen hazardous materials workers in orange suits trudged around the sand shoveling gobs of black goo, mixed with beach sand, and putting it into plastic bags. A Caterpillar tractor toted away huge piles of the bags from the beach.

Sean McLeod, a 41-year-old contractor from Larkspur, came to help out.

"This is my favorite beach," he said. "I come here four times a week. It just kills me to see it like this."
By the numbers

As of Friday:

28 birds have died

94 oiled birds are being rehabilitated

15 wildlife-recovery teams are on beaches

20,546 gallons of fuel oil recovered

11 skimmers deployed on the water

Chronicle staff writers Henry K. Lee, Christopher Heredia, Jonathan Curiel, John Wildermuth, Carl Nolte, Michael Taylor, Jane Kay, Robert Selna and Michael Cabanatuan contributed to this report.
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Reply Mon 12 Nov, 2007 11:25 am
Typical Chronicle hyperventillation. However the article managed to capture an accurate picture of several interesting aspects of the constituency it so avidly represents. From Barbara Boxer's laughable comment that "this is one of the most pristine parts of the country" to the gent from Oakland's comment that "there are too many people on the earth" ... all ending up with the numerical data indicating that 29 birds have died and that about 40% of the spilled oil has been recovered.
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Reply Mon 12 Nov, 2007 11:30 am
Meantime, a spill of something like 560,000 gallons in the Black Sea...
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